(Yager vs. Bryant, part 1; part 2 is at the end of the post. Props: KARELMMA)
Tito Ortiz has pulled out of his fight with Chuck Liddell, and the Iceman is a shadowboxing ball of anger, capable only of saying the word pussy. "That fucking pussy, I told you he was gonna do this," Chuck vents to Dana. "Don’t let that guy fight anymore, he’s a pussy…unless I can fight him, then it’s a different story." Meanwhile, Tito just sits in the next room, listening to Chuck go off about him. Tito on adversity: "I guess it’s God seeing what type of person I am." You don’t need God to figure that out, you pussy.
The last quarterfinal match is high-kickin’ afroninja Jamie Yager (Team Punishment) vs. wrestling specialist Josh Bryant (Team Liddell). Uscola shouts out Yager’s talent and speed, but the most obvious advantage is his size — he dwarfs Bryant, who has to be a natural welterweight. Yager is 2-1 as a pro, while Bryant is a perfect 10-0. Yager is expecting Bryant to shoot, shoot, shoot. Bryant clarifies: "My game plan is to hit him first…then take him down." Y’all ready for the best fight of the season?
Round 1: Yager jabs. He fires a superman punch but gets countered hard, and stumbles backwards against the fence. Bryant charges in to clinch, Yager throws a high kick to brush him back. Bryant and Yager trade knees, before Yager breaks the tie-up with a knee to the body. After tasting Bryant’s fist, Yager looks a little scared to commit. But then he starts working his kicks, landing to the body, the leg, and another stiff shot to the body before taking another counter-punch. Yager throws a low kick to Bryant’s balls. Bryant takes a break and comes back in. Yager with two leg kicks. He dashes in with punches, throws a high kick that misses and a low kick that lands. Bryant comes in swinging, Yager tries a jumping kick. Bryant catches a kick and tries to bring Yager down, but Yager escapes with a little help from the cage. Yager lands some inside leg kicks, which Bryant is having a really hard time avoiding. Bryant throws a 1-2 that drops Yager, but Yager upkicks from his back. Bryant dives on. Yager locks him down from the bottom and Bryant can’t do anything with the position. There’s the horn. Bryant may have evened things out at the end, but he was getting outstruck pretty soundly until then.
Round 2: Yager with a knee-stomp, and a hard body kick. Now it’s Bryant’s turn to kick Yager in the balls. Yager comes back in after a moment and throws a front kick, a leg kick, a stiff jab. Bryant lands a left hook. He closes in and Yager goes wild style, throwing strikes from all angles. Bryant takes him down in the middle of a flying kick. Bryant gets side control. He tries an elbow, but Yager escapes and stands. Bryant tries to secure a guillotine, but Yager bulls out and slugs him a bit before separating. Yager stalking. He scores with a teep to the face, and a superman punch. Bryant wades in and clinches. Yager breaks and throws a reverse kick. Yager punts Bryant in the balls but Bryant toughs it out. Bryant wings some punches, and lands a knee in the clinch. Flying knee to the ribs from Yager. They trade haymakers. Yager slips throwing a leg kick, and Bryant pounces on, and starts grinding with elbows. Bryant gets into side control and traps Yager’s arm with his leg. Yager is stuck. Bryant throws down elbows and punches to the horn. Bryant goes back to his corner, but Yager remains turtled on the mat. Tito rushes over to help him up and urge him not to quit. The judges declare the fight draw, and we’re going to sudden victory. At least that’s the plan. Yager is unresponsive on the stool, and the ref calls the fight. A damn shame.
"Just like Tito!" Chuck gloats. Josh Bryant was just tougher that day. He took Yager’s onslaught but didn’t wilt — instead, he gave it right back, and Yager broke. Yager leaves in an ambulance with a brace on his neck. Team Liddell takes the quarterfinals, 3-1.
Dana calls for a meet with Tito. He has good news and bad news. The good news is, Dana has set up a doctor’s appointment for Tito the next day in California; he’ll give Tito a second opinion, and if necessary, start treatment. The bad news is he’s fired. They found another opponent for Chuck, and he’ll be taking over as coach for the last week. Tito is stunned, and doesn’t really understand why it’s going down like this, especially when he still has a guy fighting in the semis. Tito says he’s never been fired in anything in his life. Actually, this isn’t even the first time he’s been fired on a reality show. Tito storms out. He sees Chuck in the gym, turns right back around, and leaves without saying goodbye to his team. Dana has to call the guys together and break the news. They can’t believe Tito would leave without telling them.
Yager comes back and is relatively healthy, aside from some muscle damage. He finds out Tito’s gone. Then, Kris tells him everybody’s pissed that he didn’t come out on the third round, and that people generally don’t like his attitude. It’s a lot to take in all at once.
Tito returns. "I knew you’d come back!" Hammortree shouts, an abandoned child in big-boy TapouT gear. Tito explains the situation. "I thought this was about you guys…not me and Chuck." Tito gives the guys the best pep talk he can, considering the circumstances. It’s all up to Kris McCray to save this ragged-ass crew.
And it’s time for the semi-final announcements…
#1: Brad Tavares vs. Court McGee. They shake hands, and Brad won’t let go of it. It gets kind of awkward.
#2: Kris McCray vs. Josh Bryant — a rematch of the fight in Rich Franklin comes in as Team Punishment’s new dad. His assistants are Forrest Griffin, Gray Maynard, and Tyson Griffin. Damn, and just when we were falling in love with Saul Soliz.