Entering the Ultimate Fighter 17, most fans seemed to give the coaching edge to Chael Sonnen rather than light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. And, at least based on the first fight between their opposing squads, it seems they were right to do so.
Jones, who was allowed to make the first match-up based on last week’s coin flip, selected stocky striker Gilbert Smith to take on Team Sonnen’s #1 pick, the 6’6” Luke Barnatt. The decision didn’t go over well with members on his team who were vocal with their disapproval during last night’s episode, even going so far as to tell Smith they didn’t like his chances against the lanky Brit.
Their concerns would prove to be well-placed when the two faced off. Smith was able to land some minimal offense, including a few takedowns, but never put Barnatt in a truly bad position. After losing steam in the second round of the bout, Barnatt launched into a flying knee that caught Smith wading in and put him down for the count.
As a result of the victory, Sonnen is given the right to pick the next fight and selects Uriah Hall to faces Team Jones’ Adam Cella. Hall is considered to be one of the favorites to win the season and, based on highlights from next week, will either put the world on notice or suffer a massive upset with the show promising one of the nastiest knockouts in UFC history.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC