‘The Ultimate Fighter 24’ Finale Prelims: Ryan Hall Bewilders Frustrated Gray Maynard

By Brian Knapp Dec 3, 2016
Gray Maynard will not have fond memories of his encounter with Ryan Hall.

Hall employed kick-centric striking and a series of unorthodox somersault attacks, as he cruised to a unanimous decision over the three-time NCAA All-American wrestler in the featured prelim at “The Ultimate Fighter 24” Finale on Saturday at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. Scores were 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.

Maynard’s frustration built and eventually boiled over as seconds ticked away. Hall (6-1, 2-0 UFC) connected with a handful of hook kicks to the head, kept him at a safe distance and threatened him with rolling leg lock attempts whenever the opportunity presented itself. Maynard (12-6-1, 10-6-1 UFC) never changed course and found himself trapped hopelessly in between against “The Ultimate Fighter 22” winner (online betting).

Hall, 31, has rattled off six straight victories.

Font Blasts Replacement Schnell

Former CES MMA champion Rob Font blew away Matt Schnell with punches in the first round of their undercard tilt at 135 pounds. A short-notice fill-in for the injured Alejandro Perez, Schnell (9-3, 0-1 UFC) succumbed to blows 3:47 into Round 1.

Font (13-2, 3-1 UFC) had the American Top Team prospect reeling more than once, first with a front kick to the face and later with a knee strike upstairs. The knee sent Schnell crashing to the mat, where the Team Sityodtong rep met him with heavy ground-and-pound. Schnell (9-3, 0-1 UFC) went face down in a final act of desperation, only to be punched unconscious.

The setback halted Schnell’s six-fight winning streak.

‘Maestro’ Kim Decisions O’Reilly

Dong Hyun Kim threw the brakes on a two-fight losing streak, as he took a unanimous verdict from Brendan O'Reilly in a preliminary lightweight confrontation. Kim (14-8-3, 1-2 UFC) carried 29-28 scorecards across the board.

O’Reilly (6-3, 1-3 UFC) never found a rhythm. Kim hit takedowns and advanced to the back in all three rounds, utilized a suffocating top game and applied his ground-and-pound when it was prudent. O’Reilly did his best work in the third round, where he bottled up the South Korean judoka along the fence and hammered away with elbows. However, the finish he needed was nowhere to be found.

The 29-year-old O’Reilly has lost three of his past four fights.

Debuting Moyle Outhustles Curran

Well-timed takedowns and superiority in the clinch carried Syndicate MMA export Jamie Moyle to a unanimous decision over Kailin Curran in a three-round undercard encounter at 115 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it 30-27 for Moyle (4-1, 1-0 UFC).

Curran (4-4, 1-4 UFC) could not stay upright. Moyle neutralized the Hawaiian with takedowns in all three rounds, as she stymied whatever momentum she might have built. Curran opened a cut on “The Ultimate Fighter 23” graduate’s left eyebrow in the second round, and while blood was spilled, she could not capitalize. Moyle sealed her opponent’s fate in the final minute of the fight, as she delivered the last of her takedowns, unleashed her ground-and-pound and chewed up clock from top position.

Smith Elbow Sinks Mutapcic

Anthony Smith wiped out former Maximum Fighting Championship titleholder Elvis Mutapcic with a devastating elbow strike and follow-up hammerfists in the second round of their preliminary middleweight pairing. Smith (26-12, 2-2 UFC) brought it to a close 3:27 into Round 2.

Mutapcic (15-5-1, 0-2-1 UFC) was in charge at the start. The 30-year-old swept Smith off his feet with a leg kick inside the first minute and spent the rest of the opening round dropping punches and elbows from top position. His momentum was short-lived. Smith opened a cut on his scalp with a standing elbow early in the middle stanza, staggered him with punches on more than one occasion and netted the desired result. He exchanged with Mutapcic in the center of the cage, floored him with another elbow over the top and mopped up what was left with standing hammerfists.

Smith, 28, has won nine of his last 10 bouts.

Clark Snaps Stansbury Streak

Former Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion Devin Clark rebounded from his first professional defeat to capture a unanimous decision from Josh Stansbury in a three-round undercard battle at 205 pounds. A replacement for the injured Jake Collier, Clark (7-1, 1-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 marks from the judges.

Stansbury (8-3, 1-1 UFC) got outworked. Clark executed the only takedown of the fight, pieced together two-, three- and four-punch combinations and mixed in a sneaky jab and stinging leg kicks. Stansbury found the mark more often in the third round -- he buzzed Clark’s tower with a right uppercut in the clinch -- but lost his way in the closing seconds, as he allowed the Jackson-Wink MMA rep to scramble to his back in a seated position.

The loss snapped Stansbury’s eight-fight winning streak.
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