Before tonight’s episode of TUF, in the wildcard Chuck O’Neil transformed from “Trash-bag Charlie” to “Cold Steel” as he choked out Javier Torres in convincing fashion. And in tonight’s first quarterfinal fight, quiet ninja Ramsey Nijem takes on tough guy Clay Harvison, while Shamar Bailey finally gets his wish, as he looks to shut up Chris Cope in the cage.
From the beginning of the episode, there are concerns. Shamar admits that he’s got some pain in his back and fears that he’s pushed himself too hard. But he’s will to fight through the pain to fight Crhis and to shut him up once and for all.
At Team Dos Santos training, Junior works with Ramsey on his stand-up, knowing that that is likely where Clay will try to keep the fight. Junior considers Ramsey to be the best wrestler on his team, so if he’s able to get Clay he knows it’ll be all over. With family from war-torn Palestine, he sees wrestling as a survival skill and is really just happy to be fighting in a cage and not for his life. How many guys can say that?
Later, Dana brings Brian Stann in for a surprise visit to speak with the guys. As a Marine prior to fighting, he talks about all the things that he learned from being in the military and how he has used those skills to his advantage — namely the discipline. He stresses the importance of dedication, the training and making the right decisions. Brock jokes at the end that maybe some of the guys could benefit from enlisting.
Brock gets Clay and Chris together to work on their wrestling. Clay needs some work, especially knowing how good Ramsey is at it. Brock is pleased to see how quickly Clay is picking up some of the takedown defense moves. He hopes that stuffing his takedowns will help to discourage Ramsey and leave him open for Clay’s stand-up.
After the weigh-ins, Ramsey is complaining about feeling sick (I think we could’ve done without the belching, thanks!) but he’s pumped and ready to fight.
They both swing big and miss right away but Ramsey quickly has Clay down. Ramsey swings around and tries to mount Clay’s back. He nearly gets shaken off, but quickly remounts with one leg locked around. Clay is on all fours, allowing Ramsey to pepper him with headshots. Clay sprawls and opens himself up too much allowing Ramsey to get his arms under his chin. Ramsey pulls tight and Clay taps almost immediately.
Clay is pissed at himself for losing to “Stripper Ramsey” but Dana pats him on the back, and tells him not to be upset considering he was fighting a week after busting his knuckle. Brock is very nonchalant about the loss, but when away from Clay all but calls him an idiot for giving up his back to a wrestler. Even Chris tries to make an excuse out of Clay’s knuckle. Hey guys, how about giving Ramsey some credit?
Next to fight will be Shamar, who Junior has the utmost confidence in. Shamar is using Chris’s tendency to scream at random moments as his motivation to beat him. His gameplan is to keep him backpedaling and off balance on his feet, and to then take him down to finish him off. He believes it is pretty much his fight for the taking.
Despite Shamar’s hatred for Chris, the feeling is not mutual. Brock’s advice to Chris is to continue pestering him. But wisely, Chris sees that he has nothing to lose in this fight but everything to gain which is exactly the opposite for Shamar. His plan is to keep fending Shamar off and wearing him out. Brock tells him he’s just got to “own Burger King.” Dana wonders if Chris, who is just having fun with it all, can expose Shamar as the very one-sided fighter he saw in the first fight.
Shamar comes out swinging and pushing Chris back as he said he would. Chris just keeps circling to avoid it. Shamar reaches in but misses. Shamar’s looking anxious and trying to pick his shots but he looks impatient. Chris finally throws a combo and Shamar shoots at his waist. Pegging him against the cage with one leg up, Shamar allows Chris to pepper his head and body with short shots. Shamar holds onto that one leg and struggles to get Chris down, but Chris sprawls. Chris pulls away and they return to center. More dancing and circling, until Shamar unleashes a combo that backs Chris up. In the clinch, they both land a few knees. Shamar has control, but Chris is the one landing shots and staying busy. Chris frees himself and dances around the cage which looks like is frustrating Shamar. He keeps dropping his guard. Shamar charges again, and allows Chris to land several hammer fists while on the cage. In a final push, Shamar shoots, but once again is unable to do much as the round ends.
Uh, what was that Shamar?
And the dance continues. A nice exchange where both land a couple jabs. Shamar goes in and Chris catches him with a right. Chris is staying light and avoiding Shamar’s shots. Shamar throws a right, and Chris throws 2. Shamar shoots and they clinch where they alternate knees. Shamar changes his mind and backs off. Chris swings big, but Shamar ducks in time. A combo from Chris lands this time. Now Chris is going offensive, but Shamar decides to shoot. The clinch doesn’t last though and they stay on their feet. They’re both swinging big, but Chris is always throwing combos instead of Shamar’s single jabs. A big overhand from Chris misses. With a minute left, they clinch and Shamar is bleeding. They briefly stand, but Shamar shoots again and the round ends as Chris is landing hammer after hammer.
Winner: Chris Cope via Decision
Shamar’s gameplan = gone out the window. Shamar couldn’t control the stand-up. Chris stuffed every one of Shamar’s takedowns. While Shamar had a lot of the control, he just couldn’t overcome Chris.
JDS is shocked with end result, but in reality, Shamar couldn’t win it. He got showed up. Shamar catches Dana and says that he wanted to show the judges a different side of his game, that he’s not just a wrestler and that he could’ve taken Chris down if he wanted. Dana points out that he did try several times to take Chris down, but Shamar explains that he pulled something in his back. So which is it Shamar? You could have taken him down but you chose not to? Or your back was hurt so you couldn’t do it? Excuses, excuses….
Looks like Chris will not be shutting up any time soon
Next: With the pressure mounting, Tony goes ballistic. Then two more quarterfinal fights: Cold-Steel Chuck O’Neil takes on Zach Davis in a rematch and Tony Ferguson fights Ryan McGillivray. The show will end with the semi-final fight announcements. Eight episodes in and the fights are finally getting better!