Team Carwin’s Marunde bullied Lane and his red Mohawk in close quarters, drew him into a trench war and controlled the cage with heavy leg kicks en route to a unanimous decision on Episode 4 of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 16. All three cageside judges scored the two-round welterweight bout for Marunde by matching 20-18 counts. He joins Joey Rivera and Neil Magny in the quarterfinals.
A Strikeforce, M-1 Global and International Fight League veteran, Marunde leaned on his advantages in experience and size. He pushed around Lane in the first round, attacking him with knees, short punches and shoulder strikes at close range. Later, the 30-year-old upped his intensity, trapped Lane in the Thai plum and ripped repeated knees into his ribcage. Marunde did not escape unscathed, as he exited the first five minutes with three facial cuts -- one over his right eye, another across the bridge of his nose and a third under his left eye. However, he kept his wits and maintained control of the fight.
Lane did not offer much in the way of a response in the second round, outside of a last-minute exchange in which he briefly transitioned to his opponent’s back. Marunde dictated distance with leg kicks, kept Lane at bay and coasted to a decision.
“It feels good to get a win,” said Marunde, who drew inspiration and motivation from his girlfriend and young son. “I would’ve liked to have finished him. I’m going to improve on this. Right now, I feel the blood coming down my face. It just gets me fired up. Nobody [in this house] can beat me.”
Coach Roy Nelson’s squad entered the episode with control of fight selection. In a somewhat confounding twist, the former IFL heavyweight champion allowed his team to draw straws to determine who would compete next. Not all of Nelson’s recruits seemed to be onboard with his plan. Lane, an unbeaten Bellator Fighting Championships veteran, drew the shortest straw and was afforded the opportunity to handpick his opponent. The 25-year-old Wreckroom Athletics export selected Marunde.
“For me, there was a lot of stress in trying to pick somebody to fight, so now we’re just putting it in their control,” Nelson said. “And you get to pick who you want [to fight].”
The victory was not without controversy. Marunde cut 16 pounds in a 24-hour span to meet the 171-pound welterweight threshold, but there seemed to be some confusion during the official weigh-in. A few Team Nelson members, Lane among them, believed Marunde failed to make weight. The Nevada Athletic Commission representative in charge of proceedings had the final say. Marunde came in at 170, and Team Nelson did not offer a verbal protest.
“That was a big obstacle,” said Marunde, who was shown during his weight cut dumping copious amounts of sweat from his pant leg. “I climbed that mountain.”
The weigh-in issue led to a bizarre and uncomfortable exchange between Nelson and UFC President Dana White once the Marunde-Lane fight was complete. At one point, Nelson asked White if he should shoulder the responsibility of overseeing the Nevada Athletic Commission and how it handles fighters on the scales. Puzzled and visibly flustered, White indicated in no uncertain terms that Nelson would be wise to choose an alternate path.
Said White, “You can’t fix stupid.”