MMA Junkie’s ‘Fight of the Month’ for August: ‘The Ultimate Fighter 29’ winner is crowned

Rafael Fiziev (10-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) and Bobby Green (27-12-1 MMA, 8-7-1 UFC) lived up to expectations with a thrilling lightweight fight that went the distance.

Fiziev won a unanimous win against Green in a “Fight of the Night”. Both men had their moments, and despite Green landing nearly 40 more significant strikes, it was Fiziev who had the more impactful blows and got the nod on the scorecards.

Jose Aldo (30-7 MMA, 12-6 UFC) reminded fans once again he still has plenty to give inside the octagon with a high-profile win over fellow bantamweight contender Pedro Munhoz (19-6 MMA, 9-6 UFC).

Aldo put on a defensive and counter-striking clinic over the course of three rounds to win a unanimous decision over Munhoz with a trio of 30-27 scores, moving the former longtime UFC featherweight champ to 3-1 since dropping to 135 pounds.

Ricky Turcios (11-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) became the Season 29 bantamweight winner of “The Ultimate Fighter 29,” but he had to go tooth-and-nail with Brady Hiestand (5-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) to take the throne.

The final two finalists gave their all over the three rounds. Turcios won by a split decision at the end. Hiestand and he pushed each other to their limits in grappling and striking, but neither side was able to raise its hand at the final bell.

Leaving it all out there! EPIC round 1 is complete!

[#UFCVegas35 live now on @ESPN & @ESPNPlus ] pic.twitter.com/MgTbzHynY7

— UFC (@ufc) August 29, 2021

Giga Chikadze (14-2 MMA, 7-0 UFC) extended the unbeaten start to his octagon tenure with a main event win over Edson Barboza (22-10 MMA, 16-10 UFC).

Chikadze further proved his legitimacy as a featherweight contender to watch when he beat longtime veteran Barboza by third-round TKO. Although both men had their moments, Chikadze was more explosive with his shots and knocked Barboza twice before the fight was stopped.

GIGA CHIKADZE! WOW! @Giga_Chikadze#UFCVegas35 pic.twitter.com/pMMAQPNh0i

— UFC (@ufc) August 29, 2021

The winner

Turcios, Hiestand all left it in the cage.

The two bantamweight fighters engaged in a non-stop war for 15 minutes in the finale of the 135-pound tournament of “The Ultimate Fighter 29.” Turcios outpointed Hiestand in a split decision that read 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28.

Turcios was crowned TUF champion after his win and was granted a UFC contract. After his win, Turcios was awarded his black belt in jiu jitsu from his coach.

A message from your Ultimate Fighter Season 29 Winner @RickyHadouken pic.twitter.com/NLECQ4Fwz3

— UFC (@ufc) August 29, 2021

Hiestand won the first round and closed the gap early to take down Turcios. Hiestand remained in control but Turcios was the one doing the most attacking. He was landing strikes from the bottom all the time. Turcios took the lead at one point, but was soon beaten by Hiestand. The fight got back on the feet in the last 30 seconds with both fighters brawling it out.

The second round was also a repeat of the first. Hiestand tried to exert pressure and control the ground action, while Turcios was busy striking from the bottom. Turcios was more aggressive, scrambled, and tried several submissions, but failed to achieve a tap. He ended up in the bottom position in most scrambles.

With two intense rounds under their belts, both fighters made a statement.

Turcios threw Hiestand with an aggressive, straight right hand. However, he was quickly taken down in round 1. Turcios was again doing the most damage. Turcios became the dominant force in grappling about half way through the round. This was something that was not evident in the first two rounds. Both fighters were slugging it out, with Turcios winning the fight.

With the win, Turcios now stands at 3-1 in his four previous bouts. Mana Martinez, a UFC fighter, lost his only loss to veteran Guido Cannetti. Turcios will fight out of Gracie Barra The Woodlands as well as Team Alpha Male.

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