Last week’s combatants, Claire Gutherie and Juliana Miller, kick off episode seven of The Ultimate Fighter 30 by giving each other props for a great fight. Miller says she feels like she slayed a giant — not Gutherie, but the “fear I had built up in my head over failure,” especially since Gutherie had been the only woman to beat her.
It’s a fitting intro for an episode entitled “Crush Your Dreams.” But this week, the focus is back on the heavyweights.
Coach Julianna Pena calls Jordan Heiderman “my viking,” and he certainly looks the part. He’s confident in his wrestling ahead of his match-up with Chandler Cole; Pena cautions him not to keep his chin too high and to keep his guard up. Especially given Cole has a heavy right hand.
Heiderman is a steelworker who gave up a decent job to commit to The Ultimate Fighter. He refers to his gym as more of a club, not even a real team. Previously, he had been training just a couple of times a week.
For those in need of a refresher, heavyweight Chandler Cole was injured earlier in the season, a bicep tear. Luckily, he’s been able to fight through it. In his day job, Cole is a corrections officer. His motivation for getting to the UFC is to show that it doesn’t matter where you come from, you can succeed. Cole says he grew up poor, sometimes not eating at the end of the month when food stamps ran out.
He’s also a wrestling coach at his local high school back in Coeburn, Virginia.
Cole is concerned that coach Amanda Nunes will have him go too hard in training, given his injured arm. “I trust ya’ll, I just don’t want to hurt myself either,” he tells her. “You have to deal with it. I feel like you’re going to be fine when you step in the cage,” Nunes tells the camera.
The Ultimate Fighter 30: Heiderman vs. Cole
For his size — he’s a chubby, Chris Barnett style heavyweight — Chandler Cole has no issue firing a head kick early against Heiderman. Both men mix in some low kicks; Cole lunges in with his right hand. Cole comes over the top with a right hand off a low kick, setting it up well. Heiderman is reacting, rather than attacking, and while his low kicks are crisp, he doesn’t get his hands going much in the first half of round one. Cole’s corner tells him to “surprise” Heiderman, somewhat giving away the surprise by calling for it. Heiderman fires a push kick, then Cole lands a spinning wheel kick to the jaw that rocks Heiderman! Cole can’t seem to follow up and they wind up in a heap on the ground for a moment.
“I need you to focus,” Pena tells Heiderman between rounds. He’s still shaking off the cobwebs from the looks of things.
In round two, Cole breaks out the spinning back kick again early, to the body this time. Nunes tells him not to play; his corner urges him to “just keep touching him up.” Cole fakes and feints a few spinning attacks without pulling the trigger. He leads with a low kick and misses with a right hand. Heiderman is firing single jabs, not setting them up. Two minutes in, he adds a leg kick to the mix. Heiderman’s hesitancy to pull the trigger is a big concern. He starts putting short combos together late in the round, with Pena screaming “again, again, again” over and over. Cole fires a high kick.
They’d head to a third after a close second round. Cole gets his hands going early, and uncorcks a calf kick. Cole and Heiderman start trading, and Cole drops him! Heiderman gets back up, and hurts Cole! Cole shoots, Heiderman stuffs it, Cole goes down, turtles up, and eats a ton of hammer fists before the ref calls it! Great comeback by Heiderman, who nearly lost it after the second.
Official Result: Jordan Heiderman def. Chandler Cole by TKO, Round 3
Dana White admits after the fight that he thought Chandler Cole had the win after two rounds. That may bode well for him getting another look from the UFC, despite being eliminated from the tournament.
“I was preparing the entire time for three rounds. I wanted a dogfight, and that’s what I got,” Heiderman said following the bout.
Next week, it’s the final women’s flyweight bout of the opening round: Brogan Walker vs. Hannah Guy. For those that missed it, Guy is the girl that beat Bellator darling Valerie Loureda last year.