I apologize for taking so long to post this. I attended several Blue Jays games that threw my schedule off, so there’s my excuse for this week as opposed to every other week where these recaps are late for no good reason.
Team Sonnen (actually black on the show, but blue for the purposes of this article)
The opening of the show reminds us that Dylan Andrews and Kevin Gastelum were the last picks from their respective teams, something that slipped my mind. That oversight makes their quarterfinal wins even more remarkable. It goes to show you just how high the level of competition was this year.
Shocker of shockers: Bubba McDaniel is complaining! The editing on this show has not been kind to him as they always seem to show him doing nothing but sitting around instead of training. It doesn’t help that he made it obvious how unhappy he was with the prospect of having to fight Uriah Hall. In his defence, he has fought three times in a short period and he must be legitimately banged up. Still, seeing him cry conspiracy (why would Dana White give a crap about him?) is just sad. Bubba goes to get some blood work done to make sure there’s nothing seriously wrong with him and to nobody’s surprise, he’s only suffering from basic aches and pains. There’s no ducking Hall.
There isn’t much hype for the Josh Samman/Jimmy Quinlan fight as Quinlan is one of the most well-liked housemates. Samman says that it will be all business in the cage and he couldn’t sound more disinterested; for once, I agree with him.
As soon as the bell rings, Quinlan pushes forward and gets a high crotch.
The hold allows Quinlan to power Samman up into the air and down to the mat. It looks like Quinlan was caught in the opening flurry as his nose is dripping blood. An early arm bar attempt by Samman ends with him eating an elbow and a hammer fist, but he’s active from his back and I wonder if he’s taking the round like Luke Barnatt did last week. Another showy slam helps Quinlan on the scorecards, but Samman is still doing most of the work. Samman stays patient and explodes up before connecting with a couple of knees to the head. He ends up on Quinlan’s back and…God help us Quinlan actually taps out to Samman’s stupid double fists. Ugh. I just hate him so much.
I’m not sure whether it makes it better or worse that Quinlan admits to “quitting” in his post-match interview. Honesty is the best policy?
In hyping the Bubba/Hall fight, an unfortunate sound bite sees Hall comparing his own mystique to that of Anderson Silva’s. Luckily for all of us, Chael Sonnen swoops in later to save the day with another classic pep talk:
What they need is for you to beat you and athletes do it all the time. They do it all the time…but it’s your choice. You will choose to be confident or you will choose to concede and you know it, ‘cause you’ve done both. So have I.
Gilbert Smith throws Bubba under the bus predicting that his teammate will get knocked out in 10 seconds!
For the third straight episode, the weigh-ins prove eventful as Sonnen again jokes about dropping the towel after his guy steps off the scale. There’s an uncomfortable running gag. The ensuing faceoff provides another significant moment:
I, for one, thought that this was hilarious and a good sign that Bubba wasn’t too tense. Plus, how else does one defend oneself from a Hadouken? If anyone has any better ideas I’d love to hear them. Jon Jones is bothered by the comical pose. He thinks that Bubba is showing weakness. Lighten up, coach. It’s not like Bubba is actually going to get knocked out in 10 seconds.
Bubba gets knocked out in 9 seconds. As soon as Bubba goes forward he’s hit with a hard knee to the chest (that may have also caught his chin) and a short right that puts him right down. It’s amazing how much power Hall generated both backing up and with such little space to execute. Carlos Condit is sitting with White and he looks genuinely disturbed.
In a truly frightening scene, Bubba is lying on the floor asking “What’s wrong?” and “Why does my eye hurt?” while blood falls from his face (which turns out to just be a nosebleed). He’s in good spirits the whole time, which is a relief. Hall goes to apologize and Bubba laughs saying, “I would’ve done it to you.” Of course, we all know there’s no way he would ever be able to do that to Hall. White puts it best:
The way that this guy knocks people out, you don’t even want to clap. You feel bad clapping. It’s just vicious. It’s quick. It’s nasty. This guy is the nastiest guy in “Ultimate Fighter” history.
A quick recap of the semi-final callouts:
- Samman: Gastelum
- he wants the biggest finale in TUF history and he knows that means facing Hall. As much as I hate his assumption that he’ll win his next fight, he’s right about that
- Andrews: don’t care
- I’ve had too much s**t happen to me to worry about 15 minutes of fighting with these guys.
- Hall: Samman
- everyone is already aware that this is what Hall has wanted all season
- Gastelum: Andrews
- I think I can beat him. Fair enough.
Both coaches decide they want to see Samman v. Hall and Andrews v. Gastelum, but White hilariously ignores them. He sees where the money is and goes against the coaches’ preferences, betting on Samman and Hall being good enough set up what should be the most watched finale in ages.
Final note: the Hall meeting ended with the best, most inexplicable exchange of the season.
White: Hey…stay black.
Hall: I ain’t got no choice.
Next week: The semi-finals are underway and as much as I like the underdogs, I bet most of us are hoping for Samman and Hall to come through, right? I’m sad to see this season end. It’s been a good one.