As episode No. 11 of “The Ultimate Fighter 17? opens, Team Jones’ Robert “Bubba” McDaniel is sleeping at practice and admits he’s extremely sore and not sure if he can or even wants to go on in the tournament. It seems its up in the air, but we’ll find out soon enough.
Team Jones’ Josh Samman says he feels the work he’s put in makes him a top seed in the tournament. His quarterfinal fight with Team Sonnen’s Jimmy Quinlan will likely come down to whether or not he can stay off of his back. Josh’s leg is bothering him, but he feels confident.
Bubba continues to struggle with motivation. He feels the UFC is making his road as difficult as possible. Jon Jones has a chat with him, and Bubba says he does indeed want to go on. Still there’s not much conviction in his voice.
Meanwhile, Jimmy is ramping up for the quarterfinal, as well. He says he’s happy with the matchup and respects Josh’s game, but he feels his opponent isn’t nearly as technical of a fighter.
Bubba is struggling again at the next day’s practice. He’s got back pain, and there’s a fear that it may be his kidneys. He visits the doctor to have his blood work done. His future in the tourney now hinges on the result.
First up, though, it’s Jimmy vs. Josh.
TEAM SONNEN’S JIMMY QUINLAN (3-0) VS. TEAM JONES’ JOSH SAMMAN (9-2)
Round 1 – Referee Steve Mazzagatti in the cage. Jimmy walks quickly forward to engage, and he drives in for a takedown after exchanging a few punches. Josh defends well, but Jimmy elevates him, walks him to the center of the cage and slams him to the floor. Josh struggles from his back to find space. As Jimmy holds strong on top, Josh nearly slips out in a beautiful sweep to back, but he just comes short, and Jimmy reestablishes position. Josh is dangerous from his back, bringing his legs high, but Jimmy rides it out with little trouble. Jon calls for a stand-up, but Steve leaves them on the floor. Josh keeps working and looking for submissions, but Jimmy shucks them off with little trouble. Jimmy isn’t scoring much from the top, but he’s spending a lot of time there. Josh finally crawls to his feet, and he tags Jimmy on the restart. Crisp punches and big knees see Jimmy topple to the floor, and Josh swarms to finish. Punches from the top, including double hammerfists blast away, and Jimmy taps to the work.
Josh Samman def. Jimmy Quinlan via submission (strikes) – Round 1
UFC President Dana White is impressed by Josh’s performance. First-round finishes have been his specialty, and Josh feels good about it. A disappointed Jimmy admits he basically lost motivation as he tired and ultimately just quit.
At Team Jones practice, a doctor stops by the gym to deliver the news to Bubba. It turns out he’s fine and the back pain is probably just some kind of muscle pull. Bubba says the news is motivating, and he goes to work prepping with Jon, who wants to make sure his fighter is pushing the action at all times against Team Sonnen’s Uriah Hall.
Uriah admits he’s heard Bubba is scared to fight him. Coach Chael Sonnen says the attention is well deserved, as Uriah is both talented and hard-working.
It’s time for the final quarterfinal bout of the season. Both fighters successfully make weight at 186 pounds, and it’s time for a fight. Jon admits he’s not impressed with the submissive body language of his longtime training partner, but the bout will go on.
TEAM SONNEN’S URIAH HALL (7-2) VS. TEAM JONES’ ROBERT “BUBBA” MCDANIEL (20-6)
Round 1 – Referee Herb Dean in the cage. Bubba walks forward, but he eats a knee to the body and a big right hand. Bubba crashes to the canvas, and he’s done. Uriah lands a few more shots before he’s pulled off. Bubba is out on the canvas and has no idea what happened.
Uriah Hall def. Bubba McDaniel vis knockout (punch) – Round 1
As he comes to, Bubba says his eye is in pain. Dana is once again impressed by Uriah’s performance and calls him the “most dangerous” fighter in the history of “TUF.” Bubba is taken to the hospital, and Uriah admits he’s happy at his performance but sad he has to take away Bubba’s opportunity. Now, it’s time to learn how the semifinals will be arranged.
Jon and Chael meets with Dana to pick the semifinals. Each fighter is brought in to ask for their plan. Josh pushes for Kelvin Gastelum. Dylan Andrews says he’s good with anyone. Uriah asks for Josh and admits he still can’t stand him. Kelvin asks for Dylan based on the style matchup.
Jon asks for Josh vs. Uriah and Dylan vs. Kelvin. Chael likes the same fights. Dana says it’s nice that both coaches wanted the same matchups, and he brings the fighters together to announce the plan. Dana deviated from the requests and goes with the following bouts.
- Team Jones’ Josh Samman vs. Team Sonnen’s Kelvin Gastelum
- Team Jones’ Dylan Andrews vs. Team Sonnen’s Uriah Hall
Dana says he thinks Josh and Uriah are indeed the best two fighters in the tournament, which led to his choice not to pair them up in the semifinals.
Catch new episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter 17: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen” every Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on FX. MMAjunkie.com recaps each episode of the reality series.