Now more than halfway through the quarterfinals, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 29 continues tonight (Tues., July 6, 2021) on ESPN+ as featherweight coaches Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega once again put their coaching skills to the test.
Team Volkanovski Middleweight Bryan Battle captured the spotlight last week, ending his squad’s four-fight skid with a dominant decision over Kemran Lachinov. In response, Ortega enlisted his first pick, Bantamweight Dan Argueta, to take on Contender Series veteran Ricky Turcios.
The current lineups:
Mitch Raposo, Dustin Lampros, Ricky Turcios, Brady Hiestand
Ryder Newman, Gilbert Urbina, Aaron Phillips, Bryan Battle
Bantamweights: Dan Argueta, Liudvik Sholinian, Josh Rettinghouse, Vince Murdock,
Middleweights: Andre Petroski, Tresean Gore, Miles Hunsinger,
Click HERE for recaps of Episodes 1-5.
No time for celebration on the Volkanovski side; it’s right to Ricky Turcios’ preparation.
Well, only for a second, because it’s time for Ortega and his team to screw with Volkanovski’s car. With the help of some friends, they jack it up, take off the wheels, and attach a pair of donkeys wearing the necessary jerseys. Volkanovski himself gives Ortega props for the prank and the rest of his team is similarly delighted. He promises to come back with “something big.”
Back at the house, Turcios tells his team about his girlfriend over cards, offering the camera similarly effusive praise. Then comes his home video, which shows off his house and, more importantly, his tiny dog. He’s as excited in the footage as he is on the show.
Per Turcios, he started wrestling as a kid before later expanding his skillset. In addition to espousing his love of coaching the kids at his gym, he talks about his Contender Series battle with Boston Salmon, saying he’s a smarter fighter now who’s learned from both his wins and losses.
Over to Team Ortega, where Argueta sits down with the coaching squad for a strategy meeting. Coach Ortega wants him to fight smart instead of coming out like a “tornado,” dismissing Turcios as someone who just “shoots desperately” once his kicks start failing him. Argueta’s LFA footage definitely fits Ortega’s characterization.
In Argueta’s own words, he hates fighting. “It’s terrifying, but [he’s] good at it.”
On to the home video, which shows his super cute husky and also his girlfriend I guess. He trains at Gracie Barra in California, and we get to see bits of some very sweaty training sessions. He claims that the return of TUF has lit a “fire” in him, which is good because he’s just months away from the deadline by which he promised his dad he’d be in the UFC.
Back to Turcios, who appears to be in some sort of Zen mode. He calls himself a “freestyle fighter,” saying he’ll be “comfortable and dangerous” wherever the fight goes; Volkanovski agrees, calling his style a “Ricky style.” Turcios says his fight with Argueta will produce “fireworks.”
We also get to see his signature move, Street Fighter’s Shinku Hadouken, in his pre-TUF footage.
Over to the scale. 134.5 for Turcios, 135 for Argueta. We’ve got a fight.
After a flashback to TUF 5’s backyard brawl and the walkouts, of course. Argueta walks out in a crop top version of his team’s uniform, which I wasn’t aware was a thing.
Bantamweight Quarterfinal: Ricky Turcios (Team Volkanovski) vs. Dan Argueta (Team Ortega)
Round one: Early exchange in center cage. Sharp left hand from Arguieta. Both men sending out kicks. Hard combo by Argueta that Turcios smiles off. One minute in. Argueta low kick. Body kicks and right hands from Turcios, who eats a combo and comes back with some sharp jabs. Low kick and cross by Argueta. Pair of jabs come back at him. Turcios answers a leg kick with a jab. Argueta combo in center cage two minutes in. Turcios body kick and level change, sprawled on. Argueta looks for his own takedown in return and eats elbows and hammerfists. Argueta stuffs a shot and lands a combo with two minutes to go.
Trading in the center again. Jabs from Turcios. Nice counters and knees. Argueta shoots in response and puts him on the fence. Good left hands and he forces Turcios down into half guard. One minute to go. Turcios looks for a triangle, then works his way to the feet, where Argueta jumps on a guillotine. Turcios pulls his head free and they stand. Great exchanges to end the round. 10-9 Argueta.
Round two: Turcios puts him on the fence right away. Knees to the body. Argueta lands a left hand after they separate. Turcios low kick, Argueta Superman punch. Jab connects a minute in. He looks for a single-leg and eats a couple elbows for his trouble. Turcios hauls him to another section of the fence. Separation. Argueta shoots, denied. Good knee and left hand on the break. Two minutes in. Turcios advancing, eats a combo. Body kick and right hand, answers a shot with hammerfists. Stiff jab by Argueta, then a combination on the counter. Exchanging near the center with two minutes to go.
Big 2-3 from Turcios answered by a two-piece. Argueta landing the cleaner punches but Turcios is right there with him. Brutal flurry by Turcios, who sprawls on a shot before making an ultra-slick triangle transition. Argueta escapes and sets up in guard. Turcios looks to scramble, then rolls for a leg with under a minute to go. Hunting a toe hold. Argueta content to wait it out. 10-9 Argueta.
Judges disagree and we’re off to a third round.
Round three: Argueta definitely looks like he’s feeling it. Turcios hammerfists him while defending a takedown, then goes for his own shot and scrambles through into top half guard. Argueta holding onto a fruitless guillotine. Abandons it a minute in. Turcios staying heavy. Argueta regains guard two minutes in, then gives up his back trying to stand. Slick move by Turcios to lock up the body triangle. Two minutes to go.
Turcios continuing to control; not super close to getting the choke but Argueta ain’t going anywhere. One minute to go. Now he goes palm-to-palm, but it’s on the chin. Argueta manages to spin into guard and falls back for a guillotine. Turcios slips out, shoots, pops his head out of another guillotine and savages him with ground-and-pound until the bell. Best fight of the season so far. 10-9 Turcios
Final result: Turcios def. Argueta by unanimous decision
Turcios is obviously elated and we do, indeed, get to see the Shinku Hadouken. Argueta, meanwhile, is in tears, admitting to his fear of losing. Tiki Ghosn does his best to comfort him.
For the next fight, Volkanovski pits Brady Hiestand against Josh Rettinghouse. The pair are friends, but vow to come for one another.
Same time next week!