Looks like it’ll be a no-nonsense week, with two fights scheduled and the wild card selection, along with a few possible injury replacements.
Well, except that assistant coach Lew Polley directly undercuts Junior dos Santos’ message to the team after Mick’s loss. Junior tries to rebuild them, telling them everyone loses sometimes and you just have to shake them off. Lew follows that up by saying you just have to win, even if you’re a little boring. Junior points out that really wasn’t what he was saying. Lew seems surprised.
Brock Lesnar all but promises Len the wild-card slot because Clay’s hurt and he had a close fight. Len’s excited. Until he goes in the cage in training and ends up hollering in pain, holding his knee.
Clay says his finger looks like it was smashed with a tire iron. But here’s the good news — the finger isn’t broken. It’s just dislocated. The bottom segment of the pinky is in place. The other two are somewhere in California. But that’s GOOD news.
Just as Clay’s getting fixed up, he sees Len roll in on a wheelchair. Clay immediately goes into “You’ve gotta be kidding me” mode. But Len also gets “good” news. His ACL is probably intact.
Back to Junior’s practice, and he says he has just discovered that Lew tried to go to the house by himself. Conversation with assistant in Portuguese follows, and the conclusion is the same as Tito Ortiz eventually heard on The Apprentice. You’re fired.
Lew says he asked Junior the night before he went to the house, and Junior gave permission. Junior doesn’t seem to recall that. “You can leave now.” Lew: “I guess, if I have to.” Junior: “Yeah, you have to.”
Brock is happy to get some good news as Clay and Len walk in with their joints relocated.
Brock also gets to set the second-to-last fight (and the last fight, since only two fighters remain): #3 Brock pick Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Edwards, the replacement who looks a little like Randy Couture.
Last fight: Chuck O’Neil (another replacement) vs. #5 Junior pick Zach Davis. Chuck calls Zach “Gary Busey Jr.”
Brock thinks Tony could win the show. Tony says his first line of defense is his hands, and he shows off some unconventional striking from strange angles with bent hips. Not much leverage on those, but he’ll be hard to hit. And we see later that he has a five-inch reach advantage.
Justin: “I was the alternate to the alternate.” But Brock didn’t get to see him in the evaluations, so he could sneak up on people.
Back in the house, Team Dos Santos is a little sad that Lew’s gone.
Tony shows up to the gym in a shirt and tie. Cut man Stitch Duran gets a rare line, saying he’s the best-dressed man he has ever prepped for a fight.
Justin utters several different permutations of the stock “I’m a nice guy in real life but a monster in the cage” speech. He’s also 6-0 in the cage, with a win over Josh Rafferty and another win in Bellator.
Round 1: Josh Rosenthal is the ref, and they’re well underway trading punches while the announcer is still giving the sponsor message. Tony has the early edge, but Justin gets a good right and takes control with a clinch. Justin could use some more head movement against a guy with a long jab. He puts both arms in front of his face and takes a punch to the ear. That prompts him to take Tony down, but Tony pops right back up. The coaches perk up: “Take him down!” “No, you take him down!” (That’s about as much trash talk as we’ve seen exchanged between Messrs Lesnar and Dos Santos this season.) Justin gets the takedown and starts maneuvering for better ground and pound.
Boom. Upkick from Tony. Justin crumples. Rosenthal jumps in. It’s over.
In Brock’s confessional, he confesses that he doesn’t even know what happened. With a smile, he asks if he can see the replay.
Dana White is enthused, congratulating Tony and wishing him happy birthday. He also points to Justin to say “Great fight.” Junior tells Justin he was winning the fight until Tony got lucky.
On to Fight #2 and Chuck O’Neil, who’s playing up the jokester image. He said Charlie looks like a salamander, and Charlie apparently thought a salamander was a fish. But he’s also a beast in the cage, and Brock is particularly impressed with his grappling.
We learn little about Zach, though he also is a nice guy. Brock thinks he’s a klutz.
Round 1: Zach immediately grabs Chuck around the waist and takes him down. He flirts with side control, but Chuck walks up the fence to stand up. We clinch. Zack uses a couple of knees. Chuck reverses and grabs a leg, then loses it. Zach gets another takedown, landing in Chuck’s guard. Zach has a very neatly printed VALE TUDO up his shin, which gives Josh Rosenthal something to read while he’s warning them to advance positions. Zach stands and kicks Chuck’s legs, then hits him as he stands. They scramble, and Chuck lands a flurry of punches on the ground. He gets in Zach’s guard and seems to be doing well. Unfortunately, he fails to defend the triangle choke. Tap.
Once again, Dana is thrilled. For some reason, he winds up back in the hallway where Chuck is racing back to the dressing room. “Great fight,” Dana says thrice. Chuck hears none of it, getting into the room and letting the profanity fly.
Chuck: “If that impressed anybody, I’m going to wow some freaking socks off if I get another shot.”
Dana calls in the coaches, then Justin Edwards. Dana tells Justin the coaches picked him for the wild card. Yeah! But … the commission suspended him. 90 days. Can’t go.
The other six come in one by one to try to one-up in each other in convincing Dana they want the fight. And Dana’s not that impressed.
Brock says Len would be the first pick, but he’s a little worried about the chip on his shoulder.
Dana says coaches are always fighting with each other over the wild-card picks. Not Brock and Dos Santos. It’s a very pleasant business meeting.
And the wild cards are: Javier Torres and Chuck O’Neil. Javier is a minor surprise, having lost a snoozer against Chris Cope, though at least he took it to a third round. Chuck is less of a surprise. Justin wasn’t cleared to fight. Nordin hasn’t been heard from since his dull Week 1 loss. Charlie was unimpressive in his loss. Mick frankly deserved a third round of a decent fight but didn’t get it.
Who have we forgotten? Someone who lost a mildly controversial majority decision without getting a third round? Oh, right …
Len is not happy. “Honestly, I’m confused.” And in scenes from next week, Len confronts Brock.
And for some reason, the coaches challenge is on a football field. One of these guys nearly made an NFL team. It wasn’t the one from Brazil.