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January 23, 2018

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Episode 3: Going to the third round

By now, everyone knows that coach Tito Ortiz isn’t fighting Chuck Liddell following this eleventh season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ The reason why however, has yet to be revealed.

Maybe this week, we find out.

The Episode:

Episode begins with all the fighters called to an impromptu meeting with Dana and the two coaches. Chris Camozzi is called up to the front and Dana lets him know that he has a broken jaw. Camozzi was training with a broken jaw. That’s a tough dude. Other fighters are shocked. Bummer way to start the episode man.

Tito gets to pick a replacement for Camozzi. Four guys who lost in the first episode of the show can be brought back.

On a lighter note, we move on to a Liddell training session. The team is 1-0 following Kyle Noke’s submission win last week. Everyone seems to be meshing well with assistant coach John Hackleman, always a good sign.

Back at the house Charlie Blanchard is found giving Nick Ring a massage. Kris McCray seems to be uncomfortable with male massaging going on at 2 a.m. Ring responds to the ribbing by posing for McCray in his underwear.

Tito has selected Seth Baczynski, who lost a close eliminator fight to Court McGee, to replace Camozzi.

Liddell gets to select the next fight and he picks Brad Tavares vs. James Hammortree. Man, I’ll trust Liddell because I know very little compared to the former UFC champ, but I’m not sure about this matchup. I like Tavares but Hammortree looked like a monster in his first fight. It seems like a risky fight for a guy Liddell probably sees as one of his more talented guys.

On to a Ortiz practice and Jamie Yager just continues to not make any friends. The easy going Ring is going after him now. Ring doesn’t like Yager’s name calling. Yager accuses Ring of going slow in practice and then kicking too hard when he gets angry by Yager’s pace.

Haha. In his face time, Yager basically says he doesn’t really cares who wins. He wants his teammate Hammortree to win but he won’t lose any sleep if Tavares wins. Guess you can’t really blame him. Eventually these guys are all competing against one another for a contract so the team unity can only go so far.

Team Liddell gets to work readying the young Brad Tavares for his first-round fight. Tavares says he likes the matchup and will be fine to keep it standing. Hammortree probably feels the same way. He’s known as the sledgehammer back home, thanks to his big right hand.

Fight day arrives. I’m guessing Hammortree by decision but wouldn’t be totally surprised by a Tavares win.

Tavares enters the cage first. Gives a nice Dan Hardy smile as Hammortree walks in. Fight starts and they touch gloves. Hammortree actually looks for the takedown in the first minute. Tavares stuffs it and backs up to the fence. Hammortree still looking for the single leg. Good takedown defense by Tavares and now he throws Hammortree to the ground. He takes his back almost immediately and Hammortree goes to defending the rear naked. He gets out of it and gains top position. Tavares eats some elbows but avoids taking serious damage and gets back to his feet. Surprisingly good jiu-jitsu in what was supposed to be a standup fight. Hammortree controls most of the final minute to take the first round.

Hammortree goes for the clinch again early. He wrestles hard for the takedown but Tavares puts his back to the cage and uses the momentum coming off to take Hammortree down. Hammortree works to his feet though, catches a big knee on his way up but still takes Tavares back down. It’s Hammortree on Tavare’s back now, no hooks in, mostly just wrestling him up against the cage. Tavares is up momentarily, but Hammortree’s wrestling proving to be the difference right now as he drags him down again. Tavares looking for a kimura, but he’s in no position to finish the hold. Sure enough, Hammortree breaks the hold and looks to posture up in Tavares’s guard. That’s how the fight ends.

Tito comes in warning Hammortree it could be going to a third. Seriously? I thought Hammortree had it pretty clear. Nope, judges declare a draw. We’re going to a third round.

Hammortree stars off with a right hand but I’d expect him to get it to the ground again, right? Tavares lands two good jabs. Hammortree throws a superman punch and goes for a fairly weak takedown. Tavares looks tired as he was taken down even after he defended the initial shot from Hammortree. Hammortree in top position, now he moves to full mount. Tavares rolls him off though and now he’s in top position. Great fight. Hammortree is caught with his head down, trying to pull Tavares away from the fence where he’s been able to basically squat down against it and land punches with Hammortree clinging to his right leg. Nothing is really happening from this position, but it’s emptying Hammortree’s gas tank and allowing Tavares to land some easy punches. Slow finish to a pretty good fight.

Liddell believes that Tavares did enough on the feet to win the third round. Tito sees the mount getting his fighter points and Tavares basically stalling rest of the way. All three judges agree with Liddell to make them 2-0.

Best Moment:

Since the fight went the full and overtime distance of a three rounder, it basically took up the entire episode. It was a great fight though, so definitely takes ‘best moment’ of episode No. 3.

Decision could have gone either way and Hammortree becomes early candidate to win one of the ‘second chance’ spots after the first round fights.

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