Ricky Turcios is again just a win away from becoming a UFC fighter.
Team Volkanovski’s No. 3 bantamweight pick became the first fighter to advance to The Ultimate Fighter 29 finals, taking a convincing decision in an action-packed scrap with Team Ortega’s Liudvik Sholinian (9-1-1)*.
As he did in his semifinal thriller opposite Dan Argueta, Turcios set the tone early with his aggressive standup style and didn’t let up for three rounds. Sholinian had some good moments, landing sharp counters and out-wrestling Turcios at points, but as the bout progressed Turcios was consistently the more accurate striker and he pushed the pace to a level that Sholinian couldn’t match.
Turcios looked to be up on the scorecards after two rounds and didn’t let up in the third, standing in the pocket with Sholinian and throwing bombs for much of the final period. Afterwards, coaches Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega and UFC President Dana White praised both fighters for their effort.
It was the second win of the season for Turcios (10-2), who beat Argueta to advance to the semifinals. Turcios now awaits the winner of the other bantamweight semifinal between Team Ortega’s Vince Murdock and Team Volkanovski’s Brady Hiestand to determine who he will face for a UFC contract later this year. The Team Alpha Male fighter was in a similar spot back in 2017 when he lost a decision to Boston Salmon on Dana White’s Contender Series.
Also on this week’s episode, Volkanovski pranked Ortega for his tardiness. With even Ortega’s team shown complaining about their coaches being late for practices, Team Volkanovski filled a room with an array of clocks to take a jab at Ortega.
Here are the semifinal results and the remaining matchups:
Ricky Turcios def. Liudvik Sholinian via decision
Vince Murdock vs. Brady Hiestand
Bryan Battle vs. Andre Petroski
Gilbert Urbina vs. Tresean Gore
Here are the first-round results:
Andre Petroski def. Aaron Phillips via submission (guillotine choke) - Round 1, 4:42
Liudvik Sholinian def. Mitch Raposo via decision
Tresean Gore def. Ryder Newman via decision
Vince Murdock def. Dustin Lampros via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 2:40
Bryan Battle def. Kemran Lachinov via decision
Ricky Turcios def. Dan Argueta via decision
Brady Hiestand def. Josh Rettinghouse via decision
Gilbert Urbina def. Micheal Gillmore via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 1, time unknown
On next week’s episode, Team Volkanovski’s Bryan Battle fights Team Ortega’s Andre Petroski in the first middleweight semifinal matchup.
*TUF bouts are considered exhibitions and the results do not affect the fighters’ official records.
Season 29 of The Ultimate Fighter is being coached by UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega. A title fight between the two is set to take place at UFC 266 on Sept. 25.
The finalists of the TUF 29 middleweight and bantamweight tournaments will compete for a six-figure UFC contract at a finale event with a date still to be announced.
Here is the TUF 29 roster divided by team:
*Micheal Gillmore (short-notice replacement for Hunsinger)
Advancing to the finals: Turcios
Advanced to Round 2: Petroski, Sholinian, Gore, Murdock, Battle, Turcios, Hiestand, Urbina
Eliminated: Phillips, Raposo, Newman, Lampros, Lachinov, Argueta, Rettinghouse, Hunsinger, Gillmore, Sholinian