UFC's The Ultimate Fighter Episode 11 Review: The Battle O'Canada



Michael Hill vs. Mike Ricci - TUF
(Thanks to Sportsnet.ca)


By Josh Nason


We have just one episode left as UFC's The Ultimate Fighter clunks toward its 12/15 finale. Friday's episode featured two fights, one much more heated than the other.

Team Nelson teammates are clashing in the next round with Joey Rivera vs. Jon Manley. Both guys are excited to fight each other and have a lot of respect and appreciation for the other. This was about as cold an open as you'll get with both guys in the cage five minutes into the show.

Joey Rivera (Nelson) vs. Jon Manley (Nelson)

R1: Stalemate against the cage with Manley looking for a takedown and Rivera sprawling to avoid. Rivera working for a top guillotine, but it's not there. Halfway through the round, Manley gets the lift and takedown. Rivera gets a modified rear naked choke that is reversed, but he goes for a triangle choke. Manley is able to escape, but Rivera's defense is good. 10-9 Rivera in a grappling/wrestling/BJJ match.

R2: Rivera is heavily muscled for a 170-pounder and he's moving a little slower with kicks to start the round. Most of the round is a stalemate against the cage again. Dana White must be hating this fight about now. Manley gets the takedown with 1:20 left to go. Rivera wraps him up with a reverse triangle, but Manley works out of it. Rivera's defense not he ground is good as he is not taking any clean shots. I'd give the round to Manley 10-9, but there wasn't a ton of offense.

The fight doesn't make it to a third round. White said the fight was disappointing and Rivera looked like he was on Xanax. Nelson agreed, saying they looked like they didn't want to fight each other.

Jon Manley earns a majority decision, which is surprising as I don't think he won that first round at all. Manley wasn't happy and admits he was scared to exchange because in practice, "he beats my ass."

*****

It's Canadian vs. Canadian time as we're back to the tension between countrymen. Michael Hill jokes about putting stuff in Mike Ricci's food so he puts all kinds of masking tapes around his cooking pot. Ricci says Hill is a bum and that he's going to crush him. Hill tells Ricci, "I'm going to do what Dom (Waters) didn't do." Good, legit tension between these two after they started a friendship as early as the first in-house episode.

Mike Ricci (Carwin) vs. Michael Hill (Nelson)

R1: Ricci lands with a clean left and is getting in first with his kicks and punches. Hill is fighting on emotion again and Ricci is a bit more calm and calculated. Ricci works for a takedown and is doing great in ground and pound. Ricci is landing big elbows from the top and is breaking Hill's will. Ricci gets his back and is keeping the pressure on. Hill's face is swelling and bleeding from the elbows. Easy 10-9 round for Ricci, who was dominant here.

R2: After some ground work, Hill finds himself working for a top guillotine and has a ray of light. It takes Ricci a few seconds to make it dark again and when Hill goes to his back, Nelson can be heard saying, "Nooo! God damn it!" That is never good. Ricci is on his back again and is unrelenting. Every break Hill gets soon evaporates. Nelson is again frustrated in the corner at what Hill is doing. Another easy 10-9 round for Ricci. He looked great.

Ricci wins a unanimous decision and advances to the semifinals.

Semifinals:

- Jon Manley (Nelson) vs. Colton Smith (Nelson)
- Mike Ricci (Carwin) vs. Neil Magny (Carwin)

So without a doubt, we'll get a Nelson vs. Carwin fight in the finale. Both semifinals are next week and the promo for next week promises a knockout.

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