The Ultimate Fighter 17, Ep. 5 Live Results: Bubba McDaniel Finally Gets His Day
Season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter continues Tuesday night at 9 p.m. PT/ET on FX with the middleweight tournament between Team Jon Jones and Team Chael Sonnen.
And at long last, Robert "Bubba" McDaniel is stepping up to bat.
Even though his preferred matchup against now-eliminated Kevin Casey didn't come to pass in Episode 4, McDaniel is now facing a relative unknown in Team Sonnen's Kelvin Gastelum.
Pointed out as the youngest fighter in TUF history, Gastelum has the unsavory job of challenging one of Team Jones' better fighters. Both on paper and on tape, McDaniel is the clear favorite here with a 22-fight professional experience advantage and a history of tougher opponents, not to mention the distinction of being a Greg Jackson MMA student.
In fact, most of the guys left on Team Jones are killers in the Octagon, so it looks like nothing but hard times may be ahead for "Team Dark Side" and Chael Sonnen if they can't retain control of the fight picks.
With Team Sonnen reeling from their first loss, can Jon Jones coach his crew to a winning streak?
Alright, here's the full episode recap.
Not a bad showing for Chael Sonnen and "Team Dark Side" so far, I must say.
Still, you have to wonder if his luck if going to hold for the rest of the bracket. Josh Samman and Clint Hester are both Jon Jones' top picks, so there's still some danger afoot.
Oh, and there's also the wild card.
Who thinks that Chael Sonnen is going to eliminate all but one of Jones' team?
Full recap coming up soon.
Kelvin Gastelum gets a return call from Ronda Rousey. Looks like she's coming on the show.
Going into the fight picks, Chael Sonnen takes a second to gloat about the "bad guys" getting control of the matches back.
We've got our next match—Tor Troeng vs. Josh Samman.
Chael talks to the camera crew and says that this fight was picked because no one on either team wanted to face Tor or Samman. Should be a barnburner.
Lots of shocked looks in the post-fight interviews.
Chael Sonnen says that Bubba was as tough as they thought, and calls it the best fight of the season.
Jon Jones didn't expect any of that from Kelvin and says as much.
Bubba McDaniel looks downright devasted. Says that no one on the show was even supposed to be able to "compete with him," let alone "trash" him.
Hard to feel sympathetic to a speech like that.
Kelvin Gastelum def. Bubba McDaniel via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), Round 2
Team Sonnen — 3, Team Jones — 1
Didn't see that coming at all. That's got to be the biggest upset of the whole season.
Bubba McDaniel vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Round 2 - Fight quickly goes to ground and neither Kelvin nor Bubba can get a top position advantage. That doesn't last long, and Kelvin rolls over into top position.
Nice—Bubba reverses soon after and puts Bubba underneath him. Bubba takes Kelvin's back, but he's a little too high and the shorter man has to stretch like crazy to shake him off. It pays off, and Bubba slides onto the mat. Kelvin takes advantage by taking top position, and Sonnen screams at him to finish.
Oh! Kelvin gets his hooks in on Bubba's back!
Kelvin sinks in a rear-naked choke attempt, and Bubba looks like he has no idea what happened. That's it! Bubba tapped! Kelvin wins the match by submission and Team Sonnen is back in the win column.
Bubba McDaniel vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Round 1 - Action kicks off with Arianny Celeste and the round card. Both guys are pacing and we're set to go to work.
Kelvin takes the center of the ring early and Sonnen is telling him to start working. Bubba wades in with some hooks and Kelvin fires back, grabbing a takedown from a half-collar tie. Bubba goes to his back and throws up a triangle submission to fend Kelvin off. They temporarily reset and Kelvin drags Bubba to the mat.
Bubba and Kelvin wrestle for position, and Kelvin spends a minute on top before Bubba hits a slick sweep. Kelvin grabs a kimura in the scramble, but Bubba sees an opening and takes Kelvin's back.
Kelvin's in deep trouble, eating shots from his back fighting off a rear-naked choke attempt. Kelvin gets to his feet, but Bubba is still latched onto his back. Kelvin won't be denied, and he manages to flip Bubba on his side. Kelvin capitalizes and takes the back. Bubba senses the danger and reverse in yet another scramble.
Holy Cow, what a fight.
Kelvin and Bubba grapple on the ground for half a minute with no one gaining the edge for a while. Both men stand up, go back to the grapple, and Bubba manages to get on top before Kelvin rolls him on his back.
Sonnen screams at Kelvin to maintain top position as the round ends. Seems like Kelvin's got it as he goes back to the feet.
WHOA. Kelvin jumps onto Bubba with a flying punch, and that might have stolen the round on the scorecards. Not much power, but nice attack. That's hard to call, but a razor-thin 10-9 to Kelvin.
Fact: Hooters has good wings, but they cost a dollar each.
