Okay, so the episode starts off with several of the fighters wondering who will replace Rich Attonito in the competition. I mentioned in my episode 4 review that, while Attonito won his match as a result of disqualification, he was still officially removed from the competition because of a broken hand.
Clayton McKinney’s out, since his nagging shoulder injury was far worse than anyone ever expected, with it even needing surgery. Tito had been mouthing to McKinney about it previously, saying that he thought McKinney was simply slacking off and faking it. After the surgery, Tito swallowed his pride (which is very hard for him to do) and apologized.
Charlie Blanchard, who lost last episode via TKO to Jamie Yager, while not officially out of the competition, also highly doubts that he will get picked for the last lost, as he was not only finished quickly in his last fight, but has nagging injuries of his own.
Tito, who now has had his first taste of victory, then happily announces the next matchup, which is between Kris McCray and Josh Bryant. Tito seemed very confident that his man, McCray would easily beat Bryant since the latter seemed so laid back and jolly all the time; definitely not the personality of a bloodthirsty fighter.
The fight itself was fairly good. McCray comes out and pretty much dominates both the stand up and ground games of the first round. Bryant tries his best, and performs some impressive striking and grappling prowess of his own, but there was no doubt that McCray won that round.
The second round begins but McCray, however, is noticeably slower and less active than before. The fight quickly crashes to the ground and Bryant takes command, capitalizing on any opening for strikes and submissions he can find. Even when the fight returns to the stand up game, Bryant remains to be more active, with McCray’s strikes obviously lazier and more predictable. It becomes steadily apparent that, because he exerted a lot of effort to win the first round, McCray has gassed himself out and has virtually no more energy for the second round.
Because of McCray’s sudden drop in stamina, Bryant takes the second round resulting in a draw. To clearly decide the winner, a third round is initiated. The final round is basically just a mirror image of the second, though. Both fighters are exhausted, but Bryant clearly has more energy than McCray as he is still more active, both standing up and on the ground. He dominates the third round and wins by unanimous decision. It looks like the laid back, jolly dude was more bloodthristy than Tito originally thought.
Tito was obviously disappointed as his first opportunity for control slips away from. He scratches his head about why on earth McCray gassed so early in the fight, as his training was going very well.
Chuck Liddell, however, was once again absent during his fighter’s match. Chuck explains that it was because of existing contractual agreements he had already committed to, he had no choice. He was already absent in one of the previous matches, so it’s kind of perplexing that he’d be gone so many times during the competition. He did, however, try his best to make it up to Bryant, by constantly staying in touch via cell phone whenever he could.
It was a pretty mediocre episode, to be quite honest. There was nothing bad about it, but nothing terribly good arose, either. The fight, which went the distance, took up at least half of the total time, and, as I described, it was very excellent during the first round as the fighters had more energy and were very active in both the stand up and ground games, but the excitement level as suddenly as McCray’s energy levels did in the following rounds. The rest of the drama that occurred wasn’t all that interesting to watch, either.
What awaits us for the next episode? Well, aside from another middleweight bout, the preview reveals that yet another fighter will be kicked out of the competition on account of injury! Now, the previews are usually quite deceptive, but the video clip it associates with the unfortunate injury seems to be showing Team Ortiz fighter Nick Ring.
Kyacey Uscola is also supposed to speak out about his harsh opinions on Tito and why he thinks that his inept coaching abilities are directly the reason why they haven’t been winning a lot of the matches. During the episode, Uscola shares his thoughts that Tito’s training methods may be too severe for the fighters too handle, what with their fight dates so close and all. Strange, as this sort of harsh regimen did wonders for Tito’s team during the show’s second season. Have Tito’s training methods positively become even more difficult to bear, or are his new fighters simply not up to the task? Maybe it’s something else altogether.
All this and a dodge ball death match between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, on the next Ultimate Fighter!
Check out my reviews of the other episodes of The Ultimate Fighter season 11 here!