The Ultimate Fighter: American Top Team vs. Blackzilians airs Wednesday at 10pm ET / 7pm PT on FOX Sports 1.
A week ago on The Ultimate Fighter, it appeared that the Blackzilians were going to close the door on American Top Team and finish the competition with two weeks still left to go.
Despite a valiant effort from Valdir “BB Monster” Araujo, the Blackzilians ultimately came up on the short end of a decision after American Top Team captain Nathan Coy gutted out the most clutch win of the entire season. The pressure was all on Coy to win because a loss would have effectively ended the show with the Blackzilians walking away victorious.
Coy's victory ensures that American Top Team lives to fight another day, but they are right back in the same position again where it's win or go home. Meanwhile, the Blackzilians are still in control but there's no way to deny that the expectations are growing larger by the day after the team came storming out of the gates to build a huge lead only to watch it slip away, and with a loss this week, the score would be tied going into the final fight of the competition.
While fight selection has been important all season long, it's never been bigger for the Blackzilians than it will be this week as they try to put American Top Team away once and for all. Team owner Glenn Robinson isn't very happy with his guys after the BB Monster loss because he's worried they are already celebrating when the show isn't over yet. Two weeks and two fights to go and it's still anybody’s game.
"We'll celebrate when we win! Not today. When this is over!" Robinson shouts at his team in the upcoming episode, airing Wednesday night on FOX Sports 1 at 10pm ET.
Who will the Blackzilians choose to go into the penultimate fight of the season? Luiz “Buscape” Firmino is still a great choice after his debut win and considering the veteran experience he carries with him into the Octagon. Jason Jackson looked solid in his win and definitely didn't endure any kind of injury as he cruised to a decision win over Marcelo “Grilo” Alfaya. Carrington Banks remains a viable option as well after he won his first fight, although he's still relatively young when it comes to his overall experience, so those odds might work against him this week.
As for American Top Team, they are still searching for a two-win streak this season but they know this week has to be the time they pull it off or the show is over and the Blackzilians will walk out with a $200,000 team prize.
Coy's performance was certainly inspiring, but now the American Top Team owners and coaches have to go back to the well one more time to try and pull out a similar performance out of somebody who lost earlier in the competition. Of course there's also the possibility that American Top Team turns to Cristiano “Soldado” Souza, who was the alternate to take over for Steve “Creepy Weasel” Montgomery when he was forced to leave the show this season due to medical reasons.
American Top Team could also turn back to Sabah Homasi, who was champing at the bit to fight a week ago after losing a heartbreaker of a decision in his debut fight. Michael Graves is also healthy and has the longest layoff after fighting in the first bout of the season, but he's been anything but dependable to his team and training partners since suffering the loss to Kamaru Usman in the opening episode. Could Graves turn it around and prove to his team that they can depend on him one more time?
Speaking of Homasi, he also ends up in a rather heated altercation this week with Blackzilians' captain Kamaru Usman. A few weeks back, Hayder Hassan and Jason Jackson verbally sparred after accusations of cheating came up from a fight they had before entering the reality show this season. Now it's Homasi and Usman's turn as they begin lobbing insults at each other, and things will get quite volatile this week as the two fighters get face to face with a palpable tension in the air.
Following the fight selection, this week's episode also marks the return of the coach's challenge - although this year marks the first time in Ultimate Fighter history where it becomes the owners’ challenge.
American Top Team founder Dan Lambert will square off against Blackzilians owner Glenn Robinson in a competition this week, but we can spoil one thing right now - it won't be a grappling match. As much as Lambert would love to show off his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and twist Robinson into a pretzel, the owners will compete on an even playing field while also having the backing from a few of their fighters in the matchup as well.
While the fight this week is what really matters, there's no denying that Lambert and Robinson hate each other and this challenge will definitely add on to the bragging rights for one of them.
Once the coaches finish their competition, the focus shifts back to the fight this week and there's no way to oversell it because this might be one of the single greatest bouts in Ultimate Fighter history. The action moves fast and furiously, and when it's over one team owner will be red in the face with anger and there will be two teams on the verge of rioting after the bout is finished and the winner's hand is raised.
It's no hyperbole to say that this is absolutely a can't miss moment for The Ultimate Fighter this season.
Don't miss a minute of it as The Ultimate Fighter swings into the final two weeks of the competition with American Top Team looking to tie things up with the Blackzilians or the Blackzilians closing it out with one last win and going home with the $200,000 prize.