The Ultimate Fighter 29, Episode 3: A Review

The one with the origin stories, the inside scoop and the friendly foes.

Intrigue. Espionage. Answers to age-old questions that plague humankind.

Haters will say we didn’t get any of these things on Episode 3 of The Ultimate Fighter 29 and I am just saying this for dramatic effect. I will say that these things totally happened and the haters just lack the creativity and imagination to see it. Which one of us is right?

I guess you’ll just have to keep reading to find out.

Within the first five minutes, we’re treated to a vital piece of information: The  mysterious, long-speculated origin of Ryder Newman’s “Rhino” nickname. Apparently some drunk kid at a college party struggled to understand the extremely intricate concept of “Ryder” and went with “rhino” instead. The alias ended up working out well with Newman’s forward-charging style and was adopted by his teammates. I, for one, absolutely appreciate this storyline because a) it tracks with Newman’s non-threatening, Gian Villante-like brand of frat boy energy and b) we’re already all set on the pitbulls and lions and other stereotypically menacing animals and short on the less obvious ones. I personally don’t understand why we don’t have several rhinos. Or hippos. Would you mess with rhinos or hippos? I wouldn’t. They will fuck you up.

Don’t you be fooled by Newman’s party boy vibes, however, for this a man who contains multitudes. Other than training at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, where he grew up, the 26-year-old Team Volkanovski fighter also runs a cleaning business that he is trying to grow and is now studying to become an insurance broker. He also hikes and wears backward baseball caps and comes across as the kind of guy who would offer to help you with your move and mean it.

Newman’s dance partner for the episode is Tresean Gore, who’s had a pretty rough road here. Gore’s dad wasn’t really in the picture, due to issues with the law, and Gore was raised by his mom. When he was 10, however, she fell into an addiction, and an “angry” Gore ended up in juvie. At 17, he discovered a Gracie jiu-jitsu school. With no money, Gore cleaned the mats and toilets in exchange for training. He eventually moved on to a “bigger pond” at American Top Team — Team Lima — where he trains with brothers Douglas and Dhiego Lima. Gore now has a wife, a newborn and the most adorable of puppies, as well as some serious motivation to succeed.

At the house, Gore is friendly with fellow Team Ortega fighter Miles Hunsinger, who — plot twist — happens to be a teammate of Newman’s in the outside world. That relationship ends up creating some tension during training, as Hunsinger refuses to release inside information on his real-life friend. Gore seems to be more impressed than mad about that, though, and eventually informs Newman himself that Hunsinger is “no snake” and didn’t perform any acts of espionage.

Gore and Newman’s exchanges are both amicable and kind of feisty, which is uncomfortable but also understandable considering they have to go about their daily lives in a shared living arrangement knowing that they are about to exchange physical and emotional pain and possibly shatter each other’s hopes and dreams.

After making weight and several intense statements to the camera, Gore and and Newman head into the season’s second middleweight bout. The fight transpires exclusively on the feet, with Gore stuffing every one of Newman’s takedown attempts. While Newman has his moments with a few clean shots,  particularly in Round 2, Gore is successful with his leg-kick-heavy strategy and is declared the winner after just two rounds. Sweaty hugs ensue.

The next episode will feature a bantamweight bout between Team Ortega’s Vincent Murdock and Team Volkanovski’s Dustin Lampros, who says he carries around a golf glove to show that he’s always ready to “tee off” on anybody. He then proceeds to show the camera said glove, which doesn’t look all that menacing to me but maybe that’s because I don’t really understand golf.

8.9

Pros
  • The fact that Ryder Newman got his nickname from some drunk guy
  • The fact that Ryder Newman is also a multitasking entrepreneur
  • The fact that Ryder Newman just looks like a cool dude, honestly
  • Tresean Gore’s resilience, strength, and focus
  • Tresean Gore’s whole family (feat. the puppy)
  • Actually, the puppy deserves its own item
  • "He’s a guy at the bar who says he fights MMA” (ORTEGA, Brian)
  • Miles Hunsinger not being a snitch
  • The thrill we got during the two seconds in which we had a snitching storyline
  • Newman and Gore: friends, foes, froes (?)
  • Some… Slight hints of tension? Maybe? If you look hard enough?
  • The golf glove
Cons
  • Yes, I’m still hung up on the ugly jerseys
  • Mitch Raposo is still sad :(
  • Scarce Volkanovski sightings
  • Nary a tantrum or infantile prank in sight
  • What's up with these walls and doors being all in one piece?
  • The golf glove
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