Episode nine of The Ultimate Fighter got started with some good old-fashioned trash talk.
On one side, you had Matt “Gutter” Van Buren of Team Edgar. On the other, you had Chris Fields of Team Penn. The two had been bickering back and forth for weeks, but the talk was going to come to a head when the two faced each other in the last preliminary fight.
Until then, however, the talk continued, especially from Van Buren, who did not lack an ounce of confidence heading into the fight.
Fields’ confidence took a hit before he even walked into the house, as he only got ithere because of an injury to his opponent. Fields was knocked down twice during the fight, but his opponent suffered a bad injury, which ended the fight and sent Fields into the house by default.
Despite the less-than-stellar way he entered the house, his head coach, B.J. Penn, believed that Fields had improved by a lot since being under his tutelage.
Before the episode shifted to Van Buren’s background, the fighters got to visit the Harley-Davidson store in Las Vegas. Along with earning a UFC contract, the winners of the show will also be given a brand new Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The fighters got to pick out which bike and attire in the event that one of them would win.
The fighters also got to meet The Ultimate Fighter season 15 winner, Michael Chisea, who showed them around the shop and helped them make some selections.
After that quick detour, we got back to the always-entertaining world of Van Buren. When talking about where he came from and his background, Van Buren wasn’t his normal boisterous self. Instead, he was a calm and humble guy that had experienced a lot and had lost a lot of friends.
Van Buren grew up in a middle-class neighborhood in West Virginia, but lost multiple friends to drug abuse -specifically heroin. Van Buren talked about how no one is a product of his or her environment and used his friends as an example. According to Van Buren, his friends had everything they could ever need and still turned to drugs.
The episode then moved to the weigh-in, which hasn’t appeared on every show this season. Fields stepped on the scale first and weighed in at 206 pounds. Van Buren clocked in at 205.5 pounds. After the weigh-in, each fighter took part in a long stare down, as the two wore their native countries' flags - Fields with the flag of Ireland and Van Buren with the flag of the United States.
Then it was fight time. Van Buren and Fields stepped inside the octagon not only for the right to advance to the semifinals, but to also hash out some differences between the two.
Van Buren and Fields spent most of the first round essentially hugging each other, as Van Buren went for multiple take down attempts, but was only successful on one. When he got Fields to the ground, he did not do much damage, but the round more than likely went to Van Buren.
The second round definitely went to Van Buren, as he got Fields to the ground multiple times and landed a couple of shots. That frustrated Team Penn’s coaches to no end.
Field showed flashes of his talents, especially while he was standing up throwing punches, but he failed to create enough separation to capitalize.
After two uneventful rounds, Van Buren was awarded the fight by majority decision. Despite the win, Van Buren was disappointed in his performances. UFC President Dana White was more than disappointed. In fact, he was flat out bored by it.
White’s anger with how boring the fights have been this season prompted him to have a sit-down with each of the remaining fighters to motivate them to put on a show. He told them how much money they could earn before they got to the finale in an effort to put on more entertaining fights. White’s rants have probably been more exciting than the fights.
White wasn’t alone in his opinion of the fights. Penn voiced his displeasures as well.
White then took it upon himself to decide the semifinal matchups. White’s decision was put Eddie Gordon of Team Edgar against Cathal Pendred of Team Penn; Team Edgar’s Corey Anderson against teammate Pat Walsh; Dhiego Lima of Team Edgar against Team Penn’s Roger Zapata; and Van Buren against Team Penn’s Daniel Spohn.
White said that he was going to approach each fight with a new set of eyes and hoped that each fighter left it all in the cage.