TUF 26 Episode 1 Recap: Roxanne Modafferi Stops Shana DobsonNumber one seed Roxanne “The Happy Warrior” Modafferi took her first step toward a shot at UFC title gold with a dominant victory on tonight’s premiere episode of The Ultimate Fighter 26: “A New World Champion.” The veteran Modafferi stopped #16 seed Shana Dobson with first-round elbows.

This season of The Ultimate Fighter will culminate with the inaugural UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship bout, and the 16 women vying for the title were divided into two teams – led by former UFC champion Eddie Alvarez and ex-WSOF champ Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje – during the premiere.

Modafferi (21-13-0, Ranked #1), representing Team Gaethje, brought a story of redemption to the TUF House, where she previously resided and competed during The Ultimate Fighter 18 in mid-2013. Then, as a bantamweight, Modafferi was knocked out by Jessica “The Ragin'” Rakoczy in the quarterfinal round. She subsequently relocated back to the United States and went on to become a top contender for Invicta FC, where she won five of her seven bouts. The vast improvements that Modafferi made to her game, coupled with key recent victories, earned her the top seed for TUF 26.

Her opponent, Dobson (2-1-0, Ranked #16), entered the single-elimination tournament competition as an underdog, with solid striking but limited MMA experience. Representing Team Alvarez, she looked to kick off the season with a big upset during tonight’s episode, but it was not to be.

Modafferi and Dobson traded one-twos on the feet throughout the opening minute and Dobson scored with a nice uppercut and a body kick. Modafferi responded with a takedown and she wasted no time in moving from half-guard to mount. Once there, Modafferi dropped punches and elbows as Dobson turtled on the bottom. Dobson tried to buck and escape, but Modafferi kept her pinned down. She landed a lengthy barrage of unanswered elbows and referee Jason Herzog intervened to wave off the fight at the 3:46 mark of round one.

Next week’s episode features a clash between Team Alvarez’s DeAnna “The Argentine Assassin” Bennett (8-3-0, Ranked #4) and Team Gaethje’s Karine “The Princess” Gevorgyan (3-2-0, Ranked #13).

Full TUF 26 Opening Round Matchups:

– Roxanne Modafferi (#1, Team Gaethje) vs Shana Dobson (#16, Team Alvarez)
– Barb Honchak (#2, Team Alvarez) vs Gillian Robertson (#15, Team Gaethje)
– Lauren Murphy (#3, Team Alvarez) vs Nicco Montano (#14, Team Gaethje)
– DeAnna Bennett (#4, Team Alvarez) vs Karine Gevorgyan (#13, Team Gaethje)
– Maia Kahaunaele-Stevenson (#5, Team Gaethje) vs Sijara Eubanks (#12, Team Alvarez)
– Montana Stewart (#6, Team Gaethje) vs Ariel Beck (#11, Team Alvarez)
– Melinda Fábián (#7, Team Alvarez) vs Rachael Ostovich-Berdon (#10, Team Gaethje)
– Emily Whitmire (#8, Team Gaethje) vs Christina Marks (#9, Team Alvarez)


  1. I love Roxanne Modafferi, but I can’t understand how Barb Honchak is seeded #2 behind her. I didn’t watch the episode as I don’t get FS1, maybe they explained their rationale. I know Barb’s been off for a while, maybe that’s why.