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General image of the Octagon in the UFC Apex during the filming of The Return Of The Ultimate Fighter (photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
The Ultimate Fighter

The Return Of The Ultimate Fighter | Episode 5 Recap

Both Teams Prepare For The Fifth Fight On The Return Of The Ultimate Fighter. See Which Of The Middleweights Comes Out On Top

Previously on The Return of The Ultimate Fighter…

Vincent Murdock made it 4-0 for Team Ortega thanks to a first-round knockout win over Dustin Lampros, and the tension between the coaches continued to escalate as the playful banter became a little more serious at the next fight announcement.

Now, in the fifth preliminary matchup of the season, it’s back to middleweight as Team Volkanovski’s Bryan Battle looks to secure the first win for his side as he takes on Kemran Lachinov of Team Ortega.

This is Episode 5 of The Return of The Ultimate Fighter…

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

The Return Of The Ultimate Fighter Teams Pose For A Photo Before The Start Of The Show (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
The Return Of The Ultimate Fighter Teams Pose For A Photo Before The Start Of The Show (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

On the Team Volkanovski bus back to the house following the last fight announcement, Mitch Raposo voices his distaste for Brian Ortega and some of the members of his team, put off by the featherweight contender’s perceived attitude, as well as how middleweight Andrei Petroski has been carrying himself.

In a confessional interview, Ryder Newman dubs Team Volkanovski the “heroes” of this tournament and Team Ortega the “villains,” forecasting a clean sweep from here on out for Team Volk.

Raposo and Newman continue voicing their disappointment with the war of words as Team Ortega returns to the house. Later in the evening, Raposo tries explaining his perception of things to Petroski and other members of Team Ortega. Petroski pushes back, getting into it with Raposo and expanding on his position in a confessional interview.


The bickering continues, with Petroski adding in his confessional interview that he doesn’t “have a personal problem with Mitch,” but that the Team Volkanovski bantamweight could refine his approach to voicing his opinions and frustrations.

At the UFC APEX four days before the fight, Bryan Battle goes through his fight prep. Volkanovski sings the praises of his middleweight fighter, calling him a good listener and willing student while acknowledging it’s a difficult matchup.

Bryan’s home video begins with his introduction at HR MMA 117, where the Maryland native secured a second-round round submission win over Ben Fowler, while he explains the origins of his nickname “Pooh Bear.”

Get To Know Bryan Battle | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter
Get To Know Bryan Battle | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter

The 5-1 prospect explains he’s earned four straight stoppage wins, all before the close of the second stanza, while adding that “on paper, there is nothing special to what I’ve done, which is why I’m looking forward to the opportunity to get in the cage and show what’s up; take on the top guys in the world.

“I’m world-class; it’s just that people don’t know that yet.”

Volkanovski feels like Bryan can work from range, and the middleweight hopeful forecasts that he’s going to pick at him from distance and then finish Kemran later in the fight, offering an alternative path to victory on the ground while declaring himself to be the bigger, stronger, faster of the two, the featherweight champ adding that Kemran’s best chance to win is to come forward hard and land a big shot.

“There’s too many things going my way,” Bryan adds, “and I’m going to put it on him.”

Back at the house, the Team Ortega coaching staff comes through to visit with the team and hang out. Ortega challenges Tresean and Ryder to a 2-1 game of foosball, promising to beat them both at the same time.

In another confessional interview, Mitch continues to voice how Ortega rubs him the wrong way as the Harbor City native and his coaches form a “Gracie Train” and parade through the house.

Kemran and Liudvit discuss how their parents feel about them pursuing a career in fighting, with each acknowledging that “they support me, but they don’t like it,” before Kemran explains in a confessional interview that he’s married, has a nine-month-old son, and lives with his parents.

Get To Know Kemran Lachinov | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter
Get To Know Kemran Lachinov | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter

His home video from West Springfield, Massachusetts begins with him going for a run while pushing his son in his stroller and footage from family time around the house before shifting to his MMA career, explaining that he was encouraged to pursue the sport by a soccer coach after frequently getting into scuffles after losing.

Kemran trains at Team Link in Ludlow, the longtime home of former UFC heavyweight contender Gabriel “Napao” Gonzaga, and while training footage plays, the 30-year-old details how excited he is for The Ultimate Fighter to be back and how he sees this season as his opportunity to show the MMA world who he is as a competitor.

Check out every contestant's profile on The Return of The Ultimate Fighter.

At the UFC APEX three days before the fight, Kemran convenes with the Team Ortega coaches in their locker room, discussing the game plan.

“I want to start off taking him down on standup,” begins Kemran, “and if I can finish him on the feet, I’ll finish him on the feet. If he shoots a bad shot or something, I’ll go for the ropes.”

