The first bout, featuring Team Nelson’s Jon Manley vs. Colton Smith, went to a third-round decision and ended with Smith as the victor after dominating the first two of third rounds. The second semifinal matchup saw Team Carwin teammates Mike Ricci and Neil Magny square off in the Octagon. It appeared both men were evenly matched, but then, during the last minute of the first round, Ricci delivered the only knockout of the season, which left Magny briefly unconscious.
The two victors, Smith and Ricci, will now face off in the much-anticipated Finale on December 15th to decide who will win the lucrative contract with the UFC® and be named the next Ultimate Fighter.
Here’s what this season’s winning finalists had to say after their bouts:
Ricci: “I won the fight and I was excited, but I couldn’t help it, I broke down and I started crying. Because, the truth is, I would’ve rather win by a decision than to do that to him, cause it hurt. You have a teammate and you eat every night with them and you pray with them and you go for swims and you talk and you share things and then you do that to somebody…and it was hard for me. I know what it’s like to be Neil; I’ve been knocked out before. That feeling where you wake up and you don’t know what happened and all your dreams are shattered, all the opportunity you thought you had was gone. But if I didn’t do it to him, he would’ve done it to me, so I had no choice.”
Smith: “Feels great, I’m top two now. It’s been a long road; 4 weigh-ins, 4 fights, 4-0 in the house. I might not have been the best fighter, I might not have been the most skilled or the prettiest fighter, but I guarantee you, I’m the best fighter at the end of the day in the house.”
Here’s what UFC President Dana White and the two finalists had to say heading into the Finale:
Ricci: “I don’t think that Colton Smith can hang with me to be honest with you. I mean anything can happen, right? He’s a dangerous man, but if my A game is on, I’ll be able to stop Colton for sure.”
Smith: “Mike Ricci is a tough, tough dude. He has power in his hands, power in his kicks, elbows. He’s a very versatile fighter, but I’m going to go in there and I’m going to take his head off, I’m going to ground and pound, I’m going to look for the submission. He’ll break before I will, that’s guaranteed.”
White: “I think Ricci vs. Smith is going to be a good fight. These guys have consistently fought well, they won, and I think we ended up with the two best guys here, I really do.”
After 12 weeks of non-stop action and 30 fights, it all comes down to this moment.
Tickets for The Ultimate Fighter Finale on Dec. 15 at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas are on sale and priced at $304, $254, $179, $154, $104 and $79. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit the Hard Rock Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, www.ticketmaster.com,www.thejointlasvegas.com or charge-by-phone at 800.745.3000.
Results after episode 12:
Team Carwin (7-7)
Sam Alvey (0-1, lost to Joey Rivera by decision in episode 3)
Bristol Marunde (1-1, defeated Julian Lane by decision in episode 4, lost to Neil Magny by decision in episode 10)
Mike Ricci (3-0, defeated Dom Waters by decision in episode 9, defeated Mike Ricci by decision in episode 11, defeated Neil Magny by knockout in episode 12)
Neil Magny (2-1, defeated Cameron Diffley by decision in episode 2, defeated Bristol Marunde by decision in episode 10, lost via knockout to Mike Ricci in episode 12)
James Chaney (0-1, submitted by Jon Manley in episode 8)
Eddy Ellis (0-1, lost to Colton Smith by majority decision in epsiode 6)
Igor Araujo (1-1, defeated Nic Herron-Webb by majority decision in episode 5, lost to Colton Smith by decision in episode 10)
Matt Secor(0-1, lost to Michael Hill by split decision in episode 7)
Team Nelson (7-7)
Dom Waters (0-1, lost to Mike Ricci by decision in episode 9)
Michael Hill (1-1, defeated Matt Secor by split decision in episode 7, lost to Mike Ricci by decision in episode 11)
Cameron Diffley (0-1, lost to Neil Magny by decision in episode 2)
Colton Smith (3-0, defeated Eddy Ellis by majority decision in episode 6, defeated Igor Araujo by decision in episode 10, defeated Jon Manley by decision in episode 12)
Jon Manley (2-1, submitted James Chaney is episode 8, defeated Joey Rivera by decision in episode 11, lost to Colton Smith by decision in episode 12)
Nic Herron-Webb (0-1, lost to Igor Araujo by majority decision in episode 5)
Joey Rivera (1-1, defeated Sam Alvey by decision in episode 3, lost to Jon Manley by decision in episode 11)
Julian Lane (0-1, lost to Bristol Marunde by decision in episode 4)
(via press release)