Recapping episode two of The Ultimate Fighter: Undefeated
Episode 2 of Season 27 of The Ultimate Fighter debuted Wednesday Night and we continued the opening round of this season’s tournaments. The episode would feature the first matchup in the Featherweight tournament. We kicked off the episode with Stipe Miocic setting up the first prank of the season. The prank consisted of Stipe taping his picture with a ridiculous mustache over all of the posters in the Team Cormier locker room.
We then dove into Kyler Phillips (5-0) giving his backstory. He talked about growing up with his dad who taught Jiu-Jitsu and his early memories of growing up in the gym and on the mat. We then got to see his highlights from his career and it consisted of a lot of submissions. They then showed his highlights from his appearance on the Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series. When he appeared on that he was able to stop his opponent in the first round under 1 minute. They were discussing his preparation for the fight and showed him working on his striking with James Krause and Stipe.
We came back from commercial and we got to see the reaction of Team Cormier to their new locker room decorations. Daniel then went in and gave Team Stipe a view of what he called “the full frontal” which was an interesting tactic. We then went into team Cormier’s training session and the discussion around Thailand Clark (7-0) and his training. Thailand and DC got into a bit of an argument regarding how is going about training. DC was trying to give him advice and Thailand appeared to not want to hear it. Thailand was wrestling very hard and it wasn’t appreciated. This led to DC jumping in and rolling Thailand to prove a point. They wrestled for a while and it led to them finding a mutual respect and improved their relationship from what it appeared.
We headed to the house and we were getting some info on Brad Katona (6-0) and his backstory. Brad had recently moved from Winnipeg to Dublin, Ireland. Despite having a degree in mechanical Engineering Brad wanted to follow his dream and decided to move and train at SBG in Ireland. They then showed his home life and walking around Dublin with his girlfriend. They then showed his training sessions at SBG and talked about the gym’s history.
We were then back in the house with Kyler discussing his love for martial arts in general and not just the actual fights. We went on and saw training and home video. He talked about all the different forms of martial arts that he does not just fight raining. We then saw his girlfriend and all the pets that they have. He talked about having the support of her and how it gives him a great reason to fight.
It was fight prep time with Brad and he was talking about the science behind the body and how it works with fighting. We saw clips from Brad’s past fights and showed off a lot of his grappling prowess. He talked about coming up through Jiu-Jitsu, and then having to develop his standup. We then saw him in the cage with DC and them discussing the strategy of the fight. DC talked about the nastiness of Brad and they showed him sparring with both DC and Cain Velasquez.
We headed to the weigh-in and it was Kyler Phillips turn first and he came in at 145lbs even and Brad Katona weighed in at 145lbs as well. We had some of the other fighters and the coaches weigh in on what they think was going to happen in the fight.
We dropped in on both guys on fight day and they gave their final thoughts about what to expect in the matchup. Kyler talked about being ready and making sure that Brad was ready to go. Brad talked about the body and what goes on during fight day and as you prepare.
The fight was on and Kyler threw a left jab and kick that missed. Brad came forward with a left kick to the body. Kyler went for a spinning wheel kick, but it was blocked. Brad came in with a nice straight left and continued to move around. Kyler tried to come in with a big right hand and Brad was able to clinch him. Brad was trying for a takedown, but it Was Kyler who took the fight to the mat. Kyler was trying to grab for a guillotine, but Brad was able to sneak out and get back to his feet. Brad hit a hard leg kick, and then avoided a lunging Kyler and landed a hard left hook counter. Kyler responded with a nice right hook, but another leg kick came in hard from Brad. Continuing to move forward and throw combinations that finished with leg kicks was Brad’s strategy at this point. Brad was trying to cut off the cage and force Kyler back up against the fence to limit his movement. Brad with another leg kick that definitely stung. Kyler tried to move forward, and Brad ducked and grabbed for the clinch. Brad was trying to take Kyler to the mat, and after some attempts, he scored the big takedown. Brad was able to keep him down and tried to mix in some ground and pound and got a few shots through prior to the round ending. We headed to round 2 and Kyler came out trying to work his jab. Brad responded with a hard leg kick. Brad was moving forward and missed with a punch, but landed a hard short elbow. Another leg kick and a straight left came from Katona. Brad was landing his left hand very well as the round continued. Kyler went for a takedown, but Brad stuffed it. Kyler hit a hard spinning kick to the body, and Brad responded with an immediate takedown. Brad had Kyler down briefly. Kyler battled back to his feet, but he had Brad attached to him. Brad was holding Kyler up against the fence and not allowing him to get off. Kyler spun him around, but Brad got him right back around.They separated and Kyler missed with a big looping right hand. Kyler landed another hard spinning back kick, but Brad was still moving forward. Brad then lunged in for a takedown and had Kyler pressed up against the fence. Brad was controlling Kyler until the 45-second mark when Kyler broke away. Kyler was coming forward and landed a nice combination. Another left-right combination came from Kyler. Brad pushed forward, and Kyler went for a takedown that Brad escaped. Kyler tried for one last spinning kick to the head, but Brad avoided it and we were headed to either the judges or a third sudden death round. The judges signaled, that we were headed to a 2 round decision. They scored this one 20-18, 20-18, and 19-19 for the winner by Majority Decision Brad Katona. Brad pulled the upset of the number 1 pick for Team Stipe and was very solid in this fight. He was excited about the win and ready to move on. Kyler was obviously disappointed but took the loss in stride talking about learning from the experience and heading into the next chapter.
The next matchup was announced and it was at 155lbs as Team Cormier’s Luis Pena (4-0) will take on Team Stipe’s Jose Martinez (4-0).
Rapid Reaction: Team Cormier again was able to pull off the victory. This one was much more hard fought, but Brad most certainly showed he can compete in this tournament. These are the fights that I expect to see as the season goes on. With all undefeated fighters, these guys most certainly are going to do battle in there each and every week. Next week looks like another fun fight and I’m interested to see how Pena does with a clear height advantage in this one.