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The Ultimate Fighter

The Return Of The Ultimate Fighter | Episode 10 Recap

It's The Second Round Of The Semifinals On The Return Of The Ultimate Fighter. See Which Of The Middleweights Will Advance To The Finals

Previously on The Return of The Ultimate Fighter…

In the first bantamweight semifinal fight, Team Volkanovski’s Ricky Turcios defeated Liudvik Sholinian in a three-round battle to advance to the finals.

Now, middleweights Bryan Battle and Andre Petroski square off in the first middleweight semifinal fight of the season, with a spot in the finals on the line.

This is Episode 10 of The Return of The Ultimate Fighter!

A black pick-up truck with oversized Toyo Tires is out in front of the UFC APEX as UFC President Dana White explains that he thought it would be a good time to take a break from the gym and have a little fun.

“Who better to get them going than the first-ever TUF winner, Forrest Griffin,” he says, as Griffin begins to explain the impending challenge to the assembled teams in the APEX parking lot.

Griffin introduces Toyo Tires Desert Racing Champion Tavo Vildosola, who drives the truck in competition. The fighters are going to compete in a Pit Stop Challenge, swapping out one of the monster tires on Vildosola’s race truck, with the team that clocks the quickest time will have a prize waiting for them at the house when they return from practice.

MORE TUF 29: How To Watch The Return Of The Ultimate Fighter | Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5 | Episode 6 | Episode 7 | Episode 8 | Episode 9All Things TUF 

Each team gets to select three fighters to participate in the challenge. Team Ortega selects Andre Petroski, Michael Gillmore, and Kemran Lachinov, while Team Volkanovski sends out Brady Hiestand, Bryan Battle, and Ryder Newman.

Team Volkanovski got out to a big lead, getting their tire off in a hurry and wrapping up quickly, while Team Ortega lagged behind initially and struggled to get their tire lined back up in order to bolt it on, finally finishing several seconds after their rivals. When Vildosola checked Team Volkanovski’s efforts, he gave them the thumbs up, awarding the team the victory, continuing the trend of the blue and gold side coming out on top.

Andre Petroski of Team Ortega gets his hands wrapped ahead of his middleweight semi final against Bryan Battle on episode 10 of The Return of The Ultimate Fighter (photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Andre Petroski of Team Ortega gets his hands wrapped ahead of his middleweight semi final against Bryan Battle on episode 10 of The Return of The Ultimate Fighter (photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“The biggest and best prize is beating Team Ortega,” a smiling Ryder admits after Griffin informs the victors a prize will be waiting for them at the house once they’re done with practice before peeling out with Vildosola.

Back at the house, Team Volkanovski arrives to discover a beautiful sushi meal being prepared for them to enjoy. Everyone dug in and made multiple trips for the all-you-can-eat deliciousness, save for Bryan Battle, who has to make weight in a couple days and therefore needed to rein himself in a little.

Ortega and the assistant coaches roll into the house to check on their guys, as the team has suffered five consecutive losses inside the Octagon, sitting down to play cards and hang out.

SEE WHAT THE COACHES OF TUF 29 HAD TO SAY: Volkanovski | Ortega

Four days before the fight, Bryan goes through his fight prep at the UFC PI. He rolls with Aaron Phillips and works on takedown defense against the wall and get-ups with Volkanovski and Craig Jones, anticipating a wrestling-heavy approach from Andre.

Volkanovski sings his charge’s praises in terms of his uptake of information, impressed by Bryan’s ability to learn and apply what he’s being shown quickly, which is something not everyone can do and can be a key differentiator in a compressed competitive setting like this.

“He was my last pick out of the middleweights,” Volkanovski says in a solo interview. “And if I could take that back I would because he’s on point right now. I feel like he’s gonna get a knockout, to be honest.

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“I’m confident. I like the underdogs and I feel like this is a good underdog story, so if Bryan Ortega thinks Battle has no chance, I think otherwise.”

Bryan goes through his fight simulator, switching out actions every 30 seconds, rotating through pad work, sparring, wrestling, and grappling for three, five-minute rounds.

Get To Know Bryan Battle | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter
Get To Know Bryan Battle | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter
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“I want to freeze him and confuse him,” Bryan says in a confessional interview. “I want to throw so much s*** at him that he doesn’t know what to expect next. I just want to slowly chip away at him — chip away at his body, chip away at his confidence, chip away at his endurance.

“I’m excited. I feel like I’ve prepared for this for a long time. I’m ready to put on a show.”

Back at the house, Andre and Josh Rettinghouse play chess, with Andre explaining that he likes hanging out with the bantamweight because he’s the most experienced guy in the house.

