The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) returned to FOX Sports 1 (FS1) last night (Weds., April 25, 2018) for episode two of its first-ever “Undefeated” season.
Coaching the cast of 16 mixed martial arts (MMA) hopefuls — split between the featherweight and lightweight divisions — are UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and UFC 205-pound kingpin Daniel Cormier.
“DC” is jumping up in weight to challenge Miocic at UFC 226 in July.
Last week’s debut featured a submission win for Joe Giannetti (Team Cormier) over John Gunther (Team Miocic). “DC” and his squad will try to make it 2-0 by sending Brad Katona into battle opposite No. 1 pick Kyler Phillips.
We get started at the TUF gym and we already have our first prank, thanks to full-time fire fighter Miocic, who insists this is something they regularly do at the firehouse. He hangs a bunch of goofy mustache pictures over Cormier’s posters and everyone has a chuckle. This dude needs a crash course in pranks. Cormier discovers the deed and decides to put Miocic “on notice” by showing off his big dick.
Everyone recoils in horror, including me.
Phillips, 22, is talking about his upbringing in Torrance, Calif., and how he was studying jiu-jitsu with his dad since the age of three. We flash back to his last submission win at Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series as Philipps brags about being 5-0 thanks to state championships in judo, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu. Fighting out of MMA Lab in Phoenix, Arizona, his nickname is “The Matrix” because he is able to fight in bullet time; meaning, he moves at full speed while his opponents move in slow motion.
We turn the camera over to Katona, 26, born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, but now fighting by way of Dublin, Ireland. He graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering but loves to fight and wants to chase his dream instead of settling into a 9-5 job. His girlfriend Katie also fights (atomweight) and she accuses him of being a nerd. The running jokes is that he looks like Clark Kent with his glasses. Katona (6-0) trains at SBG Ireland alongside Conor McGregor and coach John Kavanagh. Will we get a “Notorious” cameo?
Time will tell!
Elsewhere in the gym, Thailand Clark is training recklessly and gets scolded by Cormier. Clark talks back and gives his coach some serious attitude so “DC” tells him to stop being fresh and to settle down. Clark is now straight-up heated and Cormier is trying his best to calm him down but to no avail, so he then hands down an ultimatum: fall in line or leave the gym. Clark says he doesn’t need to slow down, everyone else needs to speed up. That prompts Cormier to train with Clark so he can see what all the fuss is about. Their little back-and-forth training session develops into a fist-bumping bromance.
As for this week’s fight, the weigh ins go off without a hitch.
145 lbs.: Kyler Phillips (Team Miocic) vs. Brad Katona (Team Cormier)
Round 1: No touch of gloves and Katona comes out firing. Phillips returns with a spinning wheel kick that sails wide. Nice left hand by Katona. They lock up in the center of the cage and Katona’s takedown gets stymied. Phillips uses the scramble to latch onto a leg and drive him to the cage but Katona escapes and fires off a punishing leg kick in return. Katona lands a big left hand. Then another. Then a leg kick. Phillips waiting a bit too long to engage. Katona stalking and lands another leg kick. Phillips seems content to keep it standing but he’s losing the striking battle. Another thudding leg kick by Katona. Phillips swings but Katona ducks under and shoots for a takedown. They collapse into the fence and Katona gets the takedown. Now it’s time to see what Phillips has from guard. 30 seconds left and coach Cormier calling for elbows. The round ends with Katona on top in complete control. I have this round 10-9 Katona.
Round 2: Katona opens with a brutal leg kick. Phillips fires back with a push kick. Katona lands a short right. Head kick connects for Phillips but it has no power. Katona tenderizes the leg yet again. Phillips kicks air then rushes for a takedown but gets stuffed. Katona cracks him with a right. Miocic yelling for forward movement. Phillips obliges and Katona uses it to score a huge takedown. Phillips to his feet and gets mugged against the cage. Cormier screaming instructions from the cage because he’s a good coach like that. Phillips tries to reverse and Katona breaks away. Leg kick by Katona. Spinning back kick lands for Phillips and Katona wobbles. Katona eats a right and returns a left. Katona drives forward for the takedown and they battle against the cage. Cormier calls for a single leg but Phillips won’t give it. Phillips warned for fingers in the fence. They break apart. One minute left. Phillips lands a jab but eats a leg kick. Katona lands a straight right and defends a takedown that might have won Phillips the round. Phillips with an airball. That’s the bell. I have it 10-9 Katona.
Final result: Katona def. Phillips by majority decision
Here’s where we stand after episode two:
After the fight, Phillips insists he was the better, more technical fighter, but Katona just wanted it more. I guess he missed that part where he got lit up on the feet. The teams gather inside the gym so Cormier can pick the next fight: Luis Pena (Team Cormier) vs. Jose Martinez (Team Miocic).
See you in seven!