The Ultimate Fighter: American Top Team vs. Blackzilians airs Wednesday at 10pm/7pm ETPT on FOX Sports 1.
Following four straight weeks of misery, American Top Team finally got on the board with a win by Hayder Hassan, as he snuffed out Andrews Nakahara in just 48 seconds to hopefully change the momentum that's been on the side of the Blackzilians so far this season of The Ultimate Fighter.
Hassan had been itching to fight, but an injured hand forced him to wait longer than expected. Once he got in the cage, Hassan proved he was everything he promised to be as he took out Nakahara in impressive fashion and finally turned the tables on the Blackzilians in the competition. Now as the sixth week approaches, the fight will shift back to the American Top Team gym for the first time all season and, needless to say, the fighters from the team will be more than happy to finally see some familiar surroundings.
Nathan Coy and the other fighters from American Top Team will showcase a ton of excitement going into the latest episode as they go home to their gym, where the crowd will be decidedly against the Blackzilians, just like they've had to deal with for the past four weeks. Stepping into enemy territory is never easy, but it's even harder when it's week after week after week. This isn't the NBA playoffs, where the games alternate between the teams. The winners maintain control, and after four weeks of Blackzilian wins, American Top Team will finally host a fight.
While American Top Team celebrates what they hope will be a season-changing moment for them, the Blackzilians deal with defeat for the first time all year.
Nakahara was a dark horse candidate from the team considering his extensive striking background and pedigree working with fighters like Vitor Belfort over the years. Nakahara was a nasty striker at range with good reach and an arsenal of kicks that he built over the years doing karate, but none of that even came into play during his fight with Hassan that lasted under 60 seconds.
A dejected Nakahara will have to deal with being the first person from his team to not pick up a win this season as the latest episode picks up in the Blackzilians gym. The celebration of winning is great, but the misery of defeat can be a soul crushing experience, and considering how well-liked Nakahara was amongst his teammates, they have a choice of reacting in one of two ways after his loss.
The team can either rally behind Nakahara and gun for American Top Team with revenge on their minds or they can let the loss of a teammate make them feel like they are walking in quicksand just trying to stay above ground while fighting for air.
The positive side for the Blackzilians going into this week is the veteran leadership that will be showcased as former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans and multi-time kickboxing champion Tyrone Spong sit down with the team to make sure that nobody goes off point following the loss from Nakahara. They know as well as anyone that this defeat could result in disaster and allow American Top Team to start building steam with another win this week, but instead, Evans and Spong will look to keep the win streak at one and put control back on the side of the Blackzilians.
The excitement back at American Top Team is bursting at the seams as the fighters prepare to welcome the Blackzilians through their front doors for the first time this season. As excited as they are going into the week to have home gym advantage, it could certainly be short lived if they don't go out and win again.
The good news for American Top Team beyond getting the fight back in their gym this week is the dependability of the final two fighters left on their roster that still have yet to compete. While the teams are allowed to place anybody into any fight at any time (any one fighter can compete up to three times this season), the logical choice would be to depend on the veterans who still remain unused on the roster.
There's Nathan Coy, the de facto team captain, who is a true veteran of mixed martial arts with almost 20 fights on his record going back to 2007. Coy was a standout wrestler at Oregon State before transitioning to MMA, where he started his career at Team Quest in Oregon, working alongside several notable names, including Matt Lindland and Chael Sonnen. Eventually, Coy made his way to Florida, where he's been working with American Top Team for the last few years.
There's also Marcelo Alfaya, who holds a 16-7 record in MMA, with experience against a laundry list of notable veterans while also having a knockout win over Blackzilian fighter Valdir “Baby Monster" Araujo, who took out Steve Carl just a couple of weeks back.
Either way, American Top Team has some real veteran talent to lean on going into the competition this week.
Once the fight kicks off this week, the atmosphere at American Top Team is something to see because this is not only one of the premier gyms in the entire country, but it's also chock full of current and former members who would love nothing more than to see the Blackzilans crumble in the face of pressure. So the entire team -- old and new -- will be out in force this week and they even bring war drums. Seriously, war drums.
Will the intimidation of American Top Team's home gym coupled with last week's victory put the Blackzilians on their heels? Or will the Blackzilians get even more fired up to avenge last week's loss and conquer their enemies on their home turf?
Find out on The Ultimate Fighter: American Top Team vs. Blackzilians this Wednesday night at 10pm ET on FOX Sports 1.