(Ramsey jacks Chris’s swagger before their semi-final match. Props: IronForgesIron.com)
Following last week’s “Where’s your kid?” fiasco, Tony Ferguson is persona non grata in the TUF house. He tries to strike up a conversation with Chuck O’Neil in the kitchen and gets brutally cold-shouldered. “He’s burnt every last bridge in this house,” Chuck explains. “He’s burnt a bridge with everybody.”
Tony finally gets a clue and apologizes to everybody — or at least tries to — claiming that he drank too much, blacked out, and doesn’t really remember what he said. Chuck ain’t having it: “I was disgusted by what you said last night. For you to put Charlie’s kid’s name in your mouth, and for him not to hit you in the face, that shows what kind of person he is, because all of us wanted to fucking kill you.” The other guys aren’t interested in making up with Tony either, and he eventually gives up. On the bright side, he didn’t come here to make friends, so at least he succeeded on that level.
Both semi-finals are slated to go down on this episode, starting with Chris Cope (Team Lesnar) vs. Ramsey Nijem (Team Dos Santos). They “woo!” at each other during the weigh-in. And it’s already time for somebody’s dreams to be crushed…
Round 1: Ramsey and Chris circle around each other for a moment, then Ramsey storms forward like a madman, winging punches and making Chris immediately retreat. Ramsey clinches up with Chris, pulls back to fire some more shots, then drops low for a takedown. Chris is as crafty as ever and stays upright. He starts punching down on Ramsey’s head. They trade knees. Ramsey connects with a sharp one. They separate and Ramsey goes apeshit with the punches again. He lands a knee then shoots. Chris sprawls, and they’re locked against the cage again. Ramsey drops even lower, grabbing for a foot; Chris pounds the top of his head but doesn’t go down. Ramsey gets up and there’s more knees from each side. Chris gets in more punches to Ramsey’s noggin. A knee from Chris. Ramsey returns one. Steve Mazzagatti breaks ‘em. Chris sticks the jab. Ramsey misses a 1-2, but lands a follow-up jab. Teep-kick from Ramsey. Leg kick Chris. Ramsey jabs to the body. Chris lands another leg kick. Ramsey tries to rush forward with punches but Chris dodges. Another combo from Ramsey and the horn sounds. Chris did well blocking the takedowns and working his dirty boxing, but I’d still give it to Ramsey 10-9 for aggression.
Round 2: Sharp leg kick from Chris to open the round. Ramsey comes in with a 1-2-shoot and finally gets a takedown, but Chris quickly escapes to his feet. Ramsey kicks him in the ribs as they separate. Stiff jab frim Ramsey as Chris advances. Ramsey throws a wide overhand right. And again. He clinches up. Chris scores with a knee and punches. Chris rolls out and gets mobbed by Ramsey’s punches and knees. A couple more straight punches make Chris wilt to the mat and Ramsey pours it on until the ref pulls him off. Ramsey Nijem def. Chris Cope via TKO, and advances to the finals of TUF 13.
…which brings us to the Tony Ferguson vs. Chuck O’Neil grudge match. Brock considers Ferguson to be his best guy, while O’Neil is Dana White’s underdog pick. “I’ve become a Chuck fan,” DW says. “He’s tough and gritty and really wants to win.”
“I don’t respect Tony as a person,” Chuck says before the fight. “I respect him as a fighter and that’s where the line stops.”
“If he brings emotion to a fight, that’s not the best way to do it,” Tony says. “When you bring emotion to a fight you don’t think clear.” But enough talk…
Round 1: They both land punches right away. Leg kick Tony. Chuck returns it. Tony jabs, Chuck counters. It’s a very tense, evenly pitched opening. Tony with another leg kick. Chuck lands a high kick, and counters with a right after Tony misses a punch. 1-2-left kick from Chuck. A hard hook from Tony. Tony jabs, and takes a quick leg kick from Chuck. Chuck jabs, Tony fires the straight. Chuck lands a couple shots moving backwards. Leg kick Chuck. Another straight from Tony, but Chuck counters harder. Tony shoots for an ankle, misses it. But he follows up with a superman punch and lands it flush. Chuck tries one of his own but misses. Leg kick Chuck. Jab Tony. Chuck throws a leg kick and Tony charges in with strikes. Tony catches a body kick and dumps Chuck on the mat, but doesn’t follow him down. Tony with a wide hook. Chuck throws a body kick. He lands a jab. Tony lands a clean straight right before the bell. Close round, with both guys trading shots back and forth.
