Sherdog’s Guide to ‘The Ultimate Fighter’

By Scott Holmes May 20, 2010
Kyacey Uscola cradles one of his trainer’s phones and grins like a fool. Usually he’s a hard ass, but after hearing about the birth of his son, he’s turning soft and getting emotional while looking over the photos. Tender turns to tough as Uscola realizes the burden of fighting to provide for his new family.

“I can’t fail,” says Uscola. “I ain’t going down until a few cats go with me.”

Kris McCray will be locking horns with Uscola in the wildcard fight, but it doesn’t stop him from congratulating the proud pop.

“Kinda sucks,” admits McCray afterward. “I’m probably the underdog in this fight.”

McCray’s fully aware of Uscola’s skill set.

“I will be on the bleachers and I won’t say anything,” says the pair’s main trainer, Tito Ortiz. “I coached both of them and I’m going to let the better man win. The better man will win.”

Time and again, Uscola’s teammates have bragged about his wrestling, but it’s McCray who handles his business and gets the takedowns. Uscola and McCray trade leg kicks and wage a fence-clinch battle for the first few minutes. McCray puts Uscola on his back and briefly mounts him, but Uscola spins out. McCray jumps on his back and Uscola finishes the first round getting his face almost cranked off.

In the second round, McCray gets behind Uscola, then picks him up and slings him to the ground. McCray takes side control and grabs a wrist.

“Run it,” instructs his corner. McCray starts cranking a kimura, forcing Kyacey to tap with gusto just a minute or so into the second round.

“I wanted to at least show a difference in my performance and that’s what I did,” says McCray, who’s showered with love from his team. “The Savage is developing; we’ll put it that way. I’m still in the embryo stage, but he’s coming out. He’s hatching real soon.”

“I had a lot of things on my mind but that’s no excuse,” says Uscola afterward, stunned at his second lackluster performance.

UFC President Dana White drags the coaches into a room to figure out what the matchups will be for the quarterfinals. Liddell hems and haws after being asked who the top four fighters are. Ortiz is matter of fact that Kyle Noke, Brad Tavares, Nick Ring and Jamie Yager are at the top of the heap.

“That’s what I think too,” says White before launching into a McGee vs. Yager scenario. Ortiz cuts them off, flabbergasted about the idea of McGee getting back in without Ring’s fists getting to have a say in the matter.

“You guys are crying about the third round that didn’t happen. Here’s your chance!” says Ortiz, winning over White.

Chuck isn’t all onboard though.

“Then he gets all the matchups he wants?” he asks.

Of course, the coaches launch into an argument and White sends them away, shaking his head.

File Photo: Spike TV

Ring will face another surgery.
Liddell later admits that he really didn’t care about the matchups, but that he just hates to see Ortiz get anything going his way.

The matchups are announced: Jamie Yager vs. Josh Bryant, Brad Tavares vs. Seth Baczynski. Nick Ring vs. Court McGee, and Kyle Noke vs. Kris McCray.

Following the announcement, season one winner Forrest Griffin saunters into the TUF house, wearing a long duster coat and talking about “date night,” which has some of the fighters looking around in caution. It turns out he brought over the new UFC video game for the boys to enjoy. The technologically-sequestered young men go bananas over it and with the three-minute product placement, everyone wins.

Looks like it will be a third ACL reconstruction surgery for Nick Ring, after the doc tells him he’s got a fight or two left before it’s absolutely necessary. Ring thinks it over and opts to bailout now in lieu of tempting further damage. White comes by the house and presses him to continue.

“You thinking about quitting?” asks White, placing the injury question into quitter category like a pushy Texas high school football coach.

Ring is taken aback.

“Quitting?” answers Ring, stunned that White wouldn’t see this as a completely necessary move. “I think long-term it’s the smart decision.”

White walks back into the house and informs the boys that a spot will be opening up and that they’ll be hearing his decision the following day.

Something said, ‘Get out
of your seat and go tell
him that that’s your spot.
You want that fight.'

-- James Hammortree on his impromptu pitch.

“Something said, ‘Get out of your seat and go tell him that that’s your spot. You want that fight,’” says James Hammortree as he watches White leave. Hammortree bolts after White, imploring him that he’s ready to go.

Maybe it’s all the bad eggs he’s dealt with in previous seasons, but White acts like this is the boldest move since Folger’s moved to crystals and marches back in to tell everyone that Hammortree is in.

Two minutes ago, he had another shot but now Joseph Henle looks like someone judo-chopped his mom. He asks White if that decision is final and pleads to get another shot if someone else goes down.

Thanks to editing, we are instantly treated to Hammortree and McGee walking to the Octagon to close this quick chapter.

McGee’s freakishly long arms do a great job of keeping Hammortree from getting inside. Hands held low by Hammortree helps McGee snap his head back several times with a great jab. Hammortree looks quick and puts together a few combos, but McGee is always just a step ahead. Hammortree is then thrown onto his back, scoring McGee some points. He finishes strong with a flurry that pins Hammortree against the fence floor.

Hammortree’s coaches tell him to go low in the second round to try and get some takedown points on the board. Hammortree tries but keeps his head in there a little too long and McGee slaps on a brutal standing guillotine choke. Hammortree taps and eventually collapses from it. Hammortree knows what he’s done wrong, calling it a “rookie mistake.”

White is totally sold on McGee now.

“He’s got hands, he’s got knockout power, he’s got good wrestling and he can submit you too?” White asks. “He’s the dark horse to win this thing.”

Lastly, we finish with our first semifinalist McGee performing an arm-down ape walk that his teammates call the “Courtpanzee.”

This show is bananas.
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