The Ultimate Fighter 17, Episode 11: Bubba bounced

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?

The Ultimate Fighter 17, Episode 7: Bones does not know

We recap, and then Josh Samman, still in a towel in his post-victory whatever, starts planning matchups. What was Jon Jones saying about him coaching too much?

The gang goes to Hooters, and while I don’t make moral judgments, I refuse to acknowledge anything that takes place at a chain restaurant that encourages men to treat women as objects.

Actually, I may have gained some respect for Uriah Hall, who refused to join the gang for a photo with Hooters women.

Then it gets serious. Samman, who had a major problem with a blood clot, has pain in his leg. He gets it checked out. Nothing serious. But he gets to chill in a hospital bed for a bit.

Jimmy Quinlan, tonight’s underdog fighter, talks about going through the police academy after college. But like Forrest Griffin, he decided to go for the fighting thing first. (Unlike Forrest, as far as we know, he has a job waiting for him if the fighting thing doesn’t work out.)

Chael Sonnen goes through the fight plan, which we already knew. Quinlan is great on the ground. Clint Hester, his opponent and much-heralded top pick, comes from a boxing background. So Quinlan isn’t going to have much interest in standing toe to toe with him.

We meet Clint Hester, from my home state of Georgia. He used to hang out with smaller kids and threaten the guys who bullied them. For some reason, I have visions of him beating up Matt Hughes.

Quinlan, on the other hand, is no bully. He jokes that Hester used a bowl reserved for him, so now they’re going to have to fight today. Hester plays along: “OK, 4 o’clock by the monkey bars.”

These guys are almost as fun as the TUF Smashes cast. Probably better fighters.

Fight time. Quinlan shoots for the takedown right away. After some effort, he picks up Hester for a slam. Hester slowly works his way back up. Another slam. Hester gets up again and gets stuck in a clinch with Quinlan. But he’s able to creat some space for his knees, then his fists. The strikes are clearly bothering Quinlan, but he manages to get another takedown. Then another slam. And yet, Quinlan doesn’t seem to have landed a single strike. Hester strikes a few times for the bottom. Quinlan responds by moving down to Hester’s legs, as if to say, “Yeah, I took you down, and you’re still down, but I’m going to take you down AGAIN!”

So it’s a scoring dilemma. Do you favor Quinlan’s takedowns, as Luke “The Mouth of England” Barnatt seems to think?

Round 2, another takedown. And everyone yells at Hester to keep his hand on Quinlan’s head. He doesn’t. Quinlan gets mount. Hester decides to give up his back instead. Quinlan gets the choke, and we have another upset.

“That was a good fight,” says an unidentified voice. No, it wasn’t. It was a wrestler who has no other discernible fighting skills beating a guy who has no idea how to avoid being slammed by a wrestler. And it’s more proof that Jon Jones should just quit making fight matchups and flip a coin.

In fact — you know that bit about the fighters being better than those in TUF Smashes? I take it back. And I take back the bit about Hester beating up Matt Hughes.

Sonnen, as usual, offers up sound analysis. He was impressed with Hester’s striking from odd angles and less impressed with Quinlan’s takedowns. He leans toward Hester in Round 1.

Sonnen and Jones have some good-natured banter about their bowling bet from last week’s episode, and we’re on to the fight announcement. It’s Dylan Andrews vs. Zak Cummings because they’re the only two fighters left. And yet, it’s still probably Jones’s fault.

The closed captioning (yes, I need to keep the volume down) tells us Jones paid tribute to Dylan’s (speaks indistinctly). That’s promising.

Next week, Dana White gives the coaches construction equipment for the coaches’ challenge. This cannot go well.