An action-packed montage of UFC events introduces Season 11 coaches Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. Dana explains that he and Tito are on good terms, but Tito and Chuck still have beef. But first, 28 Middleweights must fight their way into the house.
The fighters enter the new and much larger training center. Joe Henle and Woody Weatherby are especially impressed. Dana walks in flanked by Tito and Chuck. As the guys line up, Kris McCray says, “I’m ready to go. Put me in a canon and shoot me.” Dana introduces the coaches and then explains the Wildcard twist for the season, in which 2 lucky losers will be selected to fight each other for the 8th spot in the Quarterfinals. Dana urges the guys to not leave it in the hands of the judges and fight hard so that they are not riding home on the bus tomorrow with regrets.
Fight Day arrives and the competitors return to the training center to prepare for battle. First up is Jamie Yager from Pasadena, whose huge, wild afro is surpassed only by his ego, evident in his assertion that he will be in the final. Dana comments on his cockiness and Tito says, “Cockiness is always good.” Taking on Yager is Ben “The Hebrew Hammer” Stark who speculates that he is the only fighter in the group to have been raised Orthodox Jew. Dana explains the rules, the ref starts the fight, and 26 seconds and 3 head kicks later, Yager has a KO victory. Dana admits that Yager backed up his talk and Tito is impressed with Yager’s power and confidence.
Next out is Jordan Smith of Utah, a teacher for whom fighting is a way to keep his rage in check. His opponent is Hawaiian Brad Tavares who grew up fighting because, “Fighting is fun.” The fight starts, and soon Tavares has Smith against the cage. Smith tries to break free but gets dropped with a lightning quick knee to the chin that forces the ref to stop the fight. Chuck and Tito are both impressed with Tavares’ knockout.
Cleburn Walker, Texas cager, comes out and says he has sacrificed more than he’ll ever admit for his fighting career. Kris “The Savage” McCray fesses up to not being the most technical of fighters, but he makes up for it with his “ferociousness,” adding that he’s “tamed but off the chain.”
The fight starts with Walker and McCray meeting in center-cage and when McCray executes a brutal hip throw, Walker verbally taps out. Dana thinks that Walker’s shoulder popped out in the takedown. McCray calls himself a “Swamp Thing,” because he’s both a savage and a superhero.
Frenchman Norman Paraisy enters the gym with the intent of changing the opinions of those who think French people are soft. Floridian firefighter James Hammortree has no problem saving people for a living and then beating them up in the cage. The fight starts and Paraisy shoots in to get the early takedown. Hammortree gets to his feet, they trade shots, and then it goes back to the mat where Hammortree takes the top position. Paraisy struggles to get up, but Hammortree keeps control with a barrage of leather and elbows. The horn sounds and a battered Paraisy goes to his corner, saying “I’m done.” Chuck looks shocked, “He’s quittin!”
Paraisy sits in his corner as assistant coaches Howard Davis and John Hackleman urge him to get up. Paraisy spews forth multiple complaints expressing both numbness in his body and pain in his wrists. Herb Dean comes over and Paraisy waves him off, giving the win to Hammortree, who’s so excited he hugs the ref. Dana and the coaches are outraged, and Chuck makes the comment that quitting is the same as tapping to strikes – something Tito has done in the past. Paraisy’s excuse is that he wasn’t himself today. Dana says Paraisy was here to change opinions about the French, but instead he should look for another job.
In a montage of fight highlights we see MMA moosehead Nick Ring win a 2 round decision after dismantling Woody Weatherby. Tito thinks Nick has a chance of winning it all. In the next fight, kangaroo kid Kyle Noke takes Warren Thompson to the ground and drops elbows until blood gushes from Thompson’s forehead. Noke says it got slippery for a while, but he hung in there to get the win by decision. Then bushy-bearded bruiser Court McGee goes to war against Seth Baczynski, as both men come out blasting. Dana is impressed that McGee was able to keep his wits after taking a big shot in the first round. Round 2 could have gone either way, but Dana thinks the third belonged to McGee due to his superior wrestling. At the end, McGee’s hand is raised in a unanimous decision.
Into the Octagon next is Cincinnati banger Victor O’Donnell, who says being here makes the hair on his neck stand up. Chris Camozzi of Colorado can’t see the fight going any other way than him winning.
