Michael Chandler’s conquest of The Ultimate Fighter 31 finals came to completion.
The season finale of TUF 31 featured Cody Gibson (19-8) triumphing over Rico DiSciullo (11-2, 1 NC), marking the fact that all the four fighters contending in the upcoming finals at UFC 292 on Saturday originally hailed from Team Chandler. This achievement underscores Chandler’s supremacy throughout the show, having won the initial seven fights of the season until DiSciullo, a Conor McGregor fighter, managed an upset over Hunter Azure.
Gibson’s victory over DiSciullo was not without drama. A fateful slip by DiSciullo in the first round resulted in a lost fight. A thwarted strike by DiSciullo saw him tripped, allowing Gibson to swiftly capitalize. Gibson seized DiSciullo’s back, assailing with ground strikes, and though DiSciullo struggled to escape, Gibson retained control, pouring down punches and elbows. Even though DiSciullo succeeded in shaking Gibson off momentarily, Gibson took him down again to lock in an arm-triangle choke shortly after.
Gibson’s next challenge will be his former Team Chandler mate Brad Katona, who switched teams in the semifinals to prevent training conflicts and rejoin McGregor along with his career-long coaches. They will compete in the bantamweight finals.
In the lightweight category, Team Conor’s Austin Hubbard and Kurt Holobaugh will compete against each other.
The season’s conclusion brought the four finalists face-to-face, with coaches McGregor and Chandler also present. Though expected to duel in a welterweight match, the date is not yet confirmed. McGregor’s fight future remains uncertain due to recent sexual assault allegations and ongoing issues with the USADA.
The Ultimate Fighter 31 was broadcast live on ESPN and ESPN+ every Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET.
The champions of TUF 31’s lightweight and bantamweight divisions will vie for a six-figure UFC contract this Saturday at UFC 292 in Boston.
The TUF 31 teams comprised:
Team McGregor (prospects)
Lee Hammond (27, 5-0), Nate Jennerman (29, 16-5), Aaron McKenzie (34, 11-2-1), Landon Quinones (27, 7-1-1)
Mando Gutierrez (26, 8-2), Trevor Wells (27, 8-3), Carlos Vera (35, 11-3), Rico DiSciullo (36, 11-2, 1 NC)
Team Chandler (veterans)
Jason Knight (30, 23-7), Austin Hubbard (31, 15-6), Roosevelt Roberts (28, 12-3, 1 NC), Kurt Holobaugh (36, 19-7, 1 NC)
Hunter Azure (31, 10-3), Brad Katona (31, 12-2), Timur Valiev (33, 18-3, 1 NC), Cody Gibson (35, 19-8)
Roosevelt Roberts over Nate Jennerman – first-round KO
Cody Gibson over Mando Gutierrez – first-round TKO
Austin Hubbard over Aaron McKenzie – unanimous decision
Timur Valiev over Trevor Wells – unanimous decision
Brad Katona over Carlos Vera – unanimous decision
Kurt Holobaugh over Lee Hammond – second-round submission (guillotine choke)
Jason Knight over Landon Quinones – first-round submission (triangle choke)
Rico DiSciullo over Hunter Azure – second-round KO
Semi-final results and pairings:
Austin Hubbard over Roosevelt Roberts – split decision
Brad Katona over Timur Valiev – split decision
Kurt Holobaugh over Jason Knight – second-round TKO
Cody Gibson over Rico DiSciullo – first-round submission (arm-triangle choke)
Austin Hubbard vs. Kurt Holobaugh — lightweight
Brad Katona vs. Cody Gibson — bantamweight
Advanced to semifinals: Roberts, Gibson, Hubbard, Valiev, Katona, Holobaugh, Knight, DiSciullo
Eliminated: Jennerman, Gutierrez, McKenzie, Wells, Vera, Hammond, Quinones, Azure, Roberts, Valiev, Knight, DiSciullo