In last week’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen, Team Jones got their first win of the season and gained matchmaking control. Coach Jon Jones picked the most seasoned fighter in the house, Bubba McDaniel, to take on the youngest contestant in The Ultimate Fighter history, 21-year old Kelvin Gastelum.
“My strategy leading into this fight is to utilize Bubba’s experience and just overall game. We believe we’re going to win this fight everywhere against Kelvin,” said Jones. “We called out Kelvin because we thought he was the weakest link and the smartest decision for our team.”
“Me being the youngest guy, I’m probably the one with the least experience in the house. People probably underestimate me, and that’s fine with me. I know how tough I am, and I know how good I am, and I know what I can do. I’m not really worried about what other people are thinking,” said Gastelum.
The match up didn’t sit well with Team Sonnen’s Luke Barnatt.
“I think it’s a cheap shot from Bubba to be the most experienced man in the competition. The guy has had nearly thirty fights. He’s one of the older guys. He’s one of the bigger guys. He’s the man of the competition in a way, and he picks the youngest guy, one of the least experienced guys. It’s just a bit cheap in my opinion,” said Barnatt.
Gustelum is a big fan of UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. Coach Chael Sonnen had Rousey call Gustelum to wish him luck in his fight with McDaniel. If the call from Rousey wasn’t enough to inspire Gustelum, Team Sonnen brought in award winning actor and former professional boxer Mickey Rourke to speak to the team.
Bubba McDaniel vs. Kelvin Gastelum:
Gastelum came out setting the pace. He moved forward and secured an early takedown. McDaniel pushed him off and quickly got back to his feet, but most of the round was a back-and-forth grappling battle filled with transitions and reversals. It was a tough round to score and heading into the second round, neither fighter had a clear advantage.
Gastelum opened the second stanza with a hard outside leg kick. McDaniel tried for a trip takedown, but ended up on the bottom. Gastelum gave up top position working for a guillotine choke. He gave up his back but was able to shake McDaniel off. Gastelum took McDaniel’s back and locked in a rear naked choke that forced McDaniel to tap out.
The win gave Team Sonnen matchmaking control and a 3-1 lead over Team Jones.
“I can’t stand it knowing I lost again. I can’t stand it. I’m a winner for a reason, you know. I win fights. I don’t just go out there and get trashed. I don’t have anybody even compete as highly as he did with me. I feel like a failure right now,” said a dejected McDaniel following the loss.
McDaniel’s hopes of winning the show and the UFC contract rests on getting a wildcard slot back into the tournament.
Coach Sonnen announced the next bout. He picked Tor Troeng to face Team Jones’ Josh Summan.