Pretty average episode this week, I’d say. The fight wasn’t the most exciting thing ever, but was pretty decent just the same, and there really wasn’t much to the rest of the episode as well.
Nick Ring’s left knee has apparently gone through surgery a few times, and it’s been bothering him ever since his preliminary fight to get into the house. Right after his fight with Court McGee, he goes to see the cage-side doctor to get some advice, and after his next training session, his knee just gives out on him during a sparring session. Tito looks at it and is very dismayed as he’s had this type of injury before and knows that it’ll be a very rough time for Ring. He’ll look into getting something done about it as fast as possible.
The final match before the quarter final fights is between Team Liddel’s Joe Henle and Team Ortiz’s Seth Baczynski. The fight itself wasn’t the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen, but it was a good match just the same. Henle’s only been in the game a short time; he turned pro only six months prior to getting into the house, and only has a record of 3-0. Baczynski, on the other hand, despite having an 11-5 record, lost his preliminary match and originally failed to get into the house. The favorite, though, is Baczynski, due mostly to his experience.
The first round is pretty much an all – ground game affair. Henle takes Baczynski down very early and keeps him there, dominating throughout most of the round, but hardly doing any damage. All his submission attempts fail, and Baczynski even reverses him near the end of the round and tries to finish Henle with ground and pound. Still, though you’d have to give the first round to Henle, just on account of octagon control.
The second round very closely resembles the first one, but Henle seems terribly tired this time around and isn’t nearly as active. The fight goes to the ground early as well, but Henle actually fails in his takedown attempt and gets taken down by Baczynski instead. Because of Henle’s apparent lack of conditioning, Baczynski takes control of much of the round, but, again, fails to finish his opponent. He finishes very strong, though, with some ground and pound and a nearly successful rear naked choke, which pretty much guarantees him the round.
Sure, enough Henle gets the first round and Baczynski steals the second, resulting in a third round. The third is almost exactly the same as the second. Baczynski takes Henle down and controls him most of the round, but fails to finish him. Henle was even less active this time around; much of the time, he didn’t seem to be doing anything, really. Baczynski predictably gets the unanimous decision in the end.
Right after the fight, the wild card spot is announced, which determines which of the fighters who lost their matches can return to the competition. Two fighters are to be picked and will be battle it out for the chance to win it all. Dana announces that the fight will be between two Team Ortiz Fighters: Kyacey Uscola and Kris McCray.
I really like that Uscola is returning to the competition as I was very much impressed with his fight against Rich Attonito. McCray, on the other hand, didn’t really impress me, but then again, a lot of the other fighters who lost their matches didn’t impress me, either, so it doesn’t really affect me as much.
What makes me really happy, though, is that Dana announces that Court McGee will officially replace Rich Attonito in the competition on account of Rich’s injury. McGee was very exciting throughout his battle against Nick Ring, and I truly felt their fight should have gone to a third round instead of an immediate decision.
The next episode preview promises that the next episode will offer way more than this one did, what with two fights, the wild card fight, and the first quarter matchup, plus Dana White puts in another of his trademark surprise nightly visits to the fighters’ house. I’m all for it being more exciting the next time around, but I wish this season was more consistent with itself, with every episode being fairly well rounded and exciting, instead of alternating being “good” and “not so great” as it currently seems to be doing.
Check out my reviews of the other episodes of The Ultimate Fighter season 11 here!