Well, it all comes down to this doesn’t it?
After weeks of fights and injuries tonight either Court McGee or Kris McCray will the the Ultimate Fighter.
Both guys have had a rocky road to the finals. McCray fought back into the competition through the wild card fight. McGee got a second shot when he was given a slot that opened due to injury.
Both of these guys have really been impressive and I’m looking forward to the fight. However, before we can do that, we have to go through the undercard don’t we.
Let’s get it on! Come on!
Before we get to the fights though, we were introduced to Kenny Florian who is doing color tonight since Joe Rogan is unavailable. Florian was insightful all night, but I just couldn’t get past how much he looked like Ben Stiller as Simple Jack. I’m just saying. Maybe Ben can make an MMA movie. Better yet, maybe not.
Our first fight of the night was Jamie Yager against Rich Antonitto. Yager was the “bad boy” of the house for season eleven. He was also exposed as lacking heart in his quarter final fight. Tonight, he fight Antonitto who was making a good run before a broken hand sidelined him. Once again, Yager comes out strong. He scored some big early shots on Antonitto but gassed out. Antonitto was able to weather the storm and make it to the second round. From there it was all Antonitto. He beat the holy hell out of Yager and won by TKO at 4:25 in the second round. Yager has now been fully exposed. If you can last more than 30 seconds with him, you can probably beat him. What struck me most about this one was how much the announcers were talking up Yager even as the fight was getting away from him. Antonitto is clearly the more rounded fighter, but everyone loves a bad boy I guess.
The second fight was Spencer Fisher taking on Dennis Siver. Siver is actually square. Can a human being be square. Siver bled…a lot…from a cut over his eye, but held on to win by unanimous decision.
Then it was on to Chris Leben against Aaron Simpson. Simpson brought an undefeated record into this one. Leben was the “bad boy” of the house in Season 1 of The Ultimate Fighter. I had Simpson winning the first round, but Leben came back strong in the second round. He simply pounded Simpson into defeat. The referee stopped the fight @ 4:17 and Leben won by TKO.
Up next was our co-main. Matt Hamill is set to fight “The Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine. Jardine has hit a rough patch and everyone knows his future with the UFC could be on the line here tonight. This one is just a beatdown. I had Jardine winning the first round. Hamill looked hesitant and it cost him. However, Hamill rebounded, busting Jardine wide open and taking the second round. So it came down to the final round. Hamill kept after Jardine for the full five minutes. Whatever offense Jardine mounted was too little too late. Hamill won the fight by Majority Decision after 3. Jardine was penalized a point for an accidental, but illegal, eye poke in the second round. It clearly took some of the wind out of his sails.
Then it was time for our main event – Court McGee against Kris McCray for the title of The Ultimate Fighter. Whatever mojo McCray tapped into to win the wild card fight and make it to the finals, he clearly lost between Episode 11 and the Finale. This one was all McGee. McGee won the first round decisively, thwarting McCray at every turn. By the time we got to the second round, McCray was done. McGee was able to take full mount and pound away on McCray. Then, at 3:41, he locked in a rear naked choke and that was all she wrote for Kris McCray.
Court McGee is your Season 11 Ultimate Fighter and I think he has a very bright future inside the Octagon. We shall see.
Season 12 begins in September with Georges St-Pierre and Josh Koscheck serving as coaches. We’ll be back then with more recaps and reviews.