TUF 17 Ep. 2 Recap: Team Sonnen Wins 1st Bout, Jon Jones Slams His Own Team

McKinley NobleCorrespondent IJanuary 29, 2013

Nearly everyone on TUF 17 was bewildered that coach Jon Jones picked one of the shortest guys on his team to face off against the tallest possible competitor.

And as predicted, it didn't end well.

• In an effort to pick off Chael Sonnen's No. 1 pick, undefeated English fighter Luke Barnatt, Jones ignored his team's requests for matchups and chose Gilbert Smith—a much shorter opponent with a ridiculous-looking reach disadvantage.

• Smith did wind up giving Barnatt trouble early with takedowns, consistently pressing the attack as his taller foe tried to find his range. For the most part, it seemed effective, but the effort was clearly exhausting them both.

• Jones didn't seem to be much help in the corner, essentially telling Smith to stop being timid against Barnatt and just "hit him in the face." Ironically, Jones doesn't seem to know what it's like to fight someone with the reach of a giraffe.

• Smith came out of the gate a little stronger in the second round, but his weak gas tank came back to bite him as Barnatt started to gauge his shots. Eventually, the Englishman landed a clean flying knee to the jaw on very short jump (but tall for Smith's size), knocking the shorter man out cold. Here's the updated roster following the fight:

Team Jones:

1. Clint Hester (7-3)
2. Josh Samman (9-2)
3. Robert "Bubba" McDaniel (20-6)
4. Gilbert Smith Jr. (5-1)
5. Collin Hart (4-1-1)
6. Adam Cella (4-0)
7. Dylan Andrews (16-4-1)

Team Sonnen:

1. Luke Barnatt (5-0)
2. Uriah Hall (7-2)
3. Zak Cummings (15-3)
4. Tor Troeng (15-4-1)
5. Jimmy Quinlan (3-0)
6. Kevin Casey (5-2)
7. Kelvin Gastelum (5-0)

• Jones was NOT happy with the result, verbally lashing his team for the loss and telling his guys that there would be "no celebration" of any kind.

• Judging by the editing, Jones didn't even have a kind word to say to Smith in the Octagon or in the locker room, telling the camera crew that cardio "should never be an excuse" for losing a fight. For Smith's part, he looked devastated.

• With the win, Team Sonnen took control of the matchups, as coach Chael Sonnen chose powerful smasher Uriah Hall (No. 2 pick) to challenge undefeated Adam Cella (No. 6 pick).

• It seems like next week features the first incident where someone takes a trip to the hospital, as Dana White calls what happens in Episode 3 one of the most brutal knockouts he's ever seen in TUF history. Any bets on who wins?


McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist and FightFans Radio writer. His work has appeared in GamePro, Macworld and PC World. Talk with him on Twitter.