Making the most of a second chance, John Gunther constantly came forward looking to engage, but it was Mike Trizano who advanced to the lightweight finals of The Ultimate Fighter 27.
Trizano took a unanimous decision after picking apart a relentless Gunther for three rounds, booking himself a spot on the live finale on July 7. He awaits the winner of the other lightweight semifinal matchup, which will determine who gets to compete against Trizano for a shot at a six-figure UFC contract.
“My hands are killing me. John’s got a friggin’ hard head,” Trizano said in a post-fight testimonial. “I’ve been dreaming about this and ever since I started training this has been my goal, and I’m just one win away from achieving it.”
The sharp striking of Trizano was enough to defuse Gunther’s offense, despite the best efforts of “The Machine” to close the distance. When Gunther managed to get inside, he was able to get a hold of Trizano and take him down on several occasions. He had the most success in round two, grounding Trizano against the fence and working his body with short punches.
However, the first and final round were clearly in Trizano’s favor. Gunther’s face was a bruised and bloody mess after the first five minutes as a result of Trizano’s crisp jab and counter-punching, and Trizano ran away with the fight in the third, pummeling an exhausted Gunther in the standup and shutting down his takedown attempts.
This was the second loss for Gunther this season. He was quickly submitted in the quarter-finals by Joe Giannetti, but was selected to replace an injured Luis Pena in the semis.
With the win, Trizano remains “undefeated”, which is the theme of TUF 27. All the contestants entered the house with perfect records, and technically they will stay that way (even for the fighters who lose on the show) at least until the finale due to TUF bouts being classified as exhibitions.
In other story lines, coach Daniel Cormier brought in Max Holloway and Luke Rockhold to hang out with his fighters during training, and the contestants put on a talent show back at the house. Kyler Phillips showed off some breakdancing, Bryce Mitchell tried to use a bow and arrow to shoot an apple off of Pena’s head, and Gunther (with an assist from Trizano) stole the show with his comedic talents.
Here are the semifinal results thus far:
Mike Trizano def. John Gunther via unanimous decision
Here are results from the first round:
Joe Giannetti def. John Gunther via technical submission (guillotine choke) in Round 1
Brad Katona def. Kyler Phillips via majority decision
Luis Pena def. Jose Martinez via unanimous decision
Bryce Mitchell def. Jay Cucciniello via unanimous decision
Mike Trizano def. Thai Clark via TKO (ground and pound) in Round 2
Ricky Steele def. Suman Mokhtarian via unanimous decision
Allan Zuniga def. Richie Smullen via disqualification (injury)
Tyler Diamond def. Dulani Perry via submission (guillotine choke) in Round 2
On next week’s episode, Team Cormier fighters Brad Katona and Bryce Mitchell face off for a spot in the featherweight final.
Season 27 of The Ultimate Fighter is being coached by UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic. Cormier challenges Miocic for the heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 226 on July 7 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The finalists of the TUF 27 lightweight and featherweight tournaments will compete for a six-figure UFC contract on July 6, also in Las Vegas.
Here is the TUF 27 roster divided by team:
Advancing to the finals: Trizano
Advancing to Round 2: Giannetti, Katona, Pena (forced to withdraw due to injury), Mitchell, Trizano, Steele (forced to withdraw due to concussion symptoms), Zuniga, Diamond
Eliminated: Gunther (later selected to replace an injured Pena), Phillips, Martinez, Cucciniello (later selected to replace an injured Steele), Clark, Mokhtarian, Smullen, Perry