The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption – Episode 1 Recap

The UFC’s long running reality show The Ultimate Fighter returned this evening as the first episode of the 25th installment of TUF aired.

TUF 25: Redemption sees contestants from previous seasons return to the show for a second chance at TUF glory, a UFC contract and $250k.

At the start of the episode UFC president Dana White spoke to the contestants to explain the rules and revealed that each fighter will receive $10k for each fight. Ramsey Nijem managed to haggle with White and secured an extra $5k bonus for each fighter that wins inside the distance.

White also revealed that he will make two wildcard picks, which means that two of the losers from the preliminaries will be brought back onto the show and will fight each other to earn their spot in the tournament back.

TJ Dillashaw won the coin toss and chose to pick the first fighter instead of the first fight and selected James Krause as the 1st overall pick.

Cody Garbrandt selected Seth Baczynski as his first pick for Team Garbrandt.

The full teams are:

Team Dillashaw:

James Krause, Jesse Taylor, Ramsey Nijem, Dhiego Lima, Joe Stevenson, Tom Gallicchio and Gilbert Smith.

Team Garbrandt:

Seth Baczynski, Mehdi Baghdad, Eddie Gordon, Hector Urbina, Hayder Hassan, Julian Lane and Justin Edwards.

As Dillashaw had the first fighter pick, Garbrandt had the first choice of match up and selected his #1 pick Seth Baczynski against Dillashaw’s last pick Gilbert Smith.

The second fight of the episode was chosen by Dillashaw and saw him put his #1 pick James Krause up against Hector Urbina.

As Dillshaw predicted when selecting the match-up, Urbina struggled with his weight cut after arriving in the house heavy. Coach Danny Castillo tried to take control of Hector’s weight cut procedure but couldn’t turn things around in time, forcing Urbina to withdraw from the bout.

Dana White gathered the contestants in the gym and revealed that Hector would be sent home from the competition due to his weight issues and that he would discuss which of the alternate fighters would replace him.

TUF 22’s Johnny Nunez was selected as the replacement and White revealed that Krause would now take on Nunez but would have to wait until a later date to fight, a decision that didn’t sit well with Team Dillashaw and Krause who had already cut weight.

The episode will now only feature one fight as a result of Urbina’s withdrawal from the bout and removal from the competition.

On weigh-in day Baczynski overheard Smith questioning why Team Garbrandt had selected the match up between the two, saying that he had beaten better guys, which didn’t go down well with Seth who confronted Gilbert in the locker room.

Smith later went into the gym to try and resolve the situation but Team Garbrandt didn’t want to hear it and sent him back to the locker room.

The argument continued as both teams and head coaches waited to enter the gym for the official weigh-in and after a quick back and forth Cody grabbed TJ by the neck before both men were pulled apart by their teams.

The fight started with both fighters landing on the feet in the opening two minutes before Smith secured a takedown, transitioned to Seth’s back and fished for a Rear Naked Choke that never came.

The second round opened with another takedown for Gilbert before Seth worked his way back to his feet with the help of the cage and pulled an unsuccessful guillotine attempt which landed him on his back with Smith in half guard landing ground and pound.

Baczynski worked his way to his feet again but was quickly dumped back onto his back and Smith settled into Baczynski’s full guard, landed small ground and pound shots and shouted “hard work” until the fight clock expired.

The judges rendered the correct decision and Gilbert Smith advanced into the next round.

Garbrandt had the next fight match up selection. From his own team, Cody selected Eddie Gordon and said “from the snakes team” he selects Tom Gallicchio which didn’t go down well with Dillashaw and another argument between the two head coaches and former friends began.

Catch The Ultimate Fighter: REDEMPTION at 3am BST on Thursday mornings on BT Sport. Repeated at 10pm BST later than same day.

Owner/Editor of Writer, Podcaster, Producer of 'Notorious: Conor McGregor' film, 'Conor McGregor: Notorious' TV series, 'Ten Thousand Hours', 'The Fighting Irish' and more documentary films.