Coach Robert Whittaker has his first win of the season.
Pitting his No. 1 featherweight pick Julija Stoliarenko against Team Gastelum’s last pick Marciea Allen, the UFC middleweight champion saw his fighter come out on top with a first-round submission on episode four of The Ultimate Fighter 28. The victory did not come easily.
Stoliarenko made it clear from the outset that she wanted to take down the hard-hitting Allen, but her first shot was easily stuffed. From there, Stoliarenko pulled guard as Allen pushed her down and Allen proceeded to go to work with some hellacious ground-and-pound. The referee repeatedly warned Stoliarenko that the fight might be stopped, but the Lithuanian stayed busy trying to control Allen’s posture from bottom position.
With Marceia focusing on damage over control, Julija managed to stand up, bloody face and all. She ate a knee on another takedown attempt, but turned the corner to complete it and secure top position. Stoliarenko worked her way into half guard, then mount, before finishing Allen with an armbar.
It was a big victory not just for Team Whittaker, but for Stoliarenko (4-2-1), who is hoping to become the first TUF winner from Lithuania. For Allen (7-2), this is the first time she’s experienced a loss since June 2014; however, TUF bouts are considered to be exhibitions, so it will not count towards her pro record.
Team Gastelum maintains a 3-1 lead on the season, with the top middleweight contender’s fighters having scored wins on the first three episodes of TUF 28.
Afterwards, Whittaker joked with Julija about her pulling guard, something that she admitted she does all the time in her fights despite people telling her not to.
In other storylines, Kelvin Gastelum received an emotional surprise when his coach Brian Beaumont awarded him his black belt. They took that opportunity to remind everyone that Gastelum was once the last fighter picked on his season of TUF and he would go on to win that tournament and become a top contender in the UFC.
Leah Letson continued to struggle with the culture of Team Whittker due to her being the only American on that squad and because she’s used to more intense training. Allen and Maurice Greene are shown suggesting to her that she start attending the practices of Team Gastelum.
Here are the first-round results so far:
Maurice Greene def. Przemyslaw Mysiala via KO (uppercut) in round one
Pannie Kianzad def. Katharina Lehner via unanimous decision
Justin Frazier def. Anderson da Silva via unanimous decision
Julija Stoliarenko def. Marciea Allen via submission (armbar) in round one
On next week’s episode, Team Gastelum’s Josh Parisian fights Team Whittaker’s Michel Batista.
Season 28 of The Ultimate Fighter is being coached by UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and top contender Kelvin Gastelum. Gastelum will challenge Whittaker for the middleweight title at a future date to be determined.
The finalists of the TUF 28 heavyweight and featherweight tournaments will compete for a six-figure UFC contract at The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale on Nov. 30 in Las Vegas.
Here is the TUF 28 roster divided by team:
Juan Francisco Espino
Anderson da Silva
Advancing to Round 2: Greene, Kianzad, Frazier, Stoliarenko
Eliminated: Mysiala, Lehner, Da Silva, Allen