Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was back on FOX Sports 1 last night (Weds., Nov. 21, 2018) with episode 11 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 28, featuring a split cast of men’s heavyweights and women’s featherweights. Last week, Team Gastelum’s Pannie Kianzad outpointed Julija Stoliarenko to advance.
We open with Greene getting ready for his big fight and considering how many times he’s appeared as a special guest on all those FOX Sports 1 “TUF Talk” segments, I have to believe he’s victorious here and moving on to the live finale at the end of the month. He calls Espino “your basic bitch” because he does one thing well (wrestling) and sucks at everything else.
Greene refuses to let Espino “ride him all day and win on points.”
We head back to the TUF house and Katharina Lehner is complaining about the training on Team Whittaker. I guess she took over the “whine about my team” duties from Leah Letson, who settled her differences with “The Reaper” but is taking this opportunity to pile on. Not to be an apologist, but what did they expect to learn in the few weeks they spent on a reality television show? They complain because they are not getting the same training they get “back home.” They aren’t home, they are sharing a TUF gym with a bunch of other UFC wannabes.
Some of the fighters go rogue and start sparring during a grappling workout. Whittaker halts the action and lectures his team for not following directions from his coaching staff and tells them they are welcome to leave if they think training with a world champion and his instructors is not cutting the mustard. Things get a little tense on the mats but end without incident. Later that day, the group of whiners do their own thing and seem happy about it, before retiring to the TUF house in time to watch UFC 227 on demand.
Gee, what a shock, some drama comes along with that, too.
The video promo for UFC 229 airs but Marciea Allen has control of the remote control and fast-forwards right through it, insisting that it aired earlier in the night and there is no reason to watch it again. Greene — who was asleep for most of the card — takes exception to her attitude, so he jumps up to grab the remote and now it’s a heated situation. As I’m sure you remember, Greene and Allen had a problem earlier in the season to the point where Allen almost quit the show. This time Greene wasn’t drunk, he was just annoyed. He subsequently storms out of the house and his coaches catch him smoking and chastise him for jeopardizing his cardio.
Now it’s time to focus on the older and smaller Espino, who is trying to learn how to feint when he strikes and not be so damn predictable. The gameplan is to “strangle” Greene but Coach Whittaker wants a phone booth fight so that he doesn’t get clipped on the way in. Once he gets there, “Reaper” insists the fight is “done.” Espino thinks his mental state will give him the advantage on fight day and that Greene’s emotional instability will lead to his downfall. That said, Espino doesn’t want “dead chickens” which I guess means he wants the best version of his opponent on fight night and not an easy layup.
Time for the coaches’ challenge!
Both squads get to the campus of UNLV and there’s UFC President Dana White with a ton of cash. They happen to be situated on the track and this looks like it could be a running challenge. Gastelum’s face drops and he already looks defeated but can’t concede (think Franklin-Gurgel in TUF 2) because his squad earns $1,500 apiece with a win. It’s 106 degrees and yep, it’s a 5k race — 13 laps under the desert sun. The fighters get water guns to hose their coaches down as they complete each lap. Here’s the bad news for Gastelum: Whittaker is from the Outback and is used to the heat and already trains long-distance running. Yeah, Gastelum is cooked. His fighters try to motivate him by running alongside him but it does nothing but make him look even slower than he already is. Lap No. 10 is when the cameras catch him puking his brains out. White suggests someone pull a Tonya Harding to save Team Gastelum. Race is over and “Reaper” is now $10,000 richer. Gastelum finishes the race with his entire team — sans Marciea Allen (surprise, surprise) — right by his side.
Time for the weigh ins and both Greene and Espino hit their marks without incident, because they are heavyweights and it’s very rare for the big guys to come in heavy since they have a range of 206-256.
265 lbs.: Team Gastelum’s Maurice Greene (5-2) vs. Team Whittaker’s Juan Espino (8-1)
Round 1: No touch of gloves and Espino is bouncing around the cage while pawing the jab. Greene has his hands low and gets smoked with a huge overhand right. Espino then follows it up with a crushing left. Greene hits the canvas and Espino follows him to the floor. Greene not out of it just yet and is intelligently defending himself. Espino using his wrestling to control Greene, who instinctively gives up his back — only to get submitted for his efforts.
Final result: Espino def. Greene by submission (rear-naked choke)
Here’s where we stand after Episode 11:
Michel Batista vs. Justin Frazier Julija Stoliarenko vs. Pannie Kianzad
Juan Espino vs.
Leah Letson vs. Macy Chiasson
Stay tuned next week for the final episode as Leah Letson battles Macy Chiasson for the remaining spot in the live finale!