Three days out, it’s Andre’s turn for fight prep at the UFC APEX.

“I’m overwhelmingly confident in my matchup here,” he begins in a confessional interview. “They think they can prevent a takedown and out-strike me. They think that I have no striking, but no one has yet been able to stop my wrestling.”

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He goes through a mitt session with Dr. Jason Park, who reminds him to be fluid and keep moving before Ortega shows him some things that he could possibly do as the shorter guy in the matchup, anticipating Bryan looking to use his reach advantage. They also talk about mixing up the attacks and trying to keep Bryan guessing — faking shots, throwing hands and changing levels in an unexpected rhythm, and using Andre’s full complement of skills to make Bryan unsure of how he’s going to attack.

“The one person I think about every day is my wife,” Bryan says in a confessional interview, holding up an old graduation picture of her and acknowledging that she’s “totally out of my league.”

He talks with his teammates about the impending arrival of his first child, noting that his wife wants a boy, but he wants a girl out of fears that the boy will be just like him. He polls his teammates in the room and they come out split, two votes for each gender.

“I have no lack of motivation right now,” he adds.

It’s the day before the fight, which means it’s time to step on the scale.

Bryan is up first and comes in at 184.5 pounds, while Andre follows him up there and hits 186 pounds, making the fight official.

They face off, shake hands, and now all that’s left is the fighting.

Get To Know Andre Petroski | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter
Get To Know Andre Petroski | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter
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The night before the fight, each of the competitors gets a chance to call home.

Andre explains in a confessional interview that he had a little anxiety about making the phone call to his girlfriend, daughter, and roommate.

“I think there is fear that ‘Is my daughter going to forget me in these five weeks?’” he says. His daughter has a moment where she wants her dad to pick her up, but he obviously can’t, however the conversation overall goes well and Andre comes away from it with his anxieties quelled.

Fighter Profiles: Petroski  | Battle

Bryan calls home and talks to his wife and his family, drawing energy from speaking with them. His wife shows off her baby bump and he cracks up, breaking down into tears in the confessional interview part of it.

“It’s crazy,” he begins, dabbing tears from his eyes. “I used to make fun of these guys on reality TV like ‘Damn dude — it’s only 30 days; it’s only 30 days.’ It was really good to talk to my family. Talking to my wife and talking to my family meant a lot.”

Fight Day is upon us, and by the end of the night, the first middleweight finalist will be determined.

Andre and Bryan head to the UFC APEX, get loose, get wrapped, and get ready to duke it out.

Mark Smith serves as the third man in the cage with the middleweight combatants.

Bryan Battle of Team Volkanovski gets his hands wrapped before facing Andre Petroski in their middleweight semi final bout. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Bryan Battle of Team Volkanovski gets his hands wrapped before facing Andre Petroski in their middleweight semi final bout. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Round 1: They touch gloves and here we go.

Andre presses forward behind pawing punches, driving Bryan backwards into the fence, changing levels to look for a takedown as he gets there. He grabs a single, but Bryan shows good balance, getting back to standing after the initial twist and defending well along the fence. Bryan extracts his leg and attacks with knees to the body before breaking free into space.

Andre looks a little stationary and tight, catching a counter right hand from Bryan as he comes forward in an attempt to close the distance. Bryan backs Andre into the fence with long-range attacks that fall short of the mark, and Andre changes levels to grab a single leg again as Bryan comes towards him, spinning him to the canvas. Bryan gets back up immediately and buries a knee to the midsection as he works off the fence.

Andre yells, “Are you kidding me?” to Brian during the clinch and referee Mark Smith tells them to fight. When they break into space, Smith pauses the action and calls for a replay. Andre has a cut that is leaking blood over his right eye, complaining about Bryan headbutting him, while Bryan shouts back that Andre is the one coming into him.

The doctor checks the cut and has no issue with Andre continuing, while the replay shows that the cut occurred as a result of a knee to the head thrown by Bryan, who is annoyed upon learning the results of the replay, as Andre has now gained time to catch his breath after suggesting Bryan did something untoward.

Bryan Battle reacts during his The Return of The Ultimate Fighter middleweight semi final bout with Andre Petroski (photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Bryan Battle reacts during his The Return of The Ultimate Fighter middleweight semi final bout with Andre Petroski (photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

The fight resumes with both men a little more fired up then they were and just over three minutes remaining in the opening round.

Andre drives in on a single and spins Bryan to the floor, but the Team Volkanovski middleweight gets back to his feet quickly. Andre circles around to his back with a waist lock, elevating Bryan and slamming him to the canvas, staying connected the whole time. Andre gets a hook in and looks to control Bryan’s body on the mat, along the fence.

