The sixth iteration of the season opened with Dana White continuing to voice his frustration toward the judging of last week’s fight between Igor Araujo and Nic Herron-Webb. Little did those watching at home know, but it would be a precursor of things to come.
“You got fucked out of a third round,” a demonstrative White told Herron-Webb.
Herron-Webb’s coach Roy Nelson had little else to add, stating, “It’s just one of those things. Don’t leave it in the hands of the judges.”
Back at the house, Team Carwin’s Matt Secor was shown conversing with Team Nelson’s Jon Manley. The pair discussed the differences between their coaches.
“Shane [Carwin] is the most caring dude ever,” Secor claimed. “I don’t think Roy [Nelson] cares about his team at all. If he cared about his team, he’d never have put Julian [Lane] against Bristol [Marunde]. He’s just in it for himself.”
The usual house antics continued as Colton Smith and Julian Lane decided to eat some of Team Carwin’s dinner, then throw away the rest of the chicken. The event sent Secor accusing anyone and everyone, “We’re all grownups here. If you see something that’s not yours, don’t touch it.”
Team Nelson’s Michael Hill, clearly aggravated, told Secor, “You’re a bitch. I’m calling you out.”
Despite the foreshadowing of a potential Secor-Hill bout, Team Carwin opted to match the most experienced fighter in the house, Eddy Ellis, against Army combative Colton Smith.
Ellis declared, “Colton is a great matchup for me.” Coach Carwin explained the choice, “Colton has great wrestling, but so does Eddy. Eddy is going to hit a running double [leg] and take Colton down.”
Meanwhile, Smith seemed content with the pairing, “I’m very confident in this fight. I’m better at everything he’s good at. He’s had his chance, this is my chance.” His sentiments were echoed by Nelson, “Colton’s a good wrestler. Eddy is really durable; has a lot of fights. He doesn’t have one skill that is really outstanding.”
The episode shifted toward Team Carwin’s training. UFC and Ultimate Fighter veteran Eliot Marshall preached the importance of inflicting damage during a fight. Coach Trevor Wittman made sure to remind Ellis that Smith would do anything necessary to win—citing Smith ducking under a glove touch to score a takedown in his elimination bout.
Ellis easily connected with Marshall’s training strategy, “I like to inflict damage on people. It’s not sadistic or anything, but I enjoy it. I want my opponent to feel punished on the inside.”
With more than 30 fights on his resume, Ellis revealed details of his up-and-down career. “I took fights to get my experience, not to get wins. I was kind of thrown to the wolves, but I learned through it. It made me the man I am today. The fight is the actual fun part. It’s natural to me. I get in the cage and let it all hang out. I’ve done it all. I’ve seen it all.”
As the focus turned to Team Nelson’s training, Smith was shown sparring with Julian Lane. However, as the pair finished up, Smith was visibly frustrated by Nelson’s training tactics and his constant calls for push kicks. Lane told his teammate, “Just be you.”
Smith recalled his Iowa upbringing, crediting his mother for raising him in a single-parent household. He explained how she led him to sports and wrestling, which then led to the Army. “I’m stationed at Fort Hood. The Army is where I found jiu-jitsu. That’s how I got to where I am today. Being in the military has helped me in my life and my MMA career. A guy in the cage can’t kill me; he’s unarmed, I’m unarmed. Ellis has been in a lot of wars in the cage, but he hasn’t been in any wars in the battlefield.”
Ellis opened the fight aggressively on the feet. Smith secured an over-under along the fence and used it to secure a takedown. Ellis scrambled back to his feet from the half guard, but was clipped by a left hand from Smith. Smith again looked for a takedown, but was countered by a whizzer from Ellis. Smith landed a few single shots on the feet, but Ellis scored with a combo and eventually stopped Smith in his tracks with a massive right hand. Ellis smelled blood and took the fight to the mat. He moved to side control and then Smith’s back. Ellis opened a big cut with an elbow, and then worked for an armbar, but Smith escaped. Despite the heavy pressure from Ellis, Smith survived the frame.
The story was quite different in the second round. Smith quickly scored a takedown and landed in the half guard of Ellis. Once there, he bombarded Ellis with elbows and punches from the top. Ellis’ right eye began to bleed profusely. Smith passed to side control and he smothered all of Ellis’ attempts to get back to this feet. Referee Herb Dean returned the fighters to the feet with a minute remaining, prompting Ellis to press. As he barreled forward, Smith clipped him, wobbling Ellis as the round closed.
After the scorecards were read, a surprised Dana White recapped the fight, “In the first round, I thought Colton was going to get knocked out. Round two was not what I thought it was going to be. I thought Eddy would come out and finish him.”
Following the second round, White again expressed disbelief, “How is this fight done? I think everyone in the gym thought it was going to the third round. They’re handing out 10-8’s like it’s Christmas.”
A dejected Ellis was very direct with his post-fight feelings, “There’s no need to fluff me. A win’s a win, a loss is a loss.”
A victorious Smith credited his opponent, “I have mad respect for Eddy Ellis. He rocked me in the first round. But, like I said, I won’t quit.”
Smith’s win returned control to Team Nelson for next week’s episode.
Photo: TUF 16 Logo (UFC)