"The Ultimate Fighter 11" hits the homestretch with tonight's ninth episode and two more quarterfinal fights.
As teased in episode No. 8, tonight's show has a double-billing: Kyle Noke (Team Liddell) vs. Kris McCray (Team Ortiz) and Brad Tavares (Team Liddell) vs. Seth Baczynski (Team Ortiz). Two will advance with coveted spots in the semifinals.
TEAM LIDDELL'S Kyle Noke (16-4-1) VS. TEAM ORTIZ'S Kris McCray (5-0)
Dana does the introductions, referee Steve Mazzagatti gets the action started, and a touch of gloves gets us underway.
Kris dips for a takedown and eats a couple knees to the body, but he picks up and takes Kyle to the mat and drops into half guard. Kyle keeps him in a head lock, but Kris pops his head out and presses his opponent into the cage. Each fighter looks for instruction from his corner, and Kyle implements first and gets to his feet and then breaks from the clinch for a restart. Kyle comes in with a big overhand right that's blocked, and Kris then clinches and trips him to the center of the mat. Kris again works from half guard and throws punches to the head and body in short spurts. Kyle remains patient from his back and then sees an opening to back out and return to his feet. Kris clinches again from the standing position, eats some punches and knees, and then fails in a takedown attempt and lands on his knees. Kyle follows him to the mat and looks for a guillotine while dropping to his back. When Kris escapes, Kyle follows him to their feet, and Kris pins his opponent against the cage while looking for another takedown. Kyle looks for a kimura, which allows him to drag Kris to the mat. Kris takes a dominant top position before Kyle pulls him back into full guard. Kyle then works butterfly guard as Kris does little from the top. Kyle looks for an arm and throws some elbows while his opponent connects on nothing as the round ends. It's a very close round, but based on takedowns and overall control, MMAjunkie.com scores it 10-9 for Kris.
Both fighters get pep talks from their corners between rounds and then meet in the center for round two.
Kris uses punches to set up a takedown attempt, but Kyle sTUFfs it. Kyle moves in with a punch, but Kris clinches, picks him up and slams him to the mat. Kyle is in the sitting position against the cage and briefly gets to his feet, but Kris slams him right back down and works from half guard. Kyle rolls to a side and looks to back out, but Kris secures him to deliver more punches. Kyle continues to back up until he's against the cage, but Kris remains on top while delivering punches to the body. Kris' top game isn't dominant, but it's won him the first half of the round. Kyle makes another attempt to get to his feet, and he makes it after some effort. The fighters jockey for position and tumble to the mat, and during the scramble, Kyle takes his opponent's back. Kris remains in the kneeling position and tries to fight off the rear-naked-choke attempt by controlling his opponent's wrists. He's successful at first, but Kyle sees an opening, gets in a single hook with his leg, and torques the rear-naked choke. Kris, though, survives and even takes top position. Kris works short elbow strikes. Kyle nearly kicks his way free and gets to a sitting position against the cage. Kris tries to pull him away and nearly gets the mount before the round ends. It's another close one, but MMAjunkie.com again sees it for Kris based on overall control.
Dana confirms the judges have rendered a decision and that a third round won't take place but then enters the cage, says he was mistaken, and calls for the sudden-victory third round. Kyle won a round with at least two of the judges and gets a second life. Tito is pissed, chucks a water bottle, and then uses his anger to pump up his fighter.
As the third and deciding frame gets underway, both fighters appear to have depleted gas tanks. A touch of gloves get us started, and Kris strikes first with a punch-kick combo. He then pins Kyle against the cage and dips for a takedown attempt. After a lift, he slams Kyle to the mat and returns to the familiar half-guard position. Kris works short elbow strikes to the face but doesn't have much behind them. Chuck yells for a stand-up. Kris finally lands a few punches with his opponent on the mat and lying against the cage. Kyle tries to control the wrists, but Kris pops him with a few more punches. The shots are sporadic but winning him another round. With Tito's encouragement, Kris delivers more punches to the head and body, and Kyle looks frustrated from his back. Kyle then tries to kick his way free and looks for an arm submission, but Kris blankets him and pins him to the mat from full guard. The fighters trade some elbows, but the ref calls for a standup with 55 seconds to go. Kris shoots and just ducks under a big flying knee. Kris then pins Kyle against the cage and spends the remainder of the round throwing knee strikes to the legs while looking for the takedown. It doesn't come, but it's enough to earn the round.
The judges agree, and Kris earns the decision victory.
TEAM LIDDELL'S BRAD TAVARES (4-0) VS. TEAM ORTIZ'S SETH BACZYNSKI (11-5)
Dana again does intros, referee Herb Dean has officiating duties, and a touch of gloves gets us started.
Seth fires first and uses the punches to pin Brad against the cage. Seth jockeys for position but ultimately settles for a trip takedown when Brad takes his back off the fencing. Seth follows him to the mat and takes his back and looks to secure his hooks. Brad rolls and tries to defend, but Seth secures a body triangle and works to flatten him out. Brad eats punches while trying to shake his opponent free, and the lanky Seth fights to keep on his back. Brad gets to a standing position, hunches over and tries to buck Seth off him. Seth remains tight, though. Brad moves the fight to the fence, and Seth is warned about grabbing the fence. However, as they roll away from the fence, Seth works the rear-naked choke. It looks like he may have it, but he doesn't have the position and tries to reset. Brad tries to stay balled up on his knees so Seth can't flatten him out. The strategy works, and Seth has to give up the hold. Brad hops top his feet while Seth remains on his back and tries to rain down punches. Seth's long legs help him upkick his way to a good defense. Brad returns to the mat but is quickly caught in a triangle choke. He twice has to try to slam his way free and does so on the second effort. Brad delivers some punches from the top, just gets out of the way of a big upkick, and then nearly lands a lunging blow from above. Brad unloads a flurry of sloppy strikes in the final seconds of the round and falls to his knees while trying to deliver a knee strike as Seth gets to his feet. During the frantic exchange, Brad eats an illegal knee/kick to the head from Seth just as the round ends.
Seth immediately apologizes, and Brad walks off. When someone asks if the kick was to the body, someone says no. Brad eventually drops to the sitting position and asks, "What did he hit me with?"
After a commercial break, we return to the carnage. Despite the kick, MMAjunkie.com had it 10-9 for Seth.
The doctor immediately checks in on Brad and confers with the referee for a few minutes. Brad is coherent but seems a bit dazed. He and assistant coach John Hackleman confer. After the official is done meeting with the doctor, John looks to the ref, who tells him the doctor said Brad is "out." John agrees, and the fight is called right there.
Brad wins the fight via disqualification due to the accidental but illegal soccer kick.
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