Assistant coach Tiki Ghosn offers his scouting report of Bryan and Kemran explains that he’s more of an aggressive, reactive fighter in a confessional interview.

As Kemran’s fight footage rolls, he explains that he’s 10-3 in his career and his motivations for fighting, while Ortega adds that he’s seen his charge in some hard fights against quality competition in regional promotions leading up to this fight with Bryan, praising his toughness.

Kemran Lachinov of Team Ortega prepares for his fight again Bryan Battle on The Return of The Ultimate Fighter. (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Kemran Lachinov of Team Ortega prepares for his fight again Bryan Battle on The Return of The Ultimate Fighter. (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Kemran’s fight prep with the coaches begins with combination work with Paul Herrera before Ortega tries to show him a few little things he can utilize rather than just going in there and banging it out with Bryan.

“My game plan is pretty simple, actually,” Kemran says. “I have an animal inside of me and he is caged up right now. I’m going to let that animal out of me and make sure that whatever is in the way of my goal is removed from my way. I’m going all the way.”

“Kemran has more experience, he is the tougher of the two,” offers Ortega. “Bryan, his opponent, is tall, lanky, nothing special to be honest with you; I don’t think he’s going to be too much of a threat for Kemran.”

Bryan explains in a confessional interview that in addition to training, he works as a carpenter, acknowledging that means there are a lot of long days logged in order to make this happen.

A home video shows Bryan working in the carpentry shop back home before shifting to Hayastan MMA in Matthews, North Carolina where he trains.

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“We’re more of an up-and-coming gym,” he says. “No massive pro teammates, but the teammates I have are amazing.”

Bryan discusses his transition into the sport, reiterating his professional record, and then the video cuts to footage of his family, as the Team Volkanovski member details the makeup of his “large immediate family,” including four nephews and three nieces, two older sisters and three younger sisters, several of whom have no interest in being on camera.

“Having five sisters — it’s a blessing and a curse, for sure,” he says. “If I got mad, I couldn’t do anything about it, and my sisters knew it too. It would have been cool to have a brother, but that’s alright.”

Bryan then introduces his wife, Caitlin, a karate black belt who is currently pregnant with the couple’s first child.

“She gives me another reason to fight,” he begins to a chorus of “aahs” from his family. “I work harder than I have ever worked before because I’m not just working for myself anymore. I gotta take my wife on a hot date, you know what I mean?”

It’s time for the weigh-ins.

The Ultimate Fighter Now Streaming on ESPN+
The Ultimate Fighter Now Streaming on ESPN+

Bryan is up first, coming in at 185 on the nose. Kemran follows and hits 186 pounds, making the fight official.

“Between these two, Bryan has the least experience, but the kid has some potential,” offers UFC President Dana White, breaking down the matchup. “Kemran loves to bang it out and he seems like he enjoys getting hit.

“If Bryan can capitalize on his size advantage, he’s going to be hard to beat,” White adds. “But Kemran was picked dead-last, so this kid should definitely have a chip on his shoulder, come out, and have something to prove.”

“I’m here for my family and hopefully to get that UFC contract,” says Kemran, tacking up a picture of him and his son in the locker room, calling him his No. 1 motivation.

FIGHTER PROFILES: Kemran Lachinov | Bryan Battle 

“Every fight I go in there, I leave everything in there,” he adds. “I put my heart out there, I put my soul out there, and I want to dominate. I want to win the fight, step up my game, and be a better fighter every fight.”

It’s Fight Day between Bryan and Kemran.

“There’s always nerves before the fight,” begins Bryan in a confessional interview. “My wife’s pregnant, and I want my kid to be able to look at his dad and be proud of what his or her dad has achieved, you know what I mean?

“I need to win this competition so I can keep my career going and be able to grow in this sport while providing for another life.”

Middleweight Bryan Battle kicks Kemran Lachinov during their fight on The Return of The Ultimate Fighter. (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Middleweight Bryan Battle kicks Kemran Lachinov during their fight on The Return of The Ultimate Fighter. (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Bryan Battle vs. Kemran Lachinov

Marc Goddard is the third man in the cage.

Round 1: Quick touch of gloves and we’re underway.

Kemran takes the center and Bryan is happy to remain on the outside, looking to work from range, initially attacking with kicks and long jabs. Kemran tries to close the distance, but Bryan hits him with a right hook as he circles into space. Kemran comes forward, throwing an overhand right that is blocked, but he’s doing a better job cutting Bryan off.

Bryan goes back to the front kicks to the body and Kemran keeps trying to walk him down, throwing singles once he gets close enough as Bryan looks to move and fire, constantly circling away from danger. Kemran gets inside and looks for a takedown, but Bryan stuffs it and lands knees in the clinch along the fence before breaking free.

