The Ultimate Fighter 17 Episode 8 Recap: Coaches Challenge, Last Preliminary Fight, and Wild Card Selections

March 12, 2013
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TUF 17 Logo Team Jones vs. Team SonnenThis week’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter 17: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen featured the coaches’ challenge dubbed, “Dig this.”  Head coaches Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen had to complete specific tasks while driving excavators.  They would first have to fill a 14-yard dumpster with dirt and then move on to stacking three large tires in a pyramid.  After that, they moved on to the final challenge of using the excavator’s arm to scoop up a basketball and place it inside the center of a tire. 

Sonnen quickly took an early lead, filling the canister with dirt much faster than Jones, but stumbled trying to build the three-tire pyramid.  Jones caught Sonnen and passed him.  Jones got the basketball in the excavator’s grasp but failed to place it in the center of the tire, allowing Sonnen to come from behind and win the $10,000 and secure $1,500 for each of his team members in dramatic fashion.

“When I won and the thing (basketball) went in and I saw the guys celebrating, that was pretty cool.  I’ve been cheering these guys on ever since we got here.  I’ve been coaching them and getting them ready to go and the roles were reversed today,” said Sonnen after winning the coaches’ challenge.

Team Sonnen’s Zak Cummings and Team Jones’ Dylan Andrews were pitted against each other by default because they were the only two remaining fighters to compete in the preliminary round.

Zak Cummings vs. Dylan Andrews

After an exchange of jabs, Cummings worked to get the fight to the ground.  Andrews shook off the takedown attempt but was caught by a left hand shortly after that hurt him.  Andrews went for a takedown and Cummings worked to lock on a choke.   Andrews freed himself from the choke attempt and reversed Cummings at the midway mark in the round.

Andrews went to work, landing punches to the body and head and delivering hard elbows.  Andrews overcame the early adversity and came back to win the round on two of the three judges’ scorecards.

Cummings was landing shots in the early portion of the second round, but when he rushed in with a flying knee, it left the opening for Andrews to get the fight to the ground.  Andrews picked up where he left off in the first round, battering Cummings with short punches and elbows for the remainder of the round.

Two judges scored the fight 20-18 for Andrews while the third scored the two-rounds a draw.  Andrews defeated Cummings by majority decision.

“I felt like I was going to tap and something said don’t tap and keep going.  Something happened to me and I went to another place.  I don’t know what it was,” said Andrews after the win.  “That point from when I got dropped and got a submission put on, that was a life changing point for me.  I’m proud of it.  I’m happy.”

“I’d love another shot whether it is the wild card, the finale, some other time, I know I’ll fight again.  I just have to prove I’ve grown as a fighter,” said Cummings.

The focus quickly switched to the wild card selections.  UFC president Dana White has always decided who the wild cards would be in past seasons, but he allowed the coaches to make that choice this time.

Coach Sonnen had two choices, Kevin Casey or Zak Cummings.  Coach Jones had to decide between Clint Hester and real life training partner Bubba McDaniel.

Sonnen chose to bring back Casey who he felt under performed.  Jones’ choice was much more difficult.  Jones considered taking a page out of Roy Nelson’s book and let a coin toss to decide.

“Coach Jones was in a tougher spot than I was for political reasons.  He trains with Bubba.  He has known Bubba for a number of years, and a number of days ago, probably 72 hours ago he told Bubba, ‘I’m giving you the wild card.’  He didn’t imagine that his No. 1 pick (Clint Hester) would get upset,” said Sonnen.

“The chance at redemption, to get back in this tournament is a big deal to me.  I have a lot to prove to the world right now,” said Team Jones’ Bubba McDaniel.

Jones ultimately picked McDaniel to receive a second chance in the tournament.  McDaniel will face Casey to determine who will return to the competition.  The match-up is one Bubba asked for during the second episode of the season.

“This is the fight I tried to pick for myself first round.  I took it upon myself to call out Kevin.  Kevin doesn’t realize what he’s in for,” said McDaniel.

Casey said, “I’m going to go out there and I’m going to smash.”

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  • Advance*

    I would have preferred to see Bubba and Clint get the two wild card spots since both of Chael’s guys had pretty weak performances. Even though he got finished, I’d say Clint put up the best fight of the four. Oh well…can’t feel too bad for him since he had his chance and lost

    • Savant

      I thought it was bulls*** that Clint didn’t get picked over Bubba. Bubba’s look like s*** since his first fight. I bet Clint would destroy Bubba if they fought each other too. I’d even pick that dude that got KO’d by Hall.

      • BobLemons

        Cella would’ve been my pick, he put up a great fight until that fateful kick, and against the best dude in the house…

  • Michael A

    Why were they the only two eligible picks for the wildcard? What about the other guys who lost?

    • Guest

      Tor Troeng, Adam Cella, and Gilbert Smith coudn’t fight because they were under medical suspensions, as they all lost by knockout.

      If you lose by KO, it’s a guaranteed suspension for about 14-60 days, depending on the way you lost. Adam probably got 60, whereas Gilbert and Thor got around 14-30 days.

      • BobLemons

        Ah, forgot about that…

  • robbiez

    Man, i hate Bubba. Another a****** who comes out of jacksons fight camp.

  • Badguy

    Well the WC selection was a joke! Bubba has been since the first day on this show overated! He has descent striking, bad wrestling and just ok BJJ! He looked terrible in his last fight and just OK when he got into the house! I don’t get were they think or thought at anytime he was a contender for the TUF title! Hester at least looked descent and showed descent takedown defense until he gassed. Chaels pick is a joke too he looked god awful in his fight. and is one dimensional! Cummins looked good standing and good wrestling it was like cummins kept giving up the takedown doing stupid s***!