TUF 29: “On My Time” Proves Show Can Still Be Compelling

Vince Murdock, TUF 29
Credit: UFC/ESPN+

“Tresean, I hope he goes on and wins this thing. Nothing but respect for my guy.”

After coming up short last week against Tresean Gore, Ryder Newman took the high road in the fourth episode of TUF 29, entited On My Time. Coach Alexander Volkanovski, meanwhile, chose not to dwell on yet another loss for his team. “Obviously, last night, it happened,” said the featherweight champ, who later told the cameras that he just wanted to move on.

So far, a steady onward march has set in on this season of The Ultimate Fighter, with nary a surprise in the offing. In week four, however, Volkanovski brought in former TUF winner and current welterweight contender Michael Chiesa, the first guest star of the season. Chiesa happens to be a training partner of TUF 29 bantamweight Brady Hiestand, making the appearance a reunion of sorts.

Team Ortega, meanwhile, chowed down on some steak. “We’re starting to come closer, we’re starting to know each other better,” noted coach Brian Ortega.

Week four’s showdown in the cage had Vince Murdock lined up against Dustin Lampros.

Murdock likely has one of the most compelling stories of any of the TUF 29 cast. The bantamweight saw his career nearly derailed by health issues not too long ago — and he was the last man picked by his team. That, admitted Murdock during the episode, has left him with a chip on his shoulder.

“I stared death in the face, and I’m still fighting,” Murdock exclaimed at one point.

Murdock’s story being the most compelling lasted right up until Dustin opened up about the loss of his mother. Having left home just weeks prior to her death, it left his brother to be the one to find the body — something Lampros clearly carries a lot of guilt over.

Adding a little drama to the affair, Lampros came in heavy for his first weigh-in attempt ahead of the fight. Given an extra hour to cut less than a pound, he successfully made weight. But come the fight, it was Murdock’s time to shine.

While Lampros found success early, rocking Murdock and backing him up, Vince Murdock soon battled back. He dropped Lampros with a right hand, then swarmed. When a knee connected on Lampros against the cage, that was all she wrote. Team Ortega had its fourth win of the season, continuing its shutout.

Following the fight, selecting the following week’s match-ups, Volkanovski apologized for Ortega making the group wait. “You’re on my time,” Ortega retorted, leading to the champ calling him a “sh*t person.” In the end, a bickering match erupted between Volkanovski, Ortega, and Michael Chiesa, a completely unnecessary end to an otherwise standout episode.

As for next week, the superbly named Bryan Battle will take on Kemran Lachinov, in a battle of the last two middleweights selected this season.