Halfway through and Bryan is doing a good job sticking to the game plan, working from range and avoiding close combat. Kemran grabs for a single, but Bryan balances well and escapes, burying knees to the midsection as the two clinch along the fence, reversing to front position.

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They break off the fence and Kemran walks forward looking enraged, hands by his side as Bryan throws punches backing up before hitting him with a high kick that Kemran walks through, grabbing onto a single leg once he’s in close. Bryan stuffs it again, scores on the exit, and appears to be frustrating Kemran, who is looking for a brawl and not getting it.

Kemran changes levels again, but Bryan again remains upright, using the fence to balance, digging an underhook, and reversing off the fence, prompting Kemran to dive for a leg lock late in the frame, eating shots as he cannot complete the hold while the horn sounds.

Bryan Battle of Team Volkanovski fights Kemran Lachinov of Team Ortega on The Return of The Ultimate Fighter. (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Bryan Battle of Team Volkanovski fights Kemran Lachinov of Team Ortega on The Return of The Ultimate Fighter. (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

The Team Volkanovski coaches are pumped with Bryan’s efforts in Round 1, encouraging him to do more of the same in the second, while Team Ortega asks Kemran to work the body.

Round 2: Kemran again takes the center and Bryan returns to throwing rangy kicks to different levels, snapping Kemran’s head back with jabs. Kemran can’t hem Bryan in along the fence and the Team Volkanovski fighter continues to flick out volume, picking with shots as he moves on the outside.

Kemran lunges in, Bryan steps off and lands a clean right hand to the jaw, which draws a smile from Kemran, who again walks forward with his hands at his side. Kemran fires a big overhand right than glances and changes levels, but Bryan stuffs it again, attacking with more knees in tight.

Kemran throws himself off balance winging a right hand, and Bryan chases him to the canvas, landing in half guard. Kemran gets to his knees and then his feet, eating a left hand for his troubles, but continues marching forward like a Terminator hunting down John Connor. Kemran finally pulls Bryan’s hips out for a takedown, but Bryan is up right away, connecting with a knee to the nether region, bringing the fight to a momentary pause.

Kemran is quickly ready to go, Goddard warns Bryan to watch his weapons, and we’re back at it, with just over two minutes remaining in the round.

Bryan continues to dance on the outside, attacking with long strikes, interrupting Kemran’s rhythm. Another takedown attempt is stuffed and Bryan again scores in the clinch, hitting a knee to the head and a punch behind it, but Kemran is undeterred, immediately changing levels in search of another takedown.

Bryan knees him in the head twice, circles to front position on the fence, and Kemran dives at a leg lock attempt with no success. Bryan looks to engage on the ground, but Kemran gets back to his feet quickly and rushes forward launching looping hooks. A couple glancing blows land and back Bryan up, but Kemran then ducks in for a takedown, much to the consternation of assistant coach Paul Herrera, who shouts “No takedowns!” as Bryan again stays upright and the horn sounds.

Official Result: Bryan Battle def. Kemran Lachinov by unanimous decision

Alexander Volkanovski Fight Recap | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter Episode 5
Alexander Volkanovski Fight Recap | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter Episode 5

And Team Volkanovski is on the board!

“He stuck to the game plan to a tee, and it was great success for him,” Volkanovski says of Bryan’s effort.

“At the end of the day, it takes more than heart to win a fight,” begins Dana White, offering his assessment of the middleweight contest. “Bryan showed us that he has skills, and all Kemran showed us is that he has a very hard head.”

Bryan dissects his effort, acknowledging that he wanted to keep it technical and get a win for the team, especially after how things went down between the two squads the previous week.

“We really came in with a chip on our shoulder and wanted to do this for Coach Volk,” he adds.

Bryan Battle Post-Fight Interview | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter Episode 5
Bryan Battle Post-Fight Interview | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter Episode 5

Tresean tries to lift up his teammate, and Kemran gives props to Bryan, accepting that losses are part of the process.

On to the next fight announcement: Team Ortega selects Dan Argueta to face Team Volkanovski’s Ricky Turcios, with Dan acknowledging in a confessional interview that this was the fight he wanted, as Ricky is one of the more experienced guys in the house.

Dana White explains that Ricky has been on the UFC radar for a whole, having fought on the first season of the Contender Series, and he has since gone on to gain more experience and matured as both a fighter and a man.

He adds that Dan was Team Ortega’s first selection, a pro for only two years, and sports a 5-0 record with four first-round finishes.

“This is another really great matchup,” concludes the UFC President.

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

Team Ortega tries to get under Team Volkanovski’s skin before Texas bantamaweight Ricky Turcios looks to make it two straight for Team Volk when he takes on Team Ortega’s first pick, Dan Argueta.

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