Episode nine of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): “Redemption” was back on FOX Sports 1 last night (Weds., June 14, 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 a preview of the next welterweight quarterfinal fight, sending Diego Lima into battle against fellow Team Dillashaw housemate Gilbert Smith, as Hayder Hassan is the last man standing from Team Garbrandt.
Smith is rightfully concerned about Coach Dillashaw’s ability to prepare two teammates to fight one another without compromising their respective gameplans, a conundrum that has led past coaches to defer training duties to assistant coaches in previous seasons.
Dillashaw insists he’ll play it right down the middle.
Smith gets first looks inside the gym where he’s smashing pads and looking super serious. Coach Dillashaw remarks how Smith is the one contestant who doesn’t joke around or play grab-ass, instead focusing on his mission.
Win at all costs.
Team Garbrandt has nothing to do this week because all but one of its fighters has been eliminated. So, as you might expect with idle hands, things start to get troublesome as “No Love” pranks his bantamweight rival by pasting a snake tongue on Dillashaw’s poster (because of this).
Dillashaw promises retribution.
Coach Garbrandt shows up the following night to take the contestants out for a night on the town (Hibachi!) and what TUF season would be complete without drunken idiots making fools of themselves?
Case in point: Julian Lane on the stripper pole.
“Grumpy” Gilbert Smith (TUF 17) was not interested in partaking in the evening’s tomfoolery, though he seemed to have no problem chowing down at dinner. Joe Stevenson makes a non-alcoholic toast and Smith abruptly exits stage left.
Then goes into the men’s room to run (seriously).
The next day, Coach Dillashaw debuts a new round of “Killashaw” team t-shirts with giant snakes on the back. I guess if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. The cameras then focus on Lima’s preparation for later in the show.
It should be noted that Lima is 5-0 in TUF elimination fights.
Both fighters make weight without incident and they bro hug to make it official. There is the usual pre-fight piano music and close-up shots of each fighter, but that’s just filler until the bout gets underway, so I’ll spare you the gory details.
170 lbs.: Gilbert Smith (12-6) vs. Dhiego Lima (12-5)
Round 1: Touch of gloves to get things started and Lima opens with a front kick. Smith returns fire. Fair amount of juking and jiving as they feel each other out and try to establish range. Lima backs him up with strikes but Smith shucks him off and they reset. Smith is flat-footed looking for power shots while Lima working jabs and kicks from range. Smith catches a kick and tries to convert it to a single-leg takedown but Lima uses the fence to give him pause. Smith settles for wall-and-stall and looks for a scoop slam but gets denied. Lima reverses and gets a takedown of his own. Smith rolls and gives up his back. Lima slinks his arm in but can’t find the choke. Smith stands up and powers out, then gets a takedown of his own. He doesn’t really do anything with it until the last few seconds when ground-and-pound finds its mark. Lima escapes just before the horn. I had it 10-9 Lima.
Round 2: Touch of gloves and we’re right back at it. Sort of a paint-by-numbers offense from both fighters as they kick, back away, punch, back away, etc. Smith rushes in with power shots and they bounce into the fence. Lima spins and looks for the takedown but Smith is having none of it. Lima backs away and they go back to the center of the cage. Smith lands a punishing combination but Lima is sure-footed. Smith starting to drop his hands and strike less robotically. Lima gets bullied into the cage and gives up his back. Smith changes levels but Lima is too tall to get pulled south. Smith starts stalking with punches, perhaps realizing that Lima is not hurting him with his fists. Smith fires off another shot and Lima goes down; however, Smith can’t hold him and gets reversed. Lima jumps up and cracks him on the jaw and Smith does the stanky leg. He quickly recovers and walks forward with punches. Lima decides a takedown is the best approach and does that Johny Hendricks head-between-the-legs-stalled-shot thingy. They separate and wing punches until the horn. My score is 10-9 Smith.
Round 3: One last touch of gloves and this will probably come down to who is less fatigued. Lima drives forward with punches and backs Smith into the fence. Smith tries to punch his way out of it but Lima using those Dhalsim arms to keep him at bay. Smith eats two hard jabs. Then a 1-2. Lima drops down and shoots, dumping an exhausted Smith to the floor and raining down punches. Smith gives up his back and rolls out, landing on top and dropping some punches of his own. Lima looks for the triangle choke but Smith is too sweaty to stay trapped. That said, he uses the hold as an excuse to rest and catch his breath. He eventually breaks free and goes back to mug-and-slug. Lima rolls free and gets back to his feet. This fight will be decided in the last 30 seconds. They punch each other in the face until time expires. I have it 10-9 Lima.
Final result: Lima def. Smith by unanimous decision
Here’s where we stand after episode nine:
Seth Baczynski Mehdi Baghdad Eddie Gordon
Julian Lane Justin Edwards Johnny Nunez
And the remaining brackets:
Tom Gallicchio vs.
Dhiego Lima vs.
Jesse Taylor vs. Hayder Hassan
James Krause vs. Ramsey Nijem
Tom Gallicchio vs. TBD
Dhiego Lima vs. TBD
After the fight, Smith decides to (tearfully) retire from mixed martial arts (MMA).
Stay tuned next week for both remaining quarterfinal fights, then some more hijinks from Coach Dillashaw and Coach Garbrandt. In addition, a semifinalist gets injured and is replaced by an eliminated contestant.
See you in seven!