The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) returned to FOX Sports 1 (FS1) last night (Weds., May 16, 2018) for episode five 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 episode featured a unanimous decision win for Bryce Mitchell (Team Cormier) over fellow featherweight Jay Cucciniello (Team Miocic). “DC” and his squad will try to make it 5-0 by sending Mike Trizano into battle against lightweight loudmouth Thailand Clark.
We start at the house, where Tyler Diamond is indulging his artistic side. He and Suman Mokhtarian get into a rather placid confrontation over Mokhtarian’s callout. Mokhtarian brushes him aside, calling him “arrogant and cocky.”
Not to his face, though.
Luis Pena and Diamond sneak into Team Miocic’s dressing room and put tape over the “Un” part of their “Undefeated” slogan. Assistant coach Marc Montoya rather robotically removes the tape and explains the concept of mind games to the camera. He is equally emotionless in his pep talk to his ailing squad.
Trizano vows to “grind” Clark out, touting his well-roundedness as we see footage of him outwrestling his teammates. His highlight features a faceplant KO, so he might not be exaggerating that well-roundedness.
Things go from standard TUF hype to disaster as Mokhtarian tears up his knee in training. Rather than go further with that after the commercial break, however, we move over to Thailand “Landshark” Clark’s prep. He’s ecstatic to be part of this tournament and describes himself as a straight-A student whose penchant for violence led him to MMA.
He says his goal is to “create a legacy,” then promises to beat up Justin Gaethje and “somebody else” for the UFC title.
Okay, NOW we get back to Mokhtarian, who’s suffered MCL trouble and a torn meniscus in the past. I’ve had three torn meniscuses myself, so I can sympathize. The doctor tells him the ligaments themselves are alright, but he might have some damage to the meniscus and the soft tissue around his knee. Thankfully, he can train around that.
Team Cormier coach Deron Winn shows up to mess with Mokhtarian while he’s on the table, which pisses Mokhtarian off. Cain Velasquez gets in on the subterfuge as well, though Mokhtarian is confident that “karma’s a b*tch.”
Back to Trizano, chatting with Cucciniello about their respective fight histories. He says he wants to fight “for the rest of his life.” His home video shows his happy family life and cute footage of him training kids at Tiger Schulmann’s.
Over at the house, Winn continues screwing with Mokhtarian, announcing his knee injury to everyone. Winn claims he was just in the training institute to get some ice, while Mokhtarian accuses him of just wanting to be on camera because he’s a “nobody.”
Cormier makes his return to help Clark prepare. He believes Clark needs to take the fight to the ground and Clark agrees with that gameplan. His fight footage features striking and ground-and-pound.
Clark calls his shot: either a stoppage on the feet or an arm triangle.
While his team prepares, Coach Miocic discusses the Mokhtarian situation with Montoya. Ultimately, they decide to pit Mokhtarian against Ricky Steele rather than Tyler Diamond, as his knee might not hold up against a Diamond’s wrestling. They do assure him he can fight Diamond in the next round, though; they don’t want him to tear up his knee in the first round and be unable to continue.
No issues at the weigh-ins. Some traditional pre-fight pep talks later and we’re good to go.
155 lbs.: Team Miocic’s Mike Trizano (6-0) vs. Team Cormier’s Thailand Clark (7-0)
Round one: They trade low kicks to start. Clark shoots after 20 seconds, looking for a single-leg. He lands a knee directly to the groin that pauses the action. Back to engaging in the center. Clark drops him to his butt with a right hand and takes him back to the fence. Two minutes in. Trizano reverses position with double underhooks, tossing Clark to the mat and landing short lefts as he stands. They separate and return to the center. Head kick lands for Trizano. He shoots through a knee for a takedown on the fence. Two minutes to go.
Clark makes it back to his feet, lands knees inside. Low kick from Trizano. 1-2 connects. One minute to go. Clark answers a jab with a right hand. They’re pretty even on the feet, trading potshots. Good right hand by Clark. Sharp left hook comes back at him, then another. Trizano catches him leaning with a head kick. 10-9 Clark.
Round two: Clark flicking out low kicks as Trizano advances. 1-2 from Trizano. Clark shoots off a Trizano low kick, Trizano gets double underhooks and takes him down instead a minute in. Full guard. Clark holding tight. Two minutes in. Short ground-and-pound from Trizano. Now he’s getting a little busier. He passes to half guard, pulls Clarks out from underneath him to prevent an attempt to stand. Two minutes to go.
Short elbows from Trizano, moving to half guard and then the back. One hook in. One minute to go. Trizano landing punches, looking to get his other hook in. Left hands piling up. He flattens Clark out, grabs Clark’s hand to keep him from defending, and slams home right hands until the ref steps in.
Final result: Trizano def. Clark by TKO (punches)
Here’s where we stand after episode five:
Jay Cucciniello Kyler Phillips
Joe Martinez John Gunther
Team Miocic is predictably stoked to finally get a win. Clark seems kind of shellshocked, but is hopeful that he’ll get a call up to the UFC.
Stipe Miocic announces the next fight, which is indeed Suman Mokhtarian against Ricky Steele. Diamond claims Mokhtarian “talked his way out” of a fight with him.
See you next week!