After a brief recap from the previous week, we are all set for the episode where Tito calls it quits, in addition to two more quarterfinal fights. The episode starts immediately with the McCray-Noke weigh ins as both guys weigh in at 185.
Following the weigh ins, Team Ortiz members are at the training center, where it is explained that Ortiz is having issues with his neck again and may be facing immediate surgery.
“I’ve been through one surgery before,” said Ortiz. “If it happens again, it happens again.”
Ortiz explains that if surgery is needed, he will opt to have it, instead of facing Liddell in their upcoming fight without being a full 100%.
It is Octagon time with the first of two quarterfinal bouts, starting with Kyle Noke facing off against Kris McCray.
Round 1 – McCray starts first with the kick-punch combo, but Noke comes back with a stiff jab, and a knee to the body. McCray changes levels and takes the fight to the ground early.
McCray is on top, but not for long as Noke makes his way back to his feet. Noke lands a solid jab, and McCray shoots and eats a knee to the body, but finally works Noke back down to the mat again.
McCray is back in the half guard of Noke again, as Noke’s corner yells for him to get off of his back. McCray is throwing and landing short elbows, but once again Noke scrambles out and gets to his feet.
Noke is fighting off a take down after clinching and catches the neck of McCray and goes for a guillotine. McCray is out of trouble and makes his way to his feet, then drives Noke against the cage looking for a single.
Noke works to rip out the left arm of McCray for a kimura attempt, forcing McCray to roll to escape. McCray back in top position in the full guard of Noke with about 1:00 to go in the first round. The referee is calling for McCray to work.
Noke goes to the butterfly guard and is looking to push off the hips of McCray. Noke lands a nice left hand from his back and is looking at an armbar, then lands a stiff right hand from his back as the bell sounds on Round 1. Very good work by Noke from his back.
Round 2 – Huge overhand right from MCray to start. Noke counters, and McCray goes to the clinch looking for a takedown but is stuffed.
McCray shoots for another takedown but its defended nicely, but McCray is relentless, and gets a big slam putting Noke on the mat again. Noke works his way to his feet, but gets suplexed for his efforts.
The takedowns will likely be the difference in the fight. McCray now on top in the half guard and landing big punches. Noke is trying to use the cage to push off but he is being controlled.
Big left hands from McCray from top position. McCray is alternating the lefts to the head, and right hands to the body. McCray scores with a short elbow, as Noke is scrambling to create space to get to his feet.
He does, then goes to the clinch and tries to muscle McCray to the ground. He drags McCray down and takes his back, and is looking for the RNC. McCray is in trouble now, but Noke is having a hard time getting his hooks in.
Noke gets one hook in and secures the choke but it’s not under the chin, but more across the jaw.
McCray is trying to turn into Noke and does, and is now back in top control in the full guard of Noke. Noke sits up with his back against the cage and is looking to wall walk his way up, but McCray snatches his hips back and off of the cage, putting him on his back again just before the sound of the bell. It’s the end of Round 2, and that one will be hard to judge.
UFC president Dana White announces that the judges have called it a draw, and we are going a third round. After the announcement, Tito is shocked to hear that the fight is going 3, but quickly tells his fighter to get ready for sudden death.
Round 3 – McCray lands with a jab, then a kick-punch combo, before shooting for a takedown against the cage. McCray goes for the double and gets it. McCray is grinding short elbows to the face of Noke, and working the body with his right hand.
Noke is staying busy on his back, trying to create enough space to escape. McCray is controlling the action from the top, just staying busy enough to keep the referee from stepping in and standing them back up.
McCray is landing some flush left hands now, and then a big elbow connects that bounces Noke’s head off the mat. Two minutes to go and it appears that McCray will be advancing based on the final round. No change in position as Noke has been unable to get off his back.
Noke isolates the left arm of McCray, and tries to pull off a kimura, but McCray slips out and resumes his ground and pound (lay and pray), before the referee stands them back up.
After the restart, McCray gets a body lock and is looking to take the fight back down once again. McCray lands a couple of knees to the thighs but is mostly just leaning on Noke waiting for the bell to sound. The fight is over and it is pretty easy to predict what the judges will say about that round.
The judges agree, and award the Round 10-9 for McCray, advancing him to the semis.
Baczynski-Tavares is up next as both guys make weight.
Back at the house, ProMMAnow.com blogger Kyacey Uscola asks Chuck Liddell about Tito possibly pulling out of their fight. I would try to quote Chuck, but it would look a little something like this:
“Expletive] x 50.”
Tavares and Baczynski make their way to the cage, and it is time to see who will be joining McCray in the next round of the competition.
Round 1 – Both guys exchange kicks to start. Baczynski comes in wild with an overhand right and gets caught with a counter from Tavares.
Baczynski to the clinch looking to put Tavares on his back. Baczynski goes with the trip takedown and gets it.
Tavares looks for a submission but gets stacked and rolls giving up his back, after throwing up his legs looking for a submission. Baczynski locks up a tight body triangle and is looking for the RNC.
Baczynski is landing some nice shots from the back of Tavares, as Tavares is scrambling to get him off his back. Tavares stands and tries to shake Baczynski off his back, but the body triangle is tight, and is keeping Baczynski in good position.
Bacznyski locks up the RNC, but Tavares does a good job of turning into him, then gets back to his knees. Tavares still trying to shake Baczynski off, and finally does.
Tavares is now standing over the guard of Baczynski and is looking to pass when he eats a big upkick. Tavares is trying to pass to side mount, but is stuck in the half guard of Baczynski, then gets caught in a triangle.
Tavares slams Baczynski and gets out of the triangle. Tavares lands a left hand, but Baczynski is winning the fight off of his back, nearly locking up an omoplata.
Tavares turns into Baczynsik gets a good top position and lands some big shots. Baczynski scrambles out after Tavares misses a big knee to the head, and lands a kick of his own to the face of the downed Tavares.
After a discussion with the doctor, referee Herb Dean calls the fight after the illegal blow at the end of Round 1.
Tito’s coaches complain that the kick landed under the armpit, but it was pretty obvious that the kick landed right on the jaw of Tavares, KO’ing up before his head hitting the mat woke him back up.
Rich gets into a verbal battle with Tito’s coaches, and Tito goes off, causing Chuck to step in and join in on the reindeer games.
After the altercation, Dana calls Chuck into a meeting room and tells him that Tito has pulled out of their fight. Chuck’s response is quick and to the point.
“I’m gonna go punch him,” said Liddell.
It looks like next week will be full of controversy, as fans will get Tito’s side of the story, and the Yager-Bryant fight has it’s own controversy before the semi-final announcements are made.