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” on Saturday night. Turcios (11-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) outpointed Hiestand (5-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) in a split decision that read 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28.
With the win, Turcios became a TUF champion and was awarded a UFC contract. He was also received his jiu-jitsu black belt from his coach following the win.
The “TUF 29” bantamweight final was part of the UFC on ESPN 30 main card at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. It aired on ESPN and streamed on ESPN+.
UFC on ESPN 30 results: Daniel Rodriguez takes advantage of short-notice opportunity, outpoints Kevin Lee
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In the first round, Hiestand closed the distance early and took down Turcios. Hiestand maintained top control, but Turcios doing most of the attacking as he was constantly landing strikes from the bottom. At one point in the middle of the round, Turcios got the back but lost it not long after. The fight got back on the feet in the last 30 seconds with both fighters brawling it out.
The second round also had a similar story. Hiestand pressured and looked to control the action on the ground, while Turcios stayed busy with strikes from bottom. Turcios pushed more scrambled and attempted several submissions, but was unsuccessful, not achieving a tap and ending in bottom position in most scrambles.
With two very competitive rounds in the books, both fighters came out to make a statement.
Turcios dropped Hiestand with a big, straight right hand, but was immediately taken down in the opening of the round. Once again, Turcios doing most of the damage. Halfway through the round, Turcios began to be the dominant force in the grappling – something not seen in the first two rounds. The fight ended on the feet with both fighters slugging it out and Turcios getting the better of the shots.
With the win, Turcios is now 3-1 in his past four bouts. His lone loss came to UFC fighter Mana Martinez, who also fought on the same card, defeating veteran Guido Cannetti. Turcios fights out of Team Alpha Male.
Meanwhile, Hiestand suffered his second professional defeat. He trains out of Sikjitsu in Spokane, Washington.
Up-to-the-minute UFC on ESPN 30 results include:
Ricky Turcios def. Brady Hiestand via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Daniel Rodriguez def. Kevin Lee via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Andre Petroski def. Micheal Gillmore via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 3:12
Gerald Meerschaert def. Makhmud Muradov via submission (rear-naked choke) Round 2, 1:49
Abdul Razak Alhassan def. Alessio Di Chirico via knockout (head kick) – Round 1, 0:17
Wellington Turman def. Sam Alvey via split decision (28-27, 27-28, 28-27
Dustin Jacoby def. Darren Stewart via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 3:04
JJ Aldrich def. Vanessa Demopoulos via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Pat Sabatini def. Jamall Emmers via submission (heel hook) – Round 1, 1:53
Mana Martinez def. Guido Cannetti via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)