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TUF 17 Weekly Recap - Episode 3

Weekly recaps of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs. Team
Sonnen, airing Tuesdays on FX at 9 p.m. ET/PT, with re-airs on FUEL TV and Get the Season Pass on iTunes and (Click here for international listings.)

The episode opens up in the hallway of the UFC gym as Adam Cella talks to his recently -announced opponent Uriah Hall. Cella points out how much entertainment value the two of them possess and what a great standup fight they’ll have. Hall simply responds, “Maybe.”

As two actual opponents talk amicably, two potential opponents are still at odds. Kevin Casey still hasn’t gotten over Bubba McDaniel calling him out during the previous episode. He tries to tell us that he understands Bubba’s strategy -- as Kevin suffered a cut in his first fight, he may be vulnerable. Still, he's clearly taking it personally. Yes, as difficult as it may be to fathom, TUF contestants often place a high priority on perceived masculinity.

Speaking of dominance issues, back at the house we learn that Uriah Hall has a short fuse. Sitting around the bonfire talking with the housemates, Hall calls someone a “professional cooker.” Josh Samman corrects him, “You mean chef?” We assume Samman didn’t mean it maliciously, but Hall isn’t quite that sure. Now, he doesn't jump up and scream “Let me bang, bro!” but he does talk about his childhood as a Jamaican emigrant. He struggled to learn English, and other kids would make fun of him and call him stupid. Samman’s correction seems to have brought this to the fore. Initially you feel a sense of pathos, but then you hear him talk about his rage and you’re terrified. Note to Josh Samman: Don’t correct Uriah Hall’s grammar, bro.

Cut to the Team Sonnen training session where we learn more about Uriah Hall besides the fact he can be scary. He opines about how martial arts changed his life and helped give him confidence. It puts a human face on the man that many expect to win the season. Plus we see some cool slow motion punching, which is always nice.

Coach Chael Sonnen then levels some high praise on Hall. He states that he’s the best athlete, works the hardest, he has the most talent etc. There is one caveat, though: Chael states that the key to getting Hall to win the whole thing is for him to realize that he doesn’t have to win everything. We catch a glimpse of this as Hall rolls with Kevin Casey. Casey catches him in an armbar, Hall taps, and his ego can’t handle it. He gets visibly upset and can’t seem to let it go. Maybe he’ll use it as a learning experience to improve? Nope. He appears to miss the point when he tells us, “Today I learned to not be nice.” I suppose Chael would have wanted him to learn armbar defense, but hey, you take what you can get.


We cut to Adam Cella who goes on a humble brag-a-thon about how his friends and family always get angry at him because he finishes his opponents in the first round. He also talks about the heating and cooling company his family owns and explains he doesn’t need fighting. “I want to do this, I don’t have to.”

At the Team Jones training session, Bones works one-on-one with Cella to show him a better method of blocking kicks. He also realizes the mental coaching he needs to give Adam and tells us that, “My job is to humanize Uriah.” After the personal training, he works with the entire team to show them ground-and-pound technique. Coach Jones reveals to us that he’s used this elbow technique so many times that, “I know what the human skull feels like the back of my hand.”

As Jones teaches his fighters how to elbow a face, Sonnen teaches Uriah Hall about confidence...kind of. Hall asks Chael how he deals with all the pressure that comes with high-level MMA. Chael’s words of wisdom can pretty much be summed up as "Deal with it." He explains: “Failure is always an option, but it’s a choice.”

Time for weigh-in, which occurs with no controversies. Two things worth noting: 1) Dana is still smitten with Uriah Hall and thinks he can be a star 2) Bubba admires Adam’s cojones.

Back at the house, Jon Jones visits the guys and tries to get to know his team better. He asks, “What does it mean to you to make it in the UFC?” There are a variety of responses. Adam Cella is spurned by doubters (who’d have thought those exist in MMA!?) Bubba looks for redemption after being on a path of destruction. Dylan Andrews thinks about his brothers who had potential to be great athletes but lost their chances because of drugs.

It’s finally fight day and the combatants have a few more words. Cella realizes the task that lays before him and knows Hall is an intimidating and dangerous opponent. Despite having the odds stacked against him, he believes in himself since, “I always rise to the occasion.” Meanwhile, Hall doesn’t go the normal route of false modesty and states, “I’d be scared of me, too.”

Both fighters trade jabs to begin the first round. Hall then lands a strong low kick. Cella responds with a couple punches, but Hall clinches and muscles him around the cage delivering knees to the body. They break the clinch and Hal throws a cool spin kick...that doesn’t even come close to landing. Cella answers with a kick of his own, but Hall grabs it and takes him down. Cella works from his back and throws up an armbar attempt. Looks like Hall actually did learn a little defense, because he fends off the submission and stands up. The two are back on their feet and Cella follows a jab-cross combo with another kick that Hall grabs. Cella loses his balance, but Hall doesn’t follow up. Instead, he throws another low kick that lands with a solid thud. Hall throws some more left legs against Cella and backs him up further. Cella swings big with his right hand, but Hall clinches him up again. They break and Adam Cella keeps coming forward.

They trade another couple jabs. Then, with six seconds left, Uriah Hall throws another cool spin kick... that will live forever in TUF highlight reels. Cella is out before he hits the ground. Dana White screams, “Holy [expletive]!” before Cella hits the ground, too. After the initial jubilance subsides, things get very quiet. Cella is still out on the ground and you see the concern on everyone’s faces. Eventually he sits up, but he has no recollection at all about what just happened. As Adam heads to the hospital we see the kick replayed again and again and it still doesn’t get boring.

Then it’s time for next week’s fight announcement -- Kevin Casey will face off against Collin Hart. (Vote here for who you think will win.) Bubba doesn’t like it because he’s been angling for a fight with Kevin, but Coach Sonnen says it’s all a part of the strategy. They believe Kevin will take less damage against Hart.

Cut to previews to next week’s episode. Will Kevin Casey’s cut open up again? Can Team Sonnen make it three in a row? Does Dana White hand Uriah Hall a UFC contract before the season even ends? Find out next week on The Ultimate Fighter!

Season at a glance:

Team Sonnen (2-0)
Luke Barnatt (1-0, TKO win over Gilbert Smith in episode 2)
Uriah Hall (1-0, KOd Adam Cella in episode 3)
Zak Cummings
Tor Troeng
Jimmy Quinlan
Kevin Casey
Kelvin Gastelum

Team Jones (0-2)
Clint Hester
Josh Samman
Bubba McDaniel
Gilbert Smith (0-1, TKOd by Luke Barnatt in episode 2)
Collin Hart
Adam Cella (0-1, KOd by Uriah Hall in episode 3)
Dylan Andrews