Contributor: Nolan Howell
After Team Garbrandt’s Hector Urbina failed to make weight in the first episode, coach Cody Garbrandt was forced to bring in an alternate to replace Urbina. He brought in TUF 22’s Johnny Nunez and this week, Nunez looks to pull the upset against Team Dillashaw’s top pick James Krause.
Back at the house after Dillashaw’s Jesse Taylor defeated Garbrandt’s Mehdi Baghdad, James Krause joins his team at the fireplace outside and says he felt robbed after his TUF 15 preliminary fight loss to Justin Lawrence. Krause says it doesn’t matter if he currently has a contract with the UFC. Krause felt he was fouled with a headbutt and illegal knee and he says the loss lit a fire underneath him. Dana White says Krause impressed in other promotions and they brought him back, where he submitted Sam Stout on short-notice.
For coach TJ Dillashaw’s birthday, they make him a card saying being without him would be “unBEARable” complete with a collection of the team’s body hair for the bear. Krause declined, saying he doesn’t like the way body hair “sits.” For his part, Dillashaw appreciates it (along with the more traditional birthday cake) and says it will go on his fridge.
Krause’s fight prep demonstrates his striking and he says he isn’t worried about the opponent change as he is prepared for all styles. Krause plans to use his kicks and length to keep it on the feet.
Garbrandt brings his girlfriend and Miesha Tate to the house to watch some fights with the house. Julian Lane brings out the booze and makes drinks for everyone, including Garbrandt and Clay Guide makes Fireball whiskey shots. Garbrandt doesn’t handle his drink well and belts out his catchphrase “hangin’ with the boizzzzzzz” over and over and over and over and over.
Nunez’s time on TUF 22 is recapped, with losses to Ryan Hall in the preliminary and David Teymur in the wild card round. Hayder Hassan and Dhiego Lima shown bonding at the house since they are teammates at ATT. Hassan asks Garbrandt for Joe Stevenson when they pick next and says Lima would be an easy fight after Garbrandt presses him.
We go into Nunez’s fight prep. Nunez focuses on head movement and footwork on the outside against Krause to set up his wrestling. Nunez wants to make it an ugly fight. Miesha Tate talks wrestling strategy while Nunez works on the treadmill.
Hassan gets asked by Garbrandt how he feels taking on Lima next fight and Hassan wants him in the second fight. Garbrandt asks if it is Hassan’s journey or Lima’s and he says he wants to take someone out. Assistant coach Danny Castillo asks if Hassan drops Lima in sparring and Hassan says he spars for technique in one of the more telling moments about Team Alpha Male’s training regimen.
Krause’s home video focuses on him taking custody of his 11 year-old sister and living with his wife and 18 month-old baby. It also gives us a glimpse at Glory MMA, his training gym in Missouri. Nunez apparently doesn’t get one as a replacement fighter.
A poetry jam goes down in the hot tub before we move to the fight. Nunez bullrushes Krause throughout with both landing a bit. Nunez secures a takedown, but Krause fights up and lands knees to the body in the clinch. They separate and Krause opens on the feet a bit before Nunez stuns him with a left hook. Nunez with a headlock, but Krause pops up recovered. The striking battle continues to be equal between Nunez’s brawling and Krause’s more varied kickboxing game. Nunez starts to wear late in the first and Krause drops him with a knee on a takedown attempt. A guillotine attempt turns into back mount and Krause subs Nunez on a rear-naked choke with thirty seconds left in first.
The fight announcement sees Garbrandt pick the Lima/Hassan fight and we might actually have an interesting storyline for this first time this season for a change.
A decent fight, but this show is largely dependent on dynamite personalities and if Conor McGregor couldn’t even make a season good, you’re dead in the water. We are watching the equivalent of a bloated corpse that’s been sitting in the river for a good decade now.
(ht: MMA-Core.com for the images)
-Nolan can be reached @undercardnolan or at email@example.com