The Ultimate Fighter 28 Episode 9 Recap: First Finalist Set

November 7, 2018

Episode 9 of The Ultimate Fighter: Heavy Hitters featured the first semi-final bout between heavyweights with the first finalist emerging. Team Whittaker’s Michel Batista took on Team Gastelum’s Justin Frazier in what ended up being a one-sided bout.

The Fight: Justin Frazier vs. Michel Batista

Frazier took his time before closing the distance and landing a left hand.  He delivered leg kicks while Batista looked to counter strike on the outside.  Frazier was careful not to over commit and leave himself open to be taken down.  He chose when to engage and when to keep his distance.  Frazier dictated the pace while Batista wasn’t able to mount any offense.  Late in the opening frame, Frazier moved in with a combination and dropped Batista with a left hand.  Frazier finished Batista with a series of left hands on the ground.

 “Michel is an Olympic wrestler so I knew I had to be able to defend the takedown. I am not an Olympic level wrestler, but I am a very strong wrestler and my MMA wrestling is very good. We practiced standing and taking the center of the octagon because we weren’t going to take his bait of going against the cage. He tries to get you there so he can shoot on you but in open water it is hard to shoot on someone and we knew I needed to stay there,” said Frazier after the win.  

“That’s my first time standing with someone and dropping them for a finish like that. I have finished people on the ground but never like that. Team Gastelum is by far the best coaching staff I could have asked for. When I heard it was him I prayed I would be a part of the team. He and I are really similar and I learned so much from him. This was an amazing experience. You’re talking to the next Ultimate Fighter Champion,” added Frazier.

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“We worked this gameplan. Justin needed to use his hands to pick him apart but woah I was not expecting that knockout. He is more of a wrestler so just to see him throw hands and get the win like that was amazing,” said Coach Kelvin Gastelum. 

“I couldn’t execute the plan that I had. All I can say is I didn’t do what I wanted to in there and I am disappointed. This was still one of the best experiences I have had in my life and I am so appreciative to have gotten this chance to compete on The Ultimate Fighter,” Batista said following the loss. 

Episode 10 will feature the first women’s featherweight semi-final bout between Team Whittaker’s Julija Stoliarenko and Team Gastelum’s Pannie Kianzad.