Just when it looked like the Blackzilians were poised to wrap up the competition and go home after another win, American Top Team stayed alive with a huge victory by team captain Nathan Coy as he defeated Valdir “BB Monster” Araujo by unanimous decision to keep the competition going for at least one more week.
> WATCH PREVIOUS TUF 21 Episode on UFC FIGHT PASS: Episode 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
It was do or die for American Top Team coming into the episode after Kamaru Usman defeated Steve Carl a week ago and put the Blackzilians within a single win of closing out the competition and going home the victors for the entire season. For American Top Team to battle back, they had to win all three fights in the final three weeks and while things looked dire at moments, Coy was able to gut out a victory for his guys.
Before the fight kicked off this week, Blackzilians owner Glenn Robinson took several digs at American Top Team and their owner Dan Lambert, while gloating about his team's superior performance up to this point in the competition. With a 7-2 lead in overall wins and losses, as well as a comfortable advantage in the team scoring, Robinson felt it was time to fire back at Lambert and American Top Team for some of the boasting they had done earlier in the season.
He even offered for the fighters from the other side to abandon ship and come train with the Blackzilians when the show was over.
"At the end of the day, I think Dan Lambert's a piece of crap. He has to still live with the humiliation through nine fights so I feel good about that," Robinson said. "You guys want to train at a real gym, just give me a call."
Needless to say, Lambert wasn't very amused by Robinson's antics, especially with his long standing grudge over the way the Blackzilians started in 2011, with four members of American Top Team helping him found his new gym in Florida just up the road from their old digs in Coconut Creek. Lambert has maintained the same opinion of Robinson ever since the show started, and he still holds nothing but contempt for the way he chose to start his team by taking pieces from other gyms instead of building from the ground up.
"Newsflash Glenn, you didn't build a team - you bought a team," Lambert said. "I got another newsflash for you, they're hookers. Instead of paying them to have sex with you, you paid them to go fight and give you credit when they win because that's how you get your rocks off."
Harsh words indeed, but for all the bad blood boiling over between Lambert and Robinson, the show still centers around the 16 fighters representing the two teams and trying to get to the championship and a half-million dollars in prize money. The gravity of the situation wasn't lost on UFC President Dana White, who has sounded like a broken record a few times this season as American Top Team once again sits behind the eight ball going into the fight this week.
"It's a do or die situation for Dan and the American Top Team," White said.
It doesn't take long for Lambert and the coaches to turn to team captain Nathan Coy to represent them this week, while the Blackzilians are dealing with a little more internal debate for their selection. While the upstart squad from Boca Raton has been spot on with nearly every matchup so far, they finally picked wrong this week as they chose submission specialist Valdir “BB Monster” Araujo for a fight they believe is going to be against Sabah Homasi from American Top Team.
When the weigh-ins begin, BB Monster steps out, but there's some hesitation from the American Top Team side before Coy makes his appearance at the front of the line. Both fighters made weight without incident, but it didn't keep Robinson from believing something fishy was going on.
Robinson saw Homasi take a big gulp of a drink handed to him by a coach after BB Monster was the fighter chosen and Coy stepped out for the fight. The Blackzilians owner believed Lambert and American Top Team were trying to pull a fast one by having two fighters ready so they could cherry pick the matchup depending on who was chosen from their team.
UFC President Dana White squashes that theory immediately by revealing that both teams have to submit paperwork the day before the fight to confirm with the commission who is fighting and weighing in that day, so it's impossible to switch out competitors that late in the process. Lambert isn't very amused either, and he takes another opportunity to offer Robinson the chance to settle their differences with a grappling match - and he'll even offer to tie one hand behind his back.
Robinson doesn't bite, but these two owners always seem like they are inches away from adding a bonus fight to the season this year.
When it came down to the fight itself, Coy vs. BB Monster ended up being one of the most intense bouts of the entire season.
The first round was all Coy, as he landed an early double leg takedown to put his foe on the mat and keep him there for the bulk of the five-minute opening frame. Coy used great ground control and pressure to negate BB Monster from mounting any kind of offense or escapes.
The second round got interesting in a hurry as BB Monster caught Coy with a head kick early that stunned the American Top Team fighter, who quickly dove in looking for the takedown. Because the shot was sloppy and out of position, BB Monster quickly latched on to a guillotine choke and it looked for a moment like the show is about to come to an end as Coy struggled to get free. Even Lambert thought the season was lost after Coy made the mistake of getting caught in the choke.
Miraculously, Coy found a way to wiggle free and while he did end up caught in a kneebar attempt later in the round as well, the crafty veteran from Oregon was once again able to employ a wrestling-heavy strategy to keep BB Monster on his back and struggling to mount any kind of real offense.
"You can't play jiu-jitsu with a wrestler," Blackzilians coach Rashad Evans said after the fight.
The decision was unanimous for Coy as he celebrated the victory while keeping his team alive for at least one more week. The win also sets up a very interesting situation as the fights will now shift back to American Top Team, and with only two weeks to go, the next fight is just as crucial, but now the underdogs will have home gym advantage for the bout.
Who will American Top Team pick to try to save the season and force a sudden death final match and what can the Blackzilians do to ensure they close out this competition before things get any closer? Tune into The Ultimate Fighter: American Top Team vs. Blackzilians next week to find out.