After a two-week hiatus to make room for MLB playoffs, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was back on FOX Sports 1 last night (Weds., Oct. 24, 2018) with episode seven of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 28, featuring a split cast of men’s heavyweights and women’s featherweights.
Juan Espino is tasked with battling Ben Sosoli for the next spot in the heavyweight quarterfinals, but not before we take a look at what happened to Leah Letson after her unanimous decision win over Bea Malecki. Her face looks like an old cather’s mitt but the good news is, she’s no longer interested in switching to Team Whittaker, which means she will also stop complaining about it.
We take a closer look at the Gran Canaria, part of the Canary Islands in Spain. That’s where Espino hails from and we meet some of his family. They aren’t the biggest fans of combat sports and his mom is afraid her son will get hurt. Turns out the Spaniard had a rough childhood but was able to turn his life around after discovering wrestling. Grappling is his bread and butter so of course coach Whittaker wants him to stick to what got him to the big dance and not get lured into a bar fight. That means staying on the outside and avoiding the explosive attack of his opponent. The good news is, this is only a two-round fight, so cardio should not be the deciding factor.
Then again, these are heavyweights.
On the other side of things, Sosoli prepares for the fight that worries coach Gastelum the most, though “Big Ben” expects this contest to become a wrestling match once Espino gets a taste of his power. He wanted to compete in competitive sports and picked MMA because it doesn’t require running, though I think we would all agree that we’ve seen some sprinting inside the cage, usually to avoid getting pieced up. Sosoli is from Melbourne by way of New Zealand and talks about fighting in the streets as a kid, then gives us a teary story about his marital separation and not seeing his kids.
Thanks for the lumpy throat, dude.
Maurice Greene has an issue with the way Espino was “fake” with him during tryouts and yells at him a bunch of times while Espino is gearing up for his big fight. It should be noted that Greene is holding a beer — one of many, I’m sure — during his meltdown. “I’m a genuine person!” he yells. Espino tells him to relax and that request is denied. Later that night, Greene admits that he’s an emotional guy and his teammates suggest he’s overreacting. He decides to “not be the asshole” and walks over to hash it out. Things end with a bro hug and hopefully the issues have been put to bed.
Both fighters make weight without incident.
265 lbs.: Team Whittaker’s Juan Espino (8-1) vs. Team Gastelum’s Ben Sosoli (6-2)
Round 1: Quick touch of gloves and they bounce around the cage. Sosoli has his hands at his waist and gives Espino zero respect. Gastelum calling for jabs. Espino shoots from long range and they crash into the cage. After a brief struggle, Sosoli is dumped on his ass. Whittaker tells the excited Espino to take his time. He does, and the next four minutes consist of Espino sprawled out on top of Sosoli dropping intermittent punches. Not the most exciting fight but he’s winning quite easily. Sosoli gets back to his feet with 15 seconds left and then gets tossed once again. 10-9 Espino.
Round 2: Gloves are touched and Sosoli is once again leaning in with his hands at his side and takes two punches right in the face because of it. He returns fire and Espino gets on his bicycle but the ensuing scramble results in a takedown, so now Sosoli is right back where he left off in the first frame, only now he’s more tired. Referee wants more action from Espino so he transitions and tries to take the back. Sosoli uses the motion to get upright, then gets dragged right back down. Referee unhappy with the amount of action so hammerfists begin to fall. It’s kind of amazing how in 2018 some fighters still have no idea how to work from the bottom and just seem content to be covered and smothered like a Denny’s hash brown. Lame.
Final result: Espino def. Sosoli by unanimous decision
Here’s where we stand after episode seven:
Anderson Da Silva
Przemyslaw Mysiala Katharina Lehner
Josh Parisian Bea Malecki
Stay tuned next week as Larissa Pacheco battles Macy Chiasson for the next spot in the women’s featherweight quarterfinals!
See you in seven!