The next quarter final (already announced last week) will be Gray Maynard from Team Penn against Brandon Melendez of Team Pulver.
Once again, the fighters recap last week’s action, as Joe Lauzon defeats Cole Miller to advance to the semifinals. As you recall, there was a bit of controversy as Joe hit Cole with an (accidental) illegal elbow to the back of the head from which Cole never really recovered from. Dana says that he thinks both kids have a big future in the sport. The next quarter final (already announced last week) will be Gray Maynard from Team Penn against Brandon Melendez of Team Pulver.
We see Brandon Melendez in a training session with coach Pulver. Pulver believes in hard practices, and keeps pushing his guys with “one more thing”. Brandon objects to Pulver’s coaching style, and doesn’t feel that Pulver understands his body, Brandon hurt his hand in his last fight. Pulver comes off well, saying that he just wants to be there for him, and is quick to point out he’s a fighter as well (and he’s broken his hand 14 times!) In the confessional box, Brandon says he feels he might be better off with Penn as a coach, but I have to say Pulver definitely comes off looking better in this confrontation.
Meantime, BJ hypes up his number one pick, Gray Maynard. BJ actually used Gray for training in preparation for one of his matches against the Gracie. A good training session is shown between BJ and Maynard, who declares a “good time” was had by all.
Brandon Melendez actually pulls Pulver aside and requests to go to Team Penn. Brandon’s reasoning is that he wants to get the experience from both coaches, but Pulver says he wishes he would stick it out to the end and that this is a team. Pulver takes it remarkably well, and in the end Brandon decides to stay with the team.
Special guest instructor time on Team Penn, and it’s Randy Couture! Gray Maynard is actually a teammate of Randy, so this definitely helps him prepare for his quarterfinal match. Couture explains that he and Penn go way back. Couture’s first commentating stint was actually for the title fight between champion Pulver and challenger Penn. The rivalry that started that night is definitely heating up.
Back at the house, Nate Diaz and Cole Miller have a bit of fun with each other at the others expense. First Nate wakes Cole up in by hitting him with gloves. Cole returns the favor by plastering Nate’s bed with pinata’s and silly string. Nate and Cole start wrestling and spraying each other with string and wind up throwing each other’s beds into the pool. They call a truce and Cole (unwisely) goes to sleep. Nate waits and then sneaks into Cole’s room and dumps a bucket of ice water on him. Manny jumps in by pouring baby powder all over him. Nate and Cole then hug, and once again, a good time had by all.
In the meantime Brandon Melendez is worried about making weight, and recruits Andy Wang to help him (as you recall, the two of them fought in the first round). Brandon weighs about 166 at the start of cutting. Both Brandon and Andy get a few more digs at Gabe Ruediger in the interviews. Brandon makes the weight, and says he owes it Andy Wang.
The general consensus is that if the fight stays on the feet it works in Brandon’s favor, but if it goes to the ground it favors Gray (although Brandon feels his jiu jitsu is stronger). BJ says he is afraid Gray may actually be a little over trained at this point.
Round one begins with Gray shooting in and getting the takedown, as Brandon struggles to get to his feet Gray manages to take the back. Although the fight is briefly on feet, it quickly goes back to the ground with Gray looking for the choke. Brandon defends well, and manages to escape and reverse to Gray’s guard. Not for long as the fight goes back to the feet and then Gray quickly goes for a takedown. Brandon in slick fashion threatens a kimura that puts Gray in trouble, but he manages to defend and the fight goes to the feet once again. The two exhange a few glancing blows, then Gray gets the takedown to mount except for Brandon holding his head. Gray frees himself to a full mount, and after a few strikes Brandon exposes his back. Brandon escapes to his feet once again, but Gray once again shoots for the takedown and goes right back to the back. Brandon defends and escapes with seconds to go, but Brandon gets another takedown as time expires.
In the second round Brandon is definitely more aggressive on the feet, even attempting a few flying knees and superman punches. Gray has to wade through some punches to get a takedown (which he eventually does), but Brandon looks for the guillotine. Gray escapes, but Brandon manages o come on top in the scramble and lands a few good shots to Gray. Gray escapes and comes back on top again (at this point a nasty cut is opened over Brandon’s eye) and nearly gets mount, but Brandon recovers to half guard before the fight gets back to the feet again. Not for long as Gray shoots in yet again and Branon looks for a one armed guillotine. This doesn’t do much more than stall Gray, but Brandon recovers to full guard. Brandon nearly gets a triangle, but Gray passes guard. Brandon comes forward and allows Gray to jump to guillotine. Gray locks it in and secures the tapout.
BJ is happy with outcome, but feels that Gray would have done better if he wasn’t over trained. Brandon is bummed, but his teammates assure him he put on a great fight.
Next week we’ll have two quarterfinals as Nate Diaz takes on Corey Hill, and Nate actually goes to BJ’s team, and Matt Wiman takes on Manny Ganburyan.