The fourth installment of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 17 begins by replaying Uriah Hall’s nasty wheel kick knockout of Adam Cella. This is either a bonus or a burden, depending on a given viewer’s sadistic tendencies.
The highlight-reel victory awards coach Chael Sonnen his second straight win and once again grants him the next fight pick. Sonnen uses the privilege to pair Gracie jiu-jitsu black belt Kevin Casey against Team Jones’ Collin Hart, much to the dissatisfaction of Hart’s teammate, Bubba McDaniel, who had previously called Casey out in week three.
Cella has just returned to the fighter house, still wearing his hospital gown, no less. Jon Jones’ charge is in search of Hall in order to congratulate him on the victory and finds the Team Sonnen fighter in the shower. Peeking his head out from behind the curtain, Hall shakes Cella’s hand in a nice show of sportsmanship, and Cella assures his ex-opponent that he is in good shape.
“I was pretty shaken up by the whole thing afterward,” says Hall, “but he came in and is messing around as usual, so he seems to be in pretty good spirits.”
Casey explains to his team how he suffered a cut over his eye during the elimination round. “King” has chosen Hart as his next opponent due to what he believes is a stylistic advantage.
“I think if I chose someone with a high level of striking, a guy like Bubba, the eye would definitely take a lot more damage,” says Casey.
On the other side, a reserved Hart is receiving encouragement from McDaniel before Jones lauds his praises. Hart recounts a childhood in which he was continually beaten up by several kids at recess -- an aspect of his upbringing which Hart believes has made him strong.
Jones works with Hart one-on-one, telling him to go after Casey’s eye if possible. Hart privately states that he would prefer not to win that way, but he nonetheless views Casey’s desire to fight him as a sign of disrespect.
Back at the fighter house, Gilbert Smith instantly upgrades his stock by challenging Casey -- who has posted several rap videos online -- to a freestyle battle, rattling off rhymes as he stands at the kitchen table. Casey retaliates in kind, and Clint Hester jumps in on round two. This is pretty much exactly like “8 Mile,” except Kim Basinger’s corpse is conspicuously absent.
During his training session, Casey explains his martial arts background, recounting how he met and befriended the late Rockson Gracie before explaining how Rockson’s untimely passing over a decade ago inspired him to pursue MMA and to represent the Gracie clan.
Later, McDaniel announces that he will be the next Team Jones fighter to compete, should Hart pull out a victory and gain his team control of the next fight pick. McDaniel also expresses his concern over his weight, which, despite his best efforts, is not where it needs to be.
Suddenly, the power fails in the house, and some members of Team Sonnen decide to prank Team Jones by throwing rolls of toilet paper at them while they sleep. Hart says the squads previously agreed not to mess with each other’s sleep schedules and vows revenge.
Both Casey and Hart weigh in on point, and Jones’ fighter takes it upon himself to flip Casey the bird during the face-off rather than shake his hand. Casey, of course, absolutely loves this and is in no way angry.
Hall later presses Hart about the move, and Hart explains it was in retaliation to Team Sonnen’s midnight prank. Casey says he does not mind the gesture, because he will always conduct himself as a professional. This is just hours after Casey was documented leading a toilet paper-centric prank against other grown men while they slept.
Both fighters are now in the cage, and referee Herb Dean starts the action. Hart charges forward and hits a takedown, landing in side control. Casey recovers guard and uses a guillotine attempt to stand and clinch, though Hart snatches double underhooks and delivers a series of nice knees to the breadbasket. Casey tries to retaliate, but Hart appears to be getting the better of the dirty striking exchanges.
Casey ups his aggression to start round two, catching Hart with a nice straight left down the pipe. It is unclear exactly when it happened, but Casey is now split open between his eyes. Hart clinches and hits a nice outside trip, sitting down in half-guard before passing to side control. Jones’ man tries to mount, but Casey corrals him back into half-guard. Though Sonnen’s fighter next manages to recover full guard, he nevertheless eats a steady diet of elbows for the bout’s remaining minutes.
UFC President Dana White reveals that Hart has won a unanimous decision, taking both rounds on all three judges’ scorecards. This marks the first victory for Jones’ squad, and “Bones” now has control of the fight pick for the first time in two weeks. Immediately after his bout, Hart runs over to the treadmill and begins jogging, much to the delight of his team.
As expected, Jones selects McDaniel to represent his squad, pitting Bubba against Kelvin Gastelum. Next week, those two square off, and Sonnen apparently drops by the house for a round of charades.