Episode 11 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17: "Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen" was back on the airwaves on Tuesday evening (April 2, 2013) via FX Channel, featuring two fights in one show as Josh Samman battled Jimmy Quinlan and Uriah Hall took on Robert McDaniel.
Action got underway in the TUF gym as Coach Jon Jones tries to talk "Bubba" down from the ledge. Apparently, the wildcard winner is suffering from physical injuries that have compounded his mental anxiety that stems from getting paired off against Uriah.
McDaniel is convinced UFC President Dana White made the match-up to "get rid of him." Off camera, Clint Hester, who was nearly picked over Bubba for the wildcard fight, stays ready (and in shape) in case his successor cracks under the pressure.
Time will tell.
On the other side of the bracket, Josh Samman continues to talk the talk and dismisses Jimmy's chances, anticipating a wrestling-based attack out of fear of getting KTFO. The big question now is, will Josh's previous injuries come back to haunt him in this fight?
Quinlan, labeled as "dog tough" by Coach Chael Sonnen, admits his striking attack consists of him running straight at his opponent with nothing technical involved. He also says he has no gameplan other than going into the Octagon and hoping things work out.
It actually sounds convincing in his Boston accent.
Bubba heads to the doctor -- not to chicken out -- but to play it safe because his back hurts and he's afraid his kidneys might be in jeopardy. Now his fate lies with the attending physician which is never a good sign. Between him and Samman it's like a game of injury one-upmanship.
So far Josh is in the lead because he's actually fighting.
Quarterfinal fight #3: Josh Samman (Team Jones) vs. Jimmy Quinlan (Team Sonnen)
Round 1: Jimmy lumbers in and slugs Josh, then scoops him up over his head and slams him down. Josh using his legs to defend and drives elbows into the ribs. Jimmy finally gets side control but Samman works to half guard and tries for the triangle choke. Someone is bloody. It actually looks like Josh is menstruating because of the blood on his crotch. Quinlan has control but isn't doing much with it. Samman busy from the bottom and we've seen judges reward that in previous episodes. Coach Sonnen calls his fighter "Jimbo" which is the highlight of Quinlan's offense. He jumps out to side control then gets tangled up in transition. Samman escapes and goes bat-shit crazy with strikes, driving Jimmy into the fence and unleashing knees. Quinlan takes one too many and collapses into a heap. Samman takes his back and starts dropping bombs. With just seconds left in the round, Jimmy taps to strikes. Yep.
Josh Samman def. Jimmy Quinlan via submission (strikes)
Samman says he "made a statement" by finishing both of his fights. They shake hands and resume their bromance back in the locker room. Dana acts shocked that Jimmy tapped and even Quinlan admits he quit. No time to dwell on that, however, as we still have another fight in the can.
Assuming Bubba can fight.
His blood work comes back aces and now he has no reason (aside from nerves) to pull out of the fight. Jones wants Bubba to make it more of a mixed martial arts contest and less of a striking exchange. The word "grinding" was used. A "confident" Uriah likes the idea that he's in his opponent's head.
We'll see how it plays out inside the cage.
Time for the weigh in and Gilbert Smith predicts Bubba will get knocked out in the first 10 seconds. Adam Cella calls McDaniel a "head case" heading into this fight. Only Josh Samman is pulling for him (figures), but Coach Jones was disappointed in his pupil's "submissive" body language during the staredown.
Quarterfinal fight #4: Bubba McDaniel (Team Jones) vs. Uriah Hall (Team Sonnen)
Round 1: Touch of gloves and that's all the offense Bubba will get in. Uriah smokes him in the first exchange and the fight is over.
Uriah Hall def. Bubba McDaniel via knockout
Chael calls Uriah a title contender in the UFC's 185-pound division. Bubba's eye is a mess but he appears to be okay. Looks like Gilbert Smith is pretty good at calling fights. Dana White calls Uriah "vicious, quick and nasty" and the meanest dude in TUF history.
Uriah is excited for the victory but feels bad for Bubba, calling his win "bittersweet."
Now it's time to pick the semifinal match-ups which means Jones, Sonnen and Uncle Dana must have a backstage pow-wow to determine the pairings. Not surprisingly, the boss wants to save Josh Samman and Uriah Hall for the live finale and doesn't pit them against one another (overruling his coaches).
That leaves us with...
Josh Samman vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Uriah Hall vs. Dylan Andrews
Tune in next week to see who graduates to the last hurrah!