The first-picked fighter of The Ultimate Fighter Season 29 draft has already been eliminated from the competition.
Episode 2 of TUF 29 aired tonight only on ESPN+ and featured a high-stakes bantamweight clash between #1 draft pick Mitch Raposo from Team Volkanovski and Team Ortega’s #2 pick, Liudvik Sholinian.
Sholinian won the final two rounds to claim a decision victory and take Team Ortega to a 2-0 lead on this season of The Ultimate Fighter.
Here’s what happened on the latest episode:
The Ultimate Fighter 29 Episode 2 Results
Mitch Raposo earned the top pick in the draft due to Volkanovski’s appreciation of his speed and technique. The game plan going into the fight with Sholinian on episode two was all about making use of that speed advantage by punishing Sholinian when he moves forward and evading his opponent’s takedown attempts.
The game plan was working perfectly in round one as Raposo managed to stick and move for the full five minutes. Sholinian continued to walk Raposo down and try to close the distance but Raposo managed to land two or three punches before quickly evading and circling away.
But round two was a different story in this fight. After a good two or three minutes of Raposo doing exactly what made him succeed in the first round, Sholinian eventually managed to secure a takedown and begin to showcase his grappling advantages. Sholinian stayed heavy on Raposo and while he didn’t land many strikes with significant impact, it was a culmination of smothering top pressure and activity that helped him win the second round on the scorecards.
Referee Jason Herzog revealed that the judges had this fight even at the end of two rounds and that the fighters would therefore need to fight one more round to determine the winner.
Sholinian’s confidence was sky-high after a dominant finish to round two and he immediately went back to the grappling to start the third round. Sholinian controlled Raposo for the majority of the final round to end up winning a decision. Ortega’s #2 bantamweight pick will now advance to the quarter-final stage of the competition.
Team Volkanovski is now 0-2 to start The Ultimate fighter 29 and has chosen to bring out the other top-picked fighter, #1 middleweight Ryder Newman.
Newman will face Tresean Gore from Team Ortega in the third episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Season 29.
The Ultimate Fighter 29 Results
Episode Two: Liudvik Sholinian def. Mitch Raposo via decision
Episode One: Andre Petroski def. Aaron Phillips via submission (guillotine choke) – R1, 4:42