The Ultimate Fighter (TUF 29) continues tonight (Tues., July 20, 2021) with the final fight of its quarterfinals, which sees Alexander Volkanovski and his squad look to finally even the score against Brian Ortega’s own proteges.
Team Volkanovski made it three straight last week when Bantamweight young gun Brady Hiestand outlasted veteran Josh Rettinghouse. They’re now just one win away from making it 4-4, and tonight will see GIlbert Urbina try and ride the momentum to victory against roommate Miles Hunsinger.
The current lineups:
Mitch Raposo, Dustin Lampros, Ricky Turcios, Brady Hiestand
Ryder Newman, Gilbert Urbina, Aaron Phillips, Bryan Battle
Dan Argueta, Liudvik Sholinian, Josh Rettinghouse, Vince Murdock,
Middleweights: Andre Petroski, Tresean Gore, Miles Hunsinger,
We start in the house, where Urbina talks about growing up in an ultra-cramped migrant camp. Then it’s time for his home video in Mercedes, Texas. He talks about his brother Hector’s time on TUF 19 and his other brother Elias’ time on TUF 23. While both men fell in the first round, Gilbert says it’s given him “nothing but lessons.”
We get to see the rest of his family and an impressive-looking supper as he goes through how much they all mean to him. He cites Hector in particular as an inspiration and we get to see him chime in via Facetime before a workout session in his driveway.
Over to Hunsinger. Coach Ortega admits they were “unsure” about him initially, but have since become “sure.” Hunsinger calls himself the best fighter on the show and believes that his power will make the difference against Urbina.
As he spars with Tresean Gore, however, a wayward kick hyperextends his left knee. He’s initially diagnosed with a “tear” before heading into the radiology clinic for an MRI. Before the results come back, he tries to hide his injury from Team Volkanovski, who appear to be none the wiser.
Urbina, entirely unaware, continues to train. Volkanovski speaks highly of him, asserting that he deserves to be there even without the family legacy. Urbina calls his fighting style “charismatic” as we watch his LFA battle with rising UFC Welterweight Sean Brady. Volkanovski’s assistant, Craig Jones, claims that Hunsinger’s not leaving the cage without some damage even if he comes out victorious. Volkanovski, meanwhile, asserts that Hunsinger will be looking to wrestle from the start.
Back to Hunsinger, who gets an official diagnosis from the UFC Performance Institute: a torn MCL (grade 2 MCL strain). It’s not bad enough for the doctor to pull the plug on the fight and not good enough to get an all-clear, and Hunsinger’s visibly torn on what to do.
He sits down with his coaches; Ortega seems offended that Hunsinger didn’t want anyone else in the room when he got the diagnosis, but in the actual conversation, they decide to go through a training session and see if the knee holds up.
It doesn’t appear to be holding up. The coaches, Ortega especially, push him to go through with it, but Hunsinger elects to pull the plug.
Ortega tells the camera that Hunsinger will have a “stigma” for the rest of his career. Speaking as someone who’s gone through multiple knee surgeries, Ortega is an asshole.
Upon hearing the news, Dana White enlists previously decided alternate Micheal Gillmore. White’s impressed that Gillmore quit his job to pursue MMA and gives him the spot.
Over at the gym, White makes Hunsinger admit to the MCL tear, and Hunsinger makes his farewells. Gore is particularly saddened by the development, but Hunsinger vows to Dana White that he’ll fight his way back.
Volkanovski calls Ortega a “piece of sh*t” for laughing his way through the meeting while knowing that Hunsinger was injured. White, meanwhile, passive-aggressively slags Hunsinger and tells the fighters that Hunsinger was cleared to fight and simply chose not to.
Again, speaking as someone with wrecked knees, Dana is an asshole.
Ryder Newman, who did some research, gives Urbina a rather dismissive breakdown of Gillmore. Ortega tells the camera that he’s confident in Gillmore’s striking, but enlists Rener Gracie to try and beef up Gillmore’s submission defense, which accounts for Gillmore’s three pro defeats.
Gillmore defines himself as a striker with a particular fondness for kicks. His fight footage shows him chopping an opponent down with calf kicks before pounding him out, so the assessment appears accurate. He intends to pressure Urbina before ultimately taking him down and putting him away with ground-and-pound.
Weigh-in time, and both men hit 185.5. Tresean Gore admits that he expects new teammate Gillmore to lose, while Andre Petroski says he has a chance.
This week’s flashback is remarkably wholesome: Court McGee’s impressive run through TUF 11.
Middleweight Quarterfinal: Gilbert Urbina (Team Volkanovski) vs. Micheal Gillmore (Team Ortega)
Round One: Urbina finds his way onto Gillmore’s back in the span of about 15 seconds. He slowly pulls Gillmore to the mat and switches to pounding. One minute in. Gillmore fighting the hands. Two minutes in. Elbow from Urbina. Gillmore trying to elbow Urbina’s calf in return, but he leaves himself open to the palm-to-palm RNC. There’s the tap.
Final result: Urbina def. Gillmore by submission (rear naked choke)
Urbina says he wanted to put on an “MMA masterpiece” and it’s hard to argue he didn’t do that. White gives Gillmore credit for taking the fight on short-notice.
Urbina’s still full of energy as he hops his way back to the locker room. Gillmore admits that he didn’t expect Urbina to shoot so quickly and wishes that he could have traded strikes with him.
Team Volkanovski has officially fought its way to a 4-4 quarterfinal, so it’s off to Dana White and the coaches to figure out the semifinals. Ortega makes his pitch for the Middleweights and Volkanovski agrees, while Ortega agrees with Volkanovski’s Bantamweight picks.
Bantamweight: Ricky Turcios vs Liudvik Sholinian and Brady Hiestand vs Vince Murdock
Middleweight: Bryan Battle vs. Andre Petroski and Gilbert Urbina vs. Tresean Gore
Same time next week!