TUF 23 Finale Results: Tatiana Suarez and Andrew Sanchez Earn UFC Contracts

July 9, 2016

The Ultimate Fighting Championship crowned two new The Ultimate Fighter winners on Friday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Amanda Cooper and Tatiana Suarez met in The Ultimate Fighter 23 women’s strawweight final, competing for a Harley Davsuarez cooper TUF23finale w 750idson motorcycle, a trophy, and a UFC contract.

Suarez entered the season with an unbeaten 3-0 record. The accomplished wrestler advanced to the season’s finale by submitting JJ Aldrich and Kate Jackson. Cooper, who comes from a boxing background, made her way to the tournament finals by defeating Jamie Moyle by majority decision and submitting Lanchana Green.

In the fight, Suarez showed her superior grappling. She secured her first takedown 15 seconds into the bout. Cooper looks for submissions but ended up getting tapped out. During a scramble, Suaraz locked on a D’Arce choke that forced Cooper to surrender.

“I’m just really happy,” Suarez said after the submission win. “She said something that stuck out in my head. She said, ‘I’m going to break Tatiana.’ Let me tell you something, I’ve been through hell and back. I overcame cancer, and I come from a place that says, we don’t break; we break people. We don’t break, and I will never break. I’ve overcome a lot. I’m never going to stop until I’m at the top, so I’m coming.”

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Andrew Sanchez and Khalil Rountree faced off in the fight card’s co-main event for the TUF 23 light heavyweight tournament title.sanchez rountree TUF23finale w 750

Sanchez made his way to the 205-pound finale by defeating Myron Dennis by unanimous decision and knocking out Eric Spicely. Rountree was defeated by Cory Hendricks in the elimination round of the tournament, but got a rebirth back into the competition when Hendricks was unable to continue due to injury. He finished Josh Stansbury to advance to the finals.

Sanchez, who comes from a decorated wrestling background, dominated the fight with his grappling ability.  He repeatedly took Rountree down and peppered him with short punches and elbows.

Sanchez put in a dominating performance, securing six of ten takedown attempts. Rountree didn’t have an answer for Sanchez’ grappling prowess.  Two of the three judges scored him winning two of the three rounds 10-8.

“The guy hits hard,” said Sanchez after the win.  “He’s a little green, but the guy is going to be a monster.”

“I’m always going to take the path of the least resistance,” said Sanchez about his game plan.  “He’s a striker, so I’m going to grapple him.  If it were the other way around, then vise versa.”

Sanchez plans to move down a weight class and possibly two before his next fight.

“Down to middleweight, possibly welterweight.  I’m a little guy.  I was the smallest guy in the competition, but if you’re good, you’re good.  It’s that simple,” he said.

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