‘The Ultimate Fighter’: Season 11, Episode 6: Overwork pays off

Since we last saw our 14 confined middleweights, we’ve learned that the Tito Ortiz-Jenna Jameson domestic drama was a misunderstanding. But we still have no idea why Tito has been pulled from his fight against coaching foe Chuck Liddell.

We begin with a debate about the intensity of Tito’s practices. Kyacey Uscola think they’re being overtrained, and he appeals to his experience. Others disagree.

Tito calls a team meeting, which Uscola rightly recognizes as a bus set to roll over him. He tries to make his point, but he obviously has a choice of going to the mat over the issue or letting it go. He chooses the latter. Veteran experience again. He already lost his fight, so his only hope of getting back in through the new “wild card” is to play nice.

We have four remaining fighters for the first round, and we know very little about the two on Chuck’s team aside from their facial hair. Joe “Chris “Jesus” Ferguson” Henle stood out in the promos but hasn’t made a peep since. Same with Court McGee.

Coaches’ Challenge! Most of these are full of dull trash-talking or embarrassing attempts to play volleyball, but Dana White picked dodgeball for this one, and the coaches actually show some athleticism. All looks good for Chuck. Olympic gold medalist boxer Howard Davis Jr. shows he still has the moves in his mid-50s, catching one with ease. Chuck is nailing guys with his throws. Tito tries to claim he wasn’t hit on a 3-on-1,  but Dana White’s not biting. Chuck’s team sweeps the match, 3-0, and the last competition we’re going to see between Chuck and Tito for some time goes Chuck’s way. He does the full Iceman celebration.

Selection time: Chuck picks McGee. He skips the rematch with Seth Baczynski, who returned after losing his three-round prelim fight to McGee when Chris Camozzi left with a broken jaw, and pits McGee against Nick Ring, Tito’s top pick. Ring does a funny “Oh no you didn’t” thing, echoing his willingness to shrug off some sexuality-baiting in Episode 3. Ring also has one of the best resumes of anyone on the show.

While McGee hasn’t said much on the show thus far, he has keeping a witty blog for Sherdog, and he has also been open about struggling with heroin addiction and a few horrifying experiences. He’s shown telling some of his stories to fellow fighters.

Over to Tito’s practice, and we find out which fighter suffers the injury shown in all the ads. It’s James Hammortree, who lost a close decision to Brad Tavares. Ironically … nah, make that coincidentally … Hammortree was wrestling with Kris McCray at the time, and Tito says he was picking between those two guys for the wild-card slot. McCray, though, apologizes profusely, and Hammortree says it wasn’t his fault.

Fighters weigh in on the fight, and it’s obvious Ring is the heavy favorite. In case his heavy accent wasn’t enough to tell us he’s from Canada, he feels obliged to tell us he never really got into hockey. If you’re coming from, say, Jacksonville, that’s not worth mentioning.

Chandella is our Octagon Girl. Ring is taller, but McGee has the reach advantage. Josh Rosenthal is our ref, though he’s not identified.

Fifteen seconds in, McGee shoots and scores the takedown. Ring gets a strong guard, and we have a stalemate that makes Rosenthal impatient. After several pleas from the ref for both fighters to work on improving the position, Ring escapes.

We have another stalemate on the feet, though, with a lot of clinching and a lot of knees that don’t seem to do much. But halfway through the round, McGee is holding his own, if not more.

Then McGee makes a big mistake. He shoots, and Ring ends up on top, applying a guillotine. McGee battles out of it but ends up on his back in half guard. Ring does some decent ground-and-pound for the rest of the round, likely taking it 10-9.

Back for Round 2 and a gratuitous shot of Arianny’s cleavage while the fighters pant in their corners. Ring presses early with a few kicks, mixing leg and head shots. McGee tries a spinning move about a minute in and then starts throwing leather. McGee is landing punches and knees. If it weren’t already 10:52, I’d think this was going to a third round.

Two minutes left, and Ring looks tentative. He’s nowhere near as sharp as he was in his prelim, and we have to wonder if Uscola’s “overtraining” complaint has some merit. The round ends with McGee throwing more.

Tito starts prepping Ring for a third round. Chuck argues with “Crabman” Yager about who won the fight.

Then comes the decision: 20-18 Ring, 19-19, 20-18 for Ring.

So now Chuck is arguing with the judges, asking how in the world they gave the second round to Ring. Good question. If the judges agree with Crabman, their judgment has to be a little off.

Hey! Remember that bit in the ads about some big fight between Liddell and close friend Dana White? Turns out you saw the whole thing in the ads. And there was nothing to it.

Preview: Ring’s apparently banged up, Henle and Baczynski fight (they’re the only two guys left), and we get the wild-card matchup. That’ll start some arguments.

So your first-round results are:

  • Kyle Noke (Liddell) def. Clayton McKinney (Ortiz), submission
  • Brad Tavares (Liddell) def. James Hammortree (Ortiz), close decision
  • Rich Attonito (Liddell) def. Kyacey Uscola (Ortiz), DQ
  • Jamie “Crabman” Yager (Ortiz) def. Charles Blanchard (Liddell), TKO
  • Josh Bryant (Liddell) def. Kris McCray (Ortiz), solid decision
  • Nick Ring (Ortiz) def. Court McGee (Liddell), bogus decision
  • Seth Baczynski (Ortiz) vs. Joe Henle (Liddell), next week
  • Wild-card fight between two defeated fighters

If each coach gets a wild-card pick, you’d have to bet on McCray and McGee out of the eligible fighters so far. Tito all but said McCray is his pick now that Hammortree’s out. Chuck couldn’t have been too impressed with Blanchard, and McGee looked solid in a questionable loss.

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