Previously on TUF, in the 3rd Quarterfinal fight, Baczynski is DQ’d for an illegal knee to Tavares’ head. This causes a melee amongst both sides, some calling it a bad decision. A neck injury causes Tito to pull out of his fight with Chuck. Will Dana fire him? Tonight we are treated to the last quarterfinal fight between Yager and Bryant.
When Dana breaks the news to Chuck about Tito’s decision to pull out of his fight, he has some choice words. Dana assures Chuck that he will fight, he just doesn’t know who yet. Sure enough, when Chuck goes on a rant to his team, Tito’s right next door hearing it all. He whines that Chuck could never understand. Seriously, if Tito was hurt, why did he agree to do the show at all?
Back at the house, Yager discusses what’s ahead of him and how he needs to shore up his energies. He discusses his miscellaneous strategies, promising it will be his hand raised in the end. Bryant, though he is the underdog, is not willing to give Yager a free pass.
Yager strikes first with some short jabs. Yager then goes in for a superman punch and Bryant nails him straight and hard in the face, throwing Yager off balance. Bryant charges him and they clinch against the cage. Bryant controls the clinch as the two exchange knees and jabs. Back to the center they continue to dance and fake. Yager lands a big kick to Bryant’s side, followed shortly thereafter with another. Bryant cannot seem to check or defend these kicks. Yager goes in for an uppercut but misses. He then attempts a leg kick that ends up in Bryant’s groin. After regrouping, Yager keeps up with the leg/body kicks (and I wish I could personally kick the a$$ of whoever’s yelling HIYO!). Yager tries a kick, but Bryant not only blocks but jabs. Yager goes for a big head kick but Bryant catches it and charges Yager back. They struggle awkwardly against the fence, but end up back in the center. The leg kicks continue from Yager, but Bryant surprises him and catches him with a big right hand. Yager is rocked and falls on his back. He tries to upkick, but Bryant dodges them and gets into Yager’s guard as the round ends.
Yager definitely underestimated Bryant.
Yager picks up where he left off with the leg kicks. He lands two and follows up with a left hook that misses. Bryant tries to counter with an inside leg kick that ends up being a groin shot. Yager regroups and takes charge with a big head kick that misses. Yager chases Bryant around the cage with kicks and jabs, but can’t land any. Bryant then goes offensive with a series of jabs. Yager is caught off balance. Bryant takes advantage and takes him down. Bryant has side control and attempts to GNP. Yager tries to get up and as they are wrestling, Yager gains some control, pinning Bryant against the cage and landing several face shots. They end up back on their feet and exchange some weak jabs and kicks. Both are landing shots, but there is not a lot of power. Both seem pretty gassed. A few times it seems as though one or the other gets rocked a bit, but it’s just their exhaustion. They clinch against the cage briefly, but Bryant backs up allowing Yager to attempt a straight leg. Yager loses his balance and falls backward. Bryant jumps on him and has side control. After a few punches, he begins to look for an arm. He alternates between head shots and attempts to pull the arm straight. This is how the round ends.
It seems as though at this point Yager has quit….just as the judges call for a third round (is it just me or have there been a lot of 3rd rounds this season?).
Before the round begins, Tito yells at Yager that he better not quit. But Yager complains that he can’t see. You hear the ref in the background counting down to the start of the round. But Yager is not getting up. The fight is called.
Winner: Josh Bryant via Ref Stoppage
(Pardon me while I do a little happy dance )
All expectations were demolished. Dana was impressed by Bryant, big time. Every time Yager got tapped, he was rocked. And you saw him losing a little bit of heart each time. He had never fought more than 15 seconds before tonight, and Bryant was able to just wear him down little by little.
Dana finally admits to Chuck that even though he questioned all his picks he was right after all.
Tito is now fired up, calling Yager many choice words (doesn’t Tito know that saying about the pot and the kettle?? Lol), declaring him a “quitter” and that there’s nothing wrong with him. A tearful Yager is disappointed as he is taken away to be checked out.
Grandmaster Dana then pulls Tito out for a talk. He has arranged for Tito to meet with a doctor for a second opinion about his surgery. It’s still up to Tito to make the decision, as its his own body. But he does warn him that if he leaves tomorrow, he’s done. Tito is told that they arranged another fight for Chuck, and they will have that person take over coaching duties. All Tito could do is sit there blank-faced. He complains that he had everything taken away from him, but when it comes down to it, the decisions were his. Dana reiterates what I said earlier; if Tito even thought that he wasn’t 100%, he should not have signed on for the show.
The guys are actually sitting in the van watching as Tito runs out of the gym, gets into his truck and hauls ass outta there. Apparently, Dana had expected Tito to break the news to them, but that clearly didn’t happen. Dana called them back in and had to do the dirty work. The guys are just dumb-founded as to why Tito couldn’t wait the 6 days until the show was over. But at least Dana reassures them that they will have a new coach in the morning. They do seem to give Tito the benefit of the dobut, hoping that maybe Tito will be back the next day to give an explanation. I wouldn’t hold my breath, guys.
Later that night, Yager returns to the house from the hospital. The kid barely gets in the door and McCray tells him the Tito news. As for Yager, the doctors say he is fine, save for some muscle damage. At least nothing is serious. The subject quickly turns to Yager’s decision to quit. He’s surprisingly not worried about the opinions of others and welcomes the criticism.
Then, in walks Tito! He quickly assembles the guys and lays the blame all on Dana, claiming that Dana will not let him fight because he is injured. He is going through with surgery anyway. He claims that he didn’t care about the fight with Chuck anyway, but he is disappointed that he is letting his team down, particularly Kris. They top the rah-rah speech off with a team shot. So shweet….
The following morning, they are gathered for the semifinal fight announcements.
Brad Tavares vs. Court McGee
Kris McCray vs. Josh Bryant
Dana likes Tavares, but recognizes that McGee gets better with every fight. As Bryant has already beaten McCray, he is the favorite here as well.
It does not end here though! When the guys return to the gym, they meet their new coach — Rich Franklin. They are all smiles, and it seems as if Tito has already been forgotten.
Next week: Dana surprises them with a former UFC champ as an assistant coach. Yager’s antics continue, but will he go too far? And in a two-hour special, we get not one, but two semifinal fights. Next week we will find out who will be in the finale.