The ninth episode of The Ultimate Fighter 16 saw the final preliminary fight of the house between Mike Ricci and Team Nelson’s No. 1 pick, Dom Waters.

Dana White called a meeting with James Chaney regarding his “biting” incident in a losing effort against Jon Manley last week. Chaney openly admitted to biting Manley out of frustration because he wanted to win so badly.

Curiously, White told Chaney that he did not have to admit to what he did. That he could have explained it as his mouthpiece falling out, as though it wasn’t intentional. He described Chaney’s actions as “despicable” but it is unclear who was in the wrong here. Chaney, for openly admitting to breaking the rules if he thought it would help him at the moment, or White, for coaching him to suppress the truth of his actions. Chaney was not shown for the remainder of the episode.

At the training session the next day, Waters talked about joining the Marine Corps and what it meant to him. Nelson went over the game plan for the upcoming fight with Ricci. The coaches believed it best to utilize Water’s reach, using jabs as the main weapon, and keep the fight standing.

Julian Lane continued to receive his face time in the house by blowing up over trivial matters. Colton Smith compared Lane to former TUF season 8 cast member, Junie Browning, who is arguably the most infamous fighter to ever be part of the show. Lane threw a tantrum directed at Smith and eventually Smith apologized to Lane, who cried after his blow-up. Lane is no Junie Browning, but he is up there.

Ricci’s training session was shown and he discussed his beginnings in MMA. He had purchased a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu book and practiced grappling and submissions with a friend at his house. Eventually Ricci met George St-Pierre and his career in MMA took off from their fateful meeting.

Later at the weigh-ins, Ricci and Waters were on point at 170 pounds. White showed genuine interest in the match based on both men scoring a KO to get into the house.

Mike Ricci vs. Dom Waters

Ricci struck first with a hard leg kick that stumbled Waters. Both men circled and gauged distance. Ricci connected with single jabs, leg kicks, and kicks to the head and body. After the first few minutes, it appeared that Ricci was effectively working the game plan of striking from range that Team Nelson had in store for him. Waters was uncommitted to an offensive attack for the first four minutes of the round. They continued to circle and Ricci landed a few more inside leg kicks. With a little over a minute left, Waters pushed Ricci against the cage and held him in the clinch. Both battled for position against the cage until time ran out.

The second frame’s action began as Ricci landed a kick to the side of Water’s body. Ricci stepped forward with a right and Waters rushed ahead and tripped him. Ricci scooted to the cage and used it to stand back up but Waters stuck to him. Waters tried to get his back but Ricci straightened himself and Waters landed knees to his legs. The most significant move from Waters came when he picked Ricci up and dumped him to the ground, landing in his guard. With two minutes left, Ricci got back to his feet but remained with his back pressed against the cage. Waters clung to him but did little else. Ricci was able to reverse position but Waters put him right back in the spot he was before. The bigger man, Waters, made Ricci carry the weight of his body and he fell to the ground. Waters threatened a rear-naked choke but couldn’t find it. He did not cause any damage to Ricci, though he successfully stifled his attack and controlled the round.

With the first two rounds tied, it was time for a sudden-victory round. Ricci started the round as he did in the previous, with body and leg kicks that went unchecked from his opponent. Waters shot for a takedown and brought Ricci to the floor. Ricci looked for a guillotine choke but it did not stick. He reversed position on Waters, finding himself on top and began a ground and pound attack. Waters defended an arm-triangle choke and most of Ricci’s punches from the top. Ricci worked to posture up for big elbows but could not get any hard shots through. The fight ended with Ricci in Waters’ guard. Near the end of the round Waters appeared tired and overwhelmed by his opponent, and looked to his corner for help, but the fight was nearing the end anyway.

Mike Ricci def. Dom Waters by unanimous decision

White and the coaches brought the fighters that won their preliminary matches in to discuss who they would like to meet in the quarterfinals. Ricci stated that he would like to fight Michael Hill. The two had previously made an agreement not to fight each other before the final, but Ricci was charged after his recent win and disregarded the pact.

When it was time for Hill to request his next fight, Roy Nelson was happy to stir the pot between he and Ricci. Nelson told Hill how Ricci had called him out and Hill was visibly bothered. It appeared that Ricci’s “betrayal” as this week’s episode was titled, will play out between the two at a later date.

The quarterfinal fights were announced:
Team Carwin’s Bristol Marunde vs. Neil Magny
Team Carwin’s Igor Araujo vs. Team Nelson’s Colton Smith
Team Carwin’s Joey Rivera vs. Team Nelson’s Jon Manley
Team Carwin’s Mike Ricci vs. Team Nelson’s Michael Hill

Next week’s episode will see two of the quarterfinal matches with Marunde vs. Magny and Araujo vs. Smith.

Photo: TUF 16 logo (UFC)

About The Author

David Massey
Staff Writer

David Massey studied Humanities and Art History at the University of Central Oklahoma. He first found interest in MMA from the first TUF show and has been hooked ever since. He began posting on mmajunkie then submitting Sunday Junkie entries and that began his interest in writing about MMA. Through twitter David found other MMA enthusiasts and began contributing articles to marqueemma.com. He looks forward to growing as a writer and being a part of the sport he loves.