It’s always great when the show gives us two fights per episode and this time was no exception. And, as one might expect, both fights are fairly short? Does that mean two finishes in one episode? Read on.
The first fight was between Rich Attonito and Kyacey Uscola. It starts out well, with Attonito being the more aggressive one during the feeling out process. He drops Uscola with a right and rains punches on him on the ground. Uscola manages to survive, though, and rolls towards the cage. He gets up, but Attonito brings him down again with a nasty slam, right onto his head! It was very impressive, enough for Dana White to continuously shout expletives on air. So, Attonito once again gains control on the ground, but Uscola manages to roll him and get on top. He stands up and, oddly enough, chooses to pummel his downed opponent with knees to the chest. This is an extremely risky maneuver, since kneeing a downed opponent’s head or face is illegal in the UFC. Sure enough, one of his knees hits Attonito squarely in the face, leaving him unable to continue to fight. Kyacey Uscola is disqualified with 1:23 left in the first round.
A rather dramatic end to an action packed fight. Needless to say, it’s perfect for television. Tito is understandably pissed, seeing as though he’s lost three times in a row to Chuck now. Oddly enough, though, Attonito was taken out of the competition as well, not because of the knee, but because he broke his right hand during the fight. Fairly odd, but interesting, turn of events for both parties.
The next fight was between Charles Blanchard and Jamie Yager. Yager is obviously being set up as the bad boy of sorts for this season. There was plenty of character development for him in this regard during the episode, starting with him cheering on Brad Tavares of Team Liddell from the last episode. His teammates were not at all impressed at him rooting for the enemy. Then he was rather childishly accused of stealing by Kyacey Uscola. Even though all signs pointed to Uscola being wrong, he still refused to apologize and still treated Yager badly. Some state that the pressure of his fight got to him, and he just wanted to lash out in any way to the person he disliked the most in the house, but whatever it was, I personally thought it was all very unnecessary. If you're interested, though, you can read more about the event in detail over at Brad Tavares' TUF 11 episode blog here.
Alright, so Yager’s some kind of bad boy in the house, but does the reputation hold up in the cage? I’d say yes. The fight starts out as furiously as the last one, with Blanchard, an excellent wrestler, quickly getting hold of Yager and slamming him onto the ground. The move wasn’t very effective, though, and Yager immediately gets to him, and drops Blanchard with a right. Yager swarms on him and Blanchard doesn’t do a thing to intelligently defend himself and improve position. He just turtles up and takes it. The fight is stopped at 3:49 in the first round.
Okay, Yager’s skills are legit. He has awesome power in his hands, making him a pretty feared striker. One has to wonder if Chuck made a mistake with this matchup, though. Blanchard is one of the smaller guys in the house, at 5’8”, while Yager stands tall at 6’1”, giving him a five inch reach advantage that very much complements his striking prowess.
Perhaps Chuck thought that Blanchard’s great wrestling skills would be more than enough to get through Yager’s striking and finish him on the ground. That was obviously the gameplan, as Blanchard went for that takedown as soon as the match started. Still, Blanchard’s wrestling abilities aside, the fight was still very risky for Team Liddell, seeing as they were giving up a huge size advantage.
So Tito gets his first win this season and is cheering for joy. Will this last, though, or will he lose control the very next fight? Will Yager finally get the respect he deserves for giving his team their first win? The preview states that another fighter will be dropped from the competition because of injury. Who will it be and what will come of it? We’ll see.
Check out my reviews of the other episodes of The Ultimate Fighter season 11 here!