In the first episode of The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption, Team Dillashaw’s last pick, Gilbert Smith, defeated Team Garbrandt’s first pick, Seth Baczynski. In this week’s episode, the upsets continued as Team Dillashaw’s sixth pick, Tom Gallicchio, tapped out Team Garbrandt’s third pick, Eddie Gordon.
Gallicchio took some heavy right hands from Gordon before getting the fight to the ground at the midway mark of the opening round. As Gordon tried to stand, Gallicchio took his back. He quickly applied a rear-naked choke. Gordon defended the first submission attempt, but Gallicchio reapplied the choke and pulled Gordon back to the canvas. With the choke under the chin, Gordon had no choice but to tap out.
Gordon won the 19th season of the reality show but was released by the fight promotion after three consecutive losses. Gallicchio appeared on TUF 22. He fought his way into the fighter house but was defeated during the elimination round of the tournament. He wasn’t offered a UFC contract. Competing in the UFC has been Gallicchio’s goal since childhood.
“I’ve wanted to be in the UFC since I was a youth, since I was little,” said the 30-year-old. “I’ve never made any money doing this. I’ve done promoters favors; I’ve been walked on and betrayed. I’ve been back stabbed. I’ve had four major surgeries, but I’m still here. I’m still standing. I’ve had people tell me to hang it up. My parents tell me to quit, but I’m the product of every man who hasn’t given up… I don’t have kids. I’ve given up a lot, and I’m prepared to sacrifice more.”
“I’m just not going to stop until the wheels fall off, until I become disabled and can’t do this anymore. I’ve come way too far in this game to turn and walk away,” he added.
His determination and perseverance paid off. He advanced further than he did in his last appearance on the reality series, and is a step closer to fulfilling his dream of competing in the UFC.
“It felt amazing to take out their top player. I’m a rook that took out the queen. Nobody expected it, but I believed in myself,” he said.