DiSciullo (11-2, 1 NC) became the only member of Team McGregor to reach the semi-final round on The Ultimate Fighter 31 with a vicious second-round come-from-behind knockout of Azure (10-3) in a bantamweight matchup that served as the final quarterfinal bout.
DiSciullo was able to keep the fight standing and defend Azure’s takedown for the first minute or so of the fight, but eventually, the four-fight UFC veteran was able to get the fight to the mat where he was able to control the New England fighter, and deliver punishing damage throughout the rest of the round. Azure — who had a cut opened up on his head — looked close to getting a stoppage on a few occasions, but DiSciullo showed his grit and toughness to make it to the horn — much to the delight of McGregor.
With McGregor shouting for DiSciullo to “show that Boston courage,” the 36-year-old knew he needed to keep the fight standing in the second round. After talking a bit of trash, DiSciullo scored with an uppercut and a big right hand to send Azure moving backwards. After meeting in the center, DiSciullo landed a right hand before Azure ducked under for a takedown attempt — which was defended. DiSciullo landed a hard leg kick before the punishing right hand that sent Azure to the canvas, before a double axe handle follow up shot caused Herb Dean to stop the fight at 3:53 in the second stanza.
While McGregor sprinted around the outside of the octagon in celebration, a dejected and badly hurt Azure came to terms with what happened, while UFC President Dana White was floored by the result.
After the result was read, McGregor’s celebration turned to trash talk towards Team Chandler, who were more than happy to reciprocate, mostly Roosevelt Roberts. Cooler heads eventually prevailed.
White went on to meet with both McGregor and Chandler, along with all of the semifinalists to discuss what matchups to make in the next round.
Only one semi-final matchup was announced, which will take place on next week’s episode between Team Chandler teammates Roosevelt Roberts and Austin Hubbard. The rest of the bouts will be revealed on that same show.
The Ultimate Fighter 31 airs live every Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN+.
Following the season finale, Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler are expected to face off in a welterweight bout at a date still to be determined. However, the matchup is yet to be made official and recent sexual assault accusations against McGregor have left his future competitive status unclear.
The finalists of the TUF 31 lightweight and bantamweight tournaments will also compete for a six-figure UFC contract at the show’s live finale. A date for that event is yet to be announced.
Here is the TUF 31 roster divided by team:
Team McGregor (prospects)
- Lee Hammond (27, 5-0)
- Nate Jennerman (29, 16-5)
- Aaron McKenzie (34, 11-2-1)
- Landon Quinones (27, 7-1-1)
- Mando Gutierrez (26, 8-2)
- Trevor Wells (27, 8-3)
- Carlos Vera (35, 11-3)
- Rico DiSciullo (36, 11-2, 1 NC)
Team Chandler (veterans)
- Jason Knight (30, 23-7)
- Austin Hubbard (31, 15-6)
- Roosevelt Roberts (28, 12-3, 1 NC)
- Kurt Holobaugh (36, 19-7, 1 NC)
Here are the quarterfinal results:
- Roosevelt Roberts def. Nate Jennerman via first-round KO
- Cody Gibson def. Mando Gutierrez via first-round TKO
- Austin Hubbard def. Aaron McKenzie via unanimous decision
- Timur Valiev def. Trevor Wells via unanimous decision
- Brad Katona def. Carlos Vera via unanimous decision
- Kurt Holobaugh def. Lee Hammond via second-round submission (guillotine choke)
- Jason Knight def. Landon Quinones via first-round submission (triangle choke)
- Rico DiSciullo def. Hunter Azure via second-round KO
Advanced to semifinals: Roberts, Gibson, Hubbard, Valiev, Katona, Holobaugh, Knight, DiSciullo
Eliminated: Jennerman, Gutierrez, McKenzie, Wells, Vera, Hammond, Quinones, Azure
Here are the announced semi-final matchups:
Roosevelt Roberts vs. Austin Hubbard