After losing for the first time on this season of The Ultimate Fighter, the Blackzilians got back into the win column with Jason Jackson utilizing superior footwork and a solid jab to defeat Marcelo Alfaya. With both teams having the chance to shake up their rosters, odds are we’ll be seeing some new faces on the second half of this season.
American Top Team began the episode with a pep talk from ATT’s Conan Silveira and Dan Lambert. It was the prototypical “do you wanna be a fighter?” speech heard from UFC President Dana White in previous seasons.
The Blackzilians were faced with an emotional moment as they informed Andrews Nakahara that he would be replaced on the show due to a 30-day suspension from the athletic commission. Alexandre “Pulga” Pimentel is the fighter chosen to replace him. Pimental holds a 13-1 record and is a World Series of Fighting veteran. He also holds a number of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu accomplishments.
Cristiano “Soldado” Souza is picked to be ATT’s only replacement. It’s a surprising move given that ATT has only won a single fight on this season. Souza has a 7-1 record including a 3-1 run in Bellator MMA. It’s not his first time on a reality show as Souza previously competed on Fight Master, Bellator MMA’s brief attempt at MMA reality TV. He has a background in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and capoeira.
Nathan Coy will be the next man up for American Top Team. Coy is a veteran with a 14-5 record and holds victories over notable names like Rick Story, Mike Pierce and Dhiego Lima. Coy was on a six-fight winning streak before dropping his most recent fight, with two of those bouts coming in the Bellator MMA cage.
Vicente Luque will represent the Blackzilians in this week’s fight. Luque has a modest 7-4 record but is still young at just 23 years of age. He originally began his martial arts training in karate due to his mother being a karate black belt. Eventually he moved to Muay Thai and from there, began training for MMA.
As a reminder, here’s how the two teams stack up.
*Andrews Nakahara has been removed from the show due to a 30-day suspension from the athletic commission.
Round one began with Coy looking for a takedown but being held off by Luque. While defending the takedown, Luque caused a cut above the right eye of Coy. The ATT fighter secured a deep body lock but was unable to secure a takedown. He worked the legs of Luque with knees but struggled mightily to get Luque to the mat. The Blackzilians fighter made Coy pay for every failed takedown attempt with powerful strikes throughout the first round. Coy was able to push Luque into the fence but failed to do anything of note outside of leaning into his opponent. Initially Coy was able to transition between takedown attempts but none of it was working for the MMA veteran. Round one clearly went to the Blackzilians’ Luque.
Round two started much like the first round, with Luque clearly being the better striker. The Blackzilians fighter landed hard shots that were not only visible on-screen, but were clearly heard with hard thuds as well. Coy was able to snatch a leg off a Luque kick to get him to the mat finally. Luque was able to work back up to his feet but Coy was persistent with his clinch game. The referee warned Coy to stay active while against the fence and he managed to do just enough to avoid being separated by the official. With Luque unable to create space, Coy ended up taking the second round, forcing a decisive round three.
Coy found more success in the final round, landing a takedown and pressing Luque against the fence once again. However, Luque landed a nice kick to the body to force Coy into a desperate takedown. Luque blocked the shot. After defending another takedown attempt, Luque was able to lock in an anaconda choke on Coy. The American Top Team fighter attempted to escape Luque’s grasp but was forced to tap out, giving the Blackzilians another victory.