As episode No. 7 of “The Ultimate Fighter 17? opens, Team Jones’ Robert “Bubba” McDaniel still is expressing hope he might be able to get a wild-card spot to get back in the tournament. He knows he has a chance, but also knows there are four other fighters who have a shot, too. But talk soon turns to matchup strategy and finding a way to get Team Sonnen’s feared Uriah Hall eliminated – especially since he has already enraged more than his fair share of the opposition, especially by asking Adam Cella if his girlfriend was “a b—h” like him.
Team Sonnen’s No. 5 pick, Jimmy Quinlan, talks about his matchup this week with Team Jones’ Clint Hester – it was the fight he wanted, and the fight he got, and he didn’t even have to pick it. The Jones team takes a van ride, and believes Jimmy is in trouble despite his strong grappling because of Clint’s heavy hands.
Sonnen takes the fighters out to Hooters for a little pub and grub, and the fighters appear to be quite happy with the chance to be around anything but the other fighters in the house – let alone Hooters girls. And wings, of course. Team Jones’ Gilbert Smith uses the opportunity to take his shirt off and try on a Hooters girl tank top and do a little dance, proving being kept in the house does make the fighters a little stir crazy, indeed. But at a group picture opportunity with the fighters and a few waitresses, Uriah decides to stay at a table by himself and not take part – despite a few members of the big group asking him to come over. Team Jones’ Collin Hart calls Uriah “a very self-righteous person” and “a jerk” and says he hopes to be the one to get a piece of him.
Uriah says he’s having a hard tome sleeping, and assistant coach Scott McQuary says the coaches have to talk to him a lot about essentially getting out of his head.
Team Jones’ Josh Samman is hurting with his left leg after his win on Episode No. 6, and believes he might need to go to a doctor. He worries that it might be the same as a past blood clot in his right quad that caused him major problems and surgery. He gets an ultrasound to make sure that it’s not a blood clot – it’s not. He’s relieved that it’s not and he’ll be ready to bounce back and fight through what appears to just be a sore leg, post-fight.
We meet Clint for a while, and he talks about his youth near Atlanta, an he samples the Harley-Davidson in the house waiting for the winner. He says he hung out with smaller guys growing up – and if they got bullied, he took care of it. He started boxing in 2005, but eventually turned to MMA – and 10 months after joining an MMA gym, he had his first fight. Family, though, helped keep him out of trouble – and without them, he says, things might have worked out differently for him. Jones talks about how well Clint implements a lot of the techniques he learns quicker than other fighters on the team.
It’s time for the weigh-ins. Clint goes first and is 185 pounds. Jimmy comes in at 185.5, and the fight is official. The two have a staredown and struggle to keep from smiling. Back at the house, Jimmy and Clint joke with each other on the day of the fight.
TEAM JONES’ CLINT HESTER (7-3) VS. TEAM SONNEN’S JIMMY QUINLAN (3-0)
Round 1 – Without much surprise, Jimmy shoots on Clint right away. Clint sprawls out of it initially, but Jimmy keeps after it, wraps his opponent up and 15 seconds in, he carries him to the center of the cage for a takedown into side control. After 30 seconds, Clint works his way out and back to his feet. When Jimmy wants him back down, Clint lands some elbows. The fight goes back to the canvas along the fence with Jimmy keeping Clint wrapped up before picking him up with another slam. Clint tries to land short shots before getting up again trying to break Jimmy’s grip. Clint goes after a guillotine, but it’s not secure. He lands a pair of knees, then with Jimmy’s back on the fence he lands one more, followed by a short flurry that has Jimmy covering up and shooting for a defensive takedown midway through. Jimmy keeps working on the takedown, but he’s eating a lot of punches from Clint in the process. But finally he gets him down to a good position with 90 seconds left, and when Clint again works back to his feet, Jimmy again slams him. It’s been the takedowns scoring points for Jimmy, and certainly not any damage – the one scoring the points with the hands was Clint, and that makes it a close round to score, but one that should go to Jimmy for the takedowns and the Octagon control.
Round 2 – This time, it’s Clint shooting early, and Jimmy steps to the side and goes after a guillotine. He can’t secure it, and back on the feet Clint ties things up. As the fight again goes to the ground thanks to Jimmy, he nearly takes Clint’s back, but uses it to move around and get to full mount with little difficulty. Clint tries to get out from underneath, but has to give up back mount, and finally we see Jimmy go to work with some ground-and-pound. He’s got a great position and he’s got a ton of time left. He lands a few punches that Jones doesn’t believe are hurting Clint, but in short order Jimmy gets the perfect opportunity to latch on a rear-naked choke. He gets it, sinks it in and Clint is quickly tapping about 1:44 into the round.
Jimmy Quinlan def. Clint Hester via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2
Chael remarks at how Clint was able to generate punching power from odd positions, and admits that Jimmy could have done better in mixing it up in the first round with striking to go along with his grappling dominance. And Chael actually leans toward Clint winning the first round – though it’s entirely moot. Jimmy talks about how big of a win it was against Jones’ No. 1 draft pick. Jon tells Clint that he has no reason to hang his head if he fought hard. Clint says Jimmy was better than him that fight, but he hopes for the wild-card spot so he can fight even harder. Chael takes a Team Sonnen jersey to Jon to settle up on their bowling wager from the previous episode – it’s cordial, they shake hands, and Jon apparently now will wear a Team Sonnen jersey to coach one practice.
Team Sonnen has control of the next fight selection, though it doesn’t matter because the only fight left is between Team Sonnen’s No. 3 pick, Zak Cummings, and Team Jones’ final pick, Dylan Andrews. It’s 4-2 for Team Sonnen heading into next week’s final opening-round matchup.
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.