Episode 9 of The Ultimate Fighter: Undefeated featured the first semi-finals bout with the first fighter punching his ticket to the finals on July 6. The fighters and coaches got a break from the competition after the preliminary round by testing their driving skills at Exotics Racing and the fighters passed the time in the Fighter House with a talent show.
In last week’s episode, the semifinal round matchups were announced with Team Miocic teammates Mike Trizano and John Gunther competing for the first lightweight slot in the finals.
The Fight: Mike Trizano vs. John Gunther
Gunther was defeated by Team Cormier’s Joe Giannetti in the first episode of the season but got a rebirth back in the competition when Team Cormier’s Luis Pena injured his foot in his win over José Martinez Jr.
Gunther and Trizano became good friends during the season but put that aside when they entered the Octagon. Gunther pressed forward in the opening round and Trizano met him with jabs. 90 seconds into the round Gunther secured a takedown. He was unable to inflict damage but maintained top position for nearly two minutes before Trizano used the fence to get back to his feet. After a scramble the two separated and Trizano’s striking superiority became obvious. At the end of the round Gunther was cut below his left eye and bleeding.
In the second frame Trizano started to open up with his strikes. He repeatedly landed his jab while delivering uppercuts and leg kicks. Despite taking heavy damage, Gunther continued to press forward. Midway through the round Gunther secured a takedown but was unable to keep Trizano grounded. Once standing Trizano connected with combinations and knees opening up a cut beneath Gunther’s right eye. In the final minute of the round Trizano took Gunther down. Gunther applied a triangle choke but was unable to finish the submission.
In the final frame Trizano battered Gunther with strikes and the fight became one-sided. After 15 minutes of fighting Trizano was scored the winner by unanimous decision.
“My hands are killing me. John’s got a friggen hard head. I’ve been dreaming about this and every since I started training this has been my goal. I’m just one win away from achieving it,” said Trizano after securing his spot in the finale.
“I can’t complain. This time I got to fight, so I can’t really complain this time,” said Gunther his second loss of the season. “I just wasn’t real smart with my game plan. I chased him around. I should have tried to cut the cage off more and throw more strikes, done more level changes. But at least I got to fight. It’s awesome.”