Barb Honchak came back in a big way.
Competing for the first time since November 2014, “Little Warrior” got back to her winning ways with an opening round win over Gillian Robertson on Episode 6 of The Ultimate Fighter 26.
In a bout that pitted the No. 2 seed Honchak vs. the No. 15 seed Robertson, the action was even for the first couple of minutes until Honchak was able to use her wrestling to impose her will on Robertson, who at 22 is the youngest member of the TUF 26 cast.
A game Robertson attacked Honchak from the bottom with an armbar and even managed to use that offense to momentarily escape, but Honchak stayed heavy and regained in top position. She closed out Round 1 with elbows from half guard and Robertson was possibly saved by the bell.
In Round 2, it was Robertson who was eager to get things back to the ground, which played right into Honchak’s hands. The former Invicta FC flyweight champion stuffed a Robertson shot and worked to get back into position to fire away with elbows. Robertson fought back up and went for a takedown of her own, but Honchak just walked out of it. She would eventually ground Robertson again and get the stoppage with strikes from full mount.
It was an impressive return to form for Honchak who has been out of competition for over two years for a variety reasons that she has been hesitant to reveal, a hiatus that caused her to be stripped of her Invicta title. Regardless, the 38-year-old showed why she is still regarded as one of the favorites to win the tournament.
Here are the first-round results so far, and the remaining remaining seeds and matchups:
No. 1 Roxanne Modafferi def. No. 16 Shana Dobson via TKO (ground and pound) in Round 1
No. 4 DeAnna Bennett def. No. 13 Karine Gevorgyan via TKO (ground and pound) in Round 1
No. 6 Montana Stewart def. No. 11 Ariel Beck via submission (D’arce choke) in Round 1
No. 14 Nicco Montano def. No. 3 Lauren Murphy via unanimous decision
No. 12 Sijara Eubanks def. No. 5 Maia Stevenson via submission (kimura) in Round 2
No. 2 Barb Honchak def. No. 15 Gillian Robertson via TKO (ground and pound) in Round 2
No. 7 Melinda Fabian vs. No. 10 Rachael Ostovich
No. 8 Emily Whitmire v. No. 9 Christina Marks
On next week’s episode, Fabian faces Ostovich.
The season is being coached by former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and former WSOF lightweight champion Justin Gaethje. The winner of the TUF 26 tournament will be awarded the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight title.
Alvarez and Gaethje are expected to fight at UFC 218 on Dec. 2 at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Mich.
Here is the TUF 26 roster divided by team:
Team Alvarez: Dobson, Marks, Eubanks, Bennett, Honchak, Fabian, Beck, Murphy
Team Gaethje: Modafferi, Whitmire, Stevenson, Gevorgyan, Robertson, Ostovich, Stewart, Montano
Advancing to Round 2: Modafferi, Bennett, Stewart, Montano, Eubanks, Honchak
Eliminated: Dobson, Gevorgyan, Beck, Murphy, Stevenson, Robertson