Did the UFC really have to call the latest installment of TUF 29 “Snake Bitten,” knowing the history of the whole “snake in the grass” meme with Conor McGregor and T.J. Dillashaw?
They sure did, but the title of this week’s Ultimate Fighter 29 episode had nothing to do with that incident. Instead, Team Ortea brought in some massive snakes to prank Team Volkanovski — though it nearly backfired when one massive python showed a particular fondness for Brian Ortega himself.
While it was a good rib on the team, are you really shocking anyone from Austalia with snakes? Volkanovski had a laugh. “These guys are on point with their pranks.”
Fun and games over, it was time to turn the attention to the next semifinal, with Cowboy Cerrone making a guest appearance for Team Volkanovski.
“I’ve made a career of taking short notice fights, and fighting all the time. So being ready and staying ready, I’m sure these guys are helping you,” Cowboy told the team. “Enjoy the journey man,” he added, from the preparation right up to the fight.
This week’s semifinal saw bantamweight Brady Hiestand up against Vince Murdock. Somehow, despite being on the show, Hiestand was unaware of Murdock’s backstory — having been signed to the UFC, only to be cut just before his debut due to a brain abnormality that eventually required surgery.
Before the episode got to that, we had the coach’s challenge. $10,000 on the line, $1,500 for each fighter on the winning coach’s team. The challenge? “Cornhole,” which is sort of like horseshoes, only with sandbags being tossed, in an attempt to get closest to or in the hole.
With the game going to 21, it took 25 rounds for a winner to be declared — Brian Ortega. Thankfully the action wasn’t in real time. What was in real time was the second 135lb semifinal, for as long as it lasted.
Hiestand managed to get Murdock on his back early, and though he had to avoid upkicks, he soon settled into side control. Murduck tried to use the fence to spin himself around, but Hiestand stayed right on him. Some solid top control from Hiestand saw him eating away time, and mixing in some ground n’ pound. Murdock appeared to have no answer, struggled off his back, and could not escape. Eventually, Hiestand mounted the back, and unanswered strikes locked up the TKO win for the Team Volkanovski fighter.
Murdock’s inspiring story, for the time being, ends there, and after the fight he revealed that he had blown out his knee in the opening minute.
The bantamweight finale is now set: Ricky Turcios will take on Brady Hiestand.