The Ultimate Fighting Championship finally pulled the trigger to develop a full women’s 125-pound division, and now it is due to crown the promotion’s first women’s flyweight champion. It’s not, however, the final that everyone expected following the final episode of The Ultimate Fighter.
Nicco Montano and Sijara Eubank ran the gauntlet of 16 women competing on the twenty-sixth season of TUF to become the final two standing. As the finalists, Montano and Eubank, were set to headline Friday’s TUF 26 Finale. All they had to do was clear the final hurdle and make weight on Thursday.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
Initially ranked No. 14 in the field of 16, Montano fought her way into the final by upsetting the second, third, and sixth ranked fighters in the tournament, which includes UFC veteran Lauren Murphy, who weighed in as an alternate for the finale. She’ll now be granted the opportunity to truly prove she should be the inaugural champion, as the No. 1 ranked fighter from the show, Roxanne Modafferi, steps in for Eubanks, who didn’t even make it to the scale.
Montano stepped on the scale early on during the two-hour weigh-in window, while everyone waited for Eubanks. The two hours came and went, but Eubanks never showed.
According to UFC officials, Eubanks was taken to the hospital late Wednesday night due to medical issues.
Modafferi, who was slated to rematch Barb Honchack on the undercard, easily made weight at 124 pounds, making her the optimal choice to face Montano.
One fighter on the undercard struggled mightily and wasn’t even close to making weight on her initial attempt. Karine Gevorgyan, who competed on the show, stepped on the scale looking rather haggard, weighing 130.5 pounds. That is 4.5 pounds above the limit for her non-title fight with Rachael Ostovich. She was given an additional hour beyond the two-hour weigh-in window to try and make weight.
As of the time of publication, it was unclear if Honchak would remain on the card, although Murphy would be an obvious option to keep her fight intact.
UPDATE: Gevorgyan eventually stepped on the scale again, weighing 130 pounds, which was a requirement if she wanted to remain in her fight with Ostovich. Gevorgyan will forfeit 30-percent of her fight purse for missing weight.
Follow along on MMAWeekly.com on Friday for The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale full results and live fight stats.
The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale Weigh-in Results
Main Card (10 p.m. ET on FS1)
- Nicco Montano (124.5) vs. Sijara Eubanks (—)*
- Sean O’Malley (135.5) vs. Terrion Ware (136)
- Roxanne Modafferi (124) vs. Barb Honchak (125.5)
- Eric Spicely (185.5) vs. Gerald Meerschaert (185)
- DeAnna Bennett (126) vs. Melinda Fabian (126)
- Joe Soto (135) vs. Brett Johns (135.5)
Preliminary Card (8 p.m. ET on FS1)
- Christina Marks (125.5) vs. Montana De La Rosa (125.5)
- Andrew Sanchez (185.5) vs. Ryan Janes (185)
- Karine Gevorgyan (130.5) vs. Rachael Ostovich (125)*
- Ariel Beck (125.5) vs. Shana Dobson (125.5)
Preliminary Card (7:30 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass)
- Gillian Robertson (125.5) vs. Emily Whitmire (125)
*Eubanks did not weigh-in; Gevorgyan was given an hour to make weight
(Photos courtesy of Heidi Fang, Las Vegas Review Journal)