Leading up to tonight, Clayton McKinney’s wildcard hopes were quite possibly dashed by a shoulder injury. Rich Attonito was sidelined by an injury despite giving a beating to Kyacey Uscola. And Jamie Yager dominated Charlie Blanchard to give Team Ortiz its first win.
The first topic of the night is Yager’s win. All around it seems that most were impressed with Yager. It was clear to everyone that Blanchard seemed defeated by the fact that he couldn’t take Yager down. He took one right on the button, and it was over.
Back at the house, the guys are discussing the wildcard hopefuls. McKinney is officially out due to his shoulder injury. Blanchard is likely too injured to come back. Attonito’s broken hand opens up another spot, so potentially, three guys could come back. Hammortree is under the belief that he deserves a wildcard spot due to the controversy of his loss. Is that all there is to it?
Later, the boys are rounded up for Tito’s first fight announcement. He chooses Kris McCray to fight Josh Bryant. Bryant is definitely the underdog in this one.
At Team Liddell training, Bryant discusses how his upbringing affected the path of his life — his parents’ divorce, his dislike of his stepdad, etc. If he wasn’t fighting, he would’ve been in trouble. Chuck deems him as an interesting guy, “happy-go-lucky.” He’s mostly surprised at how happy Bryant was as he was cutting weight…definitely a little odd.
Kris “Savage” McCray, on the other hand, portrays a real tough-guy image. He comes from an odd background (Austrian, Black and Mexican — even speaks German). At their practice, the guys are being worked harder and harder. While some complain (Uscola in particular), McCray seems to welcome the challenge. Ew.
Later that evening, McKinney is lying in bed after having had a 3-hour surgery on his shoulder that day. After explaining the work they did, I think it’s pretty safe to say that he’s not faking it. Take that, Tito!
The weigh-ins follow soon after. Dana is not counting Bryant out, claiming that he is an extremely well-rounded fighter. But even Ring is saying this will be difficult for Josh. What’s worse is that once again, Liddell will miss the fight due to circumstances beyond his control. At least Hackleman will be there to man the helm.
Ok, I take back my dig at Tito. At practice, Tito actually mans up, approaches McKinney and apologizes for doubting his heart. I’ll give him credit for that. But what does McKinney do? Flips him off as he turns his back. Awesome.
A nice exchange from both and the dirty boxing begins. They exchange some knees and body shots. Finally McCray goes on the offensive with big kicks. He pins Bryant against the cage looking for a slam. They continue to clinch fighting for the advantage. McCray manages to take Bryant down. He rolls and McCray mounts his back. McCray wraps both legs around and looks to stretch Bryant’s arm out for an armbar. Bryant escapes and they are back up on their feet. In the clinch, Bryant lands a few body shots, while McCray does some damage with knees to to the ribs. McCray grabs a leg for a takedown, then tries a sweep and give up. McCray works to just push him down and finally throws him. Bryant gets right back up and pins McCray against the cage. Bryant then slams McCray to the ground where he rolls and Bryant mounts him. He can’t get his legs around, but he tries to look for the choke anyway. McCray gets out, and reverses to get control of Bryant’s back. McCray has Bryant’s back as they stand, but he’s not doing much except for weak body shots. They return to the clinch and return to exchanging knees and short jabs as the round ends.
(What a sloppy, un-technical round. Yuck. I’d give it to McCray, but it’s nothing to be proud of.)
Some short jabs from McCray followed by leg kicks. They slug a little bit (making me hopeful!) but soon it’s back to a rerun of R1. Nice knees from Bryant in the clinch, but McCray rushes and attacks with good body kicks. They are looking to stand up this time and continue to exchange. McCray does more damage with a series of straight arms. Seeing that he’s losing, Bryant goes for and gets a takedown. McCray turtles up and Bryant has his back from the side, looking for an arm. McCray is fending it off and Bryant lets go. They get back up and in what looks like slow motion, both land several shots to each others’ jaws. But they’re so slow and weak they do no damage. Back on the ground, Bryant has McCray’s back trying the arm again, but McCray reverses, and slams Bryant. McCray is in Bryant’s guard, but Bryant is the one throwing elbows while McCray just lays there. Finally McCray wakes up and at least works some nice shots to Bryant’s ribs. Bryant continues to throw fists and elbows from his back. For every 5 shots from Bryant, McCray lands 2. And the round ends with no progress.
While this round was not much better, I would give it to Bryant. And therefore, we go to…
Almost immediately, McCray pins Bryant against the cage. They clinch, but there is virtually no progress. McCray throws a weak knee, but nothing else. Bryant slowly works his way down the leg for a slam attempt and after a long while gives up. Eventually he works his position landing a couple solid shots to McCray’s jaw. While clinching, McCray pretty much sits down with his arms around Bryant and rests. He finally gets up and leans on Bryant against the fence, doing absolutely nothing. He tries for a takedown, but Bryant defends it. Thankfully, Herb Dean spares us and restarts them. They start duking it out with a few weak exchanges. They end up on the ground, McCray on his back and Bryant with side control. Bryant works in some jabs and mounts McCray. With the mount, he rolls over, locks the legs and sinks his arms for the choke. With 10 seconds remaining, he nearly has it, but McCray holds on and the round ends.
Winner: Josh Bryant via decision
Well, I will definitely give McCray the first round. He was quick and dominant, but by the second round, his gas tank was running on E. Tito is disappointed, because he knows McCray is in shape. Team Ortiz definitely underestimated Bryant — and they paid for it. The kid was down a round and came back from it. That’s heart in spades. McCray is disappointed in the loss, but is happy with his performance. Tito’s explanation? Chuck has a rabbit’s foot up his ass. But, Tito will not give up! Ha…
Next week: Kyacey blames Tito for McCray’s loss. A severe injury may knock out another wildcard hopeful. Chuck and Tito go old school in the Dodgeball Coaches’ Challenge. And there are 2 more prelim fights.
I actually almost missed seeing drama in the house….hmmm. I guess we got enough drama out of Tito this week