Episode nine of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17: "Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen" got underway earlier tonight (March 19, 2013), featuring Bubba McDaniel vs. Kevin Casey in the wildcard bout. One of these two men will advance to the semifinals while the other goes home a two-time loser.
Here we go.
The show opens with Casey talking about his shot at redemption and how it came because of skill, not demeanor. McDaniel also wants to erase his memory of his elimination loss, if for nothing else, then to catapult himself into a better life, one that allows him to see his daughter more often.
Coach Jones wonders if the show hasn't gotten into Bubba's head, reminding him what a beast he is in training camp back at Jackson's MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We cut to a commercial and Chuck Liddell is pushing Miller Lite. Then that bearded guy from 300 is saving the White House from terrorists right before a Hooters commercial.
Target demographic FTW!
Back at the house, Josh Samman asks Jimmy Quinlan if he wants to fight him and Jimbo agrees. Was that a call out? Or a mutual understanding? Well, Quinny may have to get in line as Uriah Hall also wants to "beat Josh's ass." Quinlan actually likes that idea after further consideration.
Naturally, no fights can be picked until the wildcard bout is settled.
Coach Sonnen doesn't believe the real Kevin Casey made an appearance his last time out and wants his fighter to perform to the best of his ability. "King" says his loss was a "fluke" and he wants to "outwork" Bubba but also has a cut he needs to protect.
After a commercial break, the gang has a nice Thanksgiving dinner (which just goes to show how long ago this was taped) and "The American Gangster" stands up to make a speech and even convinces Jones he's a nice guy. Mind games before their UFC 159 title fight next month in New Jersey?
Not everyone is happy that it's turkey day, namely Bubba, who's cutting weight for his wildcard fight and can't partake in the food-gorging festivities. Now he's starting to get angry and promises to finish Casey in the second round. In the TUF van, Samman insists he doesn't fear Uriah.
Time for the wildcard weigh ins and both guys hit their marks (186).
As the seconds tick away, we get the standard pre-fight hyperbole, Bubba's going to do this, Kevin's going to do that, yadda, yadda, yadda. Nothing you haven't already heard over the past 16 seasons but hey, they have an hour to fill so we have to grin and bear it.
Bubba McDaniel (Team Jones) vs. Kevin Casey (Team Sonnen) wildcard fight:
Round 1: They immediately clinch and Casey falls into guard. That was weird. Bubba pushes him into the fence but Casey gets to his feet. They hug against the cage. "King" with a nice trip takedown and the camera cuts to Jones and grappling coach Frank Mir, who offer no advice. Kevin rolls into side control and Bubba works his way in and out of guard. For a grappling guy, Casey isn't doing a whole lot on the floor. Someone can be heard sucking wind. Casey postures up then jumps on him. I think you're supposed to punch or something, not just jump back into guard and do nothing. Bubba gets to his feet and rattles off a knee to the gut, then an elbow to the head. Kevin reverses and lays on him against the cage. Bubba walks himself out to the center of the Octagon but Casey swings him around and dumps him on the floor. Round ends with Casey on top applying a headlock. I have it 10-9 Casey.
Round 2: Bubba with a low kick then punches to the dome. They clinch and hug against the wall. Bubba cracks him with a few fists and Casey jumps into a guillotine but fails. Bubba uses the position to mount him and drop elbows. Casey works his way back into guard. This looks like a replay of round one only the roles are reversed. Wait, I take that back, Bubba is actually landing some punches from the top. Slicing elbows find their mark for McDaniel. Casey doing nothing to improve position. He tries to sit up and Bubba bashes him in the face with his fist. Hard elbow to the cheek. Casey wincing at the punishment. 30 seconds left in the round and Kevin is getting beat up. That's the round. 10-9 McDaniel, which would make this a three rounder.
Except it's not!
Kevin Casey quits on the stool. Wow.
That puts Bubba back in the tournament, but he's still got a long climb to the top if he wants to go all the way. For now, the first hurdle is cleared and he can go back and get some of those Thanksgiving leftovers. Casey explains his reason for quitting: kidney failure!
Here comes the ambulance to take him away.
Now it's time to pair up the remaining contestants, so UFC President Dana White calls them in to find out who each one of them wants to fight. After they leave, he consults with the coaches and they try to make sense of the whole thing.
Here are the quarterfinal match-ups:
Josh Samman vs. Jimmy Quinlan
Uriah Hall vs. Bubba McDaniel
After the picks, Hall is bummed that he didn't get Josh and Bubba refers to it as a "bad movie" that was playing out. Some funny business going on behind the scenes, perhaps? Stay tuned next week for two fights: Collin Hart vs. Kelvin Gastelum and Luke Barnatt vs. Dylan Andrews. Hey look, it's Ronda Rousey!
See you in seven!