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411’s The Ultimate Fighter 24: Team Benavidez vs. Team Cejudo Report 11.02.16

November 2, 2016 | Posted by Larry Csonka

The Ultimate Fighter 24: Episode Eight
The Ultimate Fighter 24: Team Benavidez vs. Team Cejudo is a flyweight spectacular. The coaches are top flyweights, the 16 competitors are top flyweight champions from outside of the UFC, and the winner will receive a title shot against Demetrious Johnson, and a Harley Davidson motorcycle of their choosing, and the six-figure UFC contract. Basically, Demetrious Johnson is a very bad man and has cleaned shit out. LAST TIME, #3. Tim Elliott (Titan FC, 16-6 MMA) absolutely schooled #14. Charlie Alaniz (Hex Fight Series Australia, 6-1 MMA) via RD1 submission. This week’s fight is Alexandre Pantoja (Resurrection Fighting Alliance, 16-2 MMA, 1-0 TUF) vs. Kai Kara-France (Bragging Rights Australia, 12-5-1nc MMA, 1-0 TUF).

We’re back after two weeks off for FS1 baseball coverage.

– Team Cejudo’s Alexandre Pantoja (Resurrection Fighting Alliance, 16-2 MMA, 1-0 TUF) and Kai Kara-France (Bragging Rights Australia, 12-5-1nc MMA, 1-0 TUF) face off today. France had an easy first fight, while Pantoja took damage in his fight before finishing things.

– The coaches threw a party for the fighters at the house, because Dana says they need down time. Hey, all eight first round fights ended with a finish so I agree. We had a pool party with food, booze, games and shenanigans. Cejudo was messing around and drinking, and Benavidez told him to “be a role model” in an ode to their arguments from earlier in the season.

– The next day the house is a mess from the party and Team Cejudo heads to training. That’s going to suck for a lot of these guys. France says it is odd training next to Pantoja since they are about to fight.

– Team Benavidez trains and brings in Duane Ludwig for some special training. Dana praises Ludwig as a great trainer, and Benavidez invited Cejudo’s team to come and train as well, but Cejudo is not allowed to be there. Cejudo and his trainers think this is all about Benavidez think they are trying to make Cejudo look bad by doing this. Cejudo calls Benavidez a bully, but tells his team to go and says he will stay away, because he wants no excuses when he beats Benavidez.

– We get some highlights of Pantoja’s training session. Pantoja knows France will want to stay on his feet, but is confident in his strong. He also says he has excellent BJJ, and feels he will thrive there, He knows he can’t go through another war and needs a quick finish.

– Some of Cejudo’s team discuss getting to train with Ludwig, and agree that he’s a great trainer and the reason of the rise of TJ Dillashaw. Benavidez says that he doesn’t have any issue with Cejudo, he just doesn’t want Cejudo around while he works with his coach. Ludwig was trying to teach high level striking techniques because these guys are trying to be professionals and you can’t thrive with mid-level boxing techniques.

– We get some video of France, discussing being from New Zealand and almost dying at birth; he’s been a fighter since day one.

WEIGH-INS: Pantoja weighs in at 125 pounds, while France weighs in at 126 pounds.

– We see some guys hanging out at the house, with Pantoja discussing the importance of having friends and people to talk with in this sort of situation.

FIGHT DAY: Both fighters warm up at the house before heading to the gym for the regular preparations. Cejudo says they brought in extra coaches to corner the fight, so that his main coaches could remain neutral.

