UFC's The Ultimate Fighter Episode 9: The One With The Fight That Should Have Been Better

By Josh Nason

After last week's show popped a nice rating with a great show, The Ultimate Fighter returned to the doldrums for their ninth episode despite a fight between two of the show's top picks.

Early On

Dana White and James Cheney have a talk about him biting Jon Manley during last week's fight. Dana forgave him because he admitted it. Cheney is taking the loss very hard. We go back to the house where Julian Lane apparently said something offensive about the military and Colton Smith took exception. Smith called him "Julian Browning" and Lane flipped out. This is already getting old. The two eventually make up and Lane begins to cry, also getting old.

Dom Waters (who looks like Saturday Night Live's Jay Pharaoh) is also a veteran, having served in the US Marine Corps. Ricci is a GSP disciple and has trained with Kenny Florian and Rashad Evans. Carwin says he's a pretty boy like all the guys in Montreal, but he loves it. He thinks Ricci is one of the most technical fighters in the house. Both guys won by knockout to get into the house, so Dana is expecting someone to get dropped.

The Fight: Dom Waters vs. Mike Ricci

R1: Ricci lands a body kick that slows Waters slightly. Waters catches a glancing front kick to Ricci's face. Ricci's head movement after throwing a shot is solid, making Waters miss. Waters charges with some wild Liddell style shots and backs Ricci up. The round ends with Waters grappling Ricci up against the cage, but to no avail. Slight edge to Ricci 10-9 for cleaner shots.

R2: Ricci starts the round with punch/kick combo and is still showing the great head movement. Ricci lands again and Waters works for a takedown. Waters has his back standing, kneeing his legs and occasionally the head. Waters gets another takedown and continues to work on the mat, but with no really damage. After controlling him most of the round, Ricci reverses but Waters regains control. I give this to Waters 10-9, but with the judges this season, who knows?

We're going to a third.

R3: Both guys are still very cautious. Waters can't get off the block with punches and Ricci catches him charging in with a guillotine. Waters powers him down for a takedown and after some wrestling and what looks like a submission setup, Ricci reverses. Waters can't get off his back, but is blocking the flailing Ricci strikes. It's a wrestling match with 90 seconds left. No sub attempts from Ricci, but control. Ricci edges it out 10-9, I think.

If you put this fight in front of a traditional UFC audience, it would have got booed. I thought this was going to be awesome given what we've seen and expected from both guys this season, but it didn't have much action.

Judges give the fight to Ricci and surprisingly, White didn't rip the fight. It's time to pick the next round of fights and when White asks all the fighters who they want, Ricci said he wants to fight another Canadian: Michael Hill. Nelson breaks the news to Hill (who reiterates he doesn't want to fight Ricci) and that pisses him off.

The Quarterfinals

- Bristol Marunde (Carwin) vs. Neil Magny (Carwin)
- Igor Araujo (Carwin) vs Colton Smith (Nelson)
- Joey Rivera (Nelson) vs. Jon Manley (Nelson)
- Mike Ricci (Carwin) vs. Michael Hill (Nelson): Former Canadian friends go at it! Maple Leaf Massacre!

White has been clearly frustrated by the fights this season, so I like that he mixed it up a bit with teammates fighting each other in the quarterfinals. With all of the razzing of Nelson, both guys have four fighters each in the mix.

Next week: The Hill/Ricci feud grows and we get Marunde/Magny and Arajuo/Smith on one show.

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