Make it two straight now for coach Robert Whittaker.
Michel Batista, the most decorated wrestler on The Ultimate Fighter 28 cast, put his expertise to good use on this week’s episode, using a steady diet of takedowns and ground-and-pound to dominate Team Gastelum’s Josh Parisian and book himself a spot in the heavyweight tournament semifinals.
Right off the bat, Batista went for a single leg, turned the corner, and dropped Parisian to the canvas. Parisian did a good job of getting back to his feet throughout the round, but this only led to a showcase of Batista’s wrestling as he scored takedown after takedown after takedown. Other than a brief attempt at an armbar, Parisian spent most of his time on the mat defending against punches and trying to shake Batista off of him.
In the second round, Batista picked up right where he left off with a double leg takedown. Batista used his hips to slide them all the way over to the fence and trap Parisian again. The highlight of the round was an enormous slam by Batista as he picked Parisian up and dropped him like a bag of wheat. Batista then proceeded to pound away until the referee was forced to wave off the bout.
Batista (4-0), a Cuban Olympian, gave Team Whittaker it’s second straight win following Julija Stoliarenko’s submission victory over Marciea Allen last week. The two have helped the UFC middleweight champion rebound from an 0-3 start to the season.
This was the highest profile MMA win yet for Batista, who has a 1-1 record against UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in wrestling competition, plus another win by forfeit after weight cutting problems forced Cormier out of their match at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
For Parisian (7-2), this loss will be extra tough to take given that he ended up on the show as a result of winning a bout on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Rather than be granted a UFC contract, Parisian was promoted from TUF 28 alternate to full-fledged cast member, a reward that probably has dubious value to the Michigan-based fighter now.
It should be noted that TUF bouts are considered to be exhibitions and are not counted on a fighter’s pro record.
In other storylines, a frustrated Allen laments her loss to Stoliarenko, while Stoliarenko celebrates her win by getting absolutely wasted.
Coach Kelvin Gastelum brings in his fitness trainer John Walker to put his team through the paces. And Leah Letson — who has felt disconnected from Team Whittaker due to communication problems with her non-English speaking teammates and her coach’s hands-off style — continues to make overtures to join Team Gastelum when the TUF 17 winner and his coaches visit the house to spend time with the fighters.
Here are the first-round results so far:
Maurice Greene def. Przemyslaw Mysiala via KO (uppercut) in round one
Pannie Kianzad def. Katharina Lehner via unanimous decision
Justin Frazier def. Anderson da Silva via unanimous decision
Julija Stoliarenko def. Marciea Allen via submission (armbar) in round one
Michel Batista def. Josh Parisian via TKO (ground and pound) in round two
On next week’s episode, Team Gastelum’s Bea Malecki fights Team Whittaker’s Leah Letson.
Season 28 of The Ultimate Fighter is being coached by UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and top contender Kelvin Gastelum. Gastelum will challenge Whittaker for the middleweight title at a future date to be determined.
The finalists of the TUF 28 heavyweight and featherweight tournaments will compete for a six-figure UFC contract at The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale on Nov. 30 in Las Vegas.
Here is the TUF 28 roster divided by team:
Juan Francisco Espino
Anderson da Silva
Advancing to Round 2: Greene, Kianzad, Frazier, Stoliarenko, Batista
Eliminated: Mysiala, Lehner, Da Silva, Allen, Parisian