The fighters entered the house following  the 14 elimination matches to open the 17th season of The Ultimate Fighter. Things got started quickly with some of Team Jones questioning the pick of Gilbert Smith as the first fight, especially against Luke Barnatt. The coaches even seemed to begin to question the pick of Smith due to his workouts being unimpressive.

Smith began to question why Jones picked him on the way home from night practices going as far to say that the coaches weren’t saying anything good about him and that it was “not very motivating.”

Quickly after they shot to Smith with a flag signed by his friends and family, adding extra motivation for him to win his fight. His teammate Robert McDaniel was shownstating how worried he was that the team would lose control of picking the fights.

Team Sonnen’s first glimpse was headlined by Sonnen’s coaching choices that included Vinny Magalhaes and Mike Dolce to highlight the coaching staff. Then McDaniel vented his frustration about how he didn’t like the pick to coach Frank Mir and told him about Smith crying leading up to the fight; ending with the team telling Smith they didn’t think he was ready.

“I’m not surprised by this,” Smith told his teammates. Smith then told the cameras that “It was the epitome of an ambush,” in reference to the team’s makeshift meeting.

“I believe in you, that’s why I stuck with you,” Jones told Smith in the locker room.

“I’ve got confidence that Gilbert can beat Luke. I think I have more confidence than the rest of the team,” Clint Hester later told the cameras.

Team Sonnen’s coaches dropped by the house and the focus shifted to Uriah Hall who told Sonnen that he “wanted to take out their best players.” Focus then shifted back to Barnatt in training who talked about not having money and still wanting to train despite not having the money.

Like Jones said, Smith did look relaxed and confident at weigh-ins despite all the talk leading up to the weigh-ins about his readiness and mental toughness.

“Luke is going to have to put me in a position to die for me to quit. I never quit,” Smith confidently stated on fight day.

“The only way you’re going to beat me is to snap my arm or knock me out, and that’s not easy to do,” Barnatt told cameras.

Just like that it was time for the first fight inside the house and Barnatt and Smith to lay it on the line for control of the fights.

Luke Barnatt vs. Gilbert Smith

The fight began and Barnatt used multiple jabs to keep Smith at bay before ultimately landing a low blow on Smith that briefly stopped the fight.

Smith feigned an overhand left and immediately shot for a single leg takedown that landed Barnatt against the cage. Smith eventually was able to tear down Barnatt but couldn’t find a way to keep the lanky middleweight down and eventually Barnatt cage-walked his way back up. From there Barnatt and Smith eventually threw themselves back down, with Barnatt landing on top, but the two again stood back up.

Utilizing the clinch the two began throwing shots on the inside while Smith tried to bring Barnatt down again, eventually succeeding for a brief two seconds. Barnatt landed a nice outside leg trip that brought down Smith before the two stood back up with Smith taunting Barnatt to bring it after being hit by a jab.

Barnatt used his reach very well and was able to keep Smith at bay for the most part as Smith tried to bring down Barnatt with a single leg to end towards the end of the opening round, but couldn’t finish the takedown.

In the second, Smith tried again for a takedown that made Barnatt do a one-legged backpeddle towards the cage wall before ultimately succumbing to a short lived takedown. Smith, like the first round, couldn’t keep Barnatt down on the ground and eventually got taken down by Barnatt who worked into half-guard and from there the two eventually worked their way back up with Smith landing a few good shots.

Barnatt then threw a short distance, flying knee to Smith who was shooting for a takedown and knocked him out cold.

Luke Barnatt def. Gilbert Smith by knockout (knee), Round 2

“That was a bad matchup. Jones made that match too,” stated Dana White after the fight.

McDaniel then stood up and called out Kevin Casey.

“I think it was very disrespectful in his approach to calling me out,” Casey told cameras.

The cameras then shot to the locker room with Smith crying, visibly upset with the coaches trying to keep his spirits up reminding him of the wildcard spot.

The teams then regathered for the next fight announcement which is now controlled by Sonnen. Sonnen picked Uriah Hall to face off against Team Jones’ Adam Cella.

Photo: The Ultimate Fighter 17 (Zuffa, LLC)