Alexandre Pantoja (Resurrection Fighting Alliance, 16-2 MMA, 1-0 TUF) vs. Kai Kara-France (Bragging Rights Australia, 12-5-1nc MMA, 1-0 TUF): ROUND ONE: Both fighters are from Team Cejudo. Pantoja has a 1.25-inch reach advantage, but they are basically even as far as height, and experience goes. Pantoja shoots almost right away, France with a great scramble and gets back to his feet without taking damage. Pantoja keeps trying to drag him back down as they work along the cage. France gets away, they scramble and Pantoja jumps on him like a backpack. Back to the cage and Pantoja drops off and targets one leg as he again searches for a takedown. France gets warned for grabbing the cage as he is pulled down. Pantoja is controlling and getting things to the ground, but can’t do a damn thing once it gets there because France gets back to his feet too quickly. France finally keeps things on the feet, but he’s mostly keeping distance and not landing much at all. Pantoja works some body kicks and isn’t allowing France to get in close. Pantoja shoots in, but France pulls away and avoids the takedown. Pantoja with the leg kicks as France continues to stay back and not do much. France finally fires away with some leg kicks, but Pantoja fires back to keep him honest and the round ends. SCORECARD: Pantoja 10-9

ROUND TWO: Round two begins, France shows more aggression early as they trade. Pantoja chases for a takedown, the head kick is checked but he looks more confident. He catches France with a head/body combo and that forces France to back pedal, which he has done a lot in the fight. They trade some leg kicks, and again Pantoja is controlling the distance and constantly backing off France. The leg kicks and threat of the takedown have made France fight scared. Pantoja lands some push kicks, and with under two-minutes left, France has no sense of urgency. France keeps lugging in with a single leg kick or a single jab and gets countered and pushed back each and every time. Final minute now, France circles the outside and Pantoja shoots and takes him to the cage. France escapes and then eats a jab straight to the nose. France tried a flurry at the end, but ended up eating a combo from Pantoja. SCORECARD: Pantoja 20-18

OFFICIAL RESULT: Alexandre Pantoja via unanimous decision

– Cejudo was surprised that there was a decision, even though it was very clearly a one sided fight. It wasn’t that Pantoja was dominating, he just had a better gameplan and was able to take away all of France’s strengths. Pantoja was the smarter fighter and his execution was great.

– France says he lost the mental game. Nope, you lost every game here.

– This was the first decision of the season.

– Dana is already over this decision bullshit.

– Next week’s fight is Adam Antolin (Tachi Palace Fights, 11-3 MMA, 1-0 TUF) vs. Hiromasa Ogikubo (Shooto (Japan) 15-3 MMA, 1-0 TUF).

– We get a video preview for next week, a night of drinking leads to arguments between the fighters.

Team Joseph Benavidez
#5. Hiromasa Ogikubo (Shooto (Japan) 15-3 MMA, 1-0 TUF)
#15. Eric Shelton (Caged Aggression Iowa, 10-2 MMA, 1-0 TUF)
#7. Ronaldo Candido de Oliveira (Shooto South America, 6-0 MMA, 1-0 TUF)
#3. Tim Elliott (Titan FC, 16-6 MMA, 1-0 TUF)
#11. Matt Rizzo (Ring of Combat, 9-2 MMA, 0-1 TUF)
#4. Damacio Page (Legacy FC, 19-10 MMA, 0-1 TUF)
#8. Terrence Mitchell (Alaska FC, 11-2 MMA, 0-1 TUF)
#16. Brandon Moreno (World Fighting Federation, 11-3 MMA, 0-1 TUF)

Team Henry Cejudo
#1.Alexandre Pantoja (Resurrection Fighting Alliance, 16-2 MMA, 2-0 TUF)
#13. Adam Antolin (Tachi Palace Fights, 11-3 MMA, 1-0 TUF)
#6. Matt Schnell (Legacy FC, 9-2 MMA, 1-0 TUF)
#9. Kai Kara-France (Bragging Rights Australia, 12-5-1nc MMA, 1-1 TUF)
#14. Charlie Alaniz (Hex Fight Series Australia, 6-1 MMA, 0-1 TUF)
#10. Jaime Alvarez (Absolute Fighting Championship, 6-1 MMA, 0-1 TUF)
#2. Yoni Sherbatov (XFFC Canada, 5-0-1 MMA, 0-1 TUF)
#12. Nkazimulo Zulu (EFC Africa, 7-2 MMA, 0-1 TUF)