The eighth episode of The Ultimate Fighter 19: Team Edgar vs. Team Penn featured the coaches’ challenge and the final preliminary-round middleweight bout between Team Penn’s Mike King and Team Edgar’s Eddie Gordon.
The Coaches’ Challenge
“How we pick watersports when this dude visits his buddy down the street on a kayak,” questioned Edgar when he realized that the challenge was a kayak race.
$10,000 cash was on the line for the coaches and $1,500 for each of the winning coach’s team members. Penn took the early lead, but Edgar paddled his way ahead. Midway through the race the coaches were even. Penn navigated the turns better and pulled away, winning by approximately four seconds.
“This is how my ancestors got to Hawaii,” said Penn following the challenge. “All I knew was don’t look back. I see all my guys cheering. I see his guys not cheering. It made me just go harder because I knew Frankie was behind.”
The Fight: Eddie Gordon vs. Mike King
Heading into the fight, the Team Penn coaching staff wanted King to take Gordon down, but King had his mind made up that he wanted to knock Gordon out on the feet. Gordon, a former college football player, predicted a one-sided win.
Gordon established his jab early on in the fight and countered King’s leg kicks with right hands. As the opening round wore on, King began to loosen up and find his range. He finished the round strong, but neither fighter was in any danger through the first five minutes.
Gordon pressed the action in the opening moments of the second frame. King landed an accidental kick to the groin, but Gordon was quickly able to continue. When the fight was restarted, King pressed the pace. As he was closing the distance, Gordon extended his left arm with his hand opened and severely poked King in the eye.
King fell to the canvas holding his right eye. Referee Herb Dean called for a doctor to evaluate the injury. “I can’t see,” said King to Dean. The doctor gave the okay to continue and the fight was restarted. King immediately tried to get the fight to the ground, but Gordon defended the takedown attempt. Gordon began to let his punches go. As he moved into the pocket, King secured a takedown, but Gordon quickly worked his way back to his feet. King pressed Gordon against the cage and delivered a knee to the body. He then changed levels and secured a late takedown. Both rounds were competitive and difficult to score. The judges felt it was a draw after two rounds, forcing a final, “Sudden Victory” round.
The pace slowed in the final round. After a minute of each missing with punches, King drove forward and worked to get Gordon to the canvas. Gordon shook off the takedown attempt and circled away. He landed to the body before getting poked in the eye himself. The fight was quickly restarted, and Gordon took King down. King quickly got back to his feet. King pressed forward with a couple of body kicks. When it was all said and done, it was a close fight. The judges scored the fight for Gordon by unanimous decision.
“I’ll give it to Mike King. He seriously got his eye gouged out and sucked it up, stayed in the fight. He’s a tough guy,” said UFC president Dana White following the bout. “But again, I saw nothing from either guy that made me think they want to be here, or any sense of urgency to win this fight and go on to the next level.”
“It feels good. I just gotta get better from here. Anything besides first place is a disappointment to me. So that’s it. I gotta just keep getting better everyday in practice and move on to the next round,” said Gordon following the win.
“I tell you what, it’s miserable to try and fight a fight with one eye,” said King after the loss. “I fully was confident going into that fight, and it didn’t play out the way I thought it was going to in my head. The hardest thing to deal with is I feel like I let down family. And that’s the biggest thing. It’s hard to deal with when you feel like you let people down.”
Team Edgar retained matchmaking control following Gordon’s win, but the next fight was already set. Matt Van Buren will take on Team Penn’s Chris Fields in the final preliminary-round light heavyweight match-up.