Fourteen fighters have secured a spot in the Ultimate Fighter house. Two fighters that were eliminated last week will get a chance later in the season to fight for a chance in the quarterfinals, but for now, the house is full and we’re ready to officially start the season.
The fighters arrive at the TUF house and immediately scramble to secure the best beds. Clayton McKinney says that it’s a huge relief to be on the show because nobody remembers the people who got beat. Chris Camozzi says that one of his teeth was broken during his fight and now it’s infected, so he’s battling a mouth injury. McKinney’s doctor told him that he blew his shoulder out and perhaps damaged his rotator cuff, but he’s going to take a cortisone shot and soldier on.
Dana White’s classic “do you want to be a f*cking fighter” is now emblazoned on the wall of the house.
Camozzi says he’s hoping to be on Tito’s team, mostly because Ortiz was vocal throughout the fights and seemed to be more interested in coaching than Liddell. That’s probably true.
The next day, the fighters head to the training center. Both coaches arrive with their assistants, and we get our first shot of Liddell’s jiu-jitsu coach, Strikeforce welterweight champ Jake Shields. Dana White joins the coaches and waits for the fighters to arrive.
White explains how teams will be picked. Ortiz wins the coin toss, so he’ll get either the first pick or the ability to pick the first fight. Ortiz opts to take the first pick, and takes Heavy.com blogger Nick Ring with his first choice. Ortiz says that Ring looked very poised and could be very good. Liddell takes Kyle Noke with the second pick.
Dana congratulates everybody. Tito says he was looking for well-rounded fighters and he’s very happy with the picks he has. He says Team Punishment will prevail. Ortiz says that some of Chuck’s picks were questionable and that he doesn’t believe any of the guys look like true middleweights. Hammortree says Team Liddell looks like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
White says that Chuck is usually a strategy guy, but not today. He says he doesn’t know how Chuck could have made some of the picks he did. White tells Liddell that he can’t believe Chuck didn’t go after some of the bigger guys. Liddell responds by saying that he got all the guys he wanted.
White says he doesn’t think Liddell has the team to compete with Team Punishment.
Liddell introduces John Hackleman as his striking coach and Howard Davis as his boxing coach. Not surprisingly, no mention of Jake Shields.
Team Punishment arrives at the gym, and Ortiz immediately puts them to work. He’s in full-on drill sergeant mode. Ortiz introduces his assistant coaches.
Ortiz picks on McKinney because he’s not trying hard enough. Ortiz says McKinney has never been tested, but that’s going to change. He jumps on McKinney’s back and makes him do squats, then wrestles with him. McKinney favors his hurt shoulder. He’s having an MRI tomorrow. He feels like Liddell is going to choose either him or Chris Camozzi because both guys are beat up. Camozzi is pretty sure he’s going to be picked, but he says that come fight time, it won’t matter what condition his body is in.
Both teams arrive for the fight announcement. Liddell picks Kyle Noke from his team to take on McKinney. Camozzi says that McKinney isn’t mentally there. Ortiz says Noke is a really tough kid with good skills, but he believes McKinney can win the fight.
Back at the house, there’s mischief in the air. Yager, Tavares and McCray have formed a friendship, and they’re about the wake up the entire house using air horns…at three in the morning. Needless to say, the rest of the house is not happy. Hammortree says that when he was woken up by the horns, he thought he was getting a call at his fire station back home. Uscola notes that they’re only two days into the show and he almost got kicked off already. He’s very angry.
The next day, it seems that nobody but Yager finds the situation funny. McKinney and Yager exchange words, with McKinney telling Yager that he hasn’t fought anybody and has nothing to offer except a big mouth.
Team Punishment travels to the training center. McKinney gets the results of his MRI, and it’s good news — there’s no permanent damage to his arm. He has a bone bruise, but nothing incredibly damaging, so he’s able to fight. Ortiz tells McKinney that he’s been crying like a little girl and needs to suck it up.
McKinney starts cutting weight. His teammates prepare him to mentally overcome the injury and fight. Ortiz gives a motivational speech to his team, telling them that Rashad Evans and Forrest Griffin didn’t come in the gym and pussyfoot around, and now they’re world champions.
Team Liddell heads to the gym to prepare Noke for his fight. Noke tells the story of working for Steve Irwin, saying that he owes everything to the late crocodile hunter. Noke says he wants to the first fighter to bring a UFC title back to Australia. Liddell says Noke is an all-around good fighter, and Hackleman says he’s an outstanding fighter with no real weaknesses.
The team asks Liddell about how he and Ortiz came to be matched up again. Liddell says that he argued against it, but Tito has pissed him off enough since that he’s ready to beat him down again. Liddell tells the team that Tito fabricated a story about Liddell needed an intervention for alcoholism, a tale that has since been proven false. Liddell says he’s going to hurt Ortiz again.
Tito says they’re going to do a little something for his birthday and brings out cupcakes. His birthday wish is that they’ll go undefeated. Ortiz then brings out a Chuck Liddell pinata, since every Mexican kid needs a pinata for their birthday. The team obliterates the pinata, which contains dollar bills. A team member puts on the Liddell head and mocks being knocked out by a light punch.
McKinney is in a foul mood. He says there’s a few people that he’s not meshing with and doesn’t find himself clicking with anybody, but he’s not here to make friends.
Howard Davis tells Noke that he’s going to win the fight. Davis says that Noke is very respectful and that it says a lot about somebody’s character.
Time for weigh-ins. Noke weighs in at 186, while McKinney is 185.5.
White picks Noke in the fight. The fighters offer predictions on the fight. Rich Attonito calls Yager Sideshow Bob and says there’s something about him that makes you want to give him a beating. They exchange words as Team Punishment leaves the training center.
“Crikey, I think I’m gonna have to beat his ass,” says McKinney of Noke.
ROUND ONE: Herb Dean is your ref. Touch of gloves to start. Noke with a leg kick. McKinney answers with one of his own. Both fighters feeling each other out with feints. McKinney with a glancing leg kick. Noke with a good straight front kick. Ortiz is telling McKinney to use feints and then combos, but he’s only doing the feints. Noke shoots for the takedown, but McKinney stops it and gets behind him. They go to the ground and McKinney ends up in half guard. Noke goes for a triangle, then an armbar, but misses both. Noke goes for another triangle, fights for it and this time he gets it. McKinney taps out.
WINNER: Kyle Noke by submission (triangle choke)
McKinney immediately heads toward the locker room, and Ortiz asks him to come back. Ortiz immediately begins attempting to teach him the mistake he made with the triangle, and McKinney immediately agrees. He’s crushed by the loss, but his team rallies around him for support. Ortiz tells McKinney that he still has a chance to be the wild card fighters.
Liddell says he feels good about the fight and about his team. Dana says that he still believes Tito picked the better team, but that Chuck may end up having the best strategy in the end.
NEXT WEEK: Dana makes a shocking announcement that will shake up the entire season.