TUF 16 Weekly Recap - Episode 9

Weekly recaps of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Carwin vs. Team Nelson, airing Fridays on FX at 10 p.m. ET/PT, with re-airs on FUEL TV Sunday nights, UltimateFighter.com a week after that and UFC.tv.
The episode begins with the post-fight drama from the Manley/Chaney fight from last week. James Chaney pulls Dana aside and asks to talk to him. He explains that he wanted to win so badly that he panicked and he did anything he possibly could to win. Which, in this case, included biting his opponent. He apologizes for embarrassing the sport and the company. Dana says that what he did was “despicable” but respects him for admitting it. Apology accepted. We then see James Chaney talk to Jon Manley about what happened. Wait...nope, that didn’t happen.

Back at the house Julian Lane and Colton Smith are having an intellectually stimulating discussion about the military which abruptly gets ruined after Julian says something that insults Colton. Clearly hurt, Colton uses some hurtful words of his own and accuses Julian of being Junie Browning. Well, a man can only take so much and Julian freaks out again. He gets up, challenges Colton, blah, blah blah, they hug it out. Part of me assumes that Julian reacts this way to everything in his life. He asks for his burger medium-rare and it comes out medium? You better believe he comes at the line cook and yells, “Let me bang bro,” again.

Back to the tournament... our final match pits Team Nelson #1 pick Dom Waters and the accountant, "Spider-Man" Mike Ricci. A former Marine and high school wrestler, Dom Waters is never nervous going into a fight because of his military training. Coach Roy Nelson is impressed with Dom’s “pure, raw strength” and cautions Dom to avoid Ricci’s left hand.

We then hear from Michael Hill who tells us again how nice it is to have another Canadian on the team and that he considers Ricci a friend. We usually make a big deal about the fights and the drunken idiocy, but it’s nice to see the TUF house used for its real purpose -- to foster bromance (Team Purple never forget). The Mike Ricci story tells one of a poorly behaved child who often found himself in fights. Wanting to learn how to better defend himself from angry family members of past foes, he purchased a Renzo Gracie book and taught himself. His life changed, though, that fateful day when he crossed paths with Georges St.-Pierre (which is true for most people who meet him). Since that glorious day he has been training at the TriStar gym and honing his skills.

Coach Shane Carwin says Ricci is “a more technical, more sound fighter than anyone else in the house.” He’s concerned about Dom’s power. He also calls Ricci a pretty boy, but seems to be ok with that. Ricci concedes that Dom may have the power, but he thinks that speed will lead him to victory.

As Dom and Ricci step on a scale, a couple other housemates weigh in on the fight. Eddy Ellis (sporting two nifty black eyes) gives the edge to Ricci. Despite the fact that Dom is his teammate, Michael Hill still roots for Team Canada. It’ll take more than a silly fight to break these two up. Neil Magny tells us that Ricci dresses very nicely and “should be working on Wall Street.” There’s a little more smack talk, but it’s the usual, “I shouldn’t be underestimated,” and “I’m ready for war,” platitudes that you would expect.

FIGHT TIME

Ricci, fighting out of a southpaw stance, opens round one with some strong left leg kicks. He changes up levels nicely, mixing in leg, body and head shots. He’s also landing his left hand to the body. Ricci lands a liver kick that hurts Dom Waters, but doesn’t go in for the finish. Both fighters are respecting each other’s power and don’t appear to be opening up too much. Ricci lands a couple jabs, gets out of the pocket and prevents Dom from landing big haymakers. WIth just over a minute left, Ricci throws a body kick, but doesn’t retreat it fast enough to avoid the counter. Dom rushes him, and they tie up against the fence. They pummel for position, but Dom keeps Ricci pinned up until the round ends.

