By Thomas Gerbasi
CAUTION: SPOILERS INCLUDED – Rashad Evans’ team is currently romping through The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights, winning each of the competition’s first six fights. Has opposing coach Quinton “Rampage” Jackson reached his breaking point?
“I just can’t take it no more, I can’t take losing to Rashad’s cocky ass,” said Jackson.
“I’ve got six wins in a row right now and I’m really excited,” said Evans. “I said I was gonna get eight people to the next round, and I’m almost there.”
In this week’s fight, Team Rashad chooses Matt Mitrione to face Team Rampage’s Scott Junk, leaving the final first round matchup as Team Rashad’s Mike Wessel against Team Rampage’s Marcus Jones.
The real fight may be between the coaches though, as Evans and Jackson continue to jaw at each other after the fight announcement.
“Just like you quit on this competition and quit on your fighters, I’m gonna make you quit,” said Evans.
“It’s starting to escalate and you can feel the tension,” said Jones.
“I came really close to trying to knock his teeth down his throat,” said Jackson.
Back in the house, things are getting heated as well when Mitrione shows Junk a note saying that the reason they’re fighting is because Wessel was afraid of him. Junk tells Wessel, and the UFC vet isn’t happy about it.
“I ain’t scared to put myself out there – that’s why I’m here,” said Wessel.
Team Rashad then finds out about the note, and Mitrione gets a talking to from his coach, Evans, but to Mitrione, it’s all part of his mental preparation for the fight.
The tension within Team Rashad continues between Mitrione and Jon Madsen, and escalates during sparring, with the coaches forced to intervene. Evans is livid about the incident, and he tells Mitrione, “Why don’t you save this aggression for the moment you’ve got to fight in a couple of days?”
After Mitrione’s outbursts, the rest of the house gets involved in the action, particularly Wes Sims, who puts a black gi on and sneaks up on Mitrione while he’s playing basketball. Mitrione plays it cool, but tensions rise when he decides to play pool.
“Why are you trying to start #$%$?” Mitrione asks Sims. “I’m telling you, it’s not a good decision.”
Next, its fight time, and Mitrione opens the bout strong behind some quick strikes, one of which puts Junk on the seat of his pants. Junk gets up quickly and starts swinging for the fences, only to be sent back to the canvas moments later. Mitrione is patient, and he lets Junk back up, scoring another knockdown with a right hand after catching a kick. Seconds after Junk gets up, it’s obvious that he’s been stunned, and he goes down again. Junk gets up and goes down again, and can’t seem to get out of trouble. A takedown attempt from the Hawaiian is turned away, but with two minutes left, both fighters look winded. Some good exchanges follow, and with 40 seconds to go, Junk starts landing with some huge shots. Mitrione survives the onslaught and makes it to the bell.
Mitrione begins the second behind his jab, and Junk responds with a flush right. Despite his mounting fatigue, Mitrione is staying busy as Junk stalks him. With 90 seconds gone, Junk scores the takedown and looks to pound away with ground strikes. Mitrione stays busy from the bottom, but it’s clear that both fighters are exhausted. With a little over two minutes left, referee Josh Rosenthal re-starts the action, and Mitrione stays busy to the bell, even though he can’t keep his hands up.
When it’s all over, the judges see it 20-18 twice and 19-19 for the winner by majority decision, Matt Mitrione. Jackson, not happy with the decision or his team’s 0-7 record, takes his frustration out on a door, destroying it completely.
With the win, Team Rashad’s winning streak is extended to seven. Here’s how the teams stand after episode seven:
TEAM RASHAD (7-0)
James McSweeney 1-0
Brendan Schaub 1-0
Justin Wren 1-0
Jon Madsen 1-0
Roy Nelson 1-0
Darrill Schoonover 1-0
Matt Mitrione 1-0
TEAM RAMPAGE (0-7)
Kimbo Slice – Eliminated on episode three by Roy Nelson
Abe Wagner – Eliminated on episode one by Jon Madsen
Demico Rogers – Eliminated on episode four by Brendan Schaub
Wes Sims – Eliminated on episode five by Justin Wren
Scott Junk – Eliminated on episode seven by Matt Mitrione
Wes Shivers – Eliminated on episode two by James McSweeney
Zak Jensen – Eliminated on episode six by Darrill Schoonover
For weekly recaps of The Ultimate Fighter, as well as fighter profiles, stay tuned to UFC.com.