Heading into this third episode of TUF, I have to reflect on what a great tournament this has been thus far. We're three fights into it, and every fight has been a finish. It's been incredible to see the talent this weight class has to offer — just from sitting there in the bleachers, I was a fan of this thing. Every single fight was amazing to witness and it was awesome to be there and be a part of it.
The next fight up is between Damacio Page and Adam Antolin.
I have a history with Damacio, we were supposed to fight on March 25th of this year but he suffered an injury in training and had to back out. I liked getting to hang out and cut up with Damacio while we were in the house. I watched Damacio fight before I'd even stepped foot into a gym, I was a junior in high school watching this guy knock people unconscious with elbows on TV. He was always a big finisher and a well known smaller guy. Coming into the tournament he's probably considered a favorite to win this thing based off his experience and bazooka of right hand.
Adam is a guy with a great sense of humor and was hands-down one of my favorite guys in the house. I didn't know who Adam was before we got to Las Vegas. I knew he trained at American Kickboxing Academy and I knew he was the Tachi Palace Champion, which are both legit as frick.
I hadn't seen him fight but in training, he seemed like a skilled and well-rounded fighter with a nasty foot sweep and a great guillotine.
One of the most endearing moments of TUF 24 (and possibly one of the most endearing interactions in Ultimate Fighter history) was seeing Adam cutting Damacio's hair on fight day. Here are these two dudes, getting ready to fight each other, and yet they can interact like they're friends. We all got along really well for the most part, but that was honestly one of the purest moments. Adam and Damacio are both great guys and it was tough rooting for either one of them.
The fight starts and Adam comes out left-handed. In the beginning, I was worried because it didn't seem like he could offer up much offense from the south paw stance and Damacio came out throwing hatebombs like we all knew he would. It seemed like it was gonna be an absolute blowout…but then Adam let that first kick rip. After that, he really started stringing combinations together and he was finding a home for that big left kick to the body all night long. Though Adam was being competitive, I really felt as if Damacio was still getting the better of the exchanges.
Every punch Damacio landed, whether it was clean or not, you could tell there was a lot behind them. As I'm sitting there watching from the bleachers, you could feel the energy of every single punch he unloaded. This guy was chunking 100 mile an hour fastballs at my buddy's head, and to be honest I was a little concerned for Adam. Adam stayed very composed though and pulled out a big foot sweep at the end of the round. It was a giant throw that looked good and it arguably could have swung the round into Adam's favor. It was a great round and the beginning of a good fight. These guys were bringin' it.
Round two was much of the same: Damacio's throwing heavy punches and Adams finding a home for that left leg. One of the kicks finally squeaked through and touched Damacio's liver. It visibly hurt him and he dropped. He was down for maybe half a second but he recovered quickly and got back to his feet. It was impressive that he stood up as fast as he did because liver shots that find a home like that can shut you down for a good minute or so. The ref called the fight when Damacio went down, thinking he wasn't going to get back up. It was obviously a bad stoppage.
Everybody was really proud of Adam, he really rose to the occasion and performed at his best. Damacio brought it like he always does and did what everyone always expects him to do: he fought his tail off and left it all out there. I feel for both of these guys on the way it ended. This fight was well on its way to fight of the season and it's unfortunate it was cut short.
There was a lot of energy and having it stop so suddenly was kind of a buzzkill. It was obvious both of these guys were willing to take it as far as it needed to go on this fight and they did a spectacular job representing team flyweight. This is a season full of gangsters; everybody here deserves to be here. We just keep proving it every single week.
Next fight up is the No. 2 seeded Yoni Sherbatov against the No. 15 seed Eric “Showtime” Shelton. Y'all stay tuned. This is a special season, believe dat.