By Thomas Gerbasi
CAUTION: SPOILERS INCLUDED – Only one more fighter will earn a place in The Ultimate Fighter: Team Liddell vs Team Ortiz quarterfinals, and Team Ortiz’ Kyacey Uscola will face his teammate Kris McCray for that coveted spot this week.
As the show opens, Uscola is greeted with some big news, as his son – Charles Champ Uscola – is born, giving the veteran fighter even more motivation to beat McCray and make it to the quarterfinals.
Understandably, coach Tito Ortiz will be sitting this one out as two of his team members fight it out, and he is simply watching the bout from the bleachers.
Both fighters land some range-finding strikes in the early going, and after McCray gets hurt by two kicks to the knee, Uscola moves in for the finish, but winds up getting locked up against the fence, where McCray rebounds and scores with knees to the leg. An inadvertent low shot by McCray brings a halt to the action, and after the fight resumes, McCray is able to find his range a bit more with his strikes before scoring a takedown with under a minute left. McCray stays busy in the dominant position and finishes the round strong.
With Ortiz yelling “don’t leave it up to the judges”, the fighters come out fast for the second round, but its McCray taking control immediately with a takedown followed by a quick kimura attempt that produces a tap out from Uscola.
The first Wild Card fight in the history of The Ultimate Fighter is over, and Kris McCray is on his way to the quarterfinals.
The eight remaining fighters are McCray, Nick Ring, Jamie Yager, and Seth Baczynski from Team Ortiz, and Kyle Noke, Josh Bryant, Brad Tavares, and Court McGee from Team Liddell.
The next step is figuring out the quarterfinal matchups, and UFC President Dana White meets with the coaches to get ready for the next round, and predictably, Liddell and Ortiz are at odds with the proposed fights. The final decision rests with White though and the bouts are as follows:
Nick Ring vs Court McGee
Kyle Noke vs Kris McCray
Brad Tavares vs Seth Baczynski
Jamie Yager vs Josh Bryant
“I feel very strong about the fights,” said Ortiz. “At the end of the day, my guys will hopefully win their fights and I’ll have four guys in the semis.”
We have a shot at winning every one of these fights,” said Liddell. “So if we win every one of these fights, how great would that be? Can you guys send Tito home if we do that? Please…for me?”
Back in the house, the fighters get a little break from the real fight world with a trip into a virtual one as former UFC light heavyweight champ Forrest Griffin visits with a copy of the new game UFC Undisputed 2010 in hand, and it’s a big hit with the fighters.
“We got to play for two hours, and that was the fastest two hours since I got here,” said Attonito.
Ring got his knee checked out and the doctor confirmed that he will eventually need a third ACL reconstruction. Ring is now faced with the decision to pull out of the tournament and get the knee fixed right away or to continue on. White visits the house to speak with Ring, and the Canadian admits that he needs to get the surgery now.
“I don’t think I can win a fight right now,” said Ring, and with him out of the tournament, there will be another opportunity for someone to come back into the quarterfinals.
Hammortree immediately chases after White once he’s left the house and lets him know that he wants to fight.
“Hammortree is the guy who stepped up to the plate,” said White, who gives the Team Ortiz member the fight against McGee. “This guy chases me out the door to tell me he wants to fight? He’s getting the fight.”
Joe Henle isn’t too happy with this latest development, but he makes it clear to White that should anyone else fall out, he’s ready to step up.
In the first quarterfinal bout, Hammortree and McGee battle it out pretty evenly in the opening round, with McGee perhaps holding a light edge due to his takedowns. Hammortree looks to get back at McGee in the second, but he gets too aggressive and gets caught in a standing guillotine choke that ends matters via tap out and sends McGee to the semifinals.
Here’s how the teams look:
• Nick Ring 1-0 – Eliminated due to injury
• Kyacey Uscola – 0-2 - Eliminated on episode four by Rich Attonito. Defeated in Wild Card fight by Kris McCray
• Kris McCray – 1-1 - Eliminated on episode five by Josh Bryant. Defeated Kyacey Uscola in Wild Card fight.
• Jamie Yager 1-0
• James Hammortree 0-2 – Eliminated on episode three by Brad Tavares. Brought back on episode eight after injury to Ring. Eliminated on episode eight by Court McGee.
• Clayton McKinney – Eliminated on episode two by Kyle Noke
• Chris Camozzi – Eliminated from competition due to injury
• Seth Baczynski – brought back on episode three after injury to Camozzi – 1-0
• Kyle Noke 1-0
• Rich Attonito 1-0 – Eliminated due to injury
• Charles Blanchard – Eliminated on episode four by Jamie Yager
• Josh Bryant 1-0
• Brad Tavares 1-0
• Court McGee – 1-1 - Eliminated on episode six by Nick Ring; returning to replace Attonito. Defeated Hammortree in quarterfinals.
• Joseph Henle – Eliminated on episode seven by Seth Baczynski
For weekly recaps of The Ultimate Fighter, as well as fighter profiles, stay tuned to UFC.com.