On episode 4 of The Ultimate Fighter: Undefeated Team Cormier continued their dominance in team competition and one fighter’s hopes of winning the tournament were dashed due to injury.
Injury Forces One Fighter Out of the Competition
In last week’s episode, Team Cormier lightweight Luis Pena defeated Jose Martinez Jr. by unanimous decision to advance to the semi-finals of the competition. During the bout Pena suffered a foot injury that turned out to be more serious than first anticipated.
“The doctor worked on my foot and he told me at first that he kind of felt some things kind of like moving around that shouldn’t really be moving and he said that it may be fractured. He recommended that I get an x-ray,” explained Pena. “He said that if there is a fracture there’s a possibility that I might not be able to continue on the show.”
After a visit to the hospital, Pena’s worst fears were realized. His foot was fractured and his time in the competition had come to an end.
“We did some x-rays and the x-rays do show a fracture,” the doctor informed Pena. “We’re going to have to put you in a stint and you’re going to have to take it easy for about four to six weeks.”
“I’m devastated, obviously. This is quite literally the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through mentally. I can’t really describe what’s going on right now in my head and my heart,” said an emotional Pena. “I won. I took the fight. I won it. I put on a great show and at the end of the day I’m not able to continue. I can’t really explain how that feels.”
Pena may be out of the tournament but he was assured by UFC president Dana White that he’d be in the season finale. “Heal up and you’ll be in the finale,” White told Pena.
The Fight: Bryce Mitchell vs. Jay Cucciniello
Coach Cormier selected his second pick, featherweight Bryce Mitchell, to take on Team Miocic’s sixth pick Jay Cucciniello during last week’s fight announcement. The 23-year-old Mitchell entered the bout with a 9-0 record while the 31-year-old Cucciniello came in with an 8-0 resume.
Cucciniello landed first with an outside leg kick and quickly switched stances. Mitchell delivered a head kick followed by a kick to the body and shot in for a takedown. He powered Cucciniello to the ground. Cucciniello rolled, giving up his back and scrambled to gain top position before standing. He landed a left hand but Mitchell answered with a combination and secured his second takedown of the round. Cucciniello gave up his back again and Mitchell landed punches to the body and head.
In the second round, Mitchell quickly took the fight to the ground where he had a clear advantage. Cucciniello rolled, giving up his back like he did in the first frame. Mitchell applied a body triangle and worked to sink in a rear-naked choke. Cucciniello defended the submission attempts but didn’t have an answer for Mitchell’s grappling. After two rounds of fighting the judges scored the fight for Mitchell by unanimous decision.
“It felt pretty good being on this platform and everybody watching and sh–. It felt really good and hopefully I do better next fight and get the finish,” said Mitchell following the win.
“It’s one of these things that happens. I’ve just got to go out and get better. I’m going to get back to training tomorrow and get on with what I need to do,” said Cucciniello after the loss.
Next Fight Announcement
With the win, Team Cormier has shut out Team Miocic this far winning the first four fights of the season. Coach Miocic got the choose the next lightweight matchup and decided to put his third pick Mike Trizano up against Team Cormier’s seventh pick Thailand Clark.