Not worth it.
Like, at all.
Just go to your local Wingstop and rent a Julianne Moore movie.
Both fighters weigh-in without issue, and Josh Samman snarks about Kelvin having "the worst diet in the house" out of everybody else.
Zak Cummings gets some rare screen time, and he echoes the same thing that Luke Barnatt has been saying all episode: the fight is mostly mental and all Kelvin needs to do is believe that he can beat Bubba at his own game.
Chael Sonnen is bringing in some special guests to talk to his team, and we're treated to footage of former boxer and current actor Mickey Rourke (Iron Man 2).
He gives Team Sonnen a pep talk about coming back from adversity, and the crew seems pretty appreciative that the Hollywood star took some time to stop by the TUF gym.
Training footage with Bubba, and he talks at length about how he's going to beat Kelvin into the ground.
He acknowledges the cliches, but Bubba says he's "earned this 10 times over" and is ready to grab the "brass ring" in his fight. Jones and his staff also try to build up Bubba's confidence, telling him that he's the best guy on the show right now.
Heh. They must be forgetting about Uriah Hall.
One thing to notice: Bubba looks pretty drawn-out. It's likely a result of his weight cut, but he looks way more sunken-in than usual. 'Hope he's not overtraining.
We cut into a meeting with Team Jones, and Josh Samman is busy explaining why he doesn't want the next fight. According to Samman, he's too injured and "has some stuff going on" that's hindering him.
Jon Jones isn't buying it, and his coaching staff wises up to the fact that Samman is trying to manipulate the roster selection for fight picks.
Jones: "He's taken the inch that we've given him and run a mile."
Even though Jones and his staff are complaining about it, still doesn't change the fact that Samman's been trying to call the shots since the first day on the team. Pretty ballsy.
One thing that's been a stand-out in the show so far is Luke Barnatt, who basically called out Bubba McDaniel (the most experienced guy on the show) for picking Kelvin (the youngest, least experienced competitor) as his next fight.
Barnatt has a point, folks.
Steamrolling on with his criticism of Bubba, Luke also says that it's pretty cheap for Bubba to even be on TUF with his record and long career.
Barnatt: "What's [Bubba] even doing here? He's had his chance."
Chael Sonnen gives his team a pep talk, warning them that no matter how emotional they get, nothing is going to win them a judge's decision except constant work and pressure.
Sonnen raises his fists and tells them that "action" is the only thing that counts in a fight. Sensible advice.
Kelvin gets his interview segment next, talking about his full time as a bail bondsman while training in his time off work. Basically, he has no life outside of training.
Another talking point for the youngest TUF fighter in history is his mother, and how she single-handledly raised him. Chael Sonnen takes a turn with the camera, insisting that even though Kelvin is a massive underdog, he's going to surprise Bubba.
Prior to the previous segment, Kelvin Gastelum got a little pep talk from none other than Ronda Rousey herself (via cell phone).
As an added incentive for the next match, "Rowdy" promised to come out and train with Team Sonnen for a few sessions if Kelvin beats Bubba McDaniel.
No pressure, right?
If Kelvin wins, let's hope all these dopes don't stare at Rousey like the TUF Live cast did so awkwardly.
After the previous episode recap, Team Sonnen plays charades in the TUF house as a team bonding exercise. Meanwhile, Bubba McDaniel sits outside on the porch sulking.
His interview segment is pretty grim.
Bubba talks about growing up poor, having a daughter, barely being able to eat while affording child support.
It's a mood shift, to say the least, but it's pretty clear that he's got a huge chip on his shoulder coming into his fight against Kelvin Gastelum.
Get your snacks! Turn off the phones!
Here's a quick look at the rosters for both teams, as a reminder of where everybody stands.
[Note: Winners are in bold, losers are scratched off the list and the next competitors' names are in italics.]
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)
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)
As noted before, Team Jones still has their three best fighters (and Dylan) in the mix, so it's actually possible that they could sweep the rest of the first bracket.
About the only spanner in the works I can see is Tor Troeng, whom I highlighted as a possible winner of the season. Until the next four matches are over, though, it's hard to predict anything with complete certainty.
OK, guys—less than an hour until showtime.
To start things off, how about a little pre-cap. Frankly, it's hard to see how Bubba McDaniel is going to lose this fight again Kelvin Gastelum.
Aside from the stark experience gap, Bubba has been pushed really heavily by the show's editing team, which just makes me think he factors into the tournament long after this fight.
Based on what Gastelum showed in his qualifying match, the only advantage I see him having is a younger, less broken-down body.
Either way, things might be looking up for Jon Jones.
After Bubba McDaniel, there's still Clint Hester and Josh Samman to deal with, and neither of those guys looks like an easy fight by any stretch. In fact, Hester might be a dark horse to win the whole season.
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