08 Nov - 
'The Ultimate Fighter 28: Heavy Hitters' Episode 9 recap

Episode 9 of “The Ultimate Fighter 28: Heavy Hitters” opens with the fighters heading back to the locker room after the semifinal matchup announcements. Team Gastelum’s Maurice Greene, who has been something of a troublemaker all season, is still buzzing from the drinks he had earlier in the day.

The Team Gastelum coaching staff confront Greene over his drinking and tell him to reel things in for the final few weeks of the competition. Greene gets into a verbal altercation with Team Whittaker’s Anderson da Silva. It reaches the cusp of becoming physical, but Team Gastelum returns to TUF House, while Team Whittaker remains in the TUF Gym and decide to order takeout for dinner while the situation defuses.

Team Gastelum’s coaching staff, including head coach Kelvin Gastelum, visit the TUF House. It’s Macy Chiasson’s birthday the following day, so she’s presented with a bottle of Don Julio, as well as balloons and a cake.

During the birthday celebrations, coach Gastelum and the assistants again confront Greene over his drinking. They don’t like how Greene is conducting himself and inform him that he’s being a bad representative of his team and himself. Greene seems to have a moment of clarity, but ones the coaches leave, he goes right back to being an instigator.

Greene heads outside to the hot tub and once again begins talking trash to Team Whittaker’s da Silva. There are many words exchanged with things ending in Green telling da Silva he plans to “slap” him on the final day of the competition.

The following day, Team Gastelum’s Marciea Allen decides she doesn’t want to attend the team’s training session. She is not happy with the “unhealthy environment” that she’s choosing to “not partake in anymore.” Allen says she is going to leave the competition and go home sooner than later.

Focus shifts to the next Team Whittaker training session and the first semifinal matchup, which pits Michel Batista against Team Gastelum’s Justin Frazier. Head coach Robert Whittaker says there’s no such thing as an easy win in MMA, but he feels Batista’s background as an Olympic-level wrestler gives him a massive advantage.

Later, Team Gastelum heads to a local tattoo shop. The entire team gets a “TUF 28” tattoo as a reminder of the experience they went through being on what will perhaps be the final season of the long-running reality show.

Back at the TUF House, Team Gastelum’s Allen has a meeting with her teammates and decides to air her grievances and explain why she’s planning to leave the competition. Allen tells Greene she has felt uncomfortable due to his antics and he’s the primary reason she wants to leave. Greene apologizes and expresses disappointment in himself for the way he acted.

At the end of the talk, Allen is persuaded to change her mind and stay part of the competition. Green promises to be better going forward, and everyone hopes for a reset of the team chemistry.

At the official weigh-in, Batista (263 pounds) and Frazier (264.5 pounds) come in under the heavyweight limit, and the fist semifinal matchup is official. A respectful staredown follows.

Fight day arrives and the athletes return to the TUF Gym. They finalize preparation in the locker rooms before heading to the octagon to determine which man will be the first to reach the heavyweight tournament final.

TEAM GASTELUM’S JUSTIN FRAZIER (10-2) VS. TEAM WHITTAKER’S MICHEL BATISTA (4-0)

Round 1 – It’s a feeling out process to begin the fight. Frazier is the first to strike nearly 40 seconds in when he sticks Batista with a right hand that causes him to retreat. Frazier follows with a leg kick and Batista doesn’t appear comfortable in the stand-up. Frazier lands another low kick and just misses on a bomb of a overhand left. Frazier lands another kick, and this one forces Batista to switch stances. He follows with another, and Batista is completely on the defensive. Frazier is looking for a fight-ending punch, but he’s just short on the range. He tags Batista during a flurry and has his opponent completely reacting to all his movements. Frazier comes at Batista with more left hands and one of them drops him to the canvas. Batista goes down in a heap and immediately starts to cover up. Frazier pounces with some ground shots and referee Herb Dean calls it off.

Justin Frazier def. Michel Batista via TKO (punches) – Round 1

Frazier becomes the first fighter to advance to the finals of the “TUF 28” heavyweight tournament. He’s thrilled at how he’s developed over the course of the season and now has a shot at a UFC contract.

“That’s my first time standing with someone and dropping them for a finish like that,” Frazier says. “I have finished people on the ground but never like that. Team Gastelum is by far the best coaching staff I could have asked for. When I heard it was him I prayed I would be a part of the team. He and I are really similar and I learned so much from him. This was an amazing experience. You’re talking to the next Ultimate Fighter Champion.”

Once the aftermath of Frazier vs. Batista wraps up, the scene is set for the next tournament semifinal, this time in the women’s featherweight bracket. Team Whittaker’s Julija Stoliarenko meets Team Gastelum’s Pannie Kianzad on the next episode.
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Catch new episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter 28: Heavy Hitters” every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on FS1. MMAjunkie recaps each episode of the reality series.