‘TUF 24’ Recap: Episode 6

By Mike Sloan Oct 5, 2016
Wednesday’s episode begins at the “The Ultimate Fighter” house at night with Matt Rizzo and Matt Schnell (with others) lounging around the house and talking about how cool the various championship belts look and which ones are the best. Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White quickly moves into his hype of Schnell and how good of a fighter he is behind various highlights of his combat in Legacy Fighting Championship.

From there, Schnell is training hard as he works on his striking and grappling. Coach Henry Cejudo is singing his praises while Schnell admits that, stylistically, he’s not super excited about fighting Rizzo, who is a wrestler and jiu-jitsu player through and through. Still, “Danger” says that he’ll collect another jiu-jitsu black belt by the time the fight is over.

The next scene has an excited coach Joseph Benavidez, who has gotten permission to bring his group out to Lake Las Vegas for an afternoon of paddleboarding so the guys can get a rest day. Terrence Mitchell admits that he can’t swim so he’s nervous even with his life vest on. The entire team is having a blast on the water but the fun is short-lived and Benavidez eventually rounds them up to return to the mansion.

Rizzo is now in training camp and talking about his wrestling upbringing and how he got into jiu-jitsu. Highlights of his Ring of Combat conquests are shown next as White talks him up quite a bit, as does Benavidez, who says that “Razor Sharp” needs to make it an ugly fight against his upcoming opponent.

Back at the house, Schnell is explaining his childhood and how he was always getting into fisticuffs. From there, the show shifts gears to his home video footage down in Florida and where he trains, the prestigious American Top Team academy. He lives at the gym and admits that he lives a minimalistic lifestyle and that he drives an aftercare school bus. After a few minutes, he takes the viewers to Missouri to visit his long-distance girlfriend and train with some buddies in St. Louis.

It’s now Rizzo’s turn to explain his life and the show heads to Pennsylvania. Rizzo and his fiancée live with his parents and he works a full-time job on the side. He’s out mowing the lawn in one scene then installing security systems in the next before heading out to train at the smaller but solid Revolution Academy.

After the weigh-ins, White is breaking down how he believes the fight will unfold. He states the obvious: Rizzo needs to take the fight to the ground and Schnell needs to keep it on the feet. And after the usual fight-day pre-fight clips of them getting mentally and physically ready, it’s time to fight.

Round one opens up with Schnell missing a body kick but popping Rizzo with a lead right to the head. From there, Rizzo shoots in and goes for the takedown, but Schnell keeps him at bay. With “Razor Sharp” on his knees and driving the takedown, he’s tagged by a few errant elbows to the back of the head, which prompts Herb Dean to scold Schnell. With Rizzo still trying for the takedown, Schnell goes for a guillotine, but his foe easily rolls out of it and springs back up to his feet in the clinch. Rizzo again shoots in but this time he is caught in a relatively threatening guillotine, but he eventually pries his head free. From within Schnell’s guard, Rizzo rains down a series of mostly-blocked punches, but misses his opponent’s back during the ensuing scramble. With just under two minutes remaining, Rizzo is desperately shooting in from too far out and is easily stuffed. Schnell backs off to create more space on the feet but he has to thwart another takedown attempt with a guillotine threat. Rizzo winds up in Schnell’s guard and quickly has to defend a triangle with 30 seconds on the clock, but “Razor Sharp” is able to fend it off until the horn. It’s an easy 10-9 round for Schnell.

Schnell smacks his foe’s lead thigh with a few low kicks to begin the frame and once Rizzo has had enough, he shoots in again. Schnell’s defense is superb still but after almost a minute of trying, Rizzo finally takes him down and lands in his opponent’s full guard. Again, Schnell threatens with a triangle with about three minutes left and it’s tight. Rizzo tries to stack him, but Schnell prevents it, shifts to his right and squeezes. Rizzo has nowhere to go, can’t break loose of the choke and taps out, giving Team Cejudo another win and Schnell another black belt.

White is excited about the fight but he quickly shifts gears to next week’s episode, which will be anchored by No. 3 seed Tim Elliott taking on big underdog Charlie Alaniz, who is the No. 14 seed and has a total of about one minute of air time this entire season. It’s the final fight of the opening round of the season-long tournament. Also, clips of Rizzo and Jamie Alvarez getting into a heated exchange inside the house and this season’s Coaches’ Challenge are shown in the previews.
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