‘TUF 24’ Recap: Episode 3

By Mike Sloan Sep 14, 2016
After three finishes to start the season, Team Cejudo has jumped to a quick 2-1 lead over Team Benavidez. After the obligatory recap from last week’s episode and the snazzy intro, Episode 3 is underway and it starts with the fight announcement that concluded Episode 2.

It doesn’t take long, like three seconds, before Damacio Page begins talking trash to Henry Cejudo about how Page’s last name is actually pronounced. The two were supposed to fight in the Legacy Fighting Championship a few years ago but it never materialized because Cejudo for various reasons. Page explains that they were supposed to fight that promotion’s flyweight title but Cejudo never showed up, which cost “The Angel of Death” a payday and opportunity at a championship. Naturally, there’s a little bit of animosity from page against Cejudo (online betting).

From there, Dana White explains Page’s rise through the World Extreme Cagefighting and then the Ultimate Fighting Championship before showing all sorts of wicked Damacio knockouts and says that Page has a legitimate chance to get a rematch with Demetrious Johnson. Teammates Matt Rizzo and Tim Elliott are psyched about how hard Page hits and how he fights, making them confident that he will win the fight that anchors tonight’s show.

Adam Antolin, who will lock horns with Page, is then the focus of the show. He’s training hard while his voiceover in the background explains his upbringing and why he got into mixed martial arts. Highlights of his wins in Tachi Palace Fights follow and White calls him the dark horse of the entire season.

After a commercial, the producers chronicle Page back home before he got on the show. He explains his rough upbringing and then details how he is dog breeder; his yard is full of bullies. He’s worried about how they’ll be while he is gone for six weeks but he shifts gears and gets down to Jackson-Wink MMA for some training. From there, it’s fight prep and he and Benavidez are gameplanning how to fight Antolin, all the while Page gives more details of his upbringing, which was genuinely hard.

From there, it’s time for the same treatment to Antolin. The American Kickboxing Academy fighter is seen training at the popular gym betwixt scenes of him with his ex-girlfriend’s son playing basketball. Unlike Page’s segment, however, Antolin’s is relatively terse.

There’s a little bit of tension between the coaches before both fighters weigh-in on point, but the next seen is comical because Page is in the bathroom and getting his haircut by Antolin. It’s a little bit awkward, but it’s all good between the two. Page opens up to his upcoming foe about how he sometimes donates his grown-out hair for kids with cancer and then reveals that his mother passed away from pancreatic cancer several years ago. It’s an emotional moment on the show but the mood quickly shifts to the fight and the final pre-fight prep for the two.

The fight is finally underway and Page quickly establishes his jab and is moving forward. Antolin is a bit tentative to let his hands go, but not “The Angel of Death,” who is in Terminator mode early. Antolin misses a single leg attempt after eating a glancing blow to the head and a kick to the body. There’s already some redness ad swelling around Adam’s left eye as he has to absorb a partially-blocked right uppercut and then another shin to the ribs. A hard left-right to the melon from the AKA fighter at the midway point, but Page shakes it off. Antolin is finally starting to opening more and pops Page with a loopy overhand right after countering a left hook. A hard side kick to the belly seems to hurt Damacio a little, but when Antolin comes after him, Page clips him with a right to the head. Antolin’s knees buckle slightly but Page is unable to capitalize on his state. Antolin misses a throw with 30 seconds left and then has a left hook forced down his throat, but just before the horn, he scores a takedown. It’s a tough round to score but it goes 10-9 for Page.

Antolin opens the second frame with a vicious spinning back kick to the belly and then cracks Page with a combo of punches to the head. Page backs off toward the cage and when Antolin unleashes a left kick to the ribs, Page drops to his knees. Antolin pounces but before he can do any real follow-up damage, referee Chris Tognoni jumps in and stops it. Naturally, Page protests and White says it’s a terrible stoppage but applauds Antolin’s upset of Page.

After the fight, it’s the usual rollercoaster of emotions between the winner and loser, but it’s revealed that Page has broken his right hand in the fight, so he’ll be out of commission for several months. From there, White explains that next week’s episode will see No. 2 seed Yoni Sherbatov taking on No. 15 Eric Shelton. Both coaches are excited about the matchup and the faceoff between the two fighters goes off without any drama.

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