Arguably the biggest upset in the history of The Ultimate Fighter happened on the fifth episode of TUF 24: Tournament of Champions, which aired on Wednesday.
The 16-man flyweight tournament winner not only gets all the perks of being a TUF champion, he’ll gain a title shot against UFC 125-pound titleholder Demetrious Johnson. Champions from organizations around the world make up the tournament brackets and were seeded by UFC matchmakers.
Last week, the No. 13 seed Adam Antolin took out No. 4 seed Damacio Page, but a bigger upset was in store. “In mixed martial arts, seeds are sometimes just a number,” said UFC president Dana White.
No. 2 seeded Yoni Sherbatov representing Xcessive Force Fighting Championship out of Canada was expected to go far in the competition, but No. 15 seed Eric Shelton, the Caged Aggression MMA flyweight titleholder, had other plans.
The Fight: Yoni Sherbatov vs. Eric Shelton
Sherbatov, a talented boxer, had trouble getting inside on the taller Shelton. After taking a few counter right hands, Sherbatov decided to get the fight to the ground. He secured two takedowns in the opening frame, but was unable to control Shelton, who reversed the position once and quickly got back to his feet on the second.
In the second round, Shelton continued to land right hands. Sherbatov desperately worked to get the fight to the ground. He was able to get Shelton to the canvas, but Shelton scrambled and gained top position. Sherbatov tried to get back to his feet, but gave up his back in the process. It proved to be a fatal mistake. Shelton locked on a rear-naked choke that put the No. 2 seed to sleep.
“Anything can happen in MMA. Seeds mean nothing. The No. 15 seed takes out the No. 2 seed,” said White.
“I feel like I got beaten today by a prepared athlete. I raise my hat to him,” said the defeated Sherbatov following the fight. “He beat me.”
After five fights, Team Cejudo leads the team portion of the competition with three wins to Team Benavidez’ two.