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The Octagon inside the UFC APEX for The Ultimate Fighter season 30. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
The Ultimate Fighter

Episode 3 Recap | The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes

Relive The Third Episode Of The 30th Season Of The Ultimate Fighter Where Team Peña vs Team Nunes Fight To Determine The Next Stars Of The UFC Flyweight And Heavyweight Divisions

Previously on The Ultimate Fighter 30…

Zac Paugu scored a heavyweight win for Team Pena, defeating Nyle Bartling by decision after two rounds.

The second Season 30 heavyweight fight is made between Mitchell Sipe and Mohammed Usman, who were supposed to fight previously in their careers on the regional circuit before Usman was forced to withdraw. Sipe references the situation every chance he gets, and now the two will finally share the cage.

This is Episode 3 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs. Team Nunes!

Julianna Peña and Mohammed Usman prepare for a fight with Mitchell Sipe on season 30 of The Ultimate Fighter. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Julianna Peña and Mohammed Usman prepare for a fight with Mitchell Sipe on season 30 of The Ultimate Fighter. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


This week’s episode begins at the house, where various fighters are getting in light shadowboxing sessions and shakeouts in the backyard when Chantel Coates goes out for a run, explaining in a confessional interview that she hasn’t been sleeping well and has been struggling to manage her weight.

Her plan is to cut out carbs and do more cardio in order to ensure she can make weight.

Usman gives her a pep talk in hopes of helping re-direct her, while Coates continues to explain she arrived at the house fresh off dealing with multiple illnesses, including COVID, the flu, and a miscarriage. She opens up about the mental hurdles it took to take part in the competition — leaving her two-year-old at home — and Usman explains in his own confessional interview that he can relate to the trials and problems his Team Pena teammate is dealing with.

All Things The Ultimate Fighter

Usman tells Coates that his son, Nash, passed away. He tears up recounting the experience in a confessional interview, dedicating the season to his son and promising to make him proud. In the house, he advises Coates to trust in God and just do the work.

The snow-covered tarmac at the Denver airport opens Usman’s home video. He explains that Denver has been home for just under a year, tracing his family’s move from Auchi, Nigeria to the Dallas, Texas area. He arrives at the family home to spend time with his parents before shouting out his older brother — TUF 21 winner and UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.

The brothers share a video call, with Kamaru offering advice and encouragement to his not-so-little brother. Usman shares that he first fell in love with football and played collegiately, before shifting to mixed martial arts. He went pro right away, opening his career with three straight victories before losing to current UFC heavyweight Don’Tale Mayes, and entered the house with a 7-2 record.

RECAP TUF 30: Episode 1 | Episode 2

“I’m dedicating this season to my son, Nash, that passed away,” he says in his confessional interview. “I’mma do this for you because you’re the reason I started fighting. All the other heavyweights better strap in, because I’m coming.”

Four Days Until the Fight…

Mitchell Sipe gets his hands wrapped prior to his The Ultimate Fighter season 30 fight with Mohammed Usman. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Mitchell Sipe gets his hands wrapped prior to his The Ultimate Fighter season 30 fight with Mohammed Usman. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


Sipe goes through his fight prep, hitting pads with coach Roger Krahl while speaking in a confessional interview about finally getting to face Usman. He never believed the reason for Usman’s withdrawing from their fight earlier in their careers, and says, “I don’t see much of a real fighter in him.”

Amanda Nunes explains that Sipe wanted this fight, so it was her obvious choice for the next heavyweight matchup. She feels Sipe is “a way better fighter,” highlighting his movement, boxing, and wrestling.

Sipe is ultra-confident, again suggesting that Usman isn’t on his level. “I turn my fights into a dog fight, and he’s not a dog,” he says. “I’m pretty hungry.”

Back at the house, Sipe tells Chandler Cole that he’s going to unload combinations on Usman, seeming real relaxed about the whole thing.

His home video from Las Vegas rolls, with Sipe tracing his family roots in Oklahoma to Corn Parker, whom he calls “the greatest chief of his time,” explaining he went into business with Theodore Roosevelt. He details the struggles he encountered growing up with a mother who couldn’t always care for him or herself properly, crediting his father getting full custody for saving his life.

Sipe trains at Bones Adams Boxing Gym and explains in his confessional interview that he played football and wrestled but couldn’t pursue it further because his grades were never that good, which prompted him to transition into Brazilian jiu jitsu and kickboxing before settling into fighting as an amateur.

He says there have been some ups and downs thus far in his career, including an appearance on Dana White’s Contender Series, where he lost to, oddly enough, Don’Tale Mayes, in a fight where he got busted open and finished in the second round.

“I’mma keep grinding every day, training my ass off, and do what I’m destined to do,” he says, wrapping up his confessional interview.

Get To Know Heavyweight Mitchell Sipe | THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER: TEAM PEÑA VS TEAM NUNES
Get To Know Heavyweight Mitchell Sipe | THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER: TEAM PEÑA VS TEAM NUNES
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Three Days Until the Fight…

Usman goes through his fight prep with the Team Pena coaching staff. Pena shares that Usman is a little bothered by Sipe’s constant trash talk and that he has no idea about this alleged fight that was supposed to take place earlier in their careers. She told him not to worry about the noise, advising him that his job is “to kick his butt from here to China.”

