411’s The Ultimate Fighter 17 Report 01.29.13
The Ultimate Fighter 17: Team Jones vs Team Sonnen, Episode 2
Welcome back to 411 MMA’s coverage of the seventeenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Last week, we got brief introductions to our fighters, we saw the elimination fights (or highlights of them at least) to get into the house, Coaches Jones and Sonnen picked their teams, and Bones picked the first fight, pitting Team Sonnen first pick Luke Barnatt against Gilbert Smith Jr.
Meet the Cast:
Jon Jones, Head Coach
Stonehorse Goeman, Muay Thai coach
Bubba Jenkins, Wrestling coach
Frank Mir, Jiu Jitsu coach
Chael Sonnen, Head Coach
Vinny Magalhaes, Jiu Jitsu coach
Mike Dolce, Strength and conditioning coach/dietician
Clayton Hires, Striking coach
Jamie Huey, Striking coach
Gilbert Smith Jr
FADE IN: Apparently there’s some dissonance in Team Jones as some of the guys aren’t sure that Gilbert is ready for his fight with Big Luke. But we get to the house and the fighters are running for their rooms. Bubba McDaniel says he felt like a little kid again. Luke says he lives on a budget so this is more than enough room for him. Gilbert Smith says the house is extraordinary and that you can’t quite prepare for it. Team Jones is sitting around the fire pit and Josh Samman is disappointed that Jones didn’t pick in the order they had prepared and he doesn’t think Gilbert is ready to face Luke.
Samman is impressed with Jones and his training staff as we see our first team Jones training session. Jones has Gilbert working situational awareness and the guys watching him think his cardio isn’t where it needs to be, and the coaches are afraid that if he gasses out or his muscles give up (basically what happened to Carwin against Brock), Luke will beat him badly. There’s some real concern on the faces of the coaches, and even Gilbert seems to have his doubts, questioning why Jones picked him. Gilbert says he hasn’t heard anything positive from his coaches, and when the other guys reassure him, he says it’s just pissing him off. Gilbert is out on the lawn with Adam Cella with a flag he had gotten from home, and he breaks down and starts crying, and that only makes Cella think he’s less mentally ready. Gilbert says the flag represents love from his friends and family, and he says with that love, he’s a powerful dude. Cella tells Hamman and Bubba that Gilbert needs constant positive reassurance. As we head to commercial, I’m left with the feeling that Gilbert is going to win this handily based on how they’ve edited the show to make it seem impossible for him, but we’ll know in 45 minutes or so.
And now it’s time for our first Team Sonnen training session. Chael says this is his team, his coaches, and he got every coach that he went after. Jimmy Quinlan says the team is bonding well and all the guys are there to work, so it’s coming together nicely. They call themselves “Team Darkside”. Bubba says he’s not happy with the fight pick, Gilbert’s not ready mentally, and it’s going to cost the entire team. Samman says the team decided to tell Gilbert that he’s not ready and he’s not mentally ready. Gilbert doesn’t take the news well and says he’s not in control but he’ll fight whoever was put in front of him. Gilbert says what happened was the epitome of an ambush. He says he’s not going to think about this situation because he can’t burn energy and not think about the fight. Jones is listening from outside the door and he picks his moment to come in. He says Gilbert is only there for himself, that he’s the only fighter that he has to answer to, and that Bones picked him because he believes in him. He tells Gilbert to have fun and do his best, and Gilbert says he’s going to do everything in his power to not make Jones look stupid. Training session is underway now, and Jones teaches Gilbert how to throw an overhand (punch through to his knee) because he thinks that it can exploit a weakness in Luke’s striking defense combined with his height. Clint says he’s more confident than anyone on the team that Gilbert will beat Luke, and Cella says he never thought Luke would beat Gilbert. Team Jones huddles up and breaks with a “Team Gilbert”.
During the break, we got a Bellator commercial – money well spent by Viacom and Bellator, I think, although it’s rather funny because Bellator actually had a higher average rating last week than TUF did, but whatever.
Back at the house, Chael and his coaches came to visit and hang out with the team a little bit, and Chael says it’s extremely important to get Uriah Hall to the next round. Uriah says if it was up to him, he’d take out the big guys first, and he names Josh, Bubba, and Adam. Chael is impressed and we cut to a training session with Team Sonnen. Luke says he never really found anything he was good at until MMA came along and he just got it. He says his mom is a Jehovah’s Witness and his dad is a hippie, so when he told them he was quitting his job and training MMA full-time, they were cool with it. Chael talks to his coaches about how he thinks Gilbert can take Luke down, but not more than once.
Weigh-ins, and Gilbert asked Chael what the gameplan is, and Chael says “you take off your shirt, and do this” (and he mimes stepping onto a scale) which cracks everyone up. Gilbert is 185 and Jones says “look at all that muscle”. Jones says Gilbert looks confident, and Clint says he expects Gilbert to take Luke down and beat him up. Luke also makes weight, and Dana says he’s not surprised Team Jones wasn’t happy with the fight selection, as Gilbert is one of the shortest fighters in the house while Luke is the tallest, and he’s not sure why Jones picked the match-up that he did. All this basically means is that Luke is going to lose, for sure. I’ll literally be shocked if he wins.
Back in the house, Luke says he’s going to keep it standing and look for takedowns in the final minute of each round to make sure he wins if it goes to a decision. Luke is unsure why Jones picked the fight that he did, and he thinks maybe it’s because they think he’s banged up.
