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Five Things We Learned from TUF 17, Episode Three

On this week’s edition of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen, we finally learned who this mysterious TUF contestant of no mercy was thanks to one of the most vicious and dramatic knockouts not only in TUF history, but probably in mixed martial arts history in general. The entire episode was actually very good, this despite wishing one could just fast-forward to the fight. Here’s five things we learned from episode three…


#5 Jones looking like a good coach after all

Early on in the episode we saw Coach Jon Jones taking a training session where he displayed some practical (yet arguably morally suspect) training methods, showing his charges how to effectively elbow an opponent from inside the guard, with the goal being to make them bleed. He was also far more comfortable and believable this week when verbally motivating his fighters, showing he is quickly settling into his role as coach rather than his usual role as pupil.


#4 Sonnen continues to show his ‘softer’ side

We know by now that Chael Sonnen is a very good coach, at least by TUF standards, but he displayed yet more of his softer and more serious side in this episode when having a pep talk with Uriah Hall, who was revealing his lack of belief in himself and his own self-doubt. Citing a pep talk he received himself from UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture, Sonnen reiterated to Hall that this is all normal and he’s not alone. Aaawwwww.


#3 Jones was first up in the ‘coach and fighters have slumber party’ spiel

So the obligatory ‘coach visits his fighters in the TUF house and brings lots of food followed by deep talk in the garden’ happened. And he brought his dog. Here Jones said he learned a lot more about his fighters’ thoughts and anxieties about the competition, as well as their motivations for competing. We also saw Jones, when talking to the camera, struggling awkwardly to hold his dog up. Let’s just hope they didn’t use a prop dog and she was just ‘resting’.


#2 Adam Cella convinced nobody that he really believed he could win this competition

If it wasn’t hard enough to believe that Cella stood a chance of beating the specimen Hall, then it somehow became harder to believe as he talked about how he doesn’t even need to fight and isn’t afraid of losing due to having a rather lucrative career in the family business to fall back on. What sets some of these men apart is that they fight for family, for their children or because it may be their last shot at making something of their lives. Not so with Cella, who didn’t convince us that he even wanted to really win the competition.


#1 Holy shit…

So, how about that knockout? Straight from the movie archives of the likes of Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Lee and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Hall delivered one of the most spine-tingling and ruthless knockouts in the sport’s history, as he stiffened up his Cella via a perfectly-timed spinning back-kick to the face. A brief celebratory pose followed until Hall realized that Cella wasn’t getting up and the victor remorsefully apologized, shock visible on his face. With the TUF Gym under an eerie silence, one wondered if the consequences of the KO would be more severe than initially expected. Luckily, and thankfully, Cella rose to his feet, simply asking an apologetic Hall, “What happened bro?” I don’t see anybody stepping forward to beg for a fight with Hall any time soon.


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 Team Sonnen’s Kevin Casey takes on Team Jones’ Colin Hart.

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