Episode three of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): “Redemption” was back on FOX Sports 1 last night (Weds., May 3, 2017), featuring a cast of ex-TUF guys trying to redeem themselves and earn another crack at UFC superstardom under the tutelage of head coaches Cody Garbrandt and TJ Dillashaw.
If you missed last week’s episode click here for our complete recap.
We kick things off with the fight announcement for Team Garbrandt’s Mehdi Baghdad (TUF 22) and Team Dillashaw’s Jesse Taylor (TUF 7). It’s the classic battle of striker (former) vs. grappler (latter) and they actually used to train together at Team Quest.
They’ll go head-to-head in welterweight elimination at the end of the episode.
As expected, we get flashbacks of Taylor acting like a lunatic and self destructing on camera during his first run on TUF. Mostly because producers stocked the TUF house with alcohol, hoping someone would act like a lunatic and self destruct on camera.
He was kicked off the show but fought his way back.
Baghdad gets some flashbacks of his own, hearkening back to his decision win over Artem Lobov. He was unable to parlay that momentum into a semifinal run, and blames a tough weight cut down to 155 pounds.
Those days are over.
As per the usual reality show formula, we get the slow piano music and a closer look at Taylor’s children. He is sad about his divorce and losing custody of his kids. Baghdad, meanwhile, has no family or attachments whatsoever and gets no piano solo.
Hey look, a Chris Leben cameo!
Both fighters make weight without incident. Then we get the usual locker room footage of each combatant pounding the pads and getting pumped up by their respective coaches.
Time to fight.
Team Garbrandt’s Mehdi Baghdad (11-5) vs. Team Dillashaw’s Jesse Taylor (30-15)
Round 1: No touch of gloves and Taylor fires right in for a takedown. Baghdad gets put on his ass and Taylor is all over him. Baghdad gives up his back but is able to avoid the rear-naked choke. Taylor dumps him onto the canvas and drops a few elbows. Two minutes down and this round is all “JT Money.” Coach Dillashaw tells Taylor to breathe and Baghdad is cut. Referee warns him to fight back. Baghdad once again gives up his back but this time he’s able to reverse and clamps down a guillotine. Taylor too strong and hulks himself free. They reset and get back to their feet and Taylor shoots once again, muscling Baghdad to the floor and mugging him with bad intentions. He draws a warning for shots to the back of the head. Baghdad gives up his back and Taylor dutifully works for the choke. 30 seconds left and you can argue this is a 10-8 round. The opening frame ends with Baghdad getting smeared across the canvas. “What a round,” coach Dillashaw says proudly.
Round 2: Mehdi is advised to keep a high guard and throw the knee. He unloads one but the shooting Taylor was grounded and we almost had a Weidman-esque controversy. Taylor shoots again and gets jaw-jacked on the way in and collapses on the mat, but recovers quickly and goes right for the takedown. Baghdad grabs the fence but can’t keep himself upright. Taylor working from half guard and Baghdad is simply in survival mode. He tries to stand up but Taylor is too strong and yanks him back down to the floor. Baghdad taking punishment and really has nothing to offer. One minute left in the round and there isn’t much new to report. Taylor is on top making life miserable for Baghdad -- and the fans at home — with his relentless ground-and-pound. Fight ends and this one was not close.
Final result: Taylor def. Baghdad by unanimous decision
Here’s where we stand after episode three:
Seth Baczynski Mehdi Baghdad Eddie Gordon
Team Dillashaw leads Team Garbrandt 3-0.
After the fight, Team Garbrandt mopes around the locker room, having now lost the first three fights of the season. Team Dillashaw, meanwhile, is hootin’ and hollering’ with chants of being undefeated.
The next fight is announced and its Team Dillashaw’s James Krause taking on Team Garbrandt’s Johnny Nunez. Stay tuned next week for a hairy birthday card, an appearance by former women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate, and some otherwise TUF-insipired silliness.
See you in seven!