Last week … a couple of quarterfinals, and Ronda Rousey turned up for some grappleflirting. I was out of town, so check with Danny Downes.
This week … Uriah Hall finally fights again? That’s so exciting, I could swear Dana blinked more than usual in the opening credits.
Bubba McDaniel is worn down. Three fights and a lot of training in a short time will do that to you. Clint Hester starts getting his weight down just in case Bubba can’t go.
Also with Team Jones, Josh Samman, is pretty sure Jimmy Quinlan isn’t going to stand with him. “Jimmy’s going to shoot all the way from the other side of the cage.”
His teammates aren’t as confident, in part because Jimmy can hold people down and in part because Josh keeps getting hurt.
It’s a Frank Mir sighting! Anyone catch what he said?
Back to the ailing Bubba. “I don’t want to quit,” Bubba says. Jones says he had been waiting to hear that. “I don’t want to quit,” he says again. OK, good. “I don’t want to quit.” OK, we got it. “I lift things up and put them down.”
(Has anyone seen the techno mix of that ad? It’s not great, but it’s worth a quick peek. Here goes:)
We go to Team Sonnen briefly to hear Mr. Positive Chael tell Jimmy he’s fighting a lot better than he was a few weeks … oh, sorry, we’re back to Bubba. He goes for a blood test.
Fight day, but it’s Samman-Quinlan. So unless they reveal the blood test results between rounds, we’ll put the Bubba saga on hold briefly.
Round 1 — Jimmy does indeed virtually shoot from across the cage. Josh fights him off briefly, but Jimmy gets underneath and picks him for a slam. Josh tilts his weight, though, so Jimmy doesn’t get good control right away. Josh lands a few good elbows from the bottom, and Jimmy drips blood. Then Josh works a submission game from his guard. Then some simultaneous ear punches. It’s rare these days to see the fighter on the bottom dominating the fight, but that’s just what Josh is doing.
I see London, I see France, I see Jimmy Quinlan’s underpants. He should pull up his shorts so that he’ll at least be doing SOMETHING from top control.
Josh finally stands up and lands three big knees to the head. Jimmy crumples and turtles. Josh lands more double ear punches, this time atop Jimmy’s back. Jimmy taps to strikes, which is somewhat unusual unless Steve Mazzagatti is reffing. Which he is.
So now we’re back to Team Jones and Bubba. The blood tests are fine. Bubba may have a pulled muscle, but he’s got some adrenaline now that he knows he’s not having kidney failure or something.
Over to Team Sonnen, Chael thinks Uriah Hall is the greatest talent in the history of talent in any sport on any planet in any universe. But he sometimes lacks confidence. Chael takes Hall aside to do a Sonnen Mind Meld.
Summing up the next segment: They make weight. Uriah’s confident. Bubba isn’t. It’s about the closest you’ll ever come to seeing a guy say “I have no chance” in pre-fight hype.
Fight starts, Herb Dean is the … it’s over. Bubba’s on the mat, asking why his eye is messed up. Sonnen tells Hall he’s a contender. Replay shows a knee to the body, a straight right to Bubba’s eye, then a couple of punches on the ground before Herb Dean wisely stepped in.
Dana White on Hall’s KOs: “You don’t even wanna clap. You feel bad clapping. … This guy is the nastiest guy in Ultimate Fighter history.”
The remaining fighters: Each team’s No. 2 pick (Samman, Hall) and … each team’s last pick (Dylan Andrews, Kelvin Gastelum). So the fairest thing would be Samman-Gastelum and Hall-Andrews. Right?
The guys come in. Samman says everyone knows the final is made for him and Hall. He wants to beat Gastelum and set up the “biggest finale in TUF history.” Andrews says nothing. Hall can’t stand Josh and wants to fight him, but he knows that’s just an emotional thing. Gastelum wants Andrews because he thinks he can beat him. When the other options are Samman and Hall, that makes sense.
But the coaches want to see their top guys fight right away. Will Dana go with his coaches or his promotional instincts telling him a Samman-Hall finale could be huge?
The answer is … promotional instincts. It’s Josh vs. Kelvin. Then Uriah vs. Dylan. That’s why Dana makes the big bucks.
He explains: “My educated guess – Josh and Uriah are probably the best. Now we’re going to find out if I’m right or I’m wrong.”
Scenes from the next episode: Only four battle-tested competitors … does anything happen in the house in the last couple of weeks?