At the end of last week’s episode, UFC president Dana White announced the quarterfinal matchups. The first of the quarterfinal fights was between roommates Bristol Marunde and Neil Magney.
Heading into the fight, Magney wanted to use his reach advantage and striking to secure a victory. Marunde expected to utilize head movement to get inside Magney’s reach and use aggression to press Magney against the cage and dirty box his way to the win.
Neal Magney vs. Bristol Marunde:
The first round was competitive. Marunde moved forward while Magney used his jab and reach to counter punch. Marunde secured two takedowns but was unable to inflict damage while on top. Magney was able to quickly get back to his feet both times. Magney landed more strikes, winning the round on MMAWeekly’s scorecard.
The second round Magney began to land more regularly with his strikes. Marunde secured a takedown but couldn’t keep Magney on his back. Magney landed a solid right hand that stunned Marunde but didn’t capitalize on it. Magney secured a takedown of his own and grounded and pounded his way to the end of the round.
The second round was clear cut for Magney. The judges scored the fight 20-18 for Magney, making him the first fighter to advance to the semifinals.
“Maybe I’m out of the tournament, but I’m not out of the game,” said Marunde after the loss.
“He did exactly what I thought he was going to do and it worked out prefect for me,” commented Magney.
The next quarterfinal bout was between Igor Araujo and Colton Smith. During the weigh-ins the two had a headed exchange. Araujo had to be restrained by Team Carwin’s staff. After a lot of yelling, pushing and shoving, cooler heads prevailed.
Araujo’s game plan was to use his strikes and look for a knockout, or draw on his jiu-jitsu experience on the ground. Smith’s game plan was to get the fight to the ground and work elbows and punches to get the victory.
Igor Araujo vs. Colton Smith:
Smith quickly secured a takedown and maintained top position throughout the round. He used his wrestling to stay in control and it was a one-sided round.
The second stanza went exactly like the first. It was an easy win for Smith with all three judges scoring the fight for Smith by unanimous decision.
Araujo was emotional after his loss and reflected on his family. “I gave my all,” he said in tears.
Smith reflected on the road that’s led him here.
“I remember back to when I first auditioned for the show. Something like 4,000 applicants. 500 people went to the tryouts. 32 made it to fight. 16 made it into the house. Now I’m down to the final four. That’s amazing,” said Smith. “It feels great to be in the final four and in the semifinals. Dreams are coming true right before my eyes.”
Next week’s episode will feature the final two quarterfinal bouts between Joey Rivera and Jon Manley and Canadians Mike Ricci and Michael Hill.