‘TUF 25’ Recap: Episode 5

By: Mike Sloan
May 17, 2017
This week’s episode begins at night at the TUF house with Season 21’s Hayder Hassan talking with his real-life teammate Dhiego Lima about how they are going to fight by show’s end. Hassan is explaining to his buddy that it was not his plan, that he was forced into it. Lima is laughing and tells him that he knew it was going to happen, that, “It’s all good, brother! I love you!”

From there, it’s time for Lima to begin training even harder and coach T.J. Dillashaw is working the mitts with him. Dillashaw is amped up about the matchup and fully expects him to win, though he is concerned about Lima’s self-doubt and sometimes lack of confidence. Lima admits that he has that problem and he has to change how he approaches things mentally.

On the other side of the footage, Cody Garbrandt brings in a specialist to work with this team named Dr. Jon Petrick, who will apply facial techniques to the fighters. A balloon is inserted into each combatant’s nose and water is flushed up into the nasal cavity to clean everything out. Assistant coach Urijah Faber goes first and it’s obviously a painful, extremely uncomfortable procedure. The cranial-facial release is the technique and Hassan is thrilled about how he feels and states that he’ll definitely do it again.

Hassan’s personal footage rolls next and he’s at American Top Team training before highlights from his TUF 21 brawls with Andrews Nakahara, Felipe Portela and Vicente Luque are shown. He tore apart the house and made it to the finals, but he got submitted by Kamaru Usman in the Finale. The UFC gave him another shot, but Luque choked him out in the first and he was cut from the roster.

After the first commercial break, it’s back at the house for Lima’s segment. He’s in the yard at a campfire with James Krause before he tells the viewing audience that this is his last stand, it’s all or nothing. Lima was on TUF 19 and he made it to the finals, where he was pounded on by Eddie Gordon and stopped in the first. Lima won his first official fight in the UFC but then lost to Tim Means and Jingliang Li before being released from his contract. Dana White says that Lima has all the tools to be a terrific fighter, but he’s not sure about his mental state going into his matches.

Lima’s home video follows and he’s at his gym down in Georgia. He loves his dojo and you can see the joy on his face when inside of it. At his actual house, his young kids are watching the UFC on TV and they are all grappling on the living room floor. Diego is a hardcore family man and he says that he can't let his wife and kids down by losing on the show.

Another commercial break interrupts the fun and it’s time for Hassan’s home video. He explains that his father escaped Baghdad and that his brother -- Hayder’s uncle -- was executed by Saddam Hussein many years ago. Hassan is hanging out at his brother’s house with his nephew the night before his brother Mehdi is set to fight for a smaller promotion. From there, he’s at ATT’s Coconut Creek location in full training mode.

The obligatory pre-fight prep footage rolls on and both men are oozing with confidence and beyond ready to fight. They weigh in on the money, they are psyched up and are both going to put their friendships aside for the sake of their own glory and dreams. Finally, it’s time to fight.

Hassan storms out of his corner and comes right after Lima, who backs off and uses a few low kicks to keep away. Hassan is trying to get inside early, setting his attacks up behind the jab. A sharp kick to the thigh from Lima comes next, who shoots in. “Hulk” stuffs his attempt, but Dhiego’s follow-up approach succeeds. Lima scrambles around and quickly takes his friend’s back and applies a body triangle from behind. Hassan is fending off the rear-naked choke attempt nicely, but he’s unable to break free about two minutes in. Lima nearly lands the choke when Hassan becomes dangerously lax, but Hayder is able to break free of the choke and regroup. Lima remains on his opponent’s back for another minute before he slips off and Hassan explodes to his feet. “Hulk” comes right after him with punches, but Lima is poised, keeping his opponent away with low kicks and jabs. Hassan digs a ruthless right hook to the body, but Lima shakes it off with a minute remaining. Lima changes level late and shoots in, but Hassan is wise to the move and sprawls. A left-right from Lima glances off of Hassan’s head near the horn. It’s an easy 10-9 run for Lima.

Lima opens the second with two powerful left kicks to the ribs. Hassan closes the gap, but Lima clinched him up and drags him to the canvas. Hassan scrambles to his feet, but Diego is right there on his back and drags him back down. Lima doesn’t keep him down long as Hassan explodes back to his feet and separates. Lima backs away but plunges another lethal left shin into his foe’s ribcage. “Hulk” is walking in slow-motion for a while before tagging Lima with a straight right to the face. Lima tries to bring the fight to the ground again, but Hassan stuffs him and creates space again to strike. Another right to the dome from Hassan and now Lima is desperately trying to shoot in. Hassan forces his real-life teammate into a terse slugfest, and Lima wants none of it. With two minutes left, Lima connects with a right kick to the body, but Hassan counters with a slick left hook over the top. A pair of left jabs from Lima precede a deep double-leg attempt, but Hassan stuffs it. Lima continues to drive as hard as he can and finally gets Hayder down. Lima immediately pounces and seizes Hassan’s back with a minute remaining. Lima threatens with another rear-naked choke, but Hassan is fending it off nicely. With time running out, Hassan needs to escape, but Lima rolls him into an armbar. Time runs out before he can seal the deal and the round is exceptionally close. It could go either way, but Lima gets it 10-9.

As expected, Lima wins the fight via unanimous decision and he’s elated. Understandably, Hassan is frustrated and disappointed, but he finds solace in knowing that his loss came against his close friend.

At the fight announcement, Dillashaw picks Ramsey Nijem to fight Julian Lane on next week’s episode, who apparently nearly come to blows at the weigh-in. The near-brawl turns into all-out chaos as the coaches are ready to throw down again and, finally, Team Alpha Male confronts Duane Ludwig.

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