Fight day, and Gilbert says Luke is going to have to put him in a situation where he feels like he’s going to die for him to quit. Gilbert says he doesn’t like to hurt people, but he’s fighting to win, so if he has to break somebody’s arm or choke somebody unconscious, he’ll do it. And now it makes me think Luke is the victim of this horrific knockout that they kept advertising last week. Luke says he wants to finish fights, and beating a guy doesn’t matter to him. Luke says he’s never been a beast in the gym but put him in the cage and he finds a way to win. The only way to beat him is to break his arm or knock him out and that’s not easy. (More foreshadowing – they’re really hitting us over the head with it here.) Gilbert says Luke’s going to have be willing to die to beat him, and we cut to Chael’s locker room. Chael tells Luke that Gilbert has some tools but they’re not shutting down Luke’s offense because of that. Luke says he’s putting a stamp on this win to take control because he didn’t like being selected first for the fight. Gilbert says he has to be very educated and know when to use his skills and when to defend against Luke’s.
Gilbert visualizes being strong, gritty, no quit, and then he visualizes having his hand raised and thanking everyone who supported him. Luke says he’s a very calm fighter when he gets in the cage and whatever Gilbert throws at him, he knows what to throw back. Bones tells Gilbert to take him down and break his will, and Luke says all he’s thinking about is winning.Bilger is six years older, nine inches shorter, but he’s only giving up three and a half inches of reach.
Middleweight bout: Luke Barnatt (Team Sonnen) vs Gilbert Smith (Team Jones)
Round 1: Luke working the jab and switching up his feet. He lands a kick to Gilbert’s groin and we get a time out with a warning for Luke. Luke lands a leg kick and backs away from Gilbert’s counter combination. Gilbert throws a wild overhand right but only to set up a takedown. He presses Luke against the cage but he can’t do anything with it right away. He does manage to get Luk down, but Luke quickly gets back to his feet and presses Gilbert against the cage before taking him down with a trip. Luke tries to work from a front facelock but Gilbert stands back up and presses him against the cage. Gilbert working knees to the thigh, but Luke gets free and knees Gilbert in the face. They tie up and jostle for position, with Gilbert ending up pressing Luke against the cage and he throws a few more knees to the thigh before getting another takedown. Luke stands up again and again he’s able to take Gilbert down and nearly get mount, but Gilbert quickly gets back up. Gilbert looks for the takedown, but Luke sprawls and takes him down. Luke lands some short elbows and ties up Gilbert’s arm with his leg, but Gilbert manages to get back to his feet, so Luke looks for the kimura. Gilbert defends and we end up with Gilbert pressing Luke against the cage. They break and Luke lands a jab as they separate, followed by a quick combination. Gilbert looks for another takedown but gets nowhere and they break with 10 seconds left. Gilbert lands a glancing punch as the round ends.
Scorecard: Barnatt, 10-9 (Luke got one more takedown – and neither guy’s takedowns were particularly effective, as they literally did nothing with them – and landed the only significant strikes with the short elbows on the ground and the jabs)
Round 2: Luke comes out with the jab again, but Gilbert slips a hook and looks for a takedown. Again though, he has to settle for holding Luke against the cage. Chael yells for Luke to touch him, and Luke lands a couple of elbows to the side of Gilbert’s head before looking for the kimura again. Luke gets warned for grabbing the cage, and Gilbert nearly takes him down, only for Luke to land on top. They jockey for position and Luke flips Gilbert down with a wristlock and looks for a triangle, but Gilbert gets to guard and Luke backs up to the cage and stands back up. Luke takes Gilbert down and lands some elbows from half guard, followed by some punches. Gilbert is trying to get back to his feet, but Luke just lays on him to make him work for it. They do get back to the feet and separate with each guy landing a wild shot, and they circle. Gilbert comes forward and Luke MURDERS him with a flying knee! Color me surprised! All the foreshadowing was wrong.
Official Result – Winner: Luke Barnatt, KO (flying knee), Round 2
Dana says that was a bad match-up on Jones’ part, and Jones urges Gilbert to stand up and look like a champion. Jones says Gilbert just went out and waiting in round 1 and let Luke fight his own fight. Dana says round 2 was the same until Gilbert got hit with the flying knee. Jones says Gilbert never got it rolling and lost the fight before it ever started. Hamman says he didn’t want to make a big deal about it, but he did tell Jones it was a bad idea. Bubba calls out Kevin because he wants to keep something close to control. After the fight, the coaches try to keep Gilbert positive and Gilbert says he tried his best and he’s going to continue trying his best. Jones says he hates losing, and that their goal, to win all of the first round fights and eliminate Team Sonnen, is gone. He doesn’t want his guy to be cool with this, he wants them to be pissed off, essentially about everything.
Chael picks Uriah Hall to fight Adam Cella, we get our staredown, and Dana says Hall vs Cella will be an interesting fight, because they all agreed that Uriah was the toughest dude there. Cella says he knows Hall is tough, and Hall says he thinks this might be an easy fight for him. Jones says this is a tough fight for them, because Hall might be the best guy in the program this year while Cella is the underdog.
NEXT WEEK ON THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER: Adam Cella takes on Uriah Hall, and this is the knockout Dana White was talking about!
For your convenience, here are the teams as they stand now (color coded for easy reading):
Gilbert Smith Jr
KEY: Fighters with name crossed out have been eliminated from the competition