‘TUF 25’ Recap: Episode 4

By Mike Sloan May 10, 2017
On the strength of Jesse Taylor’s dominant win over Mehdi Baghdad last week, Team Dillashaw is up 3-0 on the hated Team Garbrandt. The show begins with TUF 15’s James Krause lamenting how he was knocked out by Justin Lawrence in their fight to get into the house. He says he was hit by an illegal knee that turned the tides in the fight and feels as though he wasn’t given a fair deal. Even though he is currently under contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, he is out to redeem himself for what happened the first time he was on the show. Highlights of Krause tearing up Sam Stout, Daron Cruickshank and Shane Campbell inside the Octagon ensue and he is amped to be fighting at the end of tonight’s show.

The following day, Team Dillashaw decides to make a bear card for their coach because it’s his birthday. Tom Gallicchio, Joe Stevenson and others have been shaving off body hair to glue onto the card and it looks amazing. The team is giddy with excitement when they give their masterpiece to the former UFC bantamweight champ and even though he’s grossed-out by the card, he loves it and is laughing wildly.

Krause’s fight prep footage is up next and he is ready to be fighting newcomer Johnny Nunez. Dillashaw is feeling good about his fighter, whom he chose No. 1 to be on his team.

Back at the TUF house after the first commercial break, Team Garbrandt is chilling out, watching the UFC on TV. Urijah Faber, Miesha Tate, Danny Castillo, Garbrandt’s girlfriend and a few others are hanging out with them. Julian Lane decides to be the bartender and he and Clay Guida apparently have a goal to get “No Love” hammered. Garbrandt is not a drinker at all, he says, and he’s getting crustier as the night goes on. As the drinks continue to flow, the reigning 135-pound king keeps saying, “Hanging with the booooyyys!” and his girlfriend says he’s going to look like a douche when the footage airs. Even with all the alcohol, no drama bombs detonate in the house and it’s all good fun.

Nunez and his backstory follows and plenty of footage of his TUF 22 losses to Ryan Hall and David Teymur punctuate his redemption story. Out of nowhere, the editing team decides to focus on Hayder Hassan and Dhiego Lima, who are good friends and teammates down at American Top Team and before Nunez’ prep footage, rolls, Garbrandt asks Hassan about who he’d like to fight. Hassan says he doesn’t want to fight Lima because of them being real-life teammates, but he admits to “No Love” that it’s an easy fight. Interesting…

Tate shows up at the gym because she trains with Nunez at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. She also used to team at Team Alpha Male, so she’s a great fit for this minicamp. Garbrandt, meanwhile, is plotting with his fellow coaches about who should fight whom and the champ wants Hassan to fight Lima. Hassan is leery of drama exploding back home but the coaches seem to be pressuring him into fighting Lima, telling him that it’s his dream to be in the UFC.

Back at the house, Krause is telling some of his teammates about how hard it’s been back home. His mom is in prison, his stepdad died an agonizing death because of cancer and he had to take in his younger sisters. His home video rolls with scenes of him at his house and at one of the two gyms he owns in the Kansas City area. But unlike previous seasons, the producers don’t go into great detail about his home life, which is a bit odd.

At the TUF house at night, Taylor and some of the dudes are in the hot tub and Jesse is spouting off some silly poetry. Gilbert does his poetry, but it’s more like a rap and then “Daddy” Stevenson tries his hand. The rest of the guys do as well, and it’s all good. Even though the guys are actually horrible at rhyming and poetry, nobody talks trash because they are having goofy fun.

After all the usual pre-fight footage of the combatants pumping themselves up, it’s time to fight. Herb Dean is the referee for the battle and Krause comes out of his corner, right at Nunez. A few Krause kicks are blocked and after they have a brief exchange of punches, Nunez takes the current UFC fighter down. Krause quickly climbs back to his feet, where they clinch against the cage. Nunez rips a knee into his opponent’s body before they split up and reset in the center of the cage. They are tearing into each other with punches to the head and body, both taking as good as they give, but Nunez is landing the cleaner shots overall. Krause pops Nunez with a right knee to the face, but he’s countered by an overhand right to the dome. Nunez eats a few punches on his way in before tying his foe up against the cage, but nothing comes from it. They separate again and peg each other with sporadic punches to the head and again, Nunez is getting the better of the exchanges. Nunez changes levels and eats a right knee for his effort and he crumbles to the canvas. He quickly recovers and turtles up, preventing the ensuing guillotine choke. It’s hard to say how hurt Nunez is from the knee but his head looks clear at the moment. However, Krause slides over and takes his back, gunning for the choke. Nunez fends it off but Krause hammers him with punches from behind and then locks in the rear-naked choke. Nunez is battered and withered, eventually tapping out with very little time remaining on the clock.

Following the quotes from the winning and losing coaches, Nunez is off to the side, disappointed. “Cupcake” strolls over to console him and he tells her, “I just wanted to give up,” because he was hit in the liver and it made him sick. He vows to the camera that he will return better than ever.

Garbrandt picks the next fight, which will, in fact, be Lima versus Hassan. Lima laughs into the camera, saying that Garbrandt is mad that his team keeps losing and he’s just picking random fights now that he’s desperate. Lima and Hassan both profess their love and friendship to each other, but it’s a fight. Garbrandt says, “No friendships in here,” which could be a harbinger of what will happen next week …

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