UFC 'Ultimate Fighter 21' episode 11 recap: Amazing Graves?

By Steve Juon, Wrestling Observer

Quick summary: The Blackzilians are up 300-200 with Nathan Coy narrowing their lead last week with a 20-18 unanimous decision over Valdir Araujo. American Top Team still needs to win the final two fights – if the Blackzilians win tonight it’s all over. The good news for ATT is that they have home gym advantage tonight.

Show Recap:

Glenn Robinson says there will be no more scoreboards and no more cigars for anybody in the camp until they’ve won the season. “It’s not over!!” Jason Jackson accuses some of his teammates of losing their hunger. Robinson: “We are gonna make our win in their house. That’s more satisfying. Maybe that’s how it was meant to be.”

Coincidentally Jackson is the guy they are zeroing in on to take this week’s fight. Jackson: “Of course man! I’m ready to do it. Let’s do this! If I don’t challenge myself, I don’t think I belong in the UFC.” Jackson last fought on week six of the show and beat Marcelo Alfaya in a close fight – a 20-18 X2 majority decision.

Top Team debates who should go. Dan Lambert seems to be suggesting Michael Graves should get some redemption after losing to Kamaru Usman in the first fight of the show. Lambert says he’s got a baby on the way and a lot on the line for his future. Graves: “I’m getting ready to get some points back for myself and my team. You’re about to see a whole different Mike Graves.”

This season it’s not a coach vs. coach challenge – it’s an OWNER vs. OWNER challenge. The winner gets $10,000 and all of the fighters on the winning team get $1,500 each. The challenge is a relay race – they can pick any three guys (including their coaches – it’s not limited to the fighters) but the owners have to run the final leg themselves.

Jason Jackson tries his best to give Glenn Robinson a huge lead with his long stride, but Dan Lambert is in better shape and outruns him in the last leg for the money. Lambert: “I can’t really take a lot of pride when you beat Glenn in something physical.”

Weigh-in day and Jackson and Graves step forward, and Graves weighs in first – he’s 170 even. Lambert: “Mike Graves says he has a lot more to offer than he showed in taht first fight.” Jackson is 170.25. Dana White believes Jackson wants this more than anyone.

This isn’t going to be a long fight – they pad the heck out of this show with drama in the house and interview segments until there are only 15 minutes of air time left.

* Michael Graves (American Top Team) vs. Jason Jackson (Blackzilians)

Graves is in red trunks and Jackson is sporting black. Graves lands a solid left hook about a half minute in. Jackson lands a kick to the body that looks like it might have gone to the nuts, but the red didn’t stop it and Jackson tries to swarm and finish him with knees against the fence. Graves is doing his best to cover up and survive. Jackson just keeps pouring on knees to the body. The ref gives him a warning for shots to the back of the head as he tries to hammer out a finish. Graves survives, turns around, and gets a takedown at 2:20. Not only that he takes the back and immediately goes for a rear naked choke. Jackson taps at 3:01!!

Amazing come from behind finish. Glenn Robinson is pissed saying the fight should have been stopped when Jackson was pouring it on with knees and hammers. He’s screaming at the officials, he’s screaming at the refs, everybody’s telling him to calm down. “The guy didn’t defend himself for over a minute!”

Robinson keeps barking at the officials as they walk out. “I’m gonna post this on the internet with your picture!” Meanwhile back inside the gym everybody is giving Graves daps and hugs. Lambert: “That’s one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen in my life.” Hard to argue – Graves went from nearly being finished to getting the tap moments later. Lambert: “I was surprised the ref did not stop it.” That’s only going to rile Robinson up MORE. Dana White: “The only one who got screwed in that fight was the Top Team, not the Blackzilians! He (Graves) overcomes three fouls!”

It is what it is though – a 300-300 tie with one fight left to go – the season finale airing next week!