By Thomas Gerbasi
CAUTION: SPOILERS INCLUDED – It’s a doubleheader on this week’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Liddell vs Team Ortiz, so two fighters will move forward in the competition, while two more will be forced to the sidelines to hope for a wild card berth.
As the show opens, Team Ortiz’ Nick Ring takes issue with his teammate Jamie Yager cheering for Brad Tavares in last week’s fight, even though Tavares is on Team Liddell. After a tense staredown, Yager sees where Ring is coming from and the two shake hands, seemingly averting what could have been a tense situation. Yager’s alliance with Tavares, Kyle Noke, and Kris McCray – dubbed the Minority Report – stays strong through.
This week’s first fight will pit Team Liddell’s Rich Attonito against Team Ortiz’ Kyacey Uscola. Uscola, a longtime MMA veteran is determined to get a UFC contract and he’s made a lot of sacrifices to be on the show, including missing the birth of his first child. Unfortunately for Attonito, an American Top Team member, coach Liddell will be unable to make his fight due to a previous commitment that will take him out of the gym.
Back in the house, Uscola accuses Yager of stealing his sweatshirt. Yager takes issue with the accusation, especially since it was McCray who mistakenly took the shirt. Things escalate quickly between the teammates, and coach Ortiz can’t even get Uscola and Yager to patch things up.
The two trade right hands in the early going, but the action is sporadic until Attonito lands upstairs in the second minute and drops Uscola. Attonito immediately moves in for the finish and fires away with both hands. Uscola is able to weather the storm and get back to his feet, but a big slam by Attonito puts him in trouble again. Amazingly, Uscola grabs Attonito’s arm and reverses position, ending up in side control against the fence. In an ensuing scramble though, Uscola knees his downed opponent to the head, and with Attonito unable to continue, he is disqualified.
“After that second one hit me, everything got real fuzzy,” said Attonito. “At that point it took me a few minutes to get my faculties about me.”
“He was looking for a way out,” said an inconsolable Uscola. “I respect Rich as a person but not as a fighter right now.”
Ortiz is even angrier at the turn of events, and a door in the new gym is the casualty of his anger. But in a bizarre twist, Attonito might be out of the competition as well after it was revealed that he broke his right hand in the fight.
Liddell’s next fight pick will see Charlie Blanchard take on Team Ortiz’ Jamie Yager, and it’s a quick one, with Yager avoiding an early takedown attempt to drill Blanchard with a right hand that dropped him. A follow-up barrage by Yager brought in referee Josh Rosenthal to halt the fight and give Team Ortiz its first victory.
After Yager’s victory, Team Liddell’s lead is cut to 2-1 in the competition. Here’s how the teams look:
Kyacey Uscola – Eliminated on episode four by Rich Attonito
Jamie Yager 1-0
James Hammortree – Eliminated on episode three by Brad Tavares
Clayton McKinney – Eliminated on episode two by Kyle Noke
Kyle Noke 1-0
Rich Attonito 1-0
Charles Blanchard – Eliminated on episode four by Jamie Yager
Brad Tavares 1-0
For weekly recaps of The Ultimate Fighter, as well as fighter profiles, stay tuned to UFC.com.