Episode five of The Ultimate Fighter 11 opens with a recap of Jamie Yager’s first-round TKO of Charlie Blanchard for Team Ortiz’s first victory of the season, before the fighters turn their attention to the wildcard as well as an extra opening left following Rich Attonito’s injury.
A shoulder injury will prevent Clayton McKinney from continuing, while Blanchard says he’ll also be unable to fight again, leaving James Hammortree and Kyacey Uscola as the current front-runners.
At the gym, Ortiz selects Kris McCray to face Team Liddell’s Josh Bryant, and while Ortiz concedes it’s a tough matchup, he’s confident McCray can earn the victory.
Following training sessions for both teams which focus on Bryant and McCray, the fighters return to the house where McKinney is recovering from extensive shoulder surgery.
Back at the gym, Bryant and McCray both tip the scale at 185-pounds to make their matchup official.
After another training session, Ortiz apologizes to McKinney for doubting the seriousness of his injury, but McKinney doubts his coach’s sincerity and flips Ortiz off as he walks away.
The fighters return to the gym on fight day and Bryant and McCray make their way to the Octagon for their matchup.
McCray dominates early in the first, as he connects with punches and knees to the body and manages to take Bryant’s back, but Bryant closes the round strong, neutralizing McCray’s offense before taking his back late in the frame. In the second, Bryant blasts a tired McCray with punches throughout while also controlling thr ground early, though McCray finishes the round on top but does little damage.
With the first two rounds scored a draw, we head to a decisive third frame. Bryant looks for a takedown earn, but McCray manages to keep the fight standing before trying for a takedown of his own while both fighters trade shots in the clinch. After a restart, Bryant rocks McCray with punches then gets him to the ground, where he quickly gets mount then takes his back, locking on a rear naked choke which McCray escapes in the final seconds.
After a “grueling, back-and-forth” fight, Bryant earned the unanimous decision over McCray with 29-28 scores from all three judges.
Bryant celebrates the biggest win of his career, while McCray says he’s disappointed in the loss but not with his performance, saying he knows he “left it all in the cage”.
Despite the latest loss dropping his team to 1-4, Ortiz says the competition isn’t over and that he won’t give up.
Next week on The Ultimate Fighter 11, a serious injury may knock another fighter out of wildcard contention, Liddell and Ortiz square off at dodgeball in the season’s coaches challenge, then two more middleweights meet in the latest opening round matchup.