The Ultimate Fighter, Season 16, Episode 3: The unexpected

The title is “We Have Control,” which brings this to mind (1:45 mark):

The ratings really should be higher for this season. Things we see in this episode that we’ve never seen before:

  • A mattress floating (on floaties) in the pool.
  • A witty response to why someone walked at 3 months.
  • An inset video of a coach giving a full-fledged jiu-jitsu lesson in the middle of a fight.
  • Some disturbing personal details about pre-fight routines.

Here’s how it goes.

Cameron Diffley apologizes for giving up control with his loss to Neil Magny. Everyone on Team Nelson realizes he could be next.

At the house, we get this exchange between Mike Secor, who is posing as if he’s nude and has a plant blocking his privates, and Colton Smith. “Is it true that you walked at 3 months old?” “Yeah, that’s true.” “I heard he walked at 3 months old because he was so ugly no one wanted to hold him any more.”

That’s one of the most creative dissings in TUF history, and Smith concedes that it’s pretty good. Then Smith lists all the ways he could beat Secor.

Then Secor drops his likability rating right away with a “not here to be butt buddies” comment.

But Nic Herron-Webb immediately races into “guy we’re all going to hate” race. He says he can’t sleep, so he shoots pool. And whistles. And when people don’t immediately respond, he bangs a pool ball on the table. That brings out Mike Ricci, wearing the tightest tighty-whiteys in show history, and Eddy Ellis.

Ricci thinks Herron-Webb is acting out because he has already realized he’s outclassed. Everything points to a Ricci matchup with Herron-Webb.

But Shane Carwin instead chooses ….. zzzzzzzzzzz … what? Oh! I’m awake. No offense to Carwin, who runs an entertaining Twitter feed, but his voice has all the enthusiasm of Ben Stein’s without the ironic inflection.

So Carwin picks Joey Rivera, a late pick on Nelson’s team, to face his top guy, Sam Alvey.

Should be an easy win for Carwin’s team to maintain the “control” we’ve heard so much about. Right? Dana White thinks so.

Rivera relishes the challenge.

But first, back to the house issues. Michael Hill takes on Herron-Webb in a dressing-room discussion over his antics in the house, saying something along the lines of, “Hey, we live in the house, too. When we piss off the other team with a bunch of noise, you piss us off, too.” Julian Lane calls everyone together to do a cheer for Joey.

Meet Joey “Boom Boom” Rivera! He got into fighting by beating up her mom’s lousy boyfriends. That’s a new twist on things.

Nelson wants Joey to put Alvey on his back. In training we see Rivera putting Nelson on his back, which is either impressive or dangerous. That’s a lot of weight hitting the canvas.

Meet Sam Alvey! Grew up in Wisconsin and a hunter, fisher and “band nerd” who met his fiancee at a Renaissance fair. Seems safe to call him a Renaissance man.

His fiancee also won America’s Next Top Model. That would be McKey Sullivan.

First, a pre-fight prank. Smith, Lane and Herron-Webb take Alvey’s mattress. They thought about throwing it in the pool, but they decide to be nice and put some floaties under it so it won’t get soaked.

Alvey keeps up his constant smile. Igor Araujo is more shocked than Alvey:

Araujo: “You know they put your bed in the pool!”

Alvey: “Well, it’s floating on the pool.” He adds a hand gesture to demonstrate.

Araujo doesn’t respect such things and thinks karma will get them back. Alvey just thinks it gives him license to do more in revenge.

Smith is happy Alvey took it well. Alvey decided to sleep on the sofa, apparently not well.

After weigh-ins, we get a quick glimpse of the pool, which no longer has a mattress in it. Then Rivera gives us way too much information about his pre-fight sex habit. His wife obviously isn’t in the house, so he’s going to need to make some changes for this fight.

Alvey has a ton of respect for Rivera’s strength and punching power. The tale of tape shows us Alvey is six years younger but has many more fights.

Arianny is the Octagon Girl, Herb Dean is the ref, and we’re off. And Joey lands two sharp head kicks in the first 10 seconds. Takes Alvey down at 25 seconds. Takes Alvey’s back at 40 seconds as Alvey stands. They stall, but Rivera takes him down again. Alvey stands but is pressed against the cage, and Rivera is trying a standing arm-triangle. Don’t see that every day. They stall again, but Rivera uses a trip takedown to get a grip on a guillotine. They scramble, but Rivera keeps the guillotine and pulls guard with it. With a minute left, Rivera finally releases the choke. Then he sets up a triangle. Alvey gets out and up but doesn’t back away far enough for Rivera to slam.  When the 10-second alert sounds, Alvey suddenly flings everything forward to land some big ground-and-pound punches, but it’s far too late to win the round.

Round 2: Rivera’s gasping for air in the corner as Nelson asks him to keep it up for five more minutes. Again, Rivera opens with kicks — one head, one body. Alvey tries to get close and eats an uppercut. Alvey presses Rivera to the cage, and Rivera goes for the guillotine again. But Rivera is unable or unwilling to reposition his hands despite several requests from his corner, and Dean eventually breaks up the stalemate. When they stand, Rivera again lands a couple of kicks. Alvey presses to the cage, and we get the most interesting inset video ever on this show — Roy Nelson calling over one of his assistants to demonstrate proper guillotine technique.

It doesn’t work, and they break, but Rivera again gets the better of a brief exchange. Then he takes Alvey down once again. They stand with a minute left, and nothing’s happening. Alvey gets a takedown with 10 seconds left. Again, too late.

Alvey raises his hands as the horn sounds, but the judges aren’t buying. Well, one of them does — it’s a majority decision for Rivera.

Recap: White says this didn’t go the way he thought it would. That’s an understatement. But White, who didn’t like Rivera’s prelim fight, is impressed with Rivera’s head kicks.

Alvey thought he won. Not when he sees the replay. He pledges to his team that he’ll be there for the next five weeks.

Carwin says he visited wounded troops, where their motto is never to leave anybody behind. And he says that’s the approach they’ll take with Alvey.

Nelson asks his team why Joey won? The answer: He listened. Well, except for the one piece of advice Nelson kept giving on repositioning his hands.

On the next episode: Nelson lets his team draw straws to see who’ll fight next. Then he questions the weigh-in results. This should be fun.

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Beau Dure

The guy who wrote a bunch of soccer books and now runs a Gen X-themed podcast while substitute teaching and continuing to write freelance stuff.

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