They’re focused on having Usman throw straight punches inside of Sipe’s looping hooks, and Usman believes Sipe is going to look to make this a sloppy brawl where he throws bombs.

“Everything he’s going to throw out there, I’m prepared for it and I’m ready to counter it,” he says in a confessional interview. “I’m going to make him feel me every step of the way in the cage.”

Back at the house…

Sipe keeps chirping at Usman while he’s getting his hair cut, calling him all kinds of names, and Usman responds by calling him a bum.

Usman reminds Sipe of his fight with Mayes, pointing out his blood was spilled all over the cage, and Sipe counters by saying, “I was winning that whole fight,” which makes Usman laugh. (Note: he was not winning that whole fight.)

Heavyweight Weigh-In at the UFC APEX…

Get To Know Heavyweight Mohammed Usman | THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER: TEAM PEÑA VS TEAM NUNES
Get To Know Heavyweight Mohammed Usman | THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER: TEAM PEÑA VS TEAM NUNES
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Sipe comes in at 265 even, while Usman tips the scale at 238.

Dana White details that both men have power, and suggests that Usman has “big shoes to fill and a lot of pressure on him” being the younger brother of the welterweight champion and best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

The competitors get face-to-face for their faceoff and Sipe continues to chirp, with Forrest Griffin having to step between them. Sipe continues to tell Usman to “have some respect,” which feels weird, since he’s been the one doing all the trash talking and hurling insults this whole time.

Fight Day…

Sipe says he wants to leave a good path for his son to follow, make his dad proud and his grandma happy, and raise up the people around him as he makes his way into the UFC APEX ahead of his fight.

“I’m not here to talk to Mitchell. I’m not here to throw jabs back and forth,” says Usman. “I’m trying to get the best out of myself that I’ve ever gotten in my career. It’s not a joke to me. It’s not a game to me. I’m here to get in the Octagon and I’m here to fight.”

Both men get taped up and loosened up in the back, and now it’s time to throw down!

Mohammed Usman prepares to fight Mitchell Sipe in The Ultimate Fighter season 30 quarterfinals. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Mohammed Usman prepares to fight Mitchell Sipe in The Ultimate Fighter season 30 quarterfinals. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


Round 1

Sipe looks to touch gloves to start, but Usman wants no part of it. Each man paws at the other early, and on the first real exchange, neither lands clean, but Sipe puffs out his chest and gesticulates like he’s done something noteworthy.

Sipe lands a right and referee Mark Smith warns them about their fingers for the second time already less than a minute in. Usman catches Sipe with a check left hook coming in and the Team Nunes fighter responds with a left of his own. Sipe lands with a jab and starts showboating a little, fighting with his hands down, and sticking his chin out towards Usman. Sipe lunges forward with a right and slips out of the way of Usman’s counter, shaking his head at him dismissively as he does.

Neither man is throwing much, nor are they offering combinations; it’s single punches that don’t land, followed by chirping and posturing from Sipe midway through the round.

Sipe lands in tight, then talks to his corner about it before catching Usman with a right hand behind the ear that rattles his balance, sending him to the canvas. Sipe follows, landing hammerfists, but Usman wrestles up effectively to get back to his feet. Sipe comes forward with a wide hook and Usman lands inside of it, changing levels and clipping Sipe with an uppercut that puts him on his back as he defends.

Usman shucks Sipe’s legs aside and lands a heavy shot as he goes to the canvas, connecting with another left as Sipe gets back to his feet. Sipe’s corner continues to implore him to “stay focused” and Usman connects with another straight shot inside of one of his looping swings.

Sipe keeps chirping at the end of the round, with Dana White asking Forrest Griffin cageside, “Did you hear what he yelled at their corner?”

White tells Griffin that Sipe yelled, “I just f***** you boy up” at Pena, and Griffin smiles and laughs at the preposterous statement.

Pena is clear and concise in the corner with Usman, telling him he’s felt the best Sipe has to offer, while Sipe starts to say he should have done something before being cut off by Krahl, who tries to give him direction on how to approach the second round.

Mitchell Sipe taunts Mohammed Usman in their heavyweight fight during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter at UFC APEX on February 17, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Mitchell Sipe taunts Mohammed Usman in their heavyweight fight during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter at UFC APEX on February 17, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


Round 2

Sipe is trying to be more active with the jab to start, but he’s out of range. As he presses forward, Usman lands a straight left, but Sipe wears it well. Sipe lands a clean jab, and Smith warns them about their fingers again.

Sipe’s right eye is swelling from that earlier left hand, but he doesn’t seem bothered by it, landing two nice jabs. Usman rushes in and lands a nice uppercut, prompting Sipe to taunt him, drawing a “Don’t do that, Mitchell” from Nunes in his corner. Usman throws a heavy overhand right that is caught on the hands, and Sipe again sticks out his chin at the Team Pena fighter.

