LAS VEGAS – Ricky Turcios had to dig deep in his second shot at a UFC contract.
Turcios (11-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC), who fell short on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2017, got another opportunity when he took part in Season 29 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” After picking up wins over Daniel Argueta and Liudvik Sholinian, Turcios met gritty wrestler Brady Hiestand in the final.
In what was another back-and-forth war, Turcios outlasted Hiestand to win the show, and though he didn’t earn a “Fight of the Night” bonus, UFC president Dana White said he plans on rewarding both men for their battle.
“Brady is a strong competitor,” Turcios said during the post-fight news conference. “Great fighter, Brady is. He pushed me to the limit. I knew we were going to have a blood-and-guts battle, Brady and I, and that’s what we delivered.
“He’s so young, man – everybody on blue team, we were all great friends and each one of them individually had taught me incredible things. We all had our moments together. But me and Brady, my buddy right there, we had that type of moment tonight. Tonight, me and Brady had to fight each other, and that was something special on its own because we pushed each other to the limit.”
Turcios was taken down six times during the fight, but he never stopped scrambling. When the judges rendered the scorecards, Turcios knew it’d be a close call, but had an inkling he would be rewarded for his scrappy nature.
“Tonight was such a close fight. Tonight was my night. But I’ll say to Brady it’s all good – keep his head up, and he’s going to come back stronger,” Turcios said. “I’m going to get stronger, too from this fight. It’s just the beginning.
“When it was a split, I had a feeling I was winning. I know it was very close and my coaches always got to keep the pressure on me. I was doing my best to stay active on the grappling exchanges. Even though I got taken down, I was throwing up the submission attempts, I was throwing elbows, I was cutting him, I was seeing the blood. The end of the rounds, I was finishing hard the last minute, the last 30 seconds. I kept moving. I got taken down from time to time, but I kept moving, kept attacking and in the standup, I was keeping my hands up, doing my best to, and landing the shots I needed to land when I needed them to hit on the button.”
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