Episode 11 of The Ultimate Fighter 17: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen featured the last two quarterfinal bouts and the announcement of the semifinal matchups.
Having to face Uriah Hall in the quarterfinal round didn’t sit well with Team Jones’ Bubba McDaniel from the moment it was announced. Last week he was having trouble getting mentally prepared. In this week’s episode, McDaniel’s concerns turned to his physical state.
“I’ve fought three times in a short time period now and I feel completely drained. Like, I’m pretty much just wanting to be asleep, and then my back has been hurting again too around my kidney area,” said McDaniel.
“Bubba was having a lot of pain. He wasn’t really sure if he would be able to go on. Wasn’t actually sure if he wanted to go on,” said Coach Jon Jones.
Jones told team member Clint Hester to, “be ready, got to be ready when the time comes.”
Hester lobbied for the wild card slot. It was between him and McDaniel.
“I wanted the wild card spot, and if I get called I’m going to be ready,” stated Hester.
McDaniel said he didn’t want to quit, so whether or not he’d fight came down to the doctors that performed blood tests and evaluated him. He was cleared to complete, but before he and Hall met in the cage, Josh samman and Jimmy Quinlan fought in the third quarterfinal bout.
Josh Samman vs. Jimmy Quinlan
Stylistically, Samman and Quinlan couldn’t be different. Quinlan specializes in grappling while Samman prefers to end bouts by technical knockout.
Quinlan utilized his takedown ability to get the fight where he wanted it early in the opening round. He closed the distance, elevated Samman and slammed in in the center of the Octagon. Samman stayed active off his back, landing elbows and punches from the bottom while looking for submission opportunities.
Quinlan was able to pass Samman’s guard a few times, but was unable to inflict any damage.
Samman scrambled to his feet late in the round and landed three knees to the head of Quinlan. Quinlan immediately changed levels and worked to secure a takedown. Samman transitioned and took Quinlan’s back. Samman began hitting him with double punches to the side of the head. Quinlan quickly tapped out.
“The way that I’m feeling right now is pretty hard to describe,” said Samman after the fight. “I’m the only guy to have finished all of his fights. I finished them all in the first round, so I think that I have made a statement and in the eyes of the coaches and competitors on the show probably the strongest seed in the tournament as I thought I was the whole time.”
“I had him down and won most of the round. I don’t know, just getting tired out there and having trouble breathing,” said a dejected Quinlan following the loss. “I lost motivation when he got on my back. There’s a lot that goes into it, but it just basically came down to quitting, basically.”
Uriah Hall vs. Bubba McDaniel
If McDaniel was afraid to fight Hall, you couldn’t tell it by the way he went after him. The two touched gloves and McDaniel began to move forward. As he did, he was hit with a knee to the body and a right hand that dropped him. Hall finished with hammer fists on the ground. The fight was over less than ten seconds after it started.
McDaniel remained face down on the canvas for an extended period of time asking what was wrong and complaining that his eye hurt.
“You’re a contender Uriah, for the title,” said Coach Chael Sonnen after the fight. “I spent five years in that weight class. You’re a contender.”
“The way that this guy knocks people out, you don’t even want to clap. You feel bad clapping,” said UFC president Dana White. It’s vicious. It’s quick. It’s nasty. This guy is the nastiest guy in Ultimate Fighter history.”
“I really don’t even know what happened at all,” said McDaniel after the loss. “All I know is I was walking forward, next thing I know I’m on my (expletive) face and I can’t move.”
The coaches and fighters met with White to determine the semifinal matchups. Each had two fighters advance to the semifinal round.
Samman requested to face Kelvin Gastelum. Dylan Andrews said he didn’t care who he faced in the semifinals. Hall asked to face Samman while Gastelum lobbied for a fight with Andrews.
Both coaches agreed on who they thought should square off in the next round. They wanted Samman to face Hall while pitting Andrews against Gastelum. Dana White had other plans.
Next week’s episode will feature both semifinal matchups. First, Team Jones’ Josh Samman will face Team Sonnen’s Kelvin Gastelum. Team Sonnen’s Uriah Hall takes on Team Jones’ Dylan Andrews to determine who’ll be in the finals.
Be sure to Like MMAWeekly.com on Facebook and Follow @MMAWeeklycom on Twitter.