The Ultimate Fighter 32 Ep. 5: Two Fighters Miss Weight, Then Put on Season’s Best fight

Zygimantas Ramaska and Bekhzod Usmonov, The Ultimate Fighter 32
Zygimantas Ramaska and Bekhzod Usmonov, The Ultimate Fighter 32 Credit: UFC

We’ll be recapping each episode of The Ultimate Fighter 32 this year, with episode 5 arriving on July 2, 2024. Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko are your coaches, while featherweights and middleweights are featured.

It’s featherweights in action this week on The Ultimate Fighter 32, and we get a tour of Jackson-Wink MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico, once home of Jon Jones and still home to the likes of Holly Holm and others. Bekhzod Usmonov is living in the dorms at the gym, working at Starbucks, taking university classes, and pursuing his MMA dream.

Usmonov, from Tajikistan, wants to inspire others to make the trip to the U.S. and pursue their dreams. “I will be the next Ultimate Fighter,” he proclaims. Coach Alexa Grasso touts “Beki’s” power and movement. We’re also treated to some BKFC highlights, as Usmonov is 2-0 for the bareknuckle promotion.

He’s taking on Zygimantas Ramaska, and Beki believes he can cut angles, and let rip his favorite combinations. Movement sounds like it’s going to be key.

Lithuanian Ramaska is a special forces fighter, who does “many crazy things,” he tells the camera in a solo shot. The includes wilderness training with his assault rife and 30kg pack. He’s also a dog person, so there’s some footage of his pooch that should tickle dog lovers (car ride complaints from a pup is a familiar sight for sure).

We are then introduced to Ramaska’s gym, which is located inside a Synagogue. That’s a new one.

Weigh-in day is not without drama. Bekhzod Usmonov misses weight by a half pound on his first attempt. Coach Grasso says he’ll cut it. Then, Ramaska misses as well. They’re both roughly a half-pound off. While they still have an hour to cut, the coaches and athletic commission agree to allow a catchweight.

They both could have made it, this simply saves sapping their energy. Dana White believes it’s a smart call. He’s soon proven right.

The Ultimate Fighter 32: Usmonov vs. Ramaska

Round 1:

All fights start on the feet, and this one is no exception. While much has been made throughout the episode of Bekhzod Usmonov’s size, he has considerable success early, darting in and out, letting hands go, and eventually putting Ramaska on the mat, knocking him off-balance, if not a knockdown. Usmonov struggles to take advantage however, contending with an upkick. He chops at the legs, but the ref eventually stands them up, and Ramaska goes to work, firing leg kicks and landing some heavy shots. Usmonov is under fire, and Dana White can be heard questioning “how much more of this the little dude can take.”

Right on cue, Usmonov then drops Ramaska and lands some smashing ground n’ pound— but the ref lets it go, Ramaska stays active, and gets to his feet. He then chases Usmonov down, clinches up, and rips some seriously nasty knees. There’s still time on the clock, and anyone watching no doubt wishes both of these guys were in the UFC, with fans watching this one live. Usmonov slows things down on the fence for just a moment, but they go back at it, and Ramaska chases Usmonov down again, landing knees and heavy shots. Usmonov is retreating, and firing back when he can. He gets tagged with a left hand and a head kick at the end of the round, and White jumps to his feet applauding.

Round 2:

There’s still another round, if not two, to go. That knockdown looms large, since Ramaska finished the frame strong, but was dropped. Grasso begs Usmonov to stay out of the clinch.

More stand-up action arrives early in the second round. Leg kicks, high kicks, and Ramaska again backing Usmonov up. He’s ripping the body and head, but Usmonov at least avoids the clinch. He fires a spinning back fist. Things slow a little about 90 seconds in, which given the breakneck pace of the first six and a half minutes isn’t surprising. Ramaska then lands a takedown, but Usmonov is up in about 15 seconds. Ramaska is really coming on strong. Usmonov is all heart. A front kick sneaks through and snaps Usmonov’s head back, about 30 seconds after he’s warned by the ref to fight back. He eats it, and keeps fighting. Ramaska is out-landing him at least three to one at this point, but can’t put Usmonov away. He finally goes for a takedown, lands it, then nearly fires an illegal knee, but pulls up as the ref warns him Usmonov is grounded. Smart work by the ref. White expects a third round, but instead, the judges have a decision. Which leads White to enter the cage and shake both men’s hand, calling the fight a war.

Ramaska gets the win on episode five of The Ultimate Fighter 32, but fans will no doubt want to see more of both of these two. “I’m going to work on my mistakes, and come back stronger,” Usmonv says following the bout. Ramaska notes that he still has more work to do, so he can’t celebrate just yet.