By Thomas Gerbasi
CAUTION: SPOILERS INCLUDED – This week, the quarterfinals on The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights begin. Who will be the first fighter to earn his way into the final four and move a step closer to earning a UFC contract?
As the show opens, coach Rashad Evans has a dilemma, as seven of the eight quarterfinalists are from his team. So how does he train his fighters to fight each other. Evans’ solution is to cut back on actual coaching, as to not show favoritism to any particular fighters.
Justin Wren and Roy Nelson have been eyeing each other in practice, looking to see what each is bringing to the table, but as teammates, there’s been no animosity between them.
Meanwhile, Matt Mitrione is still feeling the effects of his first bout against Scott Junk, but his teammates don’t seem to be buying it.
“I think he’s milking it a little bit,” said Wren, but back at the house, Mitrione is showing all the signs of a concussion, which could mean a possible return for Kimbo Slice. Kimbo is all for that possibility, so now it’s just a wait and see game.
“I’m a fight contractor,” said Slice. “I’m putting more tools on my belt, so when it’s time for me to build a foundation, I have every tool that I need to build a solid fight foundation.”
The next morning at Team Rashad’s practice, it was revealed that Mitrione was taken to the hospital the night before. At the same time, the coaching staff of Team Rampage is putting live chickens in their rivals’ cars.
Trevor Wittman is the first victim, followed by Evans, who has five chickens in his car.
“I thought they were gonna be pissed,” laughed Jackson. “But those guys were happy. The joke backfired on us. We just can’t win here.”
Mitrione returns to the house but isn’t giving too much concrete information to his housemates. UFC President Dana White later makes an appearance at the house, and asks Mitrione if he’s going to fight.
“I can’t say no.”
White then confirms that if the doctor clears Mitrione he will fight.
Nelson (13-4) weighs in for this week’s bout at 264 pounds; Wren (8-1) checks in at 250.
Wren’s the busier of the two earlier on as he works his striking as Nelson tries to counter. With nearly a minute gone, Wren lands with a couple hard punches, but Nelson ties his opponent up and pins him against the fence. After a stalemate, referee Josh Rosenthal re-starts the action, and Wren lands with the right again. Nelson shakes off the punch and gets the fight back into the middle of the Octagon. With under two minutes left, Nelson starts to find his range a bit as Wren’s hands start dropping lower.
The second starts out well for Wren, and he’s fighting a solid bout thus far. Nelson counters when he can, but it isn’t until two minutes remain that ‘Big Country’ starts pushing the pace on his fatiguing foe, and he starts piling up the points. Wren won’t go away quietly though, and he fires back sporadically to make sure Nelson stays honest.
After two rounds, most observers believed that the fight was going to a third and deciding round, but the judges saw it 20-18 twice, and 19-19 for the winner by majority decision, Roy Nelson, who is on his way to the semifinals.
Here’s how the teams stand:
James McSweeney 1-0
Brendan Schaub 1-0
Justin Wren 1-1 – Eliminated in the quarterfinals (episode nine) by Roy Nelson
Jon Madsen 1-0
Roy Nelson 2-0
Darrill Schoonover 1-0
Matt Mitrione 1-0
Mike Wessel – Eliminated on episode eight by Marcus Jones
Kimbo Slice – Eliminated on episode three by Roy Nelson
Abe Wagner – Eliminated on episode one by Jon Madsen
Demico Rogers – Eliminated on episode four by Brendan Schaub
Wes Sims – Eliminated on episode five by Justin Wren
Scott Junk – Eliminated on episode seven by Matt Mitrione
Wes Shivers – Eliminated on episode two by James McSweeney
Marcus Jones 1-0
Zak Jensen – Eliminated on episode six by Darrill Schoonover
For weekly recaps of The Ultimate Fighter, as well as fighter profiles, stay tuned to UFC.com.