This installment of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen gave us the wildcard fight between Team Jones’s Bubba McDaniel and Team Sonnen’s Kevin Casey as we eagerly awaited the outcome to determine the quarter final fights. While the fight was entertaining for a part, this episode was good just to see the developments of each fighter’s thoughts on who they want to fight next, whether it be an easy fight or because they simply don’t like said prospective opponent. Here’s five things we learned…
#1 Jon Jones may make a proper coach yet
Sure I’ve been critical of Jones’s abilities as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter, warranted or not, but this episode truly saw him come into his own as a coach and trainer as he prepared McDaniel for his fight with Casey, though it must aid your coaching when you already know your fighter so well. Speaking of McDaniel, we got to hear some more of his backstory. Although it’s nothing we haven’t heard before, the idea of not being able to afford to see your kids is just horrifying, and this tale only helped us root for McDaniel over Casey, despite as annoying as McDaniel’s personality comes across on TV.
#2 Thanksgiving Day sulking
It was Thanksgiving Day in the TUF House as both coaches joined their teams in the house for a traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner – for most of the fighters anyway. Poor McDaniel and Casey were forced to sit on the sidelines while everybody stuffed their faces. McDaniel wasted no time venting his frustration about his housemates but there was no sympathy forthcoming. Also, Coach Sonnen made a rather impressive speech at dinner praising the fighters and even his opposing coach and future opponent Jones, saying their fight will be purely based on professional competition and not animosity. How boring.
#3 Bubba McDaniel’s familiar staredown technique
Did you all notice McDaniel’s “staredown” with Casey? He mimicked his coach’s infuriating pose where he refuses to make eye contact with his opponent and instead looks at something on the floor. I’ve never understood this at all from Jones and would find it rather disrespectful if my opponent did this. If only everybody this happened to was “Rampage” Jackson, maybe it would become extinct in no time.
#4 Bubba McDaniel vs. Kevin Casey
The wildcard fight. The first round read like a grappling match with Casey controlling McDaniel on the ground handily, working some transitions whilst for the most part completely forgetting to throw any punches or elbows. An easy 10-9 round for Casey. In the second round the tables turned as a revitalized McDaniel ignored his corner’s instructions to kickbox and instead took Casey to the mat, where he proceeded to ground and pound his way through the round. Channeling his inner Tito Ortiz, McDaniel landed some big shots to a clearly out of sorts Casey en route to his own 10-9 win. When a third round was confirmed, it became clear that Casey wanted no more part in the fight and inexplicably quit on his stool, giving McDaniel the win and sending him into the quarter finals. Look who’s breaking now! Though it must be stressed that Casey suffered suspected kidney failure and was taken to hospital straight away. I’m sure we’ll hear more next week.
#5 The quarter final fights are set
After much deliberation between Dana White, coaches Jones and Sonnen, as well as each individual fighter having their say, the quarter final match-ups were finally set, and not everybody was happy. While Samman and Quinlan got their wishes, Hall and McDaniel were left shocked as they were paired together last. Here are the fights:
- Collin Hart vs. Kelvin Gastellum
- Dylan Andrews vs. Luke Barnatt
- Josh Samman vs. Jimmy Quinlan
- Uriah Hall vs. Bubba McDaniel
The Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen episode four airs next Tuesday at 9pm on FX (as well as 2am Wednesday morning on ESPN UK for those in the UK and Ireland) as Colling Hart faces Kelvin Gastellum and Dylan Andrews faces Luke Barnatt in the first two of the four quarter final fights.