The show begins with Team dos Santos’ number one pick Shamar Bailey, who’s been suffering from a lingering back injury.
“I just want to get these fights over with and go from there,” he says.
Just as Bailey begins to delve into his injury, who else but his next opponent and supposed “spy” Chris Cope walks through.
“I feel like that dude is lurking from every corner and he’s like listening to our conversation,” says Bailey.
Back at the gym, Junior dos Santos is working closely with his number four pick Ramsey Nijem, who will be up to bat next taking on the gritty Clay Harvison.
“Ramsey is the best wrestler on my team. If he catches Clay the fight is over,” says dos Santos, confident of Nijem’s wreslting pedigree.
During a confessional, Ramsey discusses his family who hails from Palestine. Regular trips to the the war-ravaged country gives Nijem a sense of pride with his current profession as a mixed martial artist, asserting that fighting in a controlled environment is much safer than fighting for his life in the midst of war.
UFC president Dana White walks into the gym with budding contender Brian Stann. The Marine Corps Lieutenant, who also doubles as regular spokesperson, has come to talk with the fighters and help motivate them in their efforts to become the next ”Ultimate Fighter.”
“Not only is (Stann) very well respected in the mixed martial arts community, but he is very well respected in the military community,” says White.?
“Success breeds success” is a sentiment shared by Brian, who insists that though the rigorous military training is difficult, mixed martial arts comes as a very close second.
Clay Harvison has had his stitches removed following his dislocated finger, which was injured in his preliminary match-up with Mick Bowman. Although the bone protruded the skin, Harvison will continue on with the competition.
“Once I get adrenaline going, I smell blood and then it’s all good,” says Harvison, the number four pick for Team Lesnar, who is still suffering some pain from the wound.
Brock steps in the cage with Clay to go over a few techniques, specifically working the whizzer should Harvison tie up with Ramsey.
Harvison knows that Nijem’s only method of winning will be to take him down and look for a choke, though Brock is growing increasingly confident with Harvison’s progress. Dana is equally impressed with the grit he’s shown by continuing to fight one week removed after his bone protruding incident.
Just moments before the fight begins, Ramsey is feeling very ill, though he still breathes confidence, and it shows.
The fight is underway, and Nijem wastes no time in clinching Harvison against the fence, immediately scoring the takedown. ”Stripper Ramsey” takes Clay’s back immediately, sinks in the hooks, and fishes for the choke. Just 56 seconds into the bout, Harvison taps to a rear naked choke.
“Thats how you fight when you get sick? My gosh!” raves an elated Junior.
“Clay was just outclassed with the wrestling,” says Brock bluntly.
The next fight up will be Shamar against Cope.
Coach dos Santos talks about Bailey’s previous injury, which he says is now a non-issue and anticipates a dominant performance turned in by his top pick.
Shamar’s motivation for the bout stems from Chris’ incessant ”wooing” around the house, which has woken him up from sleep on several occasions. ?
“I’m fighting Shamar. Even though he doesn’t like me much, I like him a lot. I think he’s a great guy,” says Cope, who has been consistently upbeat despite catching the most flack amongst the fighters. He’s generally thought of as a ”double agent” by his castmates and the weakest fighter of the bunch to boot.
Cope maintains that while Shamar has made the bout personal, he’s just looking forward to the ”fun” experience.
Lesnar works with Chris one-on-one, employing the same technique he went over with Harvison, the whizzer, to which Cope seems a little more receptive too.
“What I saw in Shamar in his (preliminary) fight was that he looks very one dimensional to me,” says the UFC head honcho, who says that he can see Cope winning this bout if he proves to be the more diverse fighter of the two.
And now, the fight is underway.
In the first round, Shamar charges Chris with a few solid shots before backing him up against the fence and fishing for the takedown. Chris is defending well, popping Shamar with shots to the head. Bailey continues to look for the takedown, but Cope has phenomenal balance and defense against arguably the best wrestler in the house. The round ends with Shamar continuing to look for a single leg, though Chris is utilizing the whizzer.
Chris is becomes more confident in round two, and begins to circle away from the cage, attacking Bailey with punches as he advances. Try as he might, Shamar cannot take Cope down and the fight heads to the judges’ scorecards. All three judges score the bout 20-18 in favor for Team Lesnar’s Cope. It would, to date, have to be the biggest upset of the show. ?
“Chris did a wonderful job, wowed us, and made chicken salad out of chicken (expletive),” says Lesnar.
After the win, Dana anticipates that Chris will be doing plenty more ”wooing” around the household.
Highlights of the next show feature Tony Ferguson of Team Lesnar going ballistic.
Then the remaining quarterfinal bouts are underway as Ferguson takes on Ryan McGillivray of Team dos Santos, while Team Lesnar’s resurgent Chuck O’Neil attempts to exact revenge in his rematch with Zach Davis. The semifinal bouts will also be announced.
At the end of the first pair of quarterfinal bouts, the Team Lesnar and Team dos Santos are tied up at one apiece.
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Brian Lopez-Benchimol is a writer for MMAWeekly.com.
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