An extended cutdown of the fight begins as the opponents tap gloves and Camozzi goes in for a guillotine, but instead gets a spin lift from O’Donnell. They get back to their feet and proceed to clobber each other with big punches and knees, in the process getting big reactions the coaches table. The round ends and Dana debates with Chuck and Tito over which fighter did more damage. Round Two is more of the same with each man fearlessly dishing out and absorbing incredible punishment. Camozzi takes O’Donnell down with a nice hip throw, but soon they’re back up and it’s O’Donnell who has an impressive takedown that lifts Camozzi off his feet and slams him into the cage. Tito shouts for Camozzi to get a triangle, but O’Donnell fights it off until the horn sounds. Dana applauds and says “Good fight!” After some tabulating from the judges, Dana announces a third Sudden Victory round. The action continues with more solid shots to faces and hard takedowns. Camozzi attempts a rear naked choke, but O’Donnell rolls out and they get back to their feet and swing a few more times before the horn blows. The fighters walk to the corners as Dana, Chuck and Tito give them a standing ovation. Dana says they showed a lot of heart, and while no one should be considered a loser, only one man gets to go on to live his dream.
O’Donnell and Camozzi stand with the ref as Dana reads the decision in favor of Chris Camozzi, who is happy to be going into the house, despite some soreness in his face region. O’Donnell expresses regret over missing out on the chance of a lifetime.
Sacramento’s Kyacey Uscola considers himself a dark horse, despite his poor – albeit experienced – record. Brent Cooper of Irvine steps into the cage and makes no bones about his love for punching people in the face. The Californians collide with swift kicks and quick fists, one of which catches Cooper on the button and he drops like a ragdoll. Uscola pounces for some finishing shots before the ref intervenes. “Don’t blink when I fight,” warns Uscola, “Pretty fast knockout.” Dana thinks Uscola displayed killer instinct by ending the fight “quick and nasty.”
Another montage begins with Jesusian Joe Henle fighting Constantinos Philippou. Dana observes that Henle’s getting killed for all of Round One, but then he pulls off an armbar for the win in Round Two. Henle is happy that his jujitsu came through when he needed it. Next up, a chrome-domed Rich Attonito attacks Lyle Steffens with an aggressive double-leg takedown. Tito sees that Rich dominates, which leads to a decision in his favor after Round Two. Two more fighters take the cage, and Tito comments on how chin-strapped Josh Bryant took a lot of shots but used his wrestling to pull out the 2-round decision over Greg Rebello. Bryant says he’s ready to win the whole thing. Finally, as Charles Blanchard pounds on Jacen Flynn, Chuck says Blanchard is short and stocky, but strong. After Round One, the ref stands by as Flynn tells the doctor he can’t see from one eye, and the fight is handed to Blanchard. Blanchard is eager to bang, despite being the shortest guy in the room.
Minneapolis middleweight Charley Lynch walks out, his greasy bangs converging to a point over his brow. Even though he’s fighting his buddy, Lynch wants most to put on a good show, preferably with one of them getting knocked the “F” out. Not to be outdone in the crazy-hair category, Clayton McKinney strolls out with half of his head dyed bright Joker green. McKinney wishes the best for his friend in the future, but plans to put a stop to his dreams for now. “The greatest feeling in the world is to knock somebody out,” says McKinney, “Raw, real, nasty.”
Round One opens with McKinney driving Lynch to the mat with a nice double. Lynch powers his way up, eating a knee in the process. They get in the clinch and McKinney flips Lynch with a judo throw, only to have Lynch get right back up. McKinney stays on the offense, firing off hard strikes punctuated by a knee that causes him to fall back. Lynch seizes the opportunity to get in the guard and deliver big shots to the head and body. Lynch backs off, and McKinney gets a chance to stand up and move in with a flurry of punches and knees. When they separate, McKinney sees that Lynch’s nose has essentially collapsed and he says, “Your nose is smashed up.” He drives one final punch to the face that drops Lynch and the fight is stopped. Dana says, “That is a broken nose.” In the replay, Dana says the fight was entertaining because Lynch is so tough, adding “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a broken nose that nasty.” McKinney hugs his friend and apologizes for shattering his nose. After getting his hand raised, McKinney says his shoulder hurts but he’s ready to go again right now if need be.
All of the day’s winners assemble before the coaches and Dana, who congratulates them for not being the guys riding home on the bus. Ring, Noke and Uscola are all impressed by the group of talent on the show. Dana knows the competition between the coaches will be fierce, and then he wishes everyone luck and welcomes them to The Ultimate Fighter.
In a tease of the upcoming season, we are privy to a montage of tough training, bad mouthing and hilarious hijinx, all culminating with teams and coaches screaming outside the cage and the now obligatory coach-smashing-a-door shot.