Andre drags Bryan backwards and rolls through with him, pressing off the fence as he chases a choke that isn’t there. Bryan continues defending well, listening to his coaches, but Andre momentarily climbs into mount. Bryan gives up his back and gets to all fours, but Andre quickly flattens him out.

Andre starts unloading with punches and Bryan is on the defensive. Bryan gives up his back again and Andre looks for a choke. Late in the round, Bryan gets back to his feet, walking back to his corner patiently, while Andre looks a little tired, each set of coaches offering nothing but encouragement to their athlete between rounds.

Round 2: Bryan throw two rangy kicks to start and closes the distance, landing a right hand on the way in and two left hands behind it. Andre responds with a right of his own, but he looks a little winded still. Bryan lands a kick to the body, offering up high afterwards and snapping a right hand to the face next.

Bryan keeps flicking out kicks and Andre responds with single, lunging punches that seem labored. He presses forward and lands a left hand, but Bryan isn’t bothered. Bryan closes the distance and grabs a Thai clinch, attacking with knees to the body and head. He slips off to his right and lands a right as Andre comes forward, connecting with a left when the same sequence occurs seconds later.

Andre drives forward and through a takedown, grabbing a waist lock as Bryan looks to scurry back to his feet along the fence. Andre looks to grab a single leg as Bryan gets his back to the cage, but leaves his neck exposed, prompting Bryan to lace up a ninja choke, a modified version of a no-arm guillotine choke where the arms are laced like a rear naked choke to secure the squeeze.

Andre immediately looks to get free, dropping to the canvas, but Bryan stays with him, settling in on top and tightening the squeeze, leaving Andre no option but to tap.

Bryan Battle celebrate his submission victory over Andre Petroski in their middleweight semi final bout on The Return of The Ultimate Fighter (photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Bryan Battle celebrate his submission victory over Andre Petroski in their middleweight semi final bout on The Return of The Ultimate Fighter (photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“Holy s***,” Dana White says, clapping and smiling ear-to-ear as the Team Volkanovski corner erupts.

“That’s the guy they thought was going to win the whole thing,” Dana says to his guest at cageside, referring to Andre.

The two middleweights pay respect to one another and hug it up as the final result is being put together.

“I told you he’d be in the finals, Dana,” Volkanovski says proudly, strutting around the Octagon, pumped up.

“Yeah, you did,” the UFC President responds.

Official Result: Bryan Battle def. Andre Petroski by submission (guillotine choke) at 2:05 of Round 2

Bryan Battle Discusses Advancing To The TUF Finale | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter
Bryan Battle Discusses Advancing To The TUF Finale | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter
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The coaches recap the fight, each praising their charge’s efforts in Round 1.

Ortega says Andre was piecing Bryan up to start Round 2, impressed that he’d switched it up when everyone thought he was going to grapple, acknowledging he looked tired.

“In this fighting game, you have no room for error, and we had one slip-up,” continues Ortega, as the closing moments of the bout run. “He let go of a beautiful position — having Bryan’s back, riding him, pressing him against the fence — to let go completely for that single that he loves.

“And that single got his neck wrapped.”

“This fight was a surprise to pretty much everyone,” offers Dana. “Bryan, the last pick for Team Volkanovski, takes out Ortega’s No. 1 middleweight, and he beat him with a submission, which is what he’s supposed to be good at.”

Alexander Volkanovski Recaps Bryan Battles Semi-Final Win | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter
Alexander Volkanovski Recaps Bryan Battles Semi-Final Win | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter
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“He tapped and I did not expect that,” a dejected Ortega adds.

A dejected Andre says all the right things backstage, acknowledging his conditioning and doubling down on his love of the sport, pledging to continue getting better.

An elated Bryan celebrates with his teammates, and has a conversation with Dana, who tells him about Volkanovski’s high praise for him during the semifinal selection meeting.

“This kid has gotten better and better as the competition has gone on,” Dana says in a solo interview. “That’s something that we love to see here in the UFC. I think that this kid has a bright future ahead of him.”

On the next episode of The Return of The Ultimate Fighter…

The fighters get a breather as Ortega and Volkanovski go head-to-head in the Coaches Challenge.

Then it’s time for the second bantamweight semifinal fight, as youngster Brady Hiestand looks to keep Team Volkanovski’s winning streak going, while Team Ortega veteran Vince Murdock aims to continue his inspirational return from brain surgery by punching his ticket to the finals.