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TUF 27 Finale results: Brad Katona downs Jay Cucciniello to win featherweight tourney

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Jay Cucciniello had a nice underdog story going, as a fighter who lost in the first round of The Ultimate Fighter 27, then got a second chance as a substitute and made it to Friday night’s TUF 27 Finale.

But Brad Katona (7-0) was simply the better fighter at the Pearl Theatre in Las Vegas on Friday. The Team Cormier competitor controlled the action throughout and ended Cucciniello’s Cinderella run to win the TUF 27 featherweight tournament. The judges’ scores were 30-26 across the board for a unanimous decision.

“It means the world, I started on this journey when I was 14 years old,” said Katona, a Winnipeg native who trains with the famed SBG team in Dublin.

The opening round was mostly a feeling-out period, but even then, Katona get the better of matters. He outlanded the Dublin native 30-7 in strikes and scored the one which most mattered, a left hook which dropped his Team Miocic opponent to the mat.

Katona found a home with the left hook again early in the second round, and this time, he kept Cucciniello (6-1) down and worked from top position for the bulk of the round.

The third started with a bit of a clinch stalemate, but Katona ultimately won the battle of wills and got Cucciniello to the mat. He maneuvered into back mount, rained down punches in the final minute, and hunted for a finish until the final horn.

“Give it time and stick to the basics, that was the game plan tonight,” Katona said.

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