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The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption episode 5 recap - Friendly fire

Hayder Hassan and Dhiego Lima are to TUF what Turk and J.D. were to Scrubs, but Cody Garbrandt insisted that they fight. And he insists on putting medical balloons up fighters’ nostrils. Ouch.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Hassan vs Luque Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

In case you missed the previous four episodes:

  • T.J. Dillashaw’s team has won all four fights so far. But Cody Garbrandt grabbed Dillashaw by the neck, so he’s got that going for him.
  • Very little has happened in the house except for a bit last week in which Garbrandt, his girlfriend, Clay Guida and Miesha Tate showed up. Garbrandt got drunk and starting wandering around saying, “Hanging with my boyzzzzz.”

This week’s matchup pits two American Top Team fighters against each other because this show thrives on irony. The show has devoted far too much time to the Team Alpha Male schism between Garbrandt and Dillashaw. Hayder Hassan asked Garbrandt not to put him against his teammate and good friend Dhiego Lima in the first round. Apparently, as Dominick Cruz noted on TUF Talk last week, Garbrandt’s teammate bro code seems to have gone out the window.

So in last week’s fight announcement, Hassan and Lima spent most of the staredown reassuring each other that they love each other. Cut back to the ever-serious Garbrandt: “No friendships here.” Garbrandt is either tone-deaf, literally deaf, or a victim of the Edit Monster.

The editing this season has indeed been a bit disjointed. We get a little more exposition on each fighter than usual, reminding us of each guy’s previous experience on TUF and in the UFC. But it’s not one fighter’s bio, then the others. It’s a bit of one guy’s bio, then something random, then a bit of the other guy’s bio, then back to the first guy, and so on.

This week, just as we warm up to Lima’s story, the editors send us right back to the gym, where Team Garbrandt is meeting Dr. Jon Petrick to get some sort of medical treatment in which a balloon is rapidly inflated and deflated inside the victim/patient’s nostril. It’s either for “craniofacial release” or some sort of prank on assistant coach Urijah Faber, who goes first to demonstrate — unconvincingly — that it’s no big deal.

One skeptical review of this process calls it “booger compression.” Hassan, though, is impressed with the difference in his sinuses. As the resident Old Guy With Sinus Issues at Bloody Elbow, may I suggest a simple sinus rinse? If you don’t like the neti pot, perhaps just the squeeze bottle?

Summing up the bios, not quite in the scattershot fashion in which the show gave them:

Dhiego Lima (TUF 19 runner-up)

Dana White stresses that he’s only 28 and has the physical tools but struggles with the mental side at times. If Lima believes he can win the whole season, White says, he can. Little wonder Dillashaw spends so much time trying to build up his confidence. Just before the fight, he tells Lima that Hassan’s just too slow to keep up with him.

Teammate James Krause chats with Lima at the fire pit and offers advice based on Lima’s past fights. Move after the punch, Krause says.

Lima has kids, but he says this time, he’s doing it for himself. He needs to prove to himself he’s a good fighter. That’s refreshing. The guys who say they have to fight for their families should really seek career counseling. (That said, Lima insists in the home-video phase that he’s not letting his kids down after they gave him permission to do another stint on TUF.)

We don’t get to see much of his stint on TUF besides Eddie Gordon -- his roommate that season and now his castmate again -- mauling him in the finale. Then we get a montage of his UFC fights -- one win followed by two first-round knockout losses. Not shown: Lima won his next two fights and took the Titan FC welterweight title, then lost it in yet another first-round knockout loss to TUF 21 alumnus Jason Jackson.

Lima’s home video takes us to American Top Team Gwinnett. For those of you who didn’t grow up in Georgia, Gwinnett County is an eastern suburb of Atlanta that sprawled to traffic-snarling extremes in the last few decades. Lima is a co-owner of the ATT operation there, which appears to be thriving.

He has three kids, one wearing the requisite Atlanta Braves cap. Lima enjoys acting like a child, too, but in an endearing way, chasing the kids around the house wearing a helmet. Two kids are 11 and 7. The third has a birthday cake. “The last time I was on The Ultimate Fighter, she was still in my wife’s belly, and now she’s turning 3!” Lima says.

