On tonight’s episode of TUF 26, the semifinals commence as former Invicta FC champion Barb Honchack takes on rising star Nicco Montano. Check out our round-by-round breakdown below to see who advances to the finals!
This semi-final bout is scheduled for three five-minute rounds. Team Alvarez’s Honchack is in the green attire with red gloves and Team Gathje’s Montano is in the blue attire with blue gloves.
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Round 1: Our semifinalist meet in the center. Barb connects with a combo early but nothing too significant. Nicco is trying to find her range until Barb comes forward and clinches. Both Barb and Nicco are landing quality knees in the clinch. Nicco reverses position and puts Barb on the fence. They fight for position and eventually break away. Both fighters are looking really strong in the clinch. On the break, Montano hits Barb with a nice elbow. With two minutes left in the round, we are back at distance. They clinch and Nicco hits a hip toss variation to put Barb on her back! Montano’ leg is trapped in half guard but she is dropping some nice short elbows. The round started out even but Montano’s late takedown and ground and pound most likely cemented her the round.
Round 2: Alvarez is using code words for combinations to coach Barb, who is slightly more tentative this round. Montano charges forward and clinches Honchack against the fence. Nicco is controlling barb along the fence, landing the more effective shots. They separate and Barb lands a nice one-two combo on the chin of Nicco. Against the fence again, this time with Honchack putting Montano’s back on the fence. They break off into distance and Nicco throws a high kick that misses. They are trading combinations now. With five seconds left in the round, Honchack trips Montano and puts Nicco on her back! Another close round– Barb is looking like the more effective striker while Nicco’s clinch work seems more efficient.
Round 3: It could very well be 1-1 on the scorecards! Alvarez and Honchack give both their fighters clear direction– Montano’s corner wants her to get inside and Honchack’s corner wants to strike. Montano throws a high kick that catches Barb on the chin! Barb catches the kick albeit eating some if it and they go to the ground. From the kick that Barb caught, Nicco is able to get both hooks in and work for the choke. It looks tight! Barb does a big turn and sprawls out of the position! Montano follows her up and takes her back one more time but Honchack stands back up again. Barb is able to get to her feet and separate from the clinch. A clinch again and Nicco lands some slick uppercuts while Barb drives four heavy knees to her midsection! This is an action-packed round! Honchack drops for a takedown but Montano has some really solid defense. With twenty seconds left, Montano shoots in for a double leg takedown that floors Honchack– and likely wins her the fight. Both coaches flood the ring and celebrate with their fighters.
This was a great fight. Both fighters were aggressive and had nice moments. Montano has excellent takedown defense and a really good, really active clinch game. Barb is well-rounded with a really solid right hand and great forward pressure.
Nicco Montano defeats Barb Honchack via unanimous decision (30-27 x3).
Nicco celebrates with her team. The two embrace and show each other respects after a hearty battle. Nicco Montano is moving on to the finals!
Barb takes the defeat in stride. “Back to the drawing board, and to get back at it,” she says.
Next week Roxanne Modafferi takes on Sijara Eubanks to determine who will face Nicco Montano at the live TUF 26 Finale show on December 1!
Fight fans, what did you think of this fight?