“The Ultimate Fighter” season 25 was all about redemption and no one personified that more than Jesse Taylor.
Following a disastrous exit during his previous stint on the show from 2008, Taylor completed his return to the UFC on Friday night with a lopsided win over Dhiego Lima before finishing the fight in the second round with a rear naked choke.
Taylor wasted no time charging across the Octagon where he immediately started searching for a takedown to put Lima on the mat. Lima was able to resist the takedown attempts early but Taylor was absolutely relentless before just throwing his former “Ultimate Fighter” teammate to the ground.
The assault continued with Taylor constantly working to take the back while looking for a rear naked choke as Lima was stuck in survival mode just trying to find room to breathe.
It was a lopsided onslaught but also an exhausting performance as Taylor looked labored going back to his corner between rounds.
As the second round got underway, Lima landed his best shot of the fight when he landed a perfectly timed counter left hook that dropped Taylor to the ground. Lima rushed in for the finish but it was an ill-advised move as Taylor quickly slipped free and reversed positions to take over control on the mat.
Once Taylor latched onto Lima he was not letting go until he took the back and started to once again fish for the rear naked choke.
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Lima did his best to resist the submission but Taylor eventually found a home for his forearm under the chin and a few seconds later he felt the tap on his arm to signify the end of the fight.
The stoppage came at 43-seconds into the second round.
After being removed from the finals during “The Ultimate Fighter” season 7 after a drunken tirade in Las Vegas, Taylor finally completed his redemption story with a win on Friday night while also being rewarded with a whopping $290,000 in prize money for his run through the reality show this season.
“Keep going. Never stop going,” Taylor shouted to the Las Vegas crowd after his miraculous return to the UFC nine years after the journey first began.
Taylor certainly earned his way back and now he rejoins the UFC roster following a very impressive win as he was crowned “The Ultimate Fighter” season 25 champion.