It’s a big ol’ locker-room pity party on Team Dos Santos following Mick Bowman’s loss. “Sometimes it’s not our time to be winner, but we have to try our best,” Junior says, trying to raise Mick’s spirits. He explains that the UFC is looking for exciting fighters and exciting fights. Lew Polley sees it differently: “You can say whatever you want, I don’t care, but the fact of the matter is, your job is just to win the fight. If it’s boring [and] you win, great. If it’s exciting [and] you lose, then what?”
Junior is not pleased to be contradicted in front of his team. “I think we make the guys a little bit confused, Lew,” he says. “Because sometimes I say something and you say something different…I know you’re a good fighter, I’m glad you’re here, but I think we need to talk to each other.” Uh-ohhh.
Back on the victorious Team Chickenshit, Brock tells Len Bentley that if they win their next two fights, he’s in line for a wild card spot. (Pay attention. This will become important later in the show.) And like clockwork, Len goes down grabbing his knee in practice. “I’m speechless,” Brock says, not literally speechless. “Maybe it’s time to close shop here for the day…I just want to exit the building. I’m just sick to my stomach.”
Clay Harvison gets his mangled hand checked out. It’s actually dislocated (horribly), but not broken. As for Len, the doc thinks it’s a patella dislocation, and he should be fine; his ACL and all the other important stuff is intact.
The feud between Junior and Lew finally comes to a head when JDS discovers that Lew visited the fighter house by himself, without Junior, and without Junior’s permission. JDS takes it as a grave insult and talks it over with wise old boxing coach Luiz Dorea, who gives the thumbs down: “He can’t go over your authority…you told him once, twice, three times…sadly, there is no other way.” Somebody’s ass gotta get fired.
Dos Santos calls Polley in for a private meeting, and confronts him about the unauthorized house-visit. Lew says he got permission from Junior the night before. Junior doesn’t remember that, and has had enough of the confusion: “You can leave now. I don’t need you more here…I think it’s too much confused the guys, confused, me. You can leave now. You have to, I think so.” Lew said he just wanted to check on his fighter, and it’s bullshit.
Lesnar has the next fight selection, and chooses Tony Ferguson (his #3 pick) vs. “Randy Couture‘s long-lost son, Justin Edwards,” who came on as a replacement for Keon Caldwell, Junior’s last pick. Brock calls the matchup “wrestler vs. wrestler,” and is actually excited by that idea. By default, the last fight will be Chuck O’Neil vs. Zach Davis, aka “Gary Busey Jr.”
Ferguson is confident in his hands, and wants to keep it standing at first. Lesnar says he’s got a mean streak, which helps. JDS says Justin is one of the best fighters on the show, good in all areas. And he’s a fight finisher — professionally, he’s 6-0 with all wins by first-round stoppage.
The day of the fight is Tony’s birthday. His parents sent him a dream box — you know, one of those boxes that you keep your dream in? Tony puts on a shirt and tie before heading to the fight, which is his thing, I guess. He’s a class act. And here we go…
Round 1: Tony lands the first jab. Justin comes in slugging and kicking, head-hunting. He’s very aggressive. Tony tries to clinch to slow down the pace. Justin shakes him off. Tony lands a body shot, and Justin goes into beast-mode again, firing at all angles. Justin clinches and lands a knee. Tony escapes. Tony swings some wild punches of his own. Justin goes back on the attack, throwing heavy leather. Tony lands on him twice. Great leg kick/uppercut combo from Tony. He sticks the jab. Justin returns a leg kick. Justin seems to be tiring already. They trade punches, but Tony gets the better of the exchange. Justin finally decides to shoot. He gets the takedown, but Tony is back up quickly. Justin lands the overhand right, followed by a jab and a body shot. Big punches from Tony now. Justin lands a hook and a leg kick.
Both guys are visibly fading. Justin lands a nice right hand. They clinch up. (Brock: “Take him down! Take him down!” JDS: “No, you take him down!” Nobody winds up taking down anybody.) Justin brawls forward and lands a left hook. Justin smashes Tony with three hard punches and scores the takedown. Tony gets busy with elbows to Justin’s head from his back. Tony kicks Justin off. Justin tries to pounce back in and gets KO’d with an upkick. Holy crap. Shades of Mousasi vs. Jacare. Tony slugs Justin in the head until the ref gets there.
