A major upset took place on the third episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Tournament of Champions with the No. 13 seed taking out the No. 4 seed by technical knockout.
Team Benavidez’ Damacio Page was seeded fourth by UFC matchmakers. The Legacy FC flyweight champion has been fighting professionally for 11 years. He’s competed in some of the top organizations in the world, including the UFC. He was paired against No. 13 seed, Tachi Palace Fights 125-pound titleholder Adam Antolin.
“Damacio Page is the most experienced and arguably the most exciting fighter in this competition,” said UFC president Dana White.
“In 2010, he actually fought Demetrious Johnson. In that fight, you could make the argument that Damacio beat Demetrious in the first two rounds, but in the third round Demetrious caught him in a guillotine choke,” White added. “With Damacio’s history alone, he’s definitely the favorite in this fight.”
While Antolin entered the bout as a clear underdog, White described him as the ‘dark horse’ in the tournment.
The Fight: Damacio Page vs. Adam Antolin
Page had Antolin hurt in the opening frame after landing a combination early in the round. Antolin stayed composed and stuck to his game plan. He repeatedly delivered kicks to the body of Page and moved. The first round was back and forth. Antolin secured a trip takedown in the closing seconds.
Antolin landed a spinning back kick to the body to start the second frame. Moments later, he ended a combination with a liver kick and Page fell to the canvas. Antolin delivered a few short, rapid-fire right hands, and as Page was getting back to his feet, the referee stopped the fight.
“That was a bad stoppage,” said White sitting cageside. “That sucks. That was a bad stoppage.”
Antolin agreed with White on the stoppage, but felt like he had Page where he wanted him and the end was just a matter of time.
“He was coming up just as the ref jumped in, so questionable stoppage, but I think the end result would have been the same. It is what it is. It’s part of the game,” said Antolin.
Page couldn’t believe the referee stopped the fight when he did. The two weren’t up and comers trying to make it to the UFC like on most seasons of TUF. They’re champions in organizations with the tournament winner gaining a world title shot against Johnson.
“I got hit with a liver shot. I went down for like two seconds and got back up. It was a bad stop by the ref,” said Page. “I was upset because I wasn’t hurt. He was peppering me with shots, but none of them got through. It blows because a ref took it away from me.”
“The ref steps in, the ref steps in. It is what it is. You can’t take it back. It was just a bad call on the ref,” he added.
Team Benavidez coach, flyweight contender Joseph Benavidez, thinks the footage of the stoppage speaks for itself.
“I think it was a terrible stoppage. I think every single person watching on TV, watching in the gym knew it was a pretty bad stoppage,” he said. “This is everything for these guys.”
With four fights in the books, Team Cejudo leads Team Benavidez 3-1 in the team portion of the competition.