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De La Rosa, 'Violent Bob Ross' shine in TUF 27 Finale Prelims

DE LA ROSA vs OSTOVICH

Showing off a well-rounded MMA attack, flyweight prospect Montana De La Rosa made it two for two in the Octagon at The Palms in Las Vegas Friday night, submitting fellow TUF 26 squadmate Rachael Ostovich in the third round.

The taller De La Rosa did a solid job of using her range and her jab to keep Ostovich at bay in the opening round, and while Ostovich began getting closer thanks to some hard combinations in the second frame, she wasn’t busy enough to take the Texan out of her comfort zone for very long.

When the fight hit the deck with a little over three minutes left in the last round, Ostovich got her daylight and nearly locked up an arm, but De La Rosa escaped and ripped off a series of strikes as she took the Hawaiian’s back. Moments later, she sunk in the rear naked choke that produced a tap at 4:21 of round three.

With the win, Fort Worth’s De La Rosa moves to 9-4. Waianae’s Ostovich falls to 4-4.

PENA vs SMULLEN

“The Violent Bob Ross” painted a complete MMA picture in lightweight action, as Luis Pena used his striking to set up the submission that ended Richie Smullen’s night in the first round.

Teammates on TUF under coach Daniel Cormier, Pena and Smullen came out fast, Ireland’s Smullen getting on the board first with a takedown less than 20 seconds in. Pena got up and was able to tag his foe with several hard shots before a right hand put Smullen down. Smullen recovered quickly and was able to take the top position on the mat, but Pena locked in a guillotine choke that ultimately forced Smullen to tap out at 3:32 of the opening stanza.

With the win, Missouri’s Pena moves to 5-0. Dublin’s Smullen falls to 3-1-1.

GUNTHER vs ZUNIGA

Lightweight John Gunther earned his first UFC win via majority decision, defeating Team Miocic squadmate Allan Zuniga.

Scores were 29-28 twice and 28-28 for Cleveland’s Gunther, now 7-1. Costa Rica’s Zuniga falls to 13-2.

The bout followed a consistent pattern throughout, as Zuniga did his best work at range, only to be overruled by Gunther’s swarming grappling attack against the fence and on the mat. And while Zuniga made a late-fight surge with several blows landed on the face of the Ohioan, he wasn’t able to dent the chin of Gunther, who took the well-earned decision.

MITCHELL vs DIAMOND

Team Cormier squadmates Bryce Mitchell and Tyler Diamond put their friendship aside for 15 minutes, with Mitchell taking a close majority decision in the meeting of featherweight prospects.

Diamond and Mitchell kept the pace high as they traded positions in scrambles while the momentum kept shifting in a competitive first round. In the second, Mitchell nearly locked up a fight-finishing triangle choke, and when he added elbows to the mix, things got worse for the Californian. Diamond hung tough as referee Marc Goddard watched closely, and with a little less than two minutes left, he escaped, finishing off the round with some solid ground-and-pound as Mitchell covered up.

Mitchell got the first takedown of the final frame, but Diamond got right back up and scored with a double leg and kept his foe grounded, delivering the most one-sided round of the fight. It wasn’t enough on the scorecards though, as Mitchell took the nod via scores of 29-28 twice and 28-28, improving to 10-1. Diamond falls to 9-2.

PETERSON vs BESSETTE

In a clash of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series alums, Steven Peterson picked up his first UFC win with a split decision victory over Matt Bessette in featherweight action.

Bessette had to dodge a flying kick and escape a guillotine choke in the opening minute as Peterson went all-in for a flashy finish. Bessette weathered the storm and got up to his feet, and while Peterson controlled the action for the most part, the Connecticut product got in some solid shots just before the horn ended the frame.

Bessette (22-9, 1 NC) roared back in the second, as he was a step ahead on the feet throughout, particularly when he landed a head kick that landed with an audible crack. Peterson worked well on the ground in the closing minute, but it may not have been enough to take the round.

Dallas’ Peterson (17-7) closed strong in the third round, though, with his ground attack allowing him to control the action and take the victory via scores of 29-28 twice and 28-29.

MEERSCHAERT vs PIECHOTA

Thanks to an impressive second-round comeback, middleweight veteran Gerald Meerschaert handed Poland’s Oskar Piechota his first pro loss via submission in the opener.

Piechota had a dominant first round, perhaps even a 10-8 frame, as he took Meerschaert down in the opening minute and kept him there for a long spell. Then he scored a knockdown in the closing 60 seconds and nearly sunk in a rear naked choke before Meerschaert made it out of the round.

Meerschaert got back in the fight in round two, taking the fight to the mat and almost scoring with a choke. Piechota got loose, but Meerschaert wouldn’t let up with his strikes against the fence. Piechota gamely fired back, but he was clearly gassed, allowing Meerschaert to keep pouring it on until “GM3” sunk in the rear naked choke that ended matters at 4:55 of the second stanza.

With the win, Milwaukee’s Meerschaert moves to 28-9. Gdynia’s Piechota falls to 11-1-1.

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