In the opening segment of the second round, Ricci overcommits on a cross which allows Dom to shoot a double and get a takedown. As Ricci tries to stand up, he exposes his back but Dom fails to lock his hooks in. Ricci tries to break the tight grip, but Dom puts him on his back again. Ricci gets some separation, scoots to the cage and stands up. Dom throws a couple knees, but nothing of consequence lands. Ricci continues to go for that standing kimura, but it’s not working. They continue stalled on the fence and Dom doesn’t open up despite Roy Nelson’s entreaties to, “Just let go and punch the [expletive] out of him.”

In a surprise to everyone, the judges actually score this fight correctly and we’re heading to a third round. Ricci looks tired. Dom shoots at the beginning of the frame. Ricci tries to sink a guillotine, but Dom just lifts him up and slams his way to side control. Ricci is able to reverse, though, and takes top position for himself. He throws some strikes, but his priority is to prevent Dom from standing up. Dom gives his back up and Ricci moves into position. With 90 seconds left, Dom needs to do something. Instead, Ricci puts Dom on his back again and the fight ends with both guys looking exhausted.

Ricci wins the unanimous decision. Dana says that Ricci was picking Dom apart in the first and doesn’t understand why he didn’t go for the finish when he hurt him with that liver kick. Dom apologizes for losing, then immediately rescinds that apology. He tried his hardest and has nothing to apologize about. Ricci has a new level of confidence and seems to really believe he can win the whole competition now.

It’s time to make the quarterfinal matches and Dana adds a little twist to it by bringing each fighter in individually and asks them whom they would like to fight. The big news here is that Mike Ricci, aka Benedict Arnold (who actually retired to Canada), announces that he’d like to fight Michael Hill, his *gasp* fellow Canadian! When Michael Hill comes in, he says that he’ll fight anyone except his boy Mike Ricci. Roy Nelson then informs him of what Ricci said and you can tell the guy is heartbroken. “I thought was at least someone has my back in the house, but you can’t trust your own fellow bro.” If we can’t trust our own fellow bros, we’re no better than animals.

The quarterfinals are set and they’ll be:

Bristol Marunde vs Neil Magny
Igor Araujo vs Colton Smith
Joey Rivera vs Jon Manley
Mike Ricci vs Michael Hill

Coach Carwin is shocked that with four Team Nelson fighters and four Carwinites to choose from, Dana is pitting teammates against one another in the quarterfinals. Roy Nelson, on the other hand, reacts with the same lovable indifference we've come to expect. We then get a sneak peak into next week’s episode. Who wins the first two quarterfinal matches? How does Igor cross the line? Does Mike Ricci makes things worse by taking HIll out for a nice seafood dinner and never call him back? Find out next week on The Ultimate Fighter!

Team Carwin (4-4)
Sam Alvey (0-1, lost to Joey Rivera by decision in episode 3)
Bristol Marunde (1-0, defeated Julian Lane by decision in episode 4)
Mike Ricci (1-0, defeated Dom Waters by decision in episode 9)
Neil Magny (1-0, defeated Cameron Diffley by decision in episode 2)
James Chaney (0-1, submitted by Jon Manley in episode 8)
Eddy Ellis (0-1, lost to Colton Smith by majority decision in epsiode 6)
Igor Araujo (1-0, defeated Nic Herron-Webb by majority decision in episode 5)
Matt Secor (0-1, lost to Michael Hill by split decision in episode 7)

Team Nelson
(4-4)
Dom Waters (0-1, lost to Mike Ricci by decision in episode 9)
Michael Hill (1-0, defeated Matt Secor by split decision in episode 7)
Cameron Diffley (0-1, lost to Neil Magny by decision in episode 2)
Colton Smith (1-0, defeated Eddy Ellis by majority decision in episode 6)
Jon Manley (1-0, submitted James Chaney is episode 8)
Nic Herron-Webb (0-1, lost to Igor Araujo by majority decision in episode 5
Joey Rivera (1-0, defeated Sam Alvey by decision in episode 3)
Julian Lane (0-1, lost to Bristol Marunde by decision in episode 4)

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