Juliana Miller and Claire Gutherie met for the second time in episode six of The Ultimate Fighter 30 — entitled simply “We Meet Again.”
When the dust settled, it might have been the best fight of the season to date.
It’s rare to get a rematch on TUF, but Gutherie and Miller had met on the regional circuit earlier in their young careers. Miller, with solid grappling, got the first look of the episode, and discussed the difficult situation growing up that led her to the fight game.
“I grew up in a broken home where things were hard, violent, stressful and in a constant state of chaos,” she explained. When she got to high school, “I was broke, and I was constantly being picked on.” A toxic relationship in her high school years, which saw her suffer physical violence, drove her to fighting.
Coach Julianna Pena says the plan for Miller is to fix the little mistakes she made in the first fight.” Gutherie is no doubt the favorite, having won the first time around.
All appeared to be going smoothly, until Guthrie hit the scale — and came in a full pound over the flyweight limit. Stripping down, she’s 126.6 pounds, still a half pound over. That meant she got another hour to cut the weight. Should she be unable to, Gutherie would be disqualified, and Miller would automatically move forward in the competition.
It’s sauna time for Gutherie after that. When she steps back on the scale, she’s still a little bit over, and it’s haircut time. Chopping her locks sees Claire Gutherie make weight.
The Ultimate Fighter 30: Gutherie vs. Miller
Gutherie got right at it in the rematch with Miller, ripping the body early. They went to work in a clinch, with Miller firing some knees. When Miller shot, Gutherie sprawled, and worked her over a bit. The pair went back-and-forth for several minutes, both women connecting, but Gutherie appeared to be hitting home more often, and Miller was showing some damage.
Between rounds, Dana White appears to be impressed. “Those two girls went at it,” he’s overheard saying.
Miller works behind her jab in round two, but Gutherie catches her coming in more than once. When they go to the ground, it’s Gutherie landing on top. Miller goes after an arm-bar, but Gutherie slips out. They scramble back up, trade, and Miller fires knees in a clinch. Miller fires a low kick, and could probably use some more of those. Gutherie looks to have tired, but presses Miller into the fence. She can’t get the fight down, however, and Miller has a bit of a second wind.
As the round marches on, Juliana Miller doubles up on her jab, and throws wild lefts and rights that connect nonetheless. This time, when they go down, it’s “JuJu” on top. Gutherie gives up her back, and Miller tries to roll her over. Gutherie has some solid wrist control however. Miller lands some heavy knees to the ribs. Miller gets on the back again, nearly too high up, but catches herself. She finishes the round on the back, with Gutherie on her knees.
“Good fight,” White exclaims after the second. He’s not wrong. They head to the deciding round.
Miller immediately gets a clinch in the third, and lands a big knee. It’s Gutherie, however, that gets the fight down. Miller looks to use a kimura to transition, and they roll several times with Miller refusing to let go of her grip. Wow. Forget transitioning, she might just finish with it. She then she switches to an arm-bar, smashes Gutherie with hammer fists, and continues to look for the sub. When she can’t find the finish, Miller gets to half-guard, looking for an arm-triangle choke. Gutherie finally creates some space and scrambles up, but Miller drives her into the fence. The story in round three is Miller’s grappling and gas tank, and while Gutherie tries for a late guillotine, it’s just not there for her. Miller finishes the round on Gutherie’s back.
Official Result: Juliana Miller def. Claire Gutherie by unanimous decision
That turned out to be one of the best fights of the season, with both fighters impressing Dana White. Next week, it’s Chandler Cole vs. Jordan Heiderman at heavyweight, in one of the final opening round match-ups of the season.