American Top Team celebrated its second victory of the season — and second for Hayder Hassan — as the ninth episode began. However, the gym still trails the Blackzilians in the head-to-head competition of this season of The Ultimate Fighter.
Last week’s combatants, Hassan and Felipe Portela, paid respect to one another after their battle in the cage.
As the third tier of fights kicked off, the Blackzilians did the math on the points-based format, acknowledging that they must win two of the final four bouts in order to claim the show’s title.
American Top Team selected Steve Carl as its fighter for the ninth fight of season, giving the veteran a chance at redemption after a lackluster submission defeat in his earlier outing. The Blackzilians countered with wrestling stalwart Kamaru Usman, who looked to build on his earlier win in the season.
As a reminder, here’s how the two teams stack up.
The fighters traded punches early, but Usman quickly went to his wrestling game and took Carl to the ground. Carl scrambled well and got back to his feet, but it wasn’t long before Usman pinned him against the fence. Carl countered with a guillotine attempt and looked for a takedown of his own. Usman separated momentarily, but returned to pressing the fight against the cage. Usman was warned multiple time for grabbing the fence. The final minute of the round saw Usman score with strikes, prompting Carl to shoot for a takedown. Usman stuffed it and ended the round in the top position to secure the round.
In round two, Carl came out aggressive on the feet. Usman avoided damage and went back to work along the fence. He was again warned for grabbing the fence. Carl looked to attack the neck once more, but Usman defended well. Carl then went for a kimura and tried to roll, but Usman powered free and into top position. Usman delivered a steady stream of elbows from the dominant position, but Carl worked back to his feet. It was short-lived as Usman dragged him to the canvas and attempted an arm-triangle. Carl escaped and fished for an armbar from his back, but it was too little, too late, as Usman earned the round and the win on the scorecards.