The season’s final episode begins with Tony Ferguson, a semi-finalist from Team Lesnar, washing dishes in the kitchen after last night’s blowout. Teammate Chuck O’Neil, his next opponent, walks into the kitchen. Ferguson asks where Charlie Rader is, but to no avail.
“What we saw last night, that was the unmasked Tony, there’s no coming back from that… he’s burned every last bridge in this house,” says Chuck.
The previous episode witnessed Ferguson lash out at Charlie in a drunken rage and make comments concerning his son, which did not bode well throughout the house. Tony enters a room filled with his teammates, apologizing for the outburst, though no one believes he’s sincere.
“I was disgusted by what you said last night. For you to put Charlie’s kid’s name in your mouth… all of us wanted to (expletive) kill you,” exclaimed O’Neil.
Back at the gym, both Ramsey Nijem of Team Dos Santos and Chris Cope of Team Lesnar prepare for their semifinal bout.
“Chris Cope, everybody keeps counting this kid out, but he’s in the semifinals; it’s crazy,” exclaims UFC president Dana White, who is impressed with the run that the proverbial underdog has been on. ?
“I’m fighting ‘Stripper Ramsey’ and it’s going to be the toughest test yet,” says Cope in the final moments leading up to the welterweight tilt. ”Nobody thought that he would be a force to be reckoned with, but it turns out he’s their best guy.”
“Pressure, pressure. One hundred percent Ramsey in that fight,” says coach Junior dos Santos, as he preps his last active fighter.
The fight is underway. While Chris is perhaps the better striker on paper, Ramsey is successful in landing hooks as he moves into the clinch in an effort to take Cope down to the mat. Chris once again displays his superb takedown defense, which has carried him into the semifinals. Nijem, however, is doing a good job of breaking away and landing punches in bunches before moving back into the clinch.
In the second round, Ramsey cracks Cope with a hard hook over the top and rocks him. As Nijem follows up, he drops Cope against the fence and finishes the fight with vicious ground and pound, which calls the attention of the referee to finish the fight.
Nijem becomes this season’s first finalist, and it will now come down to the O’Neil-Ferguson bout to determine his future opponent.
Leading into the bout, Ferguson says in the confessional that he knows how Chuck feels about him, but insists that O’Neil will be wise enough to cast aside whatever personal resentment he has towards him in order to bring his ”A” game into the bout.?
“The path that it took me to get here has been an emotional roller coaster… I’ve loved every minute of it,” says Chuck, aka ”Cold Steel.”
Interestingly enough, Javier Torres of Team dos Santos will help corner Ferguson during the welterweight bout.
The fighters begin with a touch of gloves.
The first round saw both fighters engage in even exchanges, though Chuck is the more active of the two. Ferguson manages to catch a leg for a takedown, though he allows O’Neil back to his feet before the round comes to a close.
In the second, Ferguson is now finding his rhythm, which is bad news for Chuck. Tony shows more head movement and is beating O’Neil to the punch over and over again. Low kicks galore from Ferguson have Chuck hobbling around the cage. O’Neil’s face is looking worse for the wear. A flying knee highlights the final moments of the round.
In the final stanza, Ferguson puts the pressure on Chuck immediately by getting right in his face from the jump. Tony continues to work the low kicks and eventually drops Chuck with a hard right hand, though he allows him back up. A hard elbow over the top sends Chuck reeling against the fence. Ferguson plows through O’Neil with a two-punch combination to the body, and the fight is over. ?
“We beat the (expletive) out of each other,” says Ferguson following the bout.
“Tony proved in his fight today that he is the real deal,” says Dana White.
“Tony’s got a lot of inner demons. If you’re going to beat him you’re going to have to take his heart,” says his teammate, Cope.
Both Brock and Junior have long believed that both Ramsey and Ferguson were the two-single most talented guys on the show. Lesnar is elated by Tony’s performance and hopes that his natural ability will help fill in the holes that have yet to be satisfied in his mixed martial arts game.
“We’re just hoping that his pure athleticism will make up for some things,” says Lesnar.
Nijem and Ferguson meet in the center of the cage, where White congratulates the two on their road to the finale, which ends this Saturday at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, live on Spike TV.
“When you’re a nice guy, nice things come for you,” coach dos Santos says of his quirky, but lighthearted fighter in Nijem.?
Got something to say? Weigh in with a thought of your own in the comments section below.
Brian Lopez-Benchimol is a writer for MMAWeekly.com.
Follow @bbenchimol718 on Twitter or e-mail Brian a question or comment.
Follow MMAWeekly.com on Twitter and Facebook.