Roses are red/Violets are blue/I love me some inconsequential “TUF” drama/
Don’t event sit here and try to act like you don’t love it too.
As a fellow asshole, you probably remember that the fourth episode of The Ultimate Fighter 29 ended on a tense note, as the tardiness-related spat between coaches Alex Volkanovski and Brian Ortega spilled over into their assistant coaches and even some of their team members. I didn’t let my heart believe the preview when it indicated the drama would carry over to the next episode, on account on my coming from a broken home and having trust issues, but for once in my life it turns out I was not being lied to by men.
Right off the bat, we get a bit of a contentious exchange after Team Volkanovski’s Mitch Raposo lets Team Ortega’s Andre Petroski know that he wasn’t happy with his chiming in during the previous episode’s coach vs. coach feud. The two (rather politely, actually) go at it for a little bit and I’m sure points were made but I wouldn’t really know because I was too busy paying attention to Vince Murdock’s more discreet but equally valid participation.
— Amy Kaplan (@PhotoAmy33) June 30, 2021
Also, for matters of public record: Today, on Episode No. 5, we finally got our first “bitch ass” of the season. Truly, a landmark moment.
This episode’s fight is set to happen at middleweight. Bryan Battle is Team Volkanovski’s hope of getting out of a 0-4 slump against Team Ortega’s men. The UFC’s featherweight champion breaks him down a little bit for us, we see some of his regional fights and hear the story behind his “Pooh Bear” moniker. I am of the opinion that nicknames are personal and who am I to meddle but I am also of the opinion that there is simply too much material to work with when you’re a fighter whose last name is literally the word “battle.” Why not make it a pun, play around a little, maybe add an “Of Stalingrad” for historical shits and giggles? There are options, is what I’m saying.
In any case, we then get a visit to the house by coach Ortega and are probably unsurprised to find out that this elite athlete who is fighting for a title in one of the world’s most brutal sports is incredibly competitive in everything — including, but not limited to: foosball. It’s a moment of rare relatability, as I cannot truly connect to the struggles of actual accomplished fighters or actual accomplished anythings but I can connect to the struggles of people who get overly invested in incredibly low-stakes situations and just make it weird for everyone. We are also reminded that Raposo really isn’t Ortega’s biggest fan and believes the coach “kind of seems like a little bit of a manchild.”
Battle’s opponent is Kemran Lachinov — who’d made it to our very first review due to his positive attitude toward being the last pick of the season. Nothing but respect for our egoless king. Lachinov talks about moving from Uzbekistan to Russia as a kid and playing soccer at one point. He seems very put-together and chill, which just makes it that much scarier when he casually talks about how much he loves the idea of being able to get into fights without being arrested. We learn from Lachinov’s footage and from Ortega that his approach to fighting very much consists of bulldozing forward and throwing bombs. Tasked with training a fighter who is “set in his ways,” Ortega says he is trying to build on that rather than radically change the way he fights.
Lachinov doesn’t seem to have a dog, but he does have a baby, and he is very photogenic; 10/10 in the baby cuteness scale, which is not a score I just give out. I’m known to be very harsh on babies.
We’re then back to Battle, who discusses his day job as a carpenter. He seems passionate about it, too, and talks about how some people cry when they get some of their… Cabinets and stuff? Sounds a little strange to me, but in fairness I do live in squalor. Currently 5-1 in his pro career, Battle trains at Hayastan MMA and has no background in any specific martial arts — which he believes makes him a more well-rounded fighter. He introduces to his family and his five sisters, which makes me automatically like him more.
His wife is a karate black belt and is also wearing a Jaws T-shirt, so we already know she’s awesome. Battle gushes over her and talks about how she gives him a reason to fight and no these are not tears I just have bad allergies. He also reveals they have a baby on the way and they start a quick back-and-forth over who loves each other more which would have been incredibly annoying if they weren’t so fucking cute.
I think I may have seen a dog in passing, but can’t say conclusively.
After uneventful weigh-ins, we’re off to the fight. We quickly realize what Ortega was talking about when discussing his fighter’s style, as Lachinov seems to truly enjoy walking straight through punches and kicks and several other things that normal people would probably choose to avoid. The size disparity between the natural welterweight and the much taller Battle is stark, though, and it plays a factor as Battle uses the range to fend off any major offense from his opponent. After two rounds of what was mostly a stand-up affair, Battle was uncontroversially declared the winner.
After the contestants and coaches say their piece about the battle, which added the first point to Team Volkanovki’s score, next week’s fight between Dan Argueta and Ricky Turcios is announced.
- Slight drama between Mitch Raposo and Andre Petroski
- Vince Murdock having the time of his life witnessing the slight drama between Raposo and Petroski
- First “bitch ass" of the season
- Lachinov’s peaceful demeanor while saying low-key terrifying things
- Lachinov's objectively cute baby
- Bryan Battle’s passion for carpentry
- Whoever it is that cries getting their carpentry projects, I hope they’re thriving
- Bryan Battle’s wife looks cool as shit, honestly
- Bryan Battle looks pretty cool himself
- Lachinov walking straight into Battle’s punches like a fucking maniac
- The flashback of Dana White getting dunked on a massive water tank
- You guessed it (yes, it's the jerseys)
- No apparent dog sightings
- Missed nickname opportunities
- No one getting dunked on a massive water tank