The Ultimate Fighter: Season 13 Episode 7: “It’s Just Good to Win”

Previously on TUF, the prelims ended with exciting finishes from Tony Ferguson and Zach Davis. Len made his case to be the wild-card pick, but Brock didn’t back him up, citing his need to make excuses. Tonight, Chuck and Javier to fight to make that final spot while Junior and Brock hit the gridiron for the Coaches’ Challenge.

Right out of the gate, Len chases Dana down to plead his case. But Dana is like, “Too little, too late.” He points out that Len was not convincing when he called the guys back. If he had approached Dana two hours sooner, he’d have been in. Too bad, cry baby. And Brock reminds them all of this — that they EACH had their chance in their fight. They shouldn’t hang their heads, but hey, it was their own fault.

And Len does NOT let it go. He talks the ear off of anyone who will listen, claiming that 1) no one fought better, 2) no one else fought harder and 3) his fight wasn’t “finished”. To stir the pot, Len is told “why” the coaches didn’t choose him. Now he wants to confront Brock, claiming that he’s not afraid of someone who has fewer fights than him. (Um, you should be, buddy).

Javier is very glad to be getting a second chance. Back in training, it is clear that he is giving 100% and does not want this opportunity to be wasted.

Later, Len shows up at the gym to talk to Brock. Len was under the belief that Brock was behind him and was going to fight for him to be picked for the wild-card. He belittles Brock’s coaching skills, claiming that he only plays the coach role when the cameras are around. Then he strolls right on up to him and does not mince words. But Brock has an answer that he can’t dispute. Len’s knee is a risk. Dana had liked Len to fight, but he also wants someone who is healthy — and that’s not Len. What is Len’s response? Not a whole lot.

Brock questions Chuck’s motivations. While Len is pestering him about why he didn’t get picked, Chuck is sitting on the bike with an air of not caring a bit whether he fights or not. This gives Brock pause, making him wonder if he made the right choice. But in Chuck’s next interview, he claims to be anxious to take on Javier. We shall see….

In training Chuck for Javier, they choose to focus on the things that they felt were weakest from his first fight. Whereas before he seemed to ignore their coaching, this time he’s really listening to them and he’s doing what he’s told. This boosts Brock’s confidence in him.

Back at the house, we finally have some drama. Chris Cope has been screaming to wake people up from day 1. It has come to the point where Shamar can’t take it anymore and just has to say something, hoping to fight him to just shut the scream up once and for all. Chris sincerely apologizes and says he won’t do it in the house again. Really? That’s it?

It’s now time for the Coaches’ Challenge: Football! The teams show up at the local high school’s field (which just happened to have been attended by Dana, the Fertittas and their wives). The challenge is to complete a series of football obstacles and make it back the fastest. Winning coach gets $10K, their team gets $1,500 each.

And they’re off….both guys are making it through the obstacles pretty quickly, though Brock has an easier time with the tackling dummies. It’s the field goal that gives them both trouble, missing a couple shots each. Junior finally makes it and it’s on to the quarterback throw. Junior also does this first, then making it into the end zone to receive a pass. He runs it back easily, but high-tails it when he sees Brock not far behind him. As he celebrates with his team, he even displays a little end zone shuffle. Brock sums it up, “I think we both sucked, he just got a little luckier.” The nice guy that Junior is, he even gives a little of the money to his other coaches. Wow, has that ever been done in TUF history?

When the fun and games are over, it’s back to work for the weigh-ins. Dana assesses both guys — He felt that Javier looked like shit in his first fight, but since Junior has faith in him, so does he. Chuck, however, looked like a well-rounded fighter to Dana and he definitely has more confidence in him.

