We start fast, with Zach telling us he may keep things standing against Chuck since he took him down last time. In other words, he wants to do the opposite of what he did when he beat him.
Chuck says he’s giving half of his win bonus to Charlie because Charlie has been going through a rough child support situation. Charlie says he can’t take it.
Quick look at training: Brock tells Chuck to use his head to pin Zach’s head against the cage.
Then we’re already at the walkout for the fight, though Zach puts a couple of holes in the perennially flimsy UFC Training Center doors on his way to the cage.
Returning from the ad break, we get a few more reminders that Chuck’s nickname is “Cold Steel.” He also has more experience than Zach.
Round 1: Zach immediately lands a sharp jab and fares pretty well in the stand-up. Chuck lands a good leg kick. Zach takes him to the cage to land some solid knees, and Chuck is showing little capacity to get out. Ref Steve Mazzagatti gets bored nearly halfway through the round and returns them to the center, where we see a cut under Zach’s left eye. They trade again, and Chuck lands a good variety of strikes. One punch staggers Zach, who comes back with a takedown attempt and again puts Chuck against the cage. His position isn’t as good this time, and Chuck lands a lot of hammerfists. They break, and Chuck lands a powerful combo that sends Zach reeling. And another. The last 20 seconds is a barrage from Chuck. The only bad news for Brock’s fighter is that he seems tired when he gets back to the corner. 10-9 Chuck
Between rounds, Brock tells Chuck that Zach’s tired. Junior, perhaps for the first time all season, sounds mad at someone other than Lew Polley and the judges, telling Zach he HAS to take Chuck down.
Round 2: Well, Zach gets down, but it’s the result of a leg kick that his him awkwardly. Chuck gets on top for a few seconds but lets him up. Chuck again staggers Zach, but Junior’s fighter responds with a near-takedown. Chuck manages to pick his way out, and we repeat — Chuck 1-2, Zach takedown attempt, Zach pressing Chuck to the cage. Chuck reverses momentarily but can’t keep Zach against the cage. That’s all Zach can manage, though — he’s the living picture of a tired fighter leaning on his opponent. They slow-dance a bit more, and Mazzagatti has again seen enough. They go back to the center, where Zach will need a miracle in the last 90 seconds. He lands one nice punch up the middle, but Chuck bides his time and then responds. Then another Chuck combo with 20 seconds left. Zach shoots, and Chuck immediately scrambles away. Horn sounds, and Zach immediately hangs his head.
They don’t even go to the pretense of pretending we might have a third round. They go straight to the fight recap, and it’s all Chuck.
And yes, it’s 20-18 across the board for Chuck O’Neil, who put on a performance that will earn him a couple of UFC paydays. The former alternate and wild card is now a semifinalist.
Doctor checks out Chuck. “Headache?” “No. A little horny, though.”
“Cold Steel,” yes, but the wit is still there.
Immediately to the second fight, and Brock is a little concerned that Tony gets too fancy when he has a dominant position.
But after the break, we get a quick look in the house with a lot of Miller Lite placement. Chuck pays tribute to Zach’s toughness.
Then the bad news — Zach tore BOTH retinas. He had immediate surgery, and the doctors say he can’t fight any more. Chuck hears the news and gives Zach a sympathetic hug.
Two words for Zach: Second opinion.
Junior and Ryan posit him as the underdog. That’s a little strange for Junior’s second pick and the guy who took out Brock’s top pick, Len Bentley.
Ryan also tears up talking about his daughter, to whom he has been writing letters in the hopes that she’ll read them later and know how much he was thinking of her during this six-week experience.
Round 1 … oh, it’s over. Tony lands an uppercut that staggers Ryan and finishes up.
Junior consoles Ryan and tells him never to give up. Then he asks everyone to put all their positive energy toward Ramsey.
Yes, Ramsey is the only Dos Santos fighter remaining in the competition. Call it the curse of Lew Polley. Anyone who thought Brock was embarrassing himself should be thinking again.
Dana says the coaches think Ramsey and Tony are the best fighters here. Dana doesn’t necessarily disagree, but he’s impressed with Chuck and says Chris just keeps beating the odds.
Matchups: Ramsey vs. Chris Cope, Tony vs. Chuck.
So that’s a wrap, and … oh, wait. We haven’t had the drunken brawl we were promised in the previews.
Ramsey strips on the pool table and is doused with various beverages. Everyone’s having fun.
Until … Charlie pours a drink in Tony’s hair. Tony charges him, falling over a sofa and into a coffee table that luckily doesn’t shatter. We hear people yelling to restrain Tony as we go to commercial. Are we going to see a Jesse Taylor-style removal from the house? We’ll find out after Schick razors take a page from the Axe “use this product and have sex” advertising book.
Charlie tries to calm Tony down. Tony isn’t responding. Then the talk starts. Tony brings up Charlie’s kid, possibly the worst below-the-belt argument since Bobby Southworth yelled “fatherless bastard” at Chris Leben in Season 1. Tony keeps yelling, “Hit me and see your kid!”
The rest of the house is shocked. Shamar says he lost a lot of respect for Tony.
Tony comes back in the house and keeps talking about Charlie’s son. Charlie has to be held back, but Clay looks ready to take on Tony himself.
Chuck was initially reluctant to fight his teammate. Not any more. Chuck says he’s ready to “take away Tony’s dreams.” And the rest of the house is surely pulling for him.
You wanted drama this season? You’ve got it. And Tony has some explaining to do.