Sherdog’s Guide to ‘The Ultimate Fighter’

By Scott Holmes May 13, 2010
We begin this week with a rehash of last week’s fight between Nick Ring and Court McGee. Ring squeaks by with a decision and then seeks out a doctor after the fight.

“I’m happy with the decision,” says Ring’s coach, Tito Ortiz. “That’s great. That’s good. It just seemed like he was holding back a little bit.”

Ring might be feeling the same, as we cut to him talking privately with one of the medical staff. His knee is bothering him and is “loose.” He feels it affected his confidence.

Only one preliminary fight is left: Joseph Henle and Seth Baczynski. Baczynski got back in thanks to an injury to Chris Camozzi while Henle is out to prove that he isn’t Mr. Irrelevant after being the last draft pick.

“I see this fight as very lopsided,” says Dana White.

According to Henle, he’s only been a professional for six months. Also, Baczynski put up a hell of a fight against Court McGee, just missing getting into the house. Tito brought him back after losing Chris Camozzi to a broken jaw and now everyone is pretty keen on Baczynski.

“To make it in this sport, you really have to walk a mile of s--t to get anywhere,” says Baczynksi. “I definitely feel like I’ve been given a second chance. I’m very fortunate. Anything else is just a bonus.”

Apparently Tito considers Baczynksi to be a joy to work with and can’t stop gushing over him.

Henle has his own lucky story. He finally speaks, which takes care of that huge elephant in the room that resulted from seeing a Spartan look-a-like in the background of every shot this season.

“I got into fighting totally by accident,” says Henle before launching into his fight genesis. It began with a finger pointed at some wrestling mats and the question, “What are they doing over there?”

Since then, too many things have gone right, Henle tells Rich Attonito, explaining how he had gone pro, won most of his fights and made it on the show in only six months.

“Mentally I worry about Joe’s head being in the right place,” Attonito says. “Once you get into that cage and it locks up and your head ain’t together, I mean, nothing good’s going to come of it.”

Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Davis praised Henle's heart.
Attonito and everyone else seem to love Henle but worry about him being a little too green.

“Joe has a lot of heart,” coach Howard Davis says, calling his six-month learning curve “pretty incredible.”

Of course no one is giving him much of a shot against Baczynksi, but his coach, Chuck Liddell, takes the time to explain all the ways it might go in Henle’s favor.

“You never know,” Liddell says. Thanks, coach.

Before their fight we see Ring sliding around the mat while boxing. He tries his best to consult with Tito and the doctor about his nagging knee issue without his teammates catching on. We’ll check his chart again next week.

This season there’s also a “wildcard” spot open for two fighters who lost valiantly to get back into the game.

A few fighters voice their desire to get back in, including James Hammortree, Kyacey Uscola and Kris McCray. Hammortree also evaluates Baczynski just before the fight: “Seth’s a tough dude. He was gifted with a second opportunity, and that type of guy you have to watch out for.”

That’s probably true, but you might also want to watch out for the guy with the sharp learning curve. Henle actually holds his own for most of the first round, controlling position on top for most of the period. Baczynski misses on a guillotine and uses the fence to walk his way out from under Henle.

Henle just misses on a choke of his own and then goes after Baczynski’s back. Henle spends most of the round in control of the action until the final minute, when Baczynski makes his time on top count by rocking him with a bunch of shots.

Henle is more on the defensive in the second round. Baczynski looks dangerous on his feet, but Henle wins the battle of wills by forcing Baczynski to the ground with some takedowns. Just when it looks like Henle might squeeze it out, Baczynski once again steals the show by finishing strong with a rear-naked attempt. Henle is saved by the bell.

The fight is close enough to garner a third round. This time Henle has nothing left, as Baczynski keeps up a relentless attack of punching and elbows to finish out the final five minutes. Baczynski takes the decision, but Henle surprises everyone including Dana with his effort.

Finally Dana brings everyone in for the wildcard announcement and decides that Uscola will be back to face McCray. Hammortee looks crushed and doesn’t get better as Dana also announces that Court McGee will be taking the place of the injured Rich Attonito. Put on your big boy pants for next week’s wildcard fight.
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