Episode 6 of “The Ultimate Fighter 16” begins with the aftermath of Nic Herron-Webb’s controversial loss to Igor Araujo on the previous week’s show. Some, including UFC President Dana White, felt the contest needed a third round.
“You got f-----,” White tells Herron-Webb before going on a brief rant about the state of judging in MMA.
Coach Roy Nelson agrees with the sentiment, one of the rare occasions that “Big Country” and the UFC boss see eye to eye on an issue. Nelson is not all positive, however, as he finds plenty of faults with Herron-Webb’s performance, something that does not sit well with the rest of the squad, which believes that the portly coach is often too negative in his approach.
Back at the house, Julian Lane and Colton Smith treat themselves to Team Carwin’s marinated chicken, leaving a group of disgruntled fighters to gather around the fridge in confusion upon returning from practice. Once all the possibilities within the refrigerator are exhausted, the chicken search expands to the rest of the kitchen.
“Why are you looking for chicken in a drawer?” Lane smugly wonders.
Somehow, Matt Secor and Michael Hill end up going back-and-forth over the missing meat. Hill does not appreciate his integrity being questioned, and he looks forward to getting an opportunity to face Secor in the cage. Soon after, it is fight announcement time, and Secor and Hill are still at each other’s throats.
“I’m gonna knock you out, and then I’m gonna cup a fart in your face,” Hill informs his would-be foe.
Unfortunately, Colton Smith and Eddy Ellis will square off this week, while the stolen poultry feud between Secor and Hill gets another week to simmer.
Ellis, as the most experienced fighter in the house, claims that the trials of winning and losing have made him the man he is today. Meeting his wife and leaving the party scene behind was also crucial to his development. At the Team Carwin training session, Eliot Marshall is preaching damage on the mat. That is fine with Ellis, who relishes the opportunity to punish his opponent. The coaching staff expects Smith to be dirty, recalling how the fighter immediately shot for a takedown after initiating a glove touch in his qualifying bout. It is no secret to Ellis and his team that Smith would prefer to control the bout with his wrestling.
Now it is time to learn more about Smith, an Iowa native who is currently stationed in Fort Hood, Texas. Raised by his mother, Smith excelled at wrestling at a young age before joining the military, where he diversified his arsenal in the Army Combatives program.
At the blue practice, Nelson describes Ellis as a better version of Lane, which does not seem to faze Smith in the least. The Team Nelson staff wants Smith to focus on using kicks and keeping his hands up before attempting to impose his will through wrestling, and Nelson finds it refreshing that his charge is accustomed to taking orders.
We learn all is not well as the session ends, however, as Smith questions the coaching tactics. According to Smith, practicing 1,000 kicks a day is not going to get him where he wants to go.
“I’m gonna go out there, throw a couple jabs and look for the takedown,” he says.
Smith informs us that he has a wife and two kids, and while being away from his family is tough, he admits that it beats getting shot at in battle. Despite Ellis’ 29-fight edge in experience, Smith believes his time in the military gives him an advantage in the cage. After all, MMA experience is not the same as war experience. Smith continues to talk about his military background as the fight approaches, and he dedicates his bout to the men and women who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
With the formalities out of the way, it is once again fight time.
The combatants quickly lock up, and Smith finds himself in top position. Ellis works his way up, but Smith connects with a solid left hand. Smith is relentless with his pressure and gets Ellis down again, but it is not long before they are up and exchanging in the center of the cage. A right hand from Ellis buckles the Team Nelson protégé, and the momentum has suddenly shifted. He moves to take Smith’s back and then looks for an armbar. As they return to their feet, Smith’s left eye is bleeding, and Ellis wobbles him again before moving to side control. With less than a minute to go, Ellis is pounding away as Smith turtles up. Smith eventually gets to his feet and manages to survive the frame.
Round two begins, and Smith changes levels 15 seconds in and moves into Ellis’ half guard. From there, he lands a series of short elbows before briefly looking for an arm-triangle choke. Now it is Ellis’ turn to bleed, and Smith is not relenting. Smith continues to pound away with elbows from side control, while Ellis offers little resistance from below.
Referee Herb Dean implores Smith to work, and the military man does his best to comply. He does not appear to be on the verge of finishing the fight, but he continues to land offense from side control. However, Dean orders a standup with less than a minute to go, explaining to Smith that he needs to land bigger shots. Smith rocks his adversary standing and appears close to a finish at the end of the round, but Ellis holds on.
Although everyone in the building expects a sudden victory round, the corners are informed that the fight is done. Smith wins via majority decision on the strength of a 10-8 second stanza. White is once again exasperated but concedes that it might not have been a good idea for Ellis to take any more damage.
“I’m here to win; I’m here to put it all on the line. I’m here for the men and women overseas. Their job is tough; my job isn’t tough,” Smith says, reflecting on his big victory.
The teaser for the upcoming episode promises that next week’s fight will be the season’s most controversial yet. It does not mention if missing food items are involved. Stay tuned.