For those of you keeping score, it stood at 4-1 for Glenn Robinson’s Blackzilians aganst Dan Lambert’s American Top Team after ATT’s Hayder Hassan made short work of Belfort Team member and Blackzilians-based Andrews Nakahara on last week’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter 21. This week, the pressure was on as the ATT boys looked to keep themselves in control of the competition, while the Blackzilians camp aimed to take the power back.

The Blackzilians consulted with each other and elected 24 year-old Jason Jackson, whose last pro loss came against Hassan, to take the next fight. Jackson appeared excited at the opportunity to fight in the ATT gym and spoil the home-field advantage.

Meanwhile, Lambert knew that another solid win meant tying the Blackzilians at 100 points apiece. ATT put their trust in Marcelo “Grilo” Alfaya, who has seen fights with the likes of Jake Ellenberger, Jon Fitch, and Jackson’s fellow Blackzilian, Valdir Araujo, to take home another hard-fought win for their camp.

Both Alfaya and Jackson made weight before an intense staredown between the two. Both men spent time between the weigh-ins and the actual fight preparing themselves both physically and mentally. As the ATT crew watched tape on Jackson, Hassan recalled his 2013 fight over Jackson before talking about Jackson’s reach, and the way in which he felt Jackson relied too heavily on it.

“He’s a tall guy,” Hassan said, “and so when he throws his right hand, instead of dipping hard, he keeps his head up… If [Marcelo] rips that right hand over the top, it could be a short night for Jason Jackson.”

Would Jackson make it 5-1 for the Blackzilians in the season’s fifth tournament bout, or would Hassan’s words come true as Alfaya secured a second ATT win?

Blackzilians’ Jason Jackson (4-2) vs. American Top Team’s Marcelo Alfaya (16-7)

Round one began as Jackson fired off with a leg kick, and knocked Alfaya’s mouthpiece out, though the ref warned Alfaya for stalling. Jackson utilized good movement, but Alfaya established himself as the aggressor in the striking and shot for the first takedown of the fight. Alfaya’s takedown attempts at taking down Jackson became a recurring moment in the round, as he would shoot and hunt for the chance to keep Jackson grounded at every turn, but despite maintaining octagon control, he was unable to get what he wanted from the takedowns.

Round two told a different story, as Jackson’s movement and activity increased, particularly in the form of his jab and his leg kick onslaught. Alfaya scored big with a tremendous overhand right counter Jackson and wobble him, but despite showing the clear adverse effects of the overhand right, Jackson kept up his jab and mixed it up a bit by throwing overhand strikes of his own, in addition to his other key weapon o the fight, which was his leg kicks. Alfaya began to let up in the striking realm and attempted another takedown, but Jackson escaped and scored a solid kick to the body, which may have been enough to force Alfaya’s foot off the gas completely as Alfaya would not be able to respond in the last half-minute of the fight. Only time would tell if that momentary lack of action spelled the end of the line for Alfaya, or if Alfaya’s efforts finally secured ATT their second-straight win.

Result: Jason Jackson def. Marcelo Alfaya by majority decision (19-19, 20-18, 20-18)

One of the judges had the bout as a draw through two rounds, but two of the three cageside judges scored the bout as a 20-18 sweep for Jackson, who locked 50 points down for the Blackzilians and brought the power of the home-gym advantage back in their favor. Despite UFC president Dana White’s disappointment in how the Jackson-Alfaya bout transpired, Jackson expressed a deal of happiness with the way he secured the “W”, as well as a desire to return to action sooner than later. The same could not be said for ATT coach Lambert, his coaching staff, or Alfaya, and the staff especially expressed frustration for the outcome.

Just as the Blackzilians had regained their advantage and prepared to carry on with business as usual, White would reveal another twist. Next week, both Robinson and Lambert would be granted an option to drop two fighters in favor of two alternates, if they desired to do so. This begged the question for viewers: did either team follow through on that choice, and if so, will one or both of the teams look significantly different? The only way to know is to watch next week as only a handful of fighters remain, but only one welterweight will earn their chance to become the next Ultimate Fighter!

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.