by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
“The Ultimate Fighter 11: Team Liddell vs. Team Ortiz” has been a season of second chances, and Episode 7 hammered home that theme with three losing fighters returning with the wild cards chosen and the injured Rich Attonito replaced.
Seth Baczynski was defeated by Court McGee, missing the initial cut to get into TUF 11 house, but returned after Chris Camozzi was forced out due to a fractured jaw, and was looking to make the most of his rebirth back into the competition.
Court McGee lost to Nick Ring in the last episode and hoped he’d be selected as one of the wild cards.
“I was disappointed. That’s why you can never leave it in the hands of the judges,” said McGee. “With a wild card match-up I just hope I get the opportunity to fight to the next round.”
Ring revealed his long-term knee problems reared their ugly head and was unsure about his future in the competition.
“I hurt my knee to get into the house and I’m sure I hurt it quite a bit more in this last fight I just had,” said Team Ortiz’ first pick. “It’s wobbling and not doing what it’s supposed to do, so I think it really shakes a guy’s confidence when you can’t push off of your leg.
“When you can’t even trust in your own joints to support you, it’s very hard. We’ll see what happens.”
Ring’s knee later gave out on him in a sparring session exposing the plaguing injury to his teammates.
“I’ve had three years of nonstop trouble with this. My last knee surgery the surgeon said that I would never fight again, so it is scary,” said Ring. “I’m living in a house with a bunch of potential opponents and every one of my teammates saw today. I don’t know how I’m going to keep that quiet, and I wouldn’t be surprised if people are talking about it right now.”
Like on team selection day, Team Liddell’s Joe Henle was last picked and was last to compete, taking on Kaczynski, and the consensus was Henle was outmatched.
“I see this fight being very lopsided,” said UFC president Dana White. “Joe (Henle) was the last pick and in his last fight he was getting beat the entire fight. He ended up pulling out the arm bar and winning, but I don’t think the guy is very well-rounded.
“I just don’t see how Seth doesn’t win this fight,” added White.
JOE HENLE VS. SETH KACZYNSKI
Henle got an early takedown, but Kaczynski’s submission attempts with a triangle and a guillotine choke kept the Californian from doing much from the top position. Henle worked for a couple of chokes of his own before transitioning to take Kaczynksi’s back.
With 80 seconds remaining in round one, Kaczynski reversed Henle and worked ground and pound with elbows and punches for the rest of the round.
Kaczynski came out aggressive with his striking in the second round before getting a takedown, but Henle fell into top position.
Kaczynski attempted a Kimura and used it to try and get back to his feet, but Henle took his back again and began to set up a rear naked choke. The Arizonan scrambled back to full guard. Henle advanced to side control and then to north-south position before Kaczynski got back to his feet with a minute remaining, but Henle secured another takedown where he took his opponent’s back yet again.
Kaczynski escaped out the backdoor and the round ended with him on Henle’s back working for a rear naked choke.
The judges had the fight scored a draw and Dana White entered the Octagon and announced that there would be a third “sudden victory” round to determine the winner.
Fatigue set in on Henle and Kaczynski quickly got the fight to the ground where he spent the duration of the round punishing Henle with punches and elbows.
Kaczynski made the most of his second chance and advanced on in the competition.
Two more fighters were hoping for the same opportunity Kaczynski received to come back and fight again on the show.
Throughout the episode, defeated fighters were lobbying in their confessionals to be chosen as one of the two wild card slots.
“Everyone thinks they deserve the wild card spot. I think I deserve it the most,” commented James Hammortree.
“I definitely want to get back in there,” stated Kris McCray.
Kyacey Uscola said, “I’m pretty sure I’m going to be in the wild card, and I can’t wait to smash somebody to get back in this thing.”
“Hell yeah I want the wild card,” Henle said after losing. “I’ll do anything for that fight.”
White enters the UFC training center where the teams are assembled to announce the wild cards.
The wild cards went to Team Ortiz members Kyacey Uscola and Kris McCray, who will now fight for a birth back into the competition.
Rich Attonito was replaced by Team Liddell’s Court McGee.
Upon announcing McGee’s return, White stated, “We told you when you came in here. We wrote it on the (expletive) wall. Don’t ever leave it in the hands of the judges. And I say the same thing every time, there’s not a (expletive) thing I can do about it, until now.
“I think you should have gone to a third round,” White said to McGee. “You fought a great fight, so you’re in brother. You get the spot.”
Next week McCray and Uscola fight to get into the quarterfinals. The quarterfinal match ups are set and another fighter possibly leaves the show due to injury.