The domination for Team Claudia continued on the latest episode of The Ultimate Fighter, as Eric Spicely moved his team to a perfect 5-0 with a dominant win over Elias Urbina in a light heavyweight matchup.
It's a demoralizing loss for Team Joanna because, at this point, her team can't possibly catch up in the overall competition, and the only hope she has is for one of her three remaining fighters to push through the next two rounds to make it to the finals.
Before the fight went down this week, the biggest story involved Abdel Medjedoub, who was still dealing with the fallout from a very angry call he received from his wife a week ago. Medjedoub was taken aback when the producers from the show gave him a phone and told him that his wife was calling with an emergency. A long conversation followed with details omitted, but the story involved Medjedoub doing something he shouldn't have done and his wife levied him with an ultimatum -- either return home immediately or don't expect her to be there when the show is over.
Medjedoub was faced with an impossibly tough decision and it resulted in UFC President Dana White bringing him into his office to discuss his future on the show. It was clear that White was sympathetic to what Medjedoub was going through and he even allowed him to make another call to his wife to try and talk things out.
Unfortunately, she was just as steadfast as the last time they spoke and she once again laid things out for Medjedoub very clearly. He needs to return home now or his marriage is over. Medjedoub repeatedly begged her to let him stay so he could finish the show and they could speak again in three weeks, but she was unrelenting in her demands.
So rather than force Medjedoub to make an impossibly tough call that would require him to either give up his dream of fighting in the UFC or putting an end to his marriage, White took the decision out of his hands. For only the second time ever (the first was Michael Chiesa being allowed to return home for his father's funeral), White said that he would allow Medjedoub to leave the show for three days to deal with his marital situation back in Montreal. At the end of that three days, Medjedoub could return to the competition ahead of the next fight or if he decided that he didn't want to come back, they would replace him with another fighter.
As Medjedoub went back to the house, most of the other fighters seemed to assume that he wasn't going to return, especially given the tormented mood he's suffered through over the last few days. With Medjedoub gone and no clue whether or not he would come back, Joanna Jedrzejczyk started working with Khalil Rountree and Myron Dennis, because one of them would be pulled back into the competition if the Team Claudia fighter didn’t return.
Unfortunately, the bad luck for Team Joanna continued as Rountree suffered a knee injury that took him off the mats and required a couple of days rest. It was like torture for Rountree, who believed that Medjedoub wouldn't return to the show, thus giving him a great shot at getting back into the tournament.
As it turns out, Rountree's worry was all for naught because a couple days later, Medjedoub returned to the house, much to the surprise of all the other fighters. Team Claudia celebrated his return as Medjedoub vowed to get back into the competition and win the show, no matter what it took. Medjedoub also stated that he's not going to disrespect his wife by airing their dirty laundry on TV, but from the sound of things, he was able to work things out with her well enough that he could come back to finish the show for the season.
Once Medjedoub was back, the focus then shifted to the fight between Spicely and Urbina, who were both ready to throw down this week. Urbina was fired up as the ultimate underdog, considering he was the last pick of the entire season while also being one of the least experienced fighters in the house. The odds were against him from the day he stepped into the competition, but Urbina was determined to prove everybody wrong.
As his fight with Spicely started, it looked like Urbina might make a lot of people eat their words. The young light heavyweight did a good job avoiding Spicely's pressure early, and when the grappler finally got inside for a takedown, Urbina shrugged him off and ended up on top when they hit the mat. From there, Spicely started transitioning from one submission to another, tossing up arm bars and heel hooks, but Urbina did a great job slipping free each time while also maintaining a strong position on top.
It was one critical mistake midway through the round that backfired, however, as Spicely was able to wrap around Urbina's back and lock into position with a body triangle. Urbina survived the round, but it was clear that he was down early after giving up a bad position for the majority of the five minutes he spent grappling with Spicely.
The second round started out much like the first, with Urbina maintaining good distance and cracking Spicely with a couple hard body kicks. Spicely started to look a little desperate to get inside for the takedown, and it appeared Urbina had the perfect opening to unleash his striking to do some damage. Much like the first, Spicely only needed to get inside one time before he got the body lock and dragged Urbina back to the mat.
Following that takedown, it was all Spicely, as he stayed on Urbina's back for the remainder of the round while casually fishing for submissions, but mostly maintaining his control. When it was over, the judges all returned the same 20-18 scores to give Spicely the victory. As happy as he was to celebrate the win, it was clear that White wasn't all that happy with his outing.
"I was not impressed with Eric's style of fighting," White said.
Still, a win is a win and Spicely put Team Claudia up 5-0, with the strawweights back up next week. With the fight selection still in her favor, Gadelha decided to go with tough as nails boxer Amanda Cooper, who will face off with Team Joanna fighter Jamie Moyle. At this point in the competition, Team Claudia is gunning for an undefeated record for the whole season and that's something that's never been done in Ultimate Fighter history.
Will Team Claudia be the first ones to get the job done or can Team Joanna finally claw back into this competition? We'll find out when The Ultimate Fighter returns next Wednesday night at 10pm ET on FS1.