(Gif of Tavares getting kicked in the "chest," courtesy of smoogy.)
After Team Liddell’s Court McGee became the first TUF 11 semi-finalist, following his submission of James Hammortree, it’s time for two more quarterfinal matches. First up is Kris McCray vs. Kyle Noke, two guys who used to be training partners. Dana White cares not for your personal relationships: "One of the things I want these guys to learn early? There are no friends in the UFC."
Tito Ortiz might be looking at neck surgery. There’s a disc pressing on his spinal cord, which is causing numbness in his legs and daily headaches, among other symptoms. He’s not going to let Chuck beat him because he wasn’t 100%. Instead of fighting injured and jeopardizing his health, he wants to get this taken care of. It’s basically the same story we heard last week from Nick Ring, who by the way, is out of the competition for one day and already has a full-on Freddie Mercury ‘stache.
Noke has two inches in height, 4.5 inches in reach, and a hell of a lot more fights under his belt than McCray. It’s time to bang.
Round 1: McCray opens with a leg kick, then clinches and takes Noke down against the fence. McCray sets up in half-guard. Noke works his way up. McCray throws a knee to Noke’s leg before they separate. Noke fires a hard right straight. McCray clinches, throws some knees, then tosses Noke down. McCray is on top in half-guard again, throwing in some light punches where he can. Noke escapes to his feet and there’s a dirty boxing exchange. McCray tries to whip Noke down, but botches it, and Noke sets up a guillotine that McCray narrowly escapes. McCray gets up, pushes Noke against the fence, and gets the fight to the ground again. Noke flips McCray with a kimura, but McCray scrambles back to the top, in Noke’s guard. Noke stays busy from the bottom with elbows, landing more shots than McCray ever did from the top. There’s the bell. Noke may have evened things up after a strong opening from McCray.
Round 2: McCray with the overhand right. He shoots to clinch and is rebuffed. Noke misses with punches, Kris ducks underneath, grabs on and slams him. Noke gets up and gets slammed right back down. Kris is on top in half guard, but isn’t doing much damage, and isn’t doing much to improve his position. He’s smothering Noke, though. Noke finally gets to his feet, drags McCray down and takes his back. He lands some punches to the side of McCray’s head. Noke latches on the rear-naked choke. It looks deep, but McCray survives it, escapes, and twists back onto Noke. After a moment spent laying on Noke’s legs, McCray manages to get Noke flat and land a couple of short punches from the top as the round ends.
Chandella gets her "Round 3" card ready, but Dana tells her that it’s over, baby. But then it isn’t over. Huh. We’re going to a third round. Tito thought he had this one in the bag after two. "Wow, welcome to Team Ortiz!" he laments.
Round 3: Body kick McCray. McCray with some wall-and-stall. He collects himself and nails the double-leg, winding up in his familiar half-guard position. McCray still looks relatively sharp. It’s not the most exciting fight, but it’s impressive that he’s dominating a veteran like Noke. He mashes his elbow into Noke’s face, and works some punches to the body and head. More elbows now. Noke briefly threatens with an armlock from the bottom, but loses it. McCray continues to grind from inside Noke’s guard. Steve Mazzagatti stands ‘em. Noke tries a desperation flying knee as McCray shoots, but it doesn’t land. McCray wraps Noke up against the fence, and throws some knees into Noke’s legs as the round ends.
All three judges score the round 10-9 for Kris McCray. Team Ortiz will have at least one man in the semi-finals.
Back at the TUF house, rumors of Tito’s health-sitch make their way to Chuck, who begins to involuntarily shadow-box in anger. "I put up with him for six weeks, he’d better fight me," Chuck says.
And we’re onto the next quarterfinal match, Brad Tavares vs. Seth Baczynski…
Round 1: Tavares lands some counters as Baczynski charges in. Baczynski clinches with Tavares against the fence and trips him down. Tavares tries to kick him off, and Baczynski scrambles onto his back, looking for a choke. It doesn’t pan out, so he throws some punches into the side of Tavares’s head. Tavares tries to get up, but Baczynski sticks onto his back. Baczynski tries again for a choke, and loses it. Baczynski is tenacious on Tavares’s back, but can’t finish the position. Baczynski falls off and Tavares starts firing punches from the top. Upkicks from Baczynski. Baczynski sets up a triangle, but Tavares slams out of it and throws more punches from the top. Tavares goes apeshit as soon as he hears the clapper, trying to secure the round. Baczynski escapes and stands. Tavares slips to the mat throwing a knee, and Baczynski brutally soccer-kicks him in the face at the last second.
Tavares is badly rocked. He looked to be out momentarily. The fight is paused as Tavares stumbles back to his corner and a doctor is brought in. Baczynski apologizes profusely, but Tavares doesn’t seem to have a firm grip on what exactly took place. "What did he hit me with?" he asks. The doctor asks him the name of the guy standing next to him. "Coach," Brad replies. "Coach what?" the doctor asks. "……………………Coach John," Brad replies. He’s clearly too scrambled to continue fighting. The fight is stopped and Tavares is handed the DQ victory. Baczynski feels terrible about it, and Tavares feels just as bad; this isn’t the way he wanted to win.
The Team Ortiz camp is furious. Saul Soliz claims that Tavares got kicked in the chest, and says Team Liddell already got one gift. "What one gift? I got kneed in the head twice you fat fuck," shouts Richie the Guido. Chuck goes after Tito, who may have started to walk up on one of Chuck’s guys, and a near-brawl ensues. A lot of misplaced aggression, if you ask me.
Dana takes Chuck aside and delivers the bad news: Tito has pulled out of the fight. "That fucking pussy," Chuck says. "I’m gonna go punch him."
On the next episode: Jamie Yager vs. Josh Bryant is the last quarterfinal match, and it might end in somebody taking a little ambulance ride. Also, we deal with the fallout of Tito’s withdrawal. Is it time to say goodbye to the HBBB?