FIGHT DAY

ROUND 1
Feeling each other out, O’Neill is the first to strike, followed by a straight kick from Torres. O’Neill goes offensive, swinging back and pushing Torres back to the cage. In the clinch, O’Neill looks for a sweep and works hard to get Torres down. Torres gets control and lands some nice knees. O’Neill gets in a few as well. O’Neill now spins into control still looking for the takedown. Torres backs away and they exchange a few jabs. Torres connects and gets O’Neill backpedaling into the clinch again. The both struggle for control while O’Neill is obsessively trying to sweep Torres. In the meantime, Torres connects with several knees, one of which inadvertently lands in O’Neill’s groin. After a break, O’Neill comes at Torres with a head kick that is checked. O’Neill continues to be offensive with a pair of spinning back kicks. Finally Torres retaliates with a head kick of his own, but it falls short. They continue to exchange at the center, with O’Neill being more aggressive. He lands a nice leg kick and then a great body kick. O’Neill swings and misses, which sets Torres charging at him. Back against the cage, they both alternate with some knees. O’Neill sneaks a few shots to Torres’s head and this time Torres looks for the takedown. The round ends back in the clinch with O’Neill peppering Torres’s face.

ROUND 2
A straight jab from O’Neill starts the round. Both are tentative though, until O’Neill connects with a hard right followed by a big body kick. Torres not fighting back much. O’Neill lands a combo and finally Torres attacks. He pushes O’Neill back and gets him down with side control. O’Neill scrambles and Torres tries to take his back but O’Neill shakes him off. O’Neill returns the favor, taking Torres down. From his back, Torres tries to look for a triangle, but can’t. O’Neill tries to spin into side control but is stuck in Torres’s half guard. O’Neill lays on Torres, keeping his right arm pinned while getting in some body shots. O’Neill tries to get his leg out when Torres loosens up a bit and nearly mounts him but Torres latches back on. O’Neill climbs up on Torres and sneaks his arms up and around to look for the choke. He pulls tight and Torres quickly taps.

Winner: Chuck O’Neill via Submission (choke)

Finally, Chuck listened to Brock and it paid off in spades. He avenged his loss and avenged it well. While Javier liked to push up on his opponents to control them, Chuck had an answer for everything. He pushed right back.

Going into the finals, both teams have 4 wins. Dana decides who will fight who in the quarterfinals:

Clay vs. Ramsey (Tough guy vs. tougher guy)
Chris vs. Shamar (Grudge match)
Chuck vs. Zach (Rematch!)
Tony vs. Ryan (The guy who could win it all vs. the guy who came back from losing)

Next week: Brock and Junior are dead even going into the quarterfinals. First up will be the wrestler vs. the striker when Ramsey takes on Clay. In the same episode, Shamar will get his chance to shut Chris up once and for all.

The Ultimate Fighter: Season 13 Episode 2: “Suck it Up”

Previously on TUF, the 14 hopefuls arrived at the gym and were quickly put to the test by the coaches. Already, Myles Jury is out due to a knee injury, making the way for his replacement, Chuck O’Neill. And by the show’s end, Team Dos Santos takes the quick lead over Team Jackson when first pick Shamar Bailey ekes out a decision over last pick Nordin Asrih. Who will be the next to fall?

Tonight, Team Dos Santos is off to train with some seriously hardcore workouts that include big cardio and big lifting. The guys are happy with their initial win, but they do not want to rest on their laurels. They continue to work hard, but several teammates and coaches are worried about Keon’s mental state. He just doesn’t seem all there. He admits that his mind just isn’t in it — it’s with his family.

Brock expected Nordin to lose the fight, but still, he hates to lose (as if anyone likes it). He wants to use what little time he has to lead these “kids” (as he calls them) in the right direction. The way he sees them, they all lack wrestling skills and that is going to be their focus. However, as the so pithy Brock puts it, “You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken s**t.” Deep, Brock, real deep.

By the day’s end, Keon approaches Junior and has decided that he wants to give up and go back to his family. Junior tries to convince him to stay, but he still seems on the fence. Shamar makes a good point — he’s a grown man and has to make his own decisions. If he needs to be talked into staying, maybe he just doesn’t belong there. And then Dana shows up at practice looking for Keon — perhaps he will make the decision for him.

Keon has a little heart to heart with Dana, and it doesn’t take much for Dana to convince him to suck it up and do what he’s got to do. So it looks like he’s staying after all.

