The Ultimate Fighter 17 episode 2 recap: Barnatt vs. Smith

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Team Sonnen’s Luke Barnatt (left) and Team Jones’ Gilbert Smith (right) square off on The Ultimate Fighter 17 episode 2.

With Coach Chael Sonnen getting the privilege of picking the first fighter for his team in episode 1, Jones got the privilege of  being able to pick the first fight.

To represent his team, Jones selects 30-year-old Gilbert Smith (5-1) of Colorado Springs, Colo. to take on 24-year-old Luke Barnatt (5-0) of Cambridge, England.

It’s a bit of an odd match-up and weird pick from Coach Jones because of the significant height advantage the 6-foot-4-inch Barnatt has over the 5-foot-9-inch Smith.

Smith’s teammates don’t seem confident in the match-up. Even Smith himself does not appear confident and mentions that none of his coaches have given him any positive reinforcement going into the bout.

At one point he is shown crying in the backyard and he talks about the emotional and mental support system he usually has around him at home not being there. It’s obviously not the ideal mindset a fighter wants to have going into an important fight like this.

Bubba McDaniel and a few other members of Team Jones are outside and hear Gilbert Smith crying. McDaniel says Smith is mentally weak and points out he’s only been away from home for a week.

In fact, McDaniel becomes so concerned about Smith and the impact his loss could have on the team, he takes it upon himself to bring his concerns to one of their coaches, Frank Mir. The whole team then decides they will tell Gilbert Smith they don’t feel he’s ready.

The team confronts Smith as the coaches listen outside the door. Smith is not happy with his team’s lack of confidence in his preparedness and feels ganged up on. Coach Jones, rather than going with the team, says he believes in Smith and tells him as long as he’s behind him that’s all he needs.

Smith says, “Coach Jon gave me the go ahead and I want to do everything in my power to make sure I don’t make him out to look stupid.”

Coach Jones works with Smith on an overhand punch he feels will be a key ingredient in defeating the much taller Luke Barnatt.

Team Jones’ Clint Hester and Adam Cella voice their support for Smith and seem to be the only ones confident he can defeat Barnatt at the moment.

We learn that Barnatt’s mother was a Jehovah’s Witness and his father was a hippie.

At the weigh-ins Gilbert Smith looks like an Adonis, but Dana gets word of Smith’s teammates not being thrilled with the match-up and says, “I dont’ know why Jon would  pick a guy with such a height and reach disadvantage to go against a guy like Luke Barnatt.”

It’s fight time…

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Gilbert Smith (Team Jones) vs. Luke Barnatt (Team Sonnen)

Round 1 – Leg kick Smith. Leg kick Barnatt, it rises high and a brief time out is called for a groin shot. Leg kick from Smith, he shoots for a single pressing Barnatt to the cage. Smith gets him down as Barnatt fights to get up using his back against the cage. Smith maintains a body lock and goes for a takedown but ends up on bottom. He gets right up and presses Barnatt against the cage. Barnatt turns him around, lands a couple knees to the body, another one using a Thai plum before Smith gets the takedown. Barnatt bounces right back up. Smith stays on him looking to put him back down but Barnatt gets a trip takedown. Smith is right up. One two punch from Barnatt. Jab. Smith shoots, sprawl from Barnatt and he puts Smith down, lands a couple punches before Smith gets top control. Barnatt gets to his feet. Smith looking for the takedown maintaining the clinch. Barnatt breaks free, leg kick. Leg kick inside from Smith, he shoots, presses Barnatt to cage. Lifts him up but can’t get him down. They square up and swing but nothing connects solid. Pro MMA Now sees it 10-9 for Smith in round one.

Round 2 – Coach Jones tells Smith between rounds, “He doesn’t like to get hit in the face, but what I need you to do is hit him in the face.” Touch gloves. Jab from Baranatt. Smith ducks under for the single leg shot. Hammerfists from Barnatt. Smith tries to drag him down but ends up on bottom, he gets back to his feet, they remained clinch as Smith still trying to get him down. Gets Barnatt to his knees. Barnatt rolls but ends up on his back, then gets to his feet. Smith staying on him with no room to breathe. Barnatt gets the takedown, gets top control in half guard. Smith gets to his knees then feet. Smith swings with big punch combinations and connecting. Body shots from Smith. He backs up then without setting it up shoots in from the outside just in time to meet a leaping knee from Barnatt and this fight is over. Smith goes down and is done. Barnatt knows it and doesn’t even bother trying to follow up.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Luke Barnatt def. Gilbert Smith by Knockout (flying knee) Rd 2

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“That was a bad match-up. Jones made that match too,” UFC President Dana White says following the fight.

Jones says after the fight, “Gilbert lost the fight tonight before he got here. I don’t feel as if he really ever got the ball rolling, and basically, Luke came with better cardio and more confidence. I don’t think cardio should ever be a reason for losing a fight.”

After the fight Team Jones’ Josh Samman says, “I’m not going to make a big deal about it, but everybody knows that I told them so.”

Wanting to maintain some level of control for Team Jones after the loss, Bubba McDaniel calls out Kevin Casey saying they need to fight next. Casey says he thought McDaniel’s approach in calling him out was very disrespectful.

Gilbert Smith took the loss very hard and one of his coaches reminds him there is a wildcard pick and he could still get another chance.

Coach Chael Sonnen gets the next fight pick and he chooses Uriah Hall (7-2) of Queens, N.Y. to take on Adam Cella (4-0) of St. Louis.

White says it’s an interesting pick because they all agree Hall is the toughest guy there. Coach Jones says it’s going to be a very tough fight for them and realizes Hall is one of the top guys.

The preview for the fight says it’s one of the most violent finishes in Ultimate Fighter history. Sounds fun! Who do you think gets it? White himself calls it, “One of the nastiest knockouts I’ve ever seen in the fight business, let alone in The Ultimate Fighter.”