Dana: “Holy shit. Good fight.” And it was. “Balls to the wall, guns blazing,” as Brock says.
Tony: “The coaches told me he likes to blow his wad.” [*cough*] He knew Justin was going to come out strong, and he did his best to stay calm. With the win, Team Lesnar evens the score to 3-3.
DW is psyched for both of them; they wanted to be there, and they went for it. Could Justin be another wild-card candidate? Tony confirms that this is probably the best birthday he’s ever had.
Anyway, on to the next. Chuck O’Neil is a goofball until he gets in the cage. Then: “It’s no longer ‘Dirtbag Charlie,’ you’re gonna see cold steel up in there, I’m gonna run shit.” Zach is a happy dude for the most part, but he’s very competitive. He’s looking to pin Chuck against the cage and rough him up with knees.
Brock isn’t too impressed with Zach. “Yeah, whatever. This guy’s a klutz, man. He’s a klutz.” Personally, I’m shocked to hear Brock use a yiddishism. Ten bucks says he learned that word from Paul Heyman.
Round 1: Zach needs just five seconds to complete his first takedown. He gets to side control, but Chuck pretty easily escapes to his feet. They clinch. Zach puts Chuck’s back against the fence and starts digging in with some knees to the body and legs, as per the gameplan. Chuck gives one back. Chuck reverses the position, but it doesn’t last long, and Zach goes back to knees to the body before dragging Chuck to the mat. Zach can’t do much in Chuck’s guard. Chuck goes for a triangle and Zach retreats, throwing down some punches from his feet. Chuck lands an upkick, but fails to knock Zach out. Zach kicks at Chuck’s legs. Chuck gets up and Zach shoots. Chuck grabs a kimura on the way down and uses it to flip Zach. He smashes Zach in the face from the top. Short elbow from Chuck. Zach works his guard, sets up a triangle, and taps Chuck pretty damn quick. Team Junior recovers the edge in the first-round fight totals, 4-3.
Dana tells Chuck it was a great fight, but Chuck is still super-pissed. Brock says he should have known to stay out of that triangle, because that’s his move. Chuck: “I fucking never get caught in fucking triangles. Ever.” Brock: “Never is not a word in fighting. Anything can happen.”
Speaking of “anything can happen”…it’s time for the wild card picks. (Is Dana wearing a Stevie Nicks t-shirt? CP reader Jerry T. reminds me that Stevie’s new album came out this week, proving once again that Dana’s torso is the best viral advertising platform on basic cable. Anyway, Stevie Nicks is the best.) They bring in Justin Edwards and tell him that both coaches want him in the wild card fight. Hey, that’s great! Except he can’t compete because of a 90-day knockout suspension. FUUUUU-.
They bring in all the losing fighters and see if they want another shot. Unsurprisingly, all of them do. Says front-runner Len: “I suffered a little setback, but I’m here to get employed by you, so whatever you want to see me do, I’ll do.” Dana is not impressed by their enthusiasm, even though each one made it very clear that they want the fight. Passion, and the use of profanity in getting your point across, seem to be very important to him.
It’s time for the coaches to give their input, and Brock kind of throws Len under the bus: “He would be our first wild card pick, but he’s got this chip on his shoulder…” When there’s pressure put on him, Brock wonders if Len’s knee is “gonna be that escape goat.” Wow. And he even pronounces it as “ekscape.”
Dana is shocked that Brock and Junior are actually hashing out the picks in a cordial, generally unbiased manner. In the end, they all come to a consensus. And it’s a weird one. DW announces that the wild card fight will be Javier Torres vs. Chuck O’Neal. “Honestly, I’m confused,” Len says. And he should be. His fight was great, while Javier’s wasn’t and Chuck got tapped in short order.
On the next episode: Len confronts Brock about the snub, and it’s time for the coaches’ challenge — some sort of NFL skills test, which Brock should have an advanatge in, you’d think. Plus, the wild card fight and the quarterfinal matchups.