Now it’s time for Team Dos Santos to pick the next fight. The choose Javier Torres (one of Team Dos Santos’s best) to fight Chris Cope (Lesnar’s next to last pick). One advantage that Javier has over Chris is in the coaching — one of JDS’s coaches actually trained with Chris for a year and knows his weaknesses well. As long as he sticks to the plan, he should win.

With Keon’s decision to stay, he continues with practice, but it seems as though the pressure has gotten to him again. Apparently we spoke too soon earlier. He talks to Junior and wants to go home. Who is Junior to stop him? So he lets him go. Keon admits that he might not get a chance like this again, but he needs to be with his family now. Really? Has he not seen the show before? How do you not know what you’re getting into?

At Team Lesnar’s training, Chris admits that he’s a “part-time fighter” because he’s got an 8-hour-a-day job. But he’s not letting that hold him back. To give his team a morale boost, Brock gives them a speech about not letting the underdog mentality get to them. As he says, “any given Sunday.” Anyone can win, at any time. Even the greatest champions have had losing moments (a moment of humility for Brock? Touching.). It’s entirely up to Chris to make the decision once he steps in the cage.

FIGHT DAY

ROUND 1
Both dance a bit, but finally Torres strikes first with a series of short jabs. He gets Cope against the cage and tries to work his body, alternating between knees and jabs. Cope counters while Torres maintains control. After much of nothing, they return to the center and exchange several short shots. Torres gets Cope against the cage again and manages to sweep a leg for the take down. Cope rolls and briefly allows Torres to take his back. But Cope is able to get back up and they clinch again. A big swinging right separates them and leads to a few misplaced throws. Cope gets Torres backing up this time and controls him against the cage. He starts looking for the sweep while keeping control. The clinching continues, with control alternating, but neither advancing their position. The round ends with the guys on their feet and a last second leg kick from Cope.

ROUND 2
Cope attacks first and with a nice jab combo. The briefly clinch, but return to standing quickly. A nice leg kick from Torres sounds painful. Torres checks a body kick from Cope. And they are back against the cage with Torres in control. Torres seems to be “resting” a lot, while Cope throws some knees and elbows. Cope seems to have more control and Torres seems more gassed. Torres attempts a superman punch that fails. Cope keeps at Torres with several kicks, and has Torres backing up a lot. A big swing from Cope pushes Torres back to the cage where he can’t keep Torres pinned long. Back away, Torres lands a sweeping leg kick that gets Cope off balance, but he regains it quickly. Torres charges forward and clinches, but can’t do much and the round ends with Cope in control.

No surprise that the judges have called the fight a draw; there will be another (boring) round.

ROUND 3
The round starts with a several uncountered leg kicks from Cope. A failed superman punch leads to a leg kick for Torres that doesn’t connect. (And another superman punch…really?). Cope gets control on the cage and it starts to look like he’s getting him down, but they’re back up quickly. A glancing shot to Torres’s family jewels breaks them up for a second, but once they restart Cope is pumped to keep going. This round is truly a repeat of Round 2. Cope is doing all the work and Torres is backpedaling a lot. Torres is completely gassed. Cope lands a few leg kicks, backs Torres up against the cage and lands a nice uppercut. The round ends unimpressively.

Winner: Chris Cope via Decision

A completely unimpressive fight (especially given the hype behind Javier). Javier had virtually no game. And like Brock said, there was nothing pretty about Chris’s win. The only thing Chris had going for him was that he clearly had more stamina — Javier’s cardio gave out after the first round and that is why Chris was able to win.

Javier is disappointed that he lost control for the team, though Coach Lou seems to take it the hardest and doesn’t let Javier forget it. But Team Chicken Shit Lesnar is elated to finally have it. And their excitement is felt all over the gym.

Two weeks in and two very dreadful fights. Please tell me there is some talent hiding in that house somewhere. Or else this is going to be a long season.

Next week: Team Dos Santos welcomes a new fighter to replace Keon. Coach Lou takes training too far. Household drama spills over into the gym. Oh and there’s another fight too…