‘TUF 24’ Recap: Episode 9

By Mike Sloan Nov 9, 2016
The episode begins at the ‘TUF’ house with a mini celebration as some of the coaches brought over beer and food. At night, the fellas are hanging out at the hot tub and Tim Elliott is bickering with Eric Shelton. They clearly have had too much alcohol and are squawking about how one’s life will change once they get in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and why they fight. Shelton is bellowing about how he believes in God and how his path has been predetermined but Elliott disagrees.

Shelton is then speaking into the camera and says the argument motivated him. Elliott reveals that he was mostly playing with him but admits that they both had too much to drink. When the two come into the house and hang out on the couches, the debate continues but luckily cooler heads prevail, preventing a full-scale rhubarb.

From there, UFC President Dana White is excited about this episode’s matchup, which pits Hiro Ogikubo against Adam Antolin. He is raving about the two fighters’ opening-round bouts and is trying to break down the duel and can’t predict a winner. Either way, el president is pumped.

Henry Cejudo, who is the head coach of Antolin, is convinced that his man will win, though it won’t be easy. However, as soon as Antolin’s training footage rolls, he reveals that he’s been struggling through a nagging back injury since his victory over Damacio Page. He’s concerned about it, naturally, and Cejudo is helping him through the ordeal with philosophy.

Back at the house, Ogikubo is hanging out with some of his buddies but admits that it’s been difficult because he doesn’t speak much English. Many of the guys in the house are trying to help him communicate and teach him some words, and he’s trying his best. The language barrier isn’t affecting his training, though, as Joseph Benavidez loves working with him. And in terms of the Japanese fighter’s matchup with Antolin, Benavidez is thrilled.

After a few segments of the fighters training, it’s time for a game of charades at the house. The players are mocking how everybody else fights as well as some other celebrities, and when Ogikubo is imitating Muhammad Ali, everybody doubles over with laughter. They are having a blast playing the game but the tomfoolery is quickly cut-off because it’s weigh-ins time.

Both Ogikubo and Antolin make weight easily and once the editing team delivers the usual pre-fight prep footage, it’s time to brawl.

The duel begins with Ogikubo missing a head kick and falling to his side. Antolin does not chase after him and allows him to stand back up. Both men are cautious and circling around the Octagon, but the Japanese fighter is able to land a pair of hard leg kicks. Antolin catches the third and sweeps his foe to the ground, but Ogikubo quickly reverses position and moves to the top, in Antolin’s half guard. While trying to pass to his right, Ogikubo pops Adam with some sporadic fists and elbows to the head and body, but none of them have any real zip on them. Antolin can’t pry the Shooto champion off and is now looking to stall on his back. With two minutes left, Ogikubo scoots to full mount and lands a few solid punches. Antolin wants none of it and scrambles back to half guard. It’s not long before Ogikubo again achieves mount and then back mount, but Antolin, who is getting dominated, slithers back over and recovers to half guard. Again, Hiro gets the mount and pounds away until Antolin turns over. With 30 seconds left, Ogikubo misses a rear-naked choke attempt and Antolin explodes out. From there, he unloads a barrage of punches onto the covering-up Japanese veteran, but it’s nowhere near enough to win the frame. Easy 10-9 round for Ogikubo.

Round two begins with Ogikubo having one of his left high kicks blocked. Antolin backs off and then misses a lazy left hook, which allows Ogikubo to easily shoot in and score a double-leg takedown. Antolin scoots to the cage and scrambles back to his feet and creates enough separation to strike. Ogikubo absorbs a nasty left kick to the ribs and then is stuffed on a double-leg attempt after eating a few punches. However, the next time Hiro shoots in, he lands it and quickly takes Antolin’s back. Antolin stands up, but within seconds, he is taken down hard again. Ogikubo is all over his foe’s back and when Antolin is finally able to free himself, he is dealt a thudding kick to the liver. Adam is the one pressing the issue with two minutes remaining and scores a takedown, but Ogikubo is defending his advances against the cage. Ogikubo scores another takedown with a minute left and Antolin exhales a deep breath. Antolin, whose right eye is puffy, scrambles back to his feet but, as expected, is dragged back down moments later, sealing his fate. Again, it’s 10-9 Ogikubo.

Without controversy, Ogikubo is declared the winner via unanimous decision to nobody’s surprise.

Next week will see the all-Team Benavidez showdown between No. 15 Shelton and No. 7 Ronaldo Candido. It’s revealed in the previews that next week’s episode will have two fights as the final bout of the second round -- No. 3 Elliott versus No. 6 Matt Schnell -- will occur as well.

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