After a hard loss last week for Team Jones, talk about the wildcard spot began shooting up in the house and Bubba McDaniel was the early favorite to get the wildcard spot this season.

Dylan Andrews began his preparation for Zak Cummings and coach Jon Jones was high on his fighter, lauding his right hook as his best technique. Andrews’ love for MMA started with an early trip to the video store in Australia and UFC DVDs. After the trip, Andrews walked out and saw an MMA gym, falling in love with the sport even more after joining the gym.

Andrews had a tough life as he said his brothers had a lot of failures and he tried to learn from their mistakes to avoid repeating them.

“I can’t be successful without fighting,” Andrews told Uriah Hall in a side conversation.

Cummings had an unconventional path to fighting. Growing up with dreams of being an engineer, never being in a street fight and finally getting the opportunity to compete for a spot to the UFC.

The episode shifted from Cummings’ background to the annual “coaches challenge” between Jones and Chael Sonnen. The winning coach gets $10,000 from winning the challenge and each fighter on his team earns $1,500 for the victory.

Unlike past seasons, this year’s challenge was out-of-nowhere and involved the coaches using a backhoe to scoop up dirt to fill buckets, create a pyramid of three tires and placing a basketball inside a tire.

Jones took an early lead, but eventually Sonnen got a hang of the machine and filled his bucket first while Jones struggled to get anything more. Jones continued to lag behind as Sonnen built his tire pyramid as Sonnen continued his verbal assault on Jones.

Sonnen fell behind though as he struggled to stack his pyramid and Jones gently placed his final tire on top. Jones then got his basketball as Sonnen finished and missed horribly as Sonnen came from behind, took his basketball and placed his in the tire. Sonnen won $10,000 while his team each got $1,500 each in what was a an extremely tough looking challenge.

Both Andrews and Cummings weighed in on target and Andrews took a page out of Jones’ playbook and made it his own by staring at the ground instead of at his opponent.

Cummings told cameras how happy he was to be picked last to help make him more comfortable in the house and make him more comfortable with this fight. Andrews definitely was ready as he thought about his family prior to the fight as he psyched himself into the fight.

Dylan Andrews vs. Zak Cummings

The final preliminary fight of the season began with Cummings opening up early and eventually shooting for a single leg takedown that he couldn’t finish. Andrews eventually went for a shot of his own but Cummings did a nice sprawl and landed in half guard.

Cummings worked some short elbows on Andrews as Andrews couldn’t recover his guard. Eventually, Andrews was able to land a reverse and ended up in the guard of Cummings on top. Andrews continued to bleed from short elbows and poured blood on Cummings. Cummings ate some great elbows from Andrews but had a shot at a triangle choke, yet failed to do more than separating an arm.

Andrews got into half guard and landed some more elbows and reigned down with some punches that kept Cummings against the fence until the first round ended.

The second round opened up the same as Cummings threw more combos and chased down Andrews. Cummings tried a poorly timed, highly telegraphed, flying knee that Andrews caught and turned into a double leg takedown. Andrews again landed in half guard and used the position to bend Cummings to his will. Andrews continued to throw short left elbows mixed in with the occasional punch as referee Herb Dean advised Andrews to work or be stood back up.

Cummings just could not find an answer as Andrews kept his left elbow buried in Cummings’ throat and controlled from half guard. In a round that Cummings needed to win, he barely tried to reverse position or utilize the cage to sweep, only trying to do so in the final 20 seconds of the round.

Dylan Andrews def. Zak Cummings by majority decision (20-18, 20-18, 19-19)

After the fight, Dana White, Jones and Sonnen discussed the wildcard spot. The catch though was Jones and Sonnen would decide on who would be the wildcard as both coach had two fighters eligible for the spot.

Jones had a tough decision as both Clint Hester and McDaniel were definitely deserving of the wildcard spot. Jones couldn’t pick between the two as he trains with McDaniel at Jackson’s and developed a friendship with Hester. Jones eventually chose McDaniel for the wildcard spot and Sonnen chose Kevin Casey to square off with McDaniel.

Both fighters were elated with the choice as each team’s wildcard pick and finally settle the fight that was pushed hard for by McDaniel early in the season.

Photo: The Ultimate Fighter 17 (Zuffa, LLC)

About The Author

Sal DeRose
Staff Writer

Sal hails from New Jersey and is currently training for his first MMA fight. He hopes to use his knowledge and insight to generate articles that interest and entertain you. Outside of MMA, Sal is a big fan of every other sport. He's a diehard New York sports fan, with the exception of cheering for the Packers.