Tonight, the regular-season run of "The Ultimate Fighter 11" comes to an end as we determine two finalists from this week's semifinal fights.
The episode begins with Rich Franklin, a replacement coach for injured Tito Ortiz, getting a tour of the gym from UFC president Dana White. Franklin admits he thought he was coming into the show to supplement Ortiz's coaching and hype the upcoming fight with rival coach Chuck Liddell. He said he didn't realize Ortiz had been kicked off the show.
Franklin meets with his team and introduces an All-Star cast of assistant coaches: Forrest Griffin, Tyson Griffin and Gray Maynard, all Las Vegas-based fighters who are top contenders.
Brad Tavares (Team Liddell) vs. Court McGee (Team Liddell)
In the third, deciding round, Court takes his back, and though he can't get in his hooks, Brad goes to sleep from the rear-naked choke in the final seconds of the fight. The ref halts the bout with just seconds remaining.
The submission win makes Court this season's first finalist.
"This was a dog fight right from the beginning," a proud Dana says.
The following day, the fighters are told that Dana wants them back at the gym. He soon enters with a group of Marines, who are there to roll with the cast members and hang out.
After the team-building exercise, the fighters return home for a barbecue and some cornhole (a beanbag game popular in the Midwest) with their special guests and the coaches.
Kris McCray (Team Ortiz) vs. Josh Bryant (Team Liddell)
After three rounds, Keith Kizer brings the scorecards to Dana, who heads to the cage to make the announcement.
Surprisingly, the scores are lopsided, and Kris gets the unanimous decision via scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27.
"We've never had an undefeated coach in the history of 'TUF,'" Franklin sheepishly says. "Until now."
Dana then breaks down next week's live finale between Team Liddell's Court and Team Ortiz/Franklin's Kris, two guys who benefited from second chances.
"A lot of people were pissed off when I gave Court McGee (injured fighter Rich Attonito's) spot," Dana says. "But every time this guy fought, he got better and better and better. And Kris is just tough as nails. He lost, came back, and got to the finals.
"It's going to be a great fight."
And thus concludes the "TUF 11" regular-season run. Join us next week for complete coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale.
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