Once again, welcome to the recap of this week’s The Ultimate Fighter.
As we open things are still not in order in the House of Dos Santos. A post-fight pep talk to his team who had just suffered a loss (Clay Harvison over Mick Bowman) exposes the rift between Junior Dos Santos and assistant coach Lew Polley. Dos Santos calls him out publicly for sending a contradictory message to the team.
Over at Team Lesnar, Brock is busy telling Len that if they were to win their last two fights that he would be in line for a wild card slot. His reasoning seemed to be based around the idea that each team gets a wild card slot but I am not sure that is how the system works. Nonetheless Len is pumped. That is until he steps in the ring and during a grappling session tweaks his knee and falls over in pain.
Cut to Clay in the emergency room having his hand worked on. If you remember from last week he won his fight but after having his gloves removed it was discovered that his pinky bone had busted through the skin. The doctor informs him that it is just a really bad dislocation (really?) and that he is cleared to continue. As this is going on in rolls Len. Not sure if that would have happened in a less controlled environment but hey this is reality TV so we are just gonna go with it. He also gets encouraging news as his was also a dislocation.
Things finally go too far for Junior Dos Santos as he discovers that during the night Lew had gone to the house alone. I guess that this is a big no no and after discussing it with another coach, Luiz Dorea, he decides to cut Lew loose. Lew, predictably, puts up a fight, even going so far as to say that he has always only done what Dos Santos asked him to. Junior, for his part, has no interest in taking pity on him and plows through his pleas to officially fire the guy. To me the home visit seems benign enough but without question we have been led to believe that Lew had his own agenda he was working with.
Len and Clay return together from their trip to the emergency room to inform Brock that everything is AOK in their neck of the woods.
Brock has control which means that he gets to choose the last two fights.
Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Edwards
Chuck O’Neil vs. Zach Davis
From there we visit the training of both these fighters. Justin, who does look like Randy Couture just like everybody claims, is painted as the underdog. He’s the alternate for the alternate remember. Ferguson isn’t given a lot of development. We know that he likes to wear nice clothes and that is about it.
There is a quick scene where a few members of Team Dos Santos express regret that Lew is gone. They are surprised that he didn’t come by to say goodbye. Also, they come to the conclusion that things must have been much uglier than they were aware.
Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Edwards
Round 1- Considering that this fight was billed as a battle between two wrestlers there is a shocking amount of striking that goes on early on. Edwards really charges out of the gate hard and starts landing some vicious shots on Ferguson. It is somewhat short lived as after a minute or so he seems a little gassed and Ferguson begins to unload with some very attractive uppercuts. Edwards returns with a takedown, but Ferguson pops right back up and begins to unload again. Edwards scores another takedown thus emphasizing just how difficult this round is to score. Do you like Edwards aggression and takedowns or do you like Ferguson’s crisp and effective striking. It turns out not to matter as Edwards, trying to land standing strikes to a downed Ferguson, catches a picture perfect heel kick to the jaw and drops to the mat unconscious. Ferguson lands a shot or two to his face just for good measure and the fight is waved off.
Tony Ferguson def. Justin Edwards via 1st Round KO
Dana White lavishes praise on both of them telling them what a great fight they had and I concur. I know he suffered a first round KO but I would be happy to see Edwards in one of those wild card slots.
Chuck O’Neil vs. Zach Davis
Round 1– In the brief pre-fight intro to these fighters the case was made that Davis is the physical specimen here and that if O’Neil wants to compete he’ll have to have something sneaky up his sleave. That difference is muscle mass is obvious immediately and Davis uses it to his advantage early on. He’s able to tie O’Neil up in the clinch and hit him with some nice looking knees. He gets a takedown as well but doesn’t do much with it other than keep O’Neil on the ground. Once O’Neil gets up he starts working a little bit of offense though his tactics seem based around kimuras and other submission like holds that work much better once you have your opponent tired out or hurt. O’Neil gains top position but Davis is able to slap on a triangle choke and it must have been a doozy because O’Neil taps within seconds.
Zach Davis def. Chuck O’Neil via 1st Round Submission
O’Neil take the loss rather hard as he storms past an appreciative Dana White to start throwing things around the locker room. The triangle choke, we are told, is his move so he feels extra stupid having fallen into it.
Now the coaches get together with Dana White to discuss the wild card slots. Right away they inform Justin that he would have been their pick but due to his knockout they Las Vegas athletic commission has hit him with a 90 day suspension. My memory of this show doesn’t go all the way back but I’ve often wondered how that worked. Many times coming out of an MMA show you will see winners and losers hit with lengthy suspensions, but in the land of The Ultimate Fighter it is never really mentioned…until now I suppose. Edwards take the news in stride and expresses hope that the UFC will find room for him on their finale card.
Next they go through and interview each of the fighters on why they should get the wild card slot. Len probably gets the most time as he tries to shrug off his knee injury and says that he is here in hopes of being employed by Dana White so he will do whatever it takes. Afterwards White talks about how none of the guys seemed hungry enough (how much do you want from these poor saps??), and about how funny it is that Lesnar and Dos Santos weren’t just blindly pushing for their own guys to get the slots. After some deliberation they come to a decision and announce next week’s matchup to the crew.
Chuck O’Neil vs. Javier Torres
Len tells the camera that he is confused and the episode comes to a close.
Interesting episode here as we got to see two fast paced one rounders and the wild card decision be made. Not sure if you caught Dana White’s comments in Toronto this weekend about the show but he basically tried to lay blame for the show at the feet of Spike for reducing the number of episodes they got (thus forcing them to cut the opening round of fights and instead just award people entry into the house…something I was very much against), and then promising that things get much better going forward. Well of course he’s going to say that, and yet I am also intrigued. Perhaps it is because I’ll be watching no matter what so I have to kind of take whatever I can get. This was quality entertainment to me as there were good story lines that felt organic enough. Next week we get the wild card fight which should be good though I don’t love Chuck’s chances and from there we get into the quarterfinal round. If I were a casual fan I would not have given up at this point but I would be worried that the glory days were behind this veteran show. It is, in a sense, their AAA league and maybe it doesn’t always have to be the most interesting show in town.
Tags: Brock Lesnar, Chuck O'Neil, Dana White, Junior dos Santos, Justin Edwards, Len Bentley, Mixed Martial Arts, Tony Ferguson, TUF, Ultimate Fighter