TUF 17 Superlatives: Best and Worst of Episode 4
The Ultimate Fighter returned to FX on Tuesday night for the fourth episode of Season 17, which has featured light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and an unusually reserved Chael Sonnen as coaches.
As chosen by Sonnen, Episode 4 featured a bout between Team Jones' Collin Hart and Team Sonnen's Kevin Casey. In a two-round contest, Hart was able to keep Casey's back against the fence or on the ground for most of the fight, which led him to a decision victory.
Hart will now move onto the competition's quarterfinals, joining Luke Barnatt and Uriah Hall.
With another episode in the books, let's take a look at the best and worst from Tuesday night's showing of The Ultimate Fighter 17.
Best Coach: Jon Jones
Jon Jones and his team finally got themselves into the win column in Episode 3, and they're now only one more victory away from evening the score with Team Sonnen.
In preparing Collin Hart for his fight with Kevin Casey, Jones was shown giving some good pointers on how Hart could attack Casey's still-healing cut when he found himself in the clinch against the cage.
Following Hart's win over Casey, Jones also made what appeared to be a solid fight choice, matching Bubba McDaniel against Team Sonnen's last pick, Kelvin Gastelum.
Worst Coach: Chael Sonnen
Although Chael Sonnen seemed to do the best he could to prepare Kevin Casey for his fight with Collin Hart, his team didn't come away with the win. Part of the blame has to fall on Sonnen's shoulders, since he was the one who made the choice to match Casey against Hart.
Sonnen has proven he can be a great motivator, but decision-making is also an important part of coaching, and Sonnen clearly made the wrong fight choice at the end of Episode 3. As a result, power has now shifted to Team Jones.
Best Fighter: Collin Hart
Although Team Sonnen hand-picked him as an opponent for Kevin Casey, Collin Hart was able to win and move on by utilizing his wrestling throughout Tuesday's two-round bout.
Hart rushed forward as soon as the fight began and dropped Casey to the canvas with a double-leg takedown. That set the tone for a fight that saw Hart maintain the top position and pin Casey against the fence for a good portion of the contest.
Worst Fighter: Kevin Casey
Kevin Casey was so worried about facing a striker that could open up his healing cut that he asked for a matchup with one of the few fighters in the competition who could out-grapple him, and he ended up suffering an even more significant cut than the one he had already suffered in the elimination round anyway.
At the beginning of the fight, Casey threw a kick that was caught by Collin Hart and resulted in him being taken down. Though Casey was able to maintain full-guard for the most part, he never threatened Hart with submissions and had difficulty working his way back to his feet.
When he did stand, Casey didn't have much of a sense of urgency and ended up being controlled against the fence and taken to the canvas again.
Best Moment: Team Jones Gets First Win
After his team lost the first two bouts of the competition, Jon Jones finally had something to celebrate about during Episode 4, which saw Collin Hart upset Team Sonnen's Kevin Casey.
It's never fun to see fighters from the same team competing against one another later on in the competition, so it would be good to see Team Jones rally back and even the number of fighters from each team to reach the quarterfinal round.
Worst Moment: Collin Hart Rejects Kevin Casey's Handshake
There wasn't much heat between Kevin Casey and Collin Hart heading into their bout on Episode 4 of The Ultimate Fighter 17. However, Hart surprised everyone with some disrespectful actions as the fight drew near.
At the pre-fight weigh-in, Kevin Casey stepped off of the scale and extended his hand to shake Hart's. Instead of doing the same, Hart raised his middle finger into Casey's face.
Hart's reasoning? Team Sonnen had woken members of Team Jones up the night before, and Hart apparently was not too happy about it.
Protagonist: Kevin Casey
Kevin Casey handled himself with class following Collin Hart's actions at the weigh-in.
Although Hart disrespected him by sticking a middle finger in his face, Casey did not start a major feud about it and explained that he would prefer fighters conduct themselves as professionals, which would be nice to see more of as MMA becomes more of a mainstream sport.
Antagonist: Collin Hart
Collin Hart's middle finger surprised the entire TUF 17 cast during his pre-fight weigh-in with Kevin Casey.
The bad-boy persona doesn't fit a guy like Hart, who seems like a usually quiet and reserved fighter. Hopefully, this was just a sign of the TUF house getting to him rather than a reflection of Hart's normal personality.