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TUF Recap: Ronda Rousey, Mickey Rourke and Rasslin!

TUF Recap: McDaniel vs. Gastellum

We’re on to the fifth episode of the new season of TUF, and someone has a pretty big mouth on the show but it’s not Chael Sonnen. We’d figured Sonnen would give us one long parade filled with funny quips, one-liners and some good ol’ fashioned trash talk, but he’s been nothing short of polite.

The rebooted version of TUF has been solid, so we’ll forgive Sonnen — for now. In his place, Team Jones fighter Bubba McDaniel has been a veritable fountain of blabber, and this is the week he gets to back it up. McDaniel faces Team Sonnen’s Kelvin Gastelum.

Jones explained why they selected Gastelum as McDaniel’s opponent. “We called out Kelvin because we thought he was the weakest link, and the smartest decision for our team.”

Sonnen begs to differ with Jones, and tells Gastelum that everybody else on the show needs to win the tournament to get into the UFC, but all Gastelum has to do is beat McDaniel. “You just gotta beat this guy. This is your ticket right here,” Sonnen said. That’s not necessarily true, but why let the facts get in the way of a good pep talk.

Gastelum gets an added incentive to win the fight. Sonnen gets Ronda Rousey on the phone, and she tells Gastelum that if he wins she’ll come out to Vegas and teach the team for a day.

Sonnen is still all chummy with Jones, talking with him in the hall of the gym, shaking his hand and telling him “thanks for the conversation”, but we do get some laughs when his team plays some charades back at the house. Gilbert Smith, dressed solely in some camouflage undies, leads it off with ‘Coming to America’, and it’s funny for the team as well as the viewers. Maybe that’s the next UFC-themed show. The Ultimate Charades! It could be like ‘Password’ or ‘Win, Lose or Draw’. Each week lucky contestants are teamed up with UFC fighters in a game of charades. Seriously — that would be so money.

McDaniel skips all the fun and goes and chills outside by the fire. Why so serious? “It’s been a long, sad road in my life to be where I’m at in MMA, but I believe on the other hand, you know, MMA helped save my life,” McDaniel says. He’s all about his business right now. That’s understandable because all the pressure is on him in this fight. He’s the favorite and he’s much more experienced than Gastelum.

“This fight is important. Every fight is important. You’re only as good as you’re last fight, as everybody says, and my last fight, it took a little bit for me to get started, I ended it well, but at the same time, I’m going to make this one a statement fight itself,” McDaniel says.

While a Gastelum win will bring Ronda Rousey in to train with Team Sonnen, Sonnen has another special guest already in the gym to talk with his troops: former boxer and actor Mickey Rourke. Sonnen says that he called Mickey to have him come in and give a speech because he was a guy that stayed after his dreams to make them come true. Rourke recalls it differently. “No, you said if I don’t talk to these guys you’re gonna beat my ass,” Rourke said to a bunch of laughs.

Rourke was well-received by the fighters. “He was an interesting guy, seems like he’s had a very hard life and overcome a lot of things to get to where he is,” Luke Barnatt said.

Both McDaniel and Gastelum make weight and it’s on to the fight.

The fighters feel each other out and Bubba throws first, but Gastelum is able to shake it off and take McDaniel down. Gastelum tries to secure a kimura, but McDaniel takes his back and starts dropping some leather. He tries to sink his hooks in and is looking for a rear naked choke, but Gastelum is able to get back to his feet. The fighters keep exchanging top position, but it’s McDaniel’s round.

Round two starts with Gastelum landing a solid leg kick, but it’s quickly back to the ground game. Gastelum gets McDaniel down, but he’s hard to keep there. Bubba takes Gastelum’s back but he’s shaken off. Gastelum gets back on top and Sonnen yells for him to maintain position, knowing that is what will win him the round if it’s close like the first. Bubba scrambles out of it but gives up his back in the process. He leaves his neck wide open and Gastelum sinks in a choke. Bubba looks like he’s about to go to sleep and he taps out. Gastelum gets up and lets loose a victory scream.

McDaniel breaks down in tears in the dressing room and says he feels like a failure. Even though he ran his mouth during the first few episodes, you’d have to be heartless not to feel for the guy.

In the other dressing room, Gastelum takes another call from Rousey, who says she can’t wait to meet him and we’ll be coming to Vegas to train with Team Sonnen. “I’m on top of the world, mang,” Gastelum says in his best Tony Montana accent.

Sonnen announces the next TUF fight: Tor Troeng vs. Josh Samman. And we’ll see you next week.

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