‘The Ultimate Fighter’: Season 11, Episode 9: If only Tito could burn the tape

Two quarterfinals and the explanation of what happened to Tito Ortiz to scrub his fight with fellow coach Chuck Liddell? Seems promising.

Must be busy, because we start with a weigh-in. Kyle Noke and Kris McCray are bummed because they’re buddies, and they have to fight. They’re also two of the best guys on the show, and one of them has to go out early.

Tito went to his neck doctor, and they want to do surgery. He says he has fought hurt for the last six years and doesn’t want to fight Chuck at less than 100 percent. Someone on the Web is surely cataloging all of Tito’s devastating setbacks and miraculous recoveries. I’ve written at least one of them.

Seems anticlimactic, doesn’t it?
Continue reading ‘The Ultimate Fighter’: Season 11, Episode 9: If only Tito could burn the tape

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‘The Ultimate Fighter’: Quarterfinal catchup

Quick look at the quarterfinal matchups, posted here so I can focus on the Tito drama in tonight’s recap (if the previews are to be believed):

* Court McGee (Liddell) def. James Hammortree (Ortiz), submission
* Kyle Noke (Liddell) vs. Kris McCray (Ortiz)
* Brad Tavares (Liddell) vs. Seth Baczynski (Ortiz)
* Josh Bryant (Liddell) vs. Jamie “Crabman” Yager (Ortiz)

Noke-McCray

Noke has been a forgotten man this season, appearing little on screen since dismantling Clayton McKinney in the first fight of the first round. All else we know about him: He was Chuck Liddell’s first pick, and he was a bodyguard for Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter himself. Noke spent much of his screen time in that first episode thanking the late Irwin for his support. His resume includes a draw against current Bellator champ Hector Lombard and and a win over George Sotiropoulos.

McCray, for me, is the local guy, living a county or two away and fighting in the local UWC. He had a good record of winning fights in rapid fashion until Josh Bryant shocked him by surviving the first round and finding McCray’s gas tank empty. He got a wild-card slot and returned to fight Kyacey Uscola, again going to the second round but getting a solid submission win.

This should be the highlight of the quarterfinals.

Tavares-Baczynski

Tavares is part of Team Crabman / Team Yager, the unofficial group of pranksters and yappers who were irritating in the first few episodes but have faded into the background. He won a close decision over James Hammortree, perhaps not deserving a third round but taking full advantage of the opportunity. The coaches seem impressed with Tavares.

Baczynski came into the house to replace Chris Camozzi, who won his prelim fight but broke his jaw and couldn’t continue. Baczynski lost his prelim fight to Court McGee, which looks less and less negative as McGee progresses through the tournament. Personality-wise, we don’t know much.

Bryant-Yager

Bryant won a tough prelim fight to get into the house, then surprised everyone by outlasting McCray.

Yager was marching steadily down the Josh Koscheck / Junie Browning road to infamy with a couple of early pranks and feuds, but he has either settled down or become less interesting to the camera crew and directors. His personality may be grating, but he has looked sharp in two brief appearances in the cage.

‘The Ultimate Fighter’: Season 11, Episode 2: Get off my back!

We met our 14 fighters last time as they won their way into the house. Now we’ll see what they’re really like.

Clayton McKinney, who stands out with the brightly dyed hair typical of the Tom Lawlor-Seth Petruzelli Jungle MMA camp, leads the charge into the house. Did Lawlor tell him which room to pick?

Injury update: Chris Camozzi has an infection from breaking a tooth in his bout. McKinney has a shoulder problem.

Off to team selection we go, and both coaches look prepared. Dana White decides first pick with a coin flip, which seems too conventional. Shouldn’t they arm-wrestle or compare film resumes or something? Tito Ortiz wins and has the option of picking first fighter or first matchup. He goes with first fighter, and it’s Nick Ring, who indeed looked impressive and has good credentials.

Chuck Liddell picks Kyle Noke, the guy who has a couple of decent names on his fight record. Tito goes for experience with Kyacey Uscola, who’s 18-15. Chuck follows with Rich Attonito, which is a surprise because Kris McCray is still out there and because he won his prelim with less striking and more wrestling, impressing Ortiz.

Tito, smartly, picks Kris McCray, the undefeated pro who wins fights in the blink of an eye. Chuck takes Charles Blanchard.

Continue reading ‘The Ultimate Fighter’: Season 11, Episode 2: Get off my back!