Occasionally – and I do mean occasionally – the eternal soap opera that is “The Ultimate Fighter” provides us with action. Well, tonight we got action, and it took the form of not one but two very scrapilicious fights. And they weren’t half bad. But first!
Coach Junior dos Santos may seem all smiles and happy on the outside, but on the inside he’s angry. From day one assistant coach Lew Polley has been confused about whose name the fighters wear on their jerseys, and as such, has been the perpetual yin to the Brazilian heavyweight contender’s yang. If dos Santos tells the boys to hit the focus mitts, Polley tells them to go hit the showers. If dos Santos tells the boys to work on their grappling, Polley tells them to go work on his car. So the inevitable happens: dos Santos tells Polley to hit the road. Without further ado, Polley tells him “okay”, and leaves without ceremony. Problem solved.
Meanwhile, in the Brock Lesnar camp, the ex-champ tells star pupil Len Bentley that he likes him for the wildcard bout. Excited for the opportunity, Bentley runs straight to the cage for a hard practice and ends up jacking his knee, prompting Lesnar to just straight up bolt from the gym (like any good coach would).
The scene shifts to the emergency room, where Clay Harvison is having his pinky examined. You see, in last week’s episode Harvison kicked ass but managed to get his pinky kicked in return, which left the digit shaped like a “W” and the bone jutting through the skin. The doctors, however, determine that it’s not broken – just badly dislocated – and they reset it and stitch the wound closed. Harvison is joined by teammate Bentley, and the doctors inform Bentley that his ACL is intact and that he only suffered a dislocation of the kneecap. Can you guess which one of them still has a chance of fighting again this season? Hint, not the guy with stitches.
As Team Lesnar is riding a victory, the Big Man from Minnesota gets to pick the next fight, and as there are only four fighters remaining, really that means both fights will be set. He chooses his boy Tony Ferguson to face Justin Edwards, which leaves a grungy-looking Chuck O’Neil for Team dos Santos rep Zach Davis.
Back story time! And as there are two fights in this episode, we get the super-condensed version. Ferguson, it seems, likes to practice dodging waters bottles in training (really), and on the day of fights, he dons a dress shirt, tie, vest and slacks. He even warms up wearing shiny black dress shoes. Edwards, on the other hand, looks a little like Randy Couture if Couture shrunk dramatically.
Then they’re fighting, and boy what a doozy it is. For the first minute, Edwards chases after Ferguson throwing fist after fist. The Team Lesnar-ite eats some and avoids the rest, and they eventually settle into the kind of face-punching party where everyone loses except the fans (i.e., they do only slightly better than Mark Hominick did against Jose Aldo). In the waning minutes of the round, Edwards changes things up by taking Ferguson down, but then BAM! He eats a kick to the jaw and is out like a light. Ferguson wins.
From his perch in the audience, Dana White is ecstatic. Finally, a decent fight.
Back story time again, and now the spotlight is on O’Neil and Davis. The most interesting things we learn are that O’Neil is a jokester and he considers himself a dirtbag (his word, not mine), and looks-wise, Davis is sometimes compared to Gary Busey.
Then they’re fighting, and whereas Ferguson and Edwards had a stand-up battle, these two have a grappling contest. Back and forth they go, taking turns in top position and blasting each other with punches here and there. But at one point O’Neil forgets that people other than himself know how to do the triangle choke, and while raining down knuckles he gets caught in one and taps.
He is, of course, bummed.
With only a scant few minutes left in the episode, White calls the coaches into his lair for the ritual known as “the picking of the wildcard match-up”. He has each eligible fighter come in as well to state their case, and though no one really gets down on their knees and begs for it, no one says they’d rather just chill out at the TUF House and eat ice cream either. White also remarks on how non-contentious Lesnar and dos Santos are in expressing their opinions. Seriously, the American and Brazilian are practically hugging.
So, with all the suggestions considered, White assembles the kids and informs them that Javier Torres and O’Neil are getting another chance.
The camera focuses on Bentley, who for some odd reason seems displeased.