Peggy Morgan and Jessamyn Duke were the two tallest fighters on season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter, but only one could stand victorious at the end of a hard-fought three-round battle at the season finale at the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
The first round was all Duke. She got off the sharper punches to start the fight, and then eventually brought Morgan to the mat in a guillotine choke. She couldn’t complete the choke, but even as Morgan slipped out, Duke kept her legs in a triangle choke position and drove elbows to Morgan’s head and face for the final couple minutes of the round.
Morgan tried to get her jab going in the second round, and she had some success with it, but Duke’s superior hand speed was obvious throughout the second five-minute stanza. Every time Morgan got her jab going, Duke would answer with a punch combination, frequently landing a strong left hook. As the round wore down, Duke got the Thai clinch and worked a few knees to the body to take more of the gas out of Morgan’s tank.
Duke immediately took control of the final frame with her stand-up prowess. She again landed frequently with her left hook, but did an even better job mixing in kicks and knees to the body. But midway through the round, she tried to toss Morgan to the mat from a headlock, but landed in position for Morgan to take her back.
Morgan took Duke’s back, but couldn’t quite sink the rear naked choke she was after. Duke turned to her back, but Morgan remained in the dominant position on top in Duke’s half guard. The fight slowed a bit and the referee stood them up with about 30 seconds left in the fight.
Duke took full advantage of being stood up and unleashed a flurry of punches as time ran off the clock.
Morgan showed she had a heart to match her six-foot-one frame, but it wasn’t enough as Duke handed Morgan her first professional loss, while moving her own record to 3-0.
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