CAUTION: SPOILERS INCLUDED – Two spots in the final four are up for grabs this week on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Lesnar vs. Team dos Santos, as the quarterfinals begin with two explosive matchups.
More blogs by TUF cast:
Tony Ferguson for SBNation
Ramsey Nijem for MMAFighting
Charles Rader for Around the Octagon
Clay Harvison for USA Today
Javier Torres for MMA Valor
Len Bentley for MMA DieHards
Ryan McGillivray for Top MMA News
Shamar Bailey for Heavy
Zach Davis for MMA Weekly
Chris Cope for MMA Junkie
Chuck O’Neil for Bleacher Report
Lew Polley for MMA Junkie
Up first in the quarterfinals will be bouts pitting Clay Harvison against Ramsey Nijem, and Chris Cope against Shamar Bailey. Unfortunately, as the episode begins, Bailey is far from a hundred percent as he recently pulled his back out in training. There’s no question that he’s going through with the fight though, and he’s looking forward to silencing his nemesis, Cope.
Back in the gym, UFC President Dana White brings former WEC light heavyweight champion and current middleweight contender Brian Stann to practice to speak to the fighters. Stann, a decorated veteran of the United States Marine Corps, tells the competitors how his time in the service helped his mixed martial arts career.
“I always tell people, ‘success breeds success,’” said Stann.
Another fighter on the mend is Harvison, who is dealing with the aftereffects of a dislocated finger, but like Bailey, he’s raring to go.
Unfortunately for Harvison, Nijem is just as amped up, and he gets his foe to the mat almost immediately. Harvison fights hard to escape, but after Nijem gets his hooks in, it’s game over as he sinks in a rear naked choke that forces a tap out in less than a minute.
In bout number two, Cope is a significant underdog to the veteran Bailey, but with nothing to lose, Cope is cool once the bell rings as Bailey chases him. Bailey scores with a hard left in the early going, but his first takedown attempt is defended well. In the second half of the round, Bailey bulls his foe to the fence on a few occasions, but again, Cope’s defense is good, and he gets in enough close range punches to pick up some points before the bell sounds.
The fighters begin trading punches to start round two, with Cope the busier and more effective of the two. Cope’s takedown defense is also making it difficult for Bailey to get untracked, and by the midway point, it’s clear that an upset is in the making. With under two minutes remaining, Bailey scores with two hard lefts, but he is unable to capitalize, leaving it up to the judges.
There will be no third sudden victory round though, and the verdict is rendered 20-18 across the board for Cope, a decision that doesn’t sit well with Bailey and coach Junior dos Santos…but it stands, and Cope joins Nijem on the way to the semifinals.
Here’s how the teams look:
Len Bentley – Eliminated on episode three by Ryan McGillivray
Charles Rader – Eliminated on episode four by Ramsey Nijem
Tony Ferguson 1-0
Clay Harvison 1-1 – Eliminated on episode eight by Ramsey Nijem
Chuck O’Neil – 1-1 Eliminated on episode six by Zachary Davis. Returned for Wild Card bout and re-entered the competition
Chris Cope 2-0
Nordin Asrih – Eliminated on episode one by Shamar Bailey
Team dos Santos
Shamar Bailey 1-1 – Eliminated on episode eight by Chris Cope
Ryan McGillivray 1-0
Javier Torres – Eliminated on episode two by Chris Cope. Returned for Wild Card bout and was eliminated by Chuck O’Neil
Ramsey Nijem 2-0
Zachary Davis 1-0
Mick Bowman – Eliminated on episode five by Clay Harvison
Justin Edwards – Eliminated on episode six by Tony Ferguson
For weekly recaps of The Ultimate Fighter, as well as fighter profiles, stay tuned to UFC.com.