TUF The Smashes Episode 8 opened with both teams coming together for the announcement of the final preliminary fight, which is between lightweights Grant Blackler (AUS) vs. Mike Wilkinson (UK).
With one of the UK welterweights getting a second chance after Manny Rodriguez’s injury, training was ramped up for the eliminated welterweights in case they got the call.
One of the UK training staff decided to walk in on an Australian training session and coach George Sotiropoulos wasn’t impressed, ordering the UK coach to leave. UK head coach Ross Pearson also came in as they looked for their training book and Sotiropoulos went toe-to-toe with his next opponent.
“I’m not scared of George,” Pearson said. “If he spoke to me like that on the street, I would have knocked him out.”
The teams came together once again, but there was yet another twist. Sotiropoulos revealed that Australia’s new teammate, James Vainikolo, would in fact fight eliminated Australian welterweight Xavier Lucas for a spot in the semifinals.
Both teams once again came together for a Skype meeting with UFC president Dana White.
“I wish we were talking under different circumstances today,” White said. “It’s been brought to my attention that the worst thing that could ever happen on The Ultimate Fighter has happened.
“Who wants to take a step forward and admit who did this?”
UK’s Luke Newman and Bola Omoyele stepped forward. Camera vision showed the pair borrowing a phone from a house next door before more footage shone the spotlight on many more UK teammates sending text messages.
Dana knew more than two UK fighters were involved and eventually two more stepped forward. Dana then asked who sent results with the phone. Bola and Luke both replied “no one,” before White said he has the phone and read the texts.
Emotions ran high and after plenty of talk between White and the UK teammates involved, Dana decided to let all the UK fighters stay, but said they came as close as they could get to blowing it all.
At the official weigh-in, Grant Blackler, who usually fights at featherweight, weighed in at 150.5 pounds, while UK’s Mike Wilkinson tipped the scales at 155 pounds.
After coming into the house on short notice, it was a race against time for James Vainikolo to make the weight. After spending plenty of time in the sauna, Vainikolo weighed in one pound over the limit, while his opponent, Xavier Lucas, was on the mark.
His body was pushed to the limit and he was sent to the hospital as a precautionary measure, but he wasn’t allowed to fight. The UFC made the decision that Xavier Lucas would move straight through to the semifinals in Manny Rodriguez’s spot.
Grant Blackler (AUS) vs. Mike Wilkinson (UK):
Round 1: Blackler got the early control and had Wilkinson in a clinch against the cage. After softening up Wilkinson’s legs, Blackler looked for the takedown, but wasn’t able to get his foe to the mat. Wilkinson countered, took Blackler to the ground and then took his back. Wilkinson sank the choke and Blackler was forced to tap.
Mike Wilkinson def. Grant Blackler via Submission, Round 1.
“I made a mistake and he was stronger and knew what he was doing,” Blackler said. “I’m disappointed.”
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