They trade jabs before Sipe lands a body kick, with Usman responding with a nice stepping jab just prior to the midway point of the round. Sipe does a little “Ali Shuffle,” but he’s not offering much in the way of offense through the first half of the round. Usman isn’t either, but he’s been more effective with his limited output.

Usman lands another jab and Sipe counters with a low kick before slapping his chest and raising his hands in the air multiple times. The Team Pena fighter rushes forward, but can’t land, and a “corner cam” shot shows White telling Griffin that he loves the talking and craziness.

Usman lands on outside low kick, Sipe points at him, and White laughs. “This dude’s f****** nuts,” he says to Griffin.

Sipe lands a right hand, but Usman instantly responds with a two-piece of his own, followed by a stiff jab as the clock ticks down to one minute remaining in the round. Smith warns Sipe about his fingers twice in 10 seconds and his corner and teammates implore him to stick to the game plan and attack, but he offers little.

Usman throws a looping right that is blocked, following with a clean jab. And again.

The horn sounds and Sipe gets forehead-to-forehead with Usman, jawing at him as if he’d done something noteworthy or won the fight. Smith gets between them and directs them to their corners, as there could be a third round on deck.

Sipe says, “That big boy ain’t scary; I’m just getting started,” drawing a chuckle out of White, who makes the universal, “This dude is crazy” hand motion to the camera.

Usman recovers in the corner and listens to advice from Pena, while Smith informs both sides that we’re going to a third round.

Sipe seems surprised there is a third round as Nunes tries to give him direction, reminding him again that the low kick is there.

Mohammed Usman punches Mitchell Sipe in their heavyweight fight during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter at UFC APEX on February 17, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Mohammed Usman punches Mitchell Sipe in their heavyweight fight during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter at UFC APEX on February 17, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


Round 3

Sipe lands a kick to the thigh right out of the chute and follows with one inside to the calf. He offers high, but misses, then to the body, but it’s short, and now seems too focused on kicking. Usman lunges forward with a jab to the body. Sipe lands another low calf kick.

Usman lands a right hand and presses forward, but Sipe circles out and lands another kick to the thigh. Usman sticks a jab, twice, as Sipe goes a minute without landing anything much.

Sipe does the old “wind up the right hand” in the center of the cage midway through the final round, but it’s Usman who throws the big right, forcing Sipe to cover up. Sipe steps forward and throws a right of his own that is parried, and the two swing awkwardly at each other as they crash into one another seconds later, with nothing landing clean on either side.

Usman sticks a jab, Sipe jiggles his belly, and Usman sticks another jab. Usman lands a lead left as Sipe looks to come forward, drawing a huge cheer from Pena. Usman misses badly with a loopy right, but Sipe doesn’t make him pay. Usman reaches with a left to the body, but Sipe shakes it off.

Usman lands a left inside of Sipe’s looping right with just under a minute remaining. Sipe starts pressing forward, pawing with shots, but not really committing and Usman clocks him with a clean right that sends sweat flying off his head with 20 seconds remaining, opening a cut under Sipe’s right eye.

The horn sounds, Usman erupts in celebration, and Sipe shakes his head, raising his hands like he won, while his face suggests he knows he lost.

Official Result: Mohammed Usman def. Mitchell Sipe by unanimous decision

Mohammed Usman Reacts To Defeating Mitchell Sipe | The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes
Mohammed Usman Reacts To Defeating Mitchell Sipe | The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes
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Sipe says, “That’s bull****” as Smith announces the decision, while Usman celebrates. Sipe looks for a handshake, but Usman isn’t interested.

White and the coaches recap the fight, with Nunes expressing smiling frustration over Sipe’s lack of focus, and all three agreeing with the final verdict.

Sipe keeps talking to Usman, who hugs his coaches and breaks down into tears, returning to a round of cheers, hugs, and handshakes from Team Pena in the dressing room.

“That was for my son,” he says, trying to fight off tears. “I’ve been dreaming about this moment… I been dreaming about this moment for my son…”

Amanda Nunes Discusses Mitchell Sipe vs Mohammed Usman | The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes
Amanda Nunes Discusses Mitchell Sipe vs Mohammed Usman | The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes
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The emotion overcomes him.

“Daddy did it, Nash.”

Back in the Team Nunes dressing room, Sipe says he needed to slow down after he dropped Usman and that he feels fine. He asks what he did wrong and his teammates tell him he needed to swing more, rather than have his hands down.

Chandler Cole continues to be the guy that tries to lift up his defeated teammates, telling Sipe, “You’re a great fighter, an amazing fighter; some of the best hands I’ve seen. He wasn’t the better fighter, I promise you.”

Nunes tells him, “You played with your food. You don’t play with your food. When you’re eating, you’ve gotta eat your food.”

Julianna Peña Discusses Mitchell Sipe vs Mohammed Usman | The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes
Julianna Peña Discusses Mitchell Sipe vs Mohammed Usman | The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes
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White says Usman “barely pulled out the victory” to earn his place in the semifinals, and now it’s time to announce the next flyweight fight.

Team Nunes has the pick and selects Brogan Walker to face Team Pena’s Chantel Coates.