The Ultimate Fighter 21: ATT vs. Blackzilians: Episode 11 Review


On last weeks episode, a win from team captain Nate Coy kept ATT in the game and reduced the points deficit to just 100. A win in this – the penultimate installment of TUF 21 – would see them draw level and set up a final week decider. The Blackzilians still need just one victory to take the season and the $200,000 prize.

Dana White is clearly relieved that the season is still up for grabs.

“Finally!”, White said of Coy’s victory. “The American Top Team gets a win. But [they] have to win two in a row to win the competition. The Blackzilians only have to win one fight and they win the whole thing.

“That fight was a devastating loss to Glenn and the Blackzilians. Now, we’re in a position where the American Top Team wins the next fight, and it comes down to the last fight of the season. I guarantee you the Blackzilians did not see this coming.”

For this week’s crucial match-up, the Blackzilians choose Jason Jackson. Jackson defeated Marcelo “Grilo” Alfaya in Episode 6, defending takedown attempts and outworking the Brazilian grappler with superior footwork and hand speed. ATT opt for Michael Graves who got out-wrestled by Kamaru Usman in the first fight of the season and struggled psychologically in the weeks following the loss.

Dana White has reservations about Lambert’s selection.

“So, the Blackzilians picked Jason Jackson, who is a good striker, he’s good on the ground, and more importantly, he wants this fight”, said White. “He wants to bring it home for the Blackzilians and win it. Mentally, emotionally, physically he’s there, and he wants this fight.

“Dan Lambert picks Michael Graves, who not only lost his first fight but was mentally out of it after the fight. He was destroyed. Right now American Top Team is in a position where if they don’t win this fight, the competition is over. Dan and his team pick Graves. We’ll see how this thing plays out.”

Both fighters make the required weight, and the fight is on.

Michael Graves vs. Jason Jackson
The fight opens with tentative striking from both fighters. Graves is testing the range with kicks, while Jackson is flicking the jab that was so successful for him in his first fight. As the fight approaches the end of the first minute, Jackson throws a kick that appears to hit Graves low. Graves is hurt. Jackson pounces and starts landing knees to the body and punches to the head of Graves who is crouched against the fence. Jackson continues to land heavy blows as Graves covers up and tries to scramble away. The referee warns Jackson over illegal punches to the back of Graves head. After a full minute of abuse, Graves manages to get to his knees and executes a takedown against the fence. He quickly transitions to Jackson’s back where he begins looking for a rear naked choke. Jackson defends well initially, but Graves manages to slip his arm under the chin of the Blackzilian and forces the tap at 3:01 of the first round.

The ATT facility erupts into scenes of near-hysteria. Glenn Johnson and the Blackzilians camp are livid. They feel the fight should have been stopped when Jackson was raining blows down on Graves. ATT, too, are in disbelief at the astonishing comeback. And nobody is more excited than Dana White.

“Are you fucking kidding me?”, said a pumped-up Dana White. “Graves not only redeems himself, he takes an absolute beating, a pounding, then comes back and finishes by submission… Now we only have one fight left. Unbelievable. You can’t write this shit.”

After all of the Blackzilians’ dominance throughout the season, they have let their points lead slip, and the scores are now level. The season will come down to a single fight in the final episode of the season.

Tune in to next week to see who takes the $200,000 prize.

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