By Thomas Gerbasi
CAUTION: SPOILERS INCLUDED – With four eliminations already on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Liddell vs Team Ortiz, the talk in the house now turns to the Wild Card bout and who will get a second shot at earning a spot in the competition.
Clayton McKinney’s shoulder injury (which required surgery) looks like it will scrap him from a return, and Charles Blanchard is on the shelf as well after his loss last week to Jamie Yager. Then there’s Rich Attonito, whose broken hand is going to keep him from moving forward, even though he defeated Kyacey Uscola on episode four.
So right now, it looks like the favorites for the Wild Card are Uscola, who was DQed in his bout with Attonito, and Hammortree, who lost a controversial decision to Brad Tavares.
After Yager’s victory, Team Ortiz takes control, and for this week’s fight, coach Tito Ortiz chooses Kris McCray to take on Team Liddell’s Josh Bryant.
“I’m very confident that we’re gonna win every one of the next matches, so I’ve got to make sure that we get the right picks, and to me, Kris vs Bryant is a fairly good pick right now,” said Ortiz.
After the weigh-ins for the McCray vs Bryant bout, Ortiz apologizes to McKinney for questioning his heart when the fighter was dealing with his shoulder issues.
“I normally don’t do that,” said Ortiz, “but he deserved it.”
In this week’s fight, McCray comes out fast and lands well with punches and kicks. A minute in, he scores the takedown and takes Bryant’s back. Bryant escapes and looks for his own takedown but comes up short. The two continue to battle along the fence, with McCray holding the edge once again. Two more takedowns follow for McCray, but Bryant gets up immediately and scores with a takedown of his own with under two minutes left. He proceeds to get his foe’s back, yet McCray escapes and reverses position. The two stand and lock up against the fence, and remain there to the bell.
Bryant goes on the offensive to start round two, as McCray looks winded. McCray fires back, but his punches lack steam and are falling short of the mark. 90 seconds in, a hard knee to the midsection lands for McCray, but Bryant responds with a takedown and then works for his opponent’s arm. Midway through the round, the two stand briefly until Bryant slams his foe to the mat. There is no let up by either man, and McCray gets a takedown of his own after they scramble to their feet, and he finishes the round with ground strikes.
After two rounds, the bout is deadlocked, so it’s off to a third sudden victory round.
The two fighters immediately lock up, looking for any kind of advantage. It’s a stalemate though, with neither able to break into the lead. With 1:20 left, referee Herb Dean breaks the fighters, and they begin to trade. Bryant scores with some shots and then the gets on top when they hit the canvas. With 30 seconds left, Bryant gets McCray’s back and tries for a rear naked choke, and though he doesn’t get it, it’s enough to secure the unanimous decision victory.
After Bryant’s win, Team Liddell’s lead increases to 4-1 in the competition. Here’s how the teams look:
Kyacey Uscola – Eliminated on episode four by Rich Attonito
Kris McCray – Eliminated on episode five by Josh Bryant
Jamie Yager 1-0
James Hammortree – Eliminated on episode three by Brad Tavares
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
Kyle Noke 1-0
Rich Attonito 1-0
Charles Blanchard – Eliminated on episode four by Jamie Yager
Josh Bryant 1-0
Brad Tavares 1-0
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