Last week’s shenanigans are recapped to kick off the seventh episode of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 16. In summary, Michael Hill and Matt Secor traded verbal barbs over some raw chicken, and Colton Smith outpointed Eddy Ellis in a controversial majority decision.
Coach Roy Nelson congratulates Smith on his victory and then quickly transitions into choosing which of his men will fight next. In the past, “Big Country” has been criticized for instructing his fighters to draw straws to decide who will fight in a given week. This time, he comes hard with a more scientific approach: pick a number between one and 20.
Dominic Waters chooses the best number, but instead of selecting an opponent, he elects to pass the buck to Hill. Considering Hill’s history with Secor, it is not difficult to deduce the pairing that will soon be announced.
“I am fighting Michael Hill, the Backstreet Boy of the house,” says Secor after the fight announcement. “I like this fight. This is the one I’ve obviously been preparing for.”
Nelson brings in original “Ultimate Fighter” winner Forrest Griffin to aid in his squad’s training session, and Hill later works the heavy bag by his lonesome. In a confessional, Hill explains his regret over squandering previous opportunities as both a student and an athlete but vows to make the most of his career as a mixed martial artist.
Over on Shane Carwin’s side, Secor is hitting the mitts and giving us a little insight into his background as a military man. The welterweight explains that his brother was killed in combat in Iraq.
“He died for his country, and there is nothing prouder than that,” says Secor. “He died [so that] all of us can do what we’re doing right now.”
Secor also reveals to his teammates that his father died last year. He explains that he would give up his opportunity on the show if he could only see his dad one last time.
Hill and Secor make their final fight preparations, and Hill decides to use a bunch of poorly conceived animal metaphors to describe his relationship with his opponent. Secor goes the simpler route and just calls Hill “a little douchebaggy.”
Both men are now in the cage, and referee Josh Rosenthal starts the action. After a solid minute of gauging distance, Secor lands an overhand right. Another minute goes by, and Hill catches a kick and scores a takedown. Secor immediately looks for a triangle, but Hill defends well. Secor pesters Hill with short shots off his back and then tries a butterfly sweep, but the Team Nelson rep bases out. Rosenthal stands them up with just 10 seconds remaining in the frame, but nothing comes of it.
Round two begins, and Secor dives on a single-leg takedown 30 seconds into the frame. Hill sprawls and briefly lands in side control before Secor recovers his base and tries for another single. Secor transitions to a double-leg and locks his hands, dumping Hill on his posterior. Hill turns to stand, but Secor counters by taking his back and fishing for a rear-naked choke. Carwin’s fighter locks in a full body triangle but cannot find the finish as the round expires.
Rosenthal informs the fighters that they will compete in a third, sudden-victory round, and they touch gloves to begin round three. Hill wings a couple of punches that miss by a wide margin, and Secor shoots a single-leg that is promptly stuffed. Landing in top position, Hill goes to work with short hammerfists before nearly finding himself caught in a triangle. He pulls out of the hold, and Secor then times a double-leg as Hill rushes in to strike, landing in half-guard.
Hill turns away from Secor’s strikes, and Carwin’s fighter once again takes the back and cinches another body triangle. With 90 seconds left in the fight, Hill attempts to escape the position by rolling, but Secor rides him for the remainder of the frame.
Shockingly, UFC President Dana White announces that Hill has won a split decision, meaning that two of the three cageside judges scored the third round for Nelson’s fighter, despite having Secor on his back for much of the round.
White is livid at the result, calling the verdict “crazy.” Just about everybody agrees with him, although Hill says he believes he did enough to win the fight. Secor disagrees, but he is nonetheless respectful toward Hill and the rest of Team Nelson after the fight.
Next week, White tells the fighters to turn up their intensity in the cage, and Carwin and Nelson will apparently square off in a “track-and-field” coaches’ challenge. Let us pray that someone makes them run the 100-meter dash.