Round 2: Inside leg kick from Chuck. Tony responds with his own. Tony catches a body kick and drives Chuck back. Leg kick Tony. Tony stalks forward, gets in a left hook. Leg kick Chuck. Tony lands his jab, and then a hard right. Tony on the attack. He scores with a leg kick. Chuck pops a jab. Two more leg kicks from Tony; he’s focusing on the inside of Chuck’s left leg now. Chuck gives one back. Tony landing some precision strikes. Chuck throws 1-2-leg kick. Tony with a leg kick. He throws at the body, chases Chuck down, punishes his leg some more. Chuck’s nose is bloodied. Tony works his jab, Chuck returns a straight. Leg kick Tony. Chuck tries a spinning back kick but whiffs. Chuck retreating, Tony lands a flying knee to the body at the bell. It’s a clear 10-9 for Tony, and Chuck looks beaten down. But hey, anything can happen in the third, right?
Round 3: Chuck throws an uppercut, eats a jab, then a leg kick. Tony fires again at that leg, then throws a straight punch. Chuck lands a body kick and rolls away. Tony chasing with the leg kicks and punches. He lands the leg kick again, and Chuck is really feeling them now; his leg is getting blasted off the mat with each one, and he’s setting it back down gingerly. Tony with a hard hook to the body, and Chuck returns a punch to the head. Another leg kick from Tony. A jab, and two more leg kicks. Chuck returns some punches, but he’s walking backwards the whole round. Tony fires high and low with his punches. Chuck tries a push kick. Tony lands a hook and a right straight, and Chuck has clearly had enough. He drops to the mat, almost welcoming a finish — but it doesn’t come. Tony backs off after a few hammerfists and makes Chuck stand, which is not an easy thing to do at this point. Tony almost changes his mind and launches back on as Chuck gamely hobbles to his feet, but Herb Dean allows Chuck to get up cleanly. Another leg kick from Tony, and a hook, a hard right, and another leg kick. One more leg kick, followed by a long straight and a body shot and Chuck crumbles to the mat once again. Herb has seen enough and puts Chuck out of his misery. Tony Ferguson def. Chuck O’Neil via TKO, and advances to the finals of TUF 13.
And so, this Saturday’s TUF 13 welterweight final will be Tony vs. Ramsey — two guys who have sliced through this season’s bracket, scoring three-straight stoppages apiece. It’s a striker vs. wrestler matchup…Tony is just slightly scarier, that’s all.
At the end of the episode, we get a segment about Brock Lesnar‘s withdrawal from the Junior Dos Santos bout due to diverticulitis. “You focus on getting healthy, all that other bullshit I’ll handle,” Dana says.
Following last night’s show, three more matchups were announced for the TUF 13 Finale (which we’ll be liveblogging, by the way):
- Chris Cope vs. Chuck O’Neil. The third-place bout between the season’s losing semi-finalists, both from Team Lesnar. This bout will be aired on the live Spike TV main card, which kicks off at 9 p.m. ET.
- Justin Edwards vs. Clay Harvison. Justin “Small Randy” Edwards was the Team Dos Santos member who got knocked out by Tony Ferguson in the preliminary round and couldn’t come back in the wild card fight because of his resulting medical suspension. Harvison (Team Lesnar) defeated Mick Bowman by decision in the preliminary round, but was subbed by Ramsey in the quarter-finals.
- Shamar Bailey vs. Ryan McGillivray. Bailey (Team Dos Santos) outpointed Nordin Asrih in the preliminary round, but lost a decision to Chris Cope in the quarter-finals. McGillivray (also Team Dos Santos) eliminated Len Bentley via decision in the opening round, but was TKO’d by Tony Ferguson in the quarters.