The final instalment of The Ultimate Fighter 31 arrived on Tuesday night, with one last bantamweight fight between Team Chandler’s Cody Gibson and Team McGregor’s Rico DiSciullo.
DiSciullo is the only Team McGregor to advance to the semfinals on TUF 31, though Brad Katona, McGregor’s teammate at SBG Ireland, jumped ship after the opening round, the only fighter to switch teams.
We’re recapping every episode of TUF 31 this season. Spoilers follow, turn back now if you’re not up-to-date!
Cody Gibson and Katona get into it in the TUF house during episode 12. “I’m going to hurt you in the finals. Because all you’re going to do is hump my leg,” Gibson complains about a hypothetical match-up in the final. “That’s all you do. You’re afraid to fight. Let’s face the facts. You’re absolutely scared sh*tless.”
“You’re just trying to get under my skin,” Katona retorted. He went to point out for that a fighter who’s “scared,” he’s returned to The Ultimate Fighter a second time (after winning it once), and would do it again.
“Just my existence angers him. His existence doesn’t bother me one bit,” Katona tells the cameras.
Of course, Gibson needs to win his way into the final before he worries about Katona, who has already secured a spot there.
DiSciullo opens the fight with a leg kick, but winds up taken down while out of position. Gibson then takes the back, raining down ground n’ pound and getting a body triangle on. DiSciullo fights the wrists, and manages to scramble out of the body triangle, but he can’t make it back to his feet. More ground fighting sees Gibson get the body lock back on. DiSciullo rolls to his back, and Gibson moves to mount, landing smashing elbows and a ridiculous amount of ground n’ pound. DiSciullo covers up, and the ref takes a look but opts to let it continue. DiSciullo actually briefly escapes and moves to his feet, but is soon dragged back down, and this time Gibson catches him in an arm-triangle choke. That brought about the tap — and it’s Cody Gibson moving to the final!
That means it will be Gibson vs. Katona in the bantamweight final, which arrives at UFC 292 in Boston, MA this weekend.
“I do not take him lightly, but I don’t see him as much of a fighter. He’s afraid to fight,” Gibson says after the win. “For me, this is business as usual,” Katona tells the camera.
On to the final. Kurt Holobaugh vs. Austin Hubbard represent the lightweight side. But before that, the coaches face off. UFC President Dana White says the pair will indeed fight, though no date is announced. Chandler and McGregor stare down. “I wish it was right now,” an amped up McGregor exclaims.
The format this season played out as expected, and might have been the show’s biggest detriment. Putting newcomers (especially when the best now seem to go to the Contender Series) against seasoned UFC veterans was never going to turn out well for the rookies. And it didn’t. While McGregor will take flack for skipping weigh-ins and being the coach of record, ultimately the one-sided season was obvious from the outset — but at least we got some solid fights.