The two week break is over and TUF 24 resumes, now into the second round.
Dana White recapped the first round.
The teams get a break as Henry Cejudo and Joesph Benavidez throw a party for the fighters.
Benavidez pokes Cejudo a little about being a role model at the party.
Team Cejudo teammates Alexander Pantoja and Kai Kara-France are scheduled to meet in Round Two. It’s a little awkward training beside your opponent.
Duane Ludwig is brought in as a guest coach for Team Benavidez. Ludgwig, An open gym arrangement is made for Team Cejudo train with Ludwig on the condition that Cejudo is not allowed to attend. This creates a political situation .
Cejudo says he won’t attend, as he doesn’t want Benavidez t have “any excuses” when he beats him.
In the end, both teams train with Ludwig.
At the weigh-ins, Kara-France comes in at 126 pounds. Pantoja weighs 125 pounds. Pretty much a striker vs BJJ matchup.
#1 ALEXANDRE PANTOJA VS #9 KAI KARA-FRANCE
they touch gloves. Kara-France on the outside, but Pantoja moves immediately for a takedown. He gets Kara-France down briefly, takes the back, but Kara-France works his way free. But Pantoja gets another chance after blocking a headkick. Pantoja hans off the side of Kara-France’s back at the fence, with one hook in. He gets Kara-France down briefly, then cliches against the fence, then a break. 3:05 left. A flying knee by Pantoja misses. Kara-France stalks Pantoja looking for an opening, but doesn’t land much. Pantoja lands a nice headkick after an attempted Kara-France takedown and the horn goes. I give the round to Pantoja.
Kara-France’s coaches advise him to open up, he’s being too cautious. Kara-France comes out more aggressive early, but still can’t land much and takes a nice shot from Pantoja. The counter kicks of Pantoja are confusing Kara-France. 2:30 left. Pantoja’s defence and kicks are the story so far. Still, Kara-France moves forward, still looking for the opening. Kara-France blocks a headkick. Scramble against the cage, then a break. Kara-France tries to move in at the end, but Pantoja uses more counters and the horn goes. I give that round to Pantoja too.
WINNER BY DECISION: ALEXANDRE PANTOJA
Pantoja moves on to Round 3. Kara-France admitted after the fight he was more concerned with Pantoja’s rankings and weapons than his own. But the result won’t affect his friendship with Pantoja.
Next week, it’s #5 Hiromasa Ogikubo (Team Benavidez) vs #13 Adam Antolin (Team Cejudo).