Kaytlin Neil beat Julianna Pena’s top pick and advanced in The Ultimate Fighter 30 flyweight tournament, and she did so with the heaviest of hearts.
On this week’s episode of TUF 30, Neil (5-4) beat BKFC veteran Helen Peralta (5-2)* by split decision in a fight that required a Sudden Victory third round to decide a victor. Neil was particularly affected by the fight, as she was informed that her father had died just before it was happening.
In an earlier episode, Neil was seen crying and breaking down before a training session. She explained to coach Amanda Nunes and her wife UFC strawweight Nina Nunes that she had just received the news about her father’s death, the result of a lifelong struggle with addiction. Despite the difficult circumstances, Neil’s bout with Peralta proceeded as scheduled.
Peralta appeared to get the better of Neil in the opening round, which saw the flyweights spend plenty of time jockeying for position in the clinch. Team Pena’s No. 1 overall pick continually looked to land a heavy right hook, but had difficult advancing on the taller Neil.
Due to Peralta’s activity,
Round 2 was another close call that Neil most likely made. With Peralta still waiting for an opening to land a one-shot knockout punch, Neil was content to snipe away from distance. Neil was able to use his wrestling advantage by performing a last-second takedown but it did not cause any significant damage.
With the rounds split, the fighters went to a third and again neither Neil or Peralta did much to assert themselves. Peralta hunted with her right hook but Neil might have won the round in a hurry. In the end, the decision was anything but clear-cut, but it was decided that Neil did enough to advance.
With the teams now tied at one win apiece, it was Nunes’ turn to pick the next fight and she selected Pena’s top heavyweight pick Mohammed Usman (7-2) to face her No. 3 heavyweight pick Mitchell Sipe (5-2). Sipe immediately starts with the trash talk, accusing Usman — the younger brother of UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman — of faking a surgery to avoid a past booking between the two.
Here are the first-round results so far:
Zac Pauga def. Nyle Bartling via unanimous decision
Kaytlin Neil def. Helen Peralta via split decision
Team Pena’s Mohammed Usman will be fighting Team Nunes’ Mitchell Sipe next week in a heavyweight fight.
(*TUF fights are treated as exhibitions. The )
results do not affect fighters’ records.
Season 30 of The Ultimate Fighter is being coached by UFC bantamweight champion Julianna Pena and UFC featherweight champion Amanda Nunes. The two are expected to meet in a rematch on a date to be announced following the airing of TUF 30.
The TUF heavyweight, and flyweight finalist will be competing for a UFC contract worth six figures at the finale event. A date has yet to be determined.
New episodes premiere at midnight every Monday exclusively on ESPN+.
Here is the TUF 30 roster divided by team:
Advancing to Round 2: Pauga, Neil
Eliminated: Bartling, Peralta