Hayder Hassan (TUF 21 runner-up)

TUF 21 had an unusual format. The teams were actual teams -- American Top Team vs. the Blackzilians. Each fighter could be picked to fight up to three times.

And Hassan single-handedly led ATT to victory, fighting the maximum of three times in 17 days and winning all three.

But that success didn’t translate to non-TUF competition. He lost to Kamaru Usman in the finale. Then Vicente Luque avenged the decisive fight from the regular season. He was cut from the UFC and hasn’t competed since.

With very little buildup, we learn Hassan’s harrowing family story. He says Saddam executed his uncle. His father had to escape through the desert, reaching the border with a letter from Johns Hopkins admitting him to med school.

In the home video, we learn Hassan is single and doesn’t date. He hangs out with his brother and his kids. His brother is a fighter as well -- in the home video, he’s set to fight on UFC Fight Pass.

Hassan is also religious, and we see him going through his prayer ritual more than once. He calls himself a “happy hippie.” He seems almost too nice for this sport.

Then he drops one of the better pre-fight lines: “I’ve put the equity in. Now I’m going to get those deposits.”

Faber seems to enjoy working with Hassan. He teaches the legendary Diaz brothers’ boxing technique of grabbing opponents’ hands, saying the Diazes follow their foes’ hands around like they’re charming a snake. Has Faber been on some sort of meditative retreat?

But Faber also has an ominous comment for Garbrandt: “My personal top pick was Dhiego. But we’ll see.”


This is where we get to hear from other fighters, who have been invisible in this episode other than Krause’s fire-pit chat. Eddie Gordon, who beat Lima to win TUF 19, thinks we’re going to get an exciting bout. Krause thinks Dhiego is going to get a takedown and get a decision. Joe Stevenson thinks the chances of an early finish between two longtime training partners is low, so instead, we may get an epic fight.

The fight

Dillashaw shouts instructions that Lima follows impeccably. “Feints!” Feints. “Gimme one kick!” A head kick.

Hassan stuffs Lima’s first takedown attempt but not the second. Lima quickly gets his back, with hooks. Nearly halfway through the round, Lima gets his arm around Hassan’s neck, but Hassan has his chin tucked well, and he’s able to fight him off. Just after the two-minute mark, Hassan scrambles free and stands.

Hassan gets the better of the standup exchanges, but he’s not landing anything significant. Lima shoots again and gets Hassan to the cage for a few seconds but can’t hold him or get him down. Still, Round 1 probably goes to Lima.

Lima has been switching stances a lot, and Garbrandt wants Hassan to attack when he does that. But Round 2 starts with another Lima takedown. Lima again circles to his back, but Hassan needs less time to get out this time around.

Garbrandt isn’t happy. “Scrap! You’ve got to scrap!”

Hassan tags Lima, though, and he does seem to have a solid striking advantage.

“One-two!” yells Dillashaw. Hassan complies. Dillashaw is not Hassan’s coach.

With 90 seconds left in the round, Lima once again ducks and surges for a takedown. He gets Hassan to get cage, switches to a single leg and gets in. Once again, he quickly gets Hassan’s back.

“Let’s get that 5K!” a coach yells. He’s not talking road races here. A finishing bonus is at stake. With 10 seconds left, Lima goes for an armbar that probably would’ve been there if he had another 20 seconds or so, but this is going to the judges.

Garbrandt yells to get ready for a third round. That’s wishful thinking. Hassan might win a kickboxing bout with Lima, but Lima spent far too much of each round controlling Hassan on the mat.

The judges agree. Lima by unanimous decision. Hassan kisses his forehead. Lima says the fight itself wasn’t that hard, but working up to fighting his friend was hard.

And for those keeping score at home, that’s Dillashaw 5, Garbrandt 0.

Dillashaw sets the next fight, sending TUF 13 runner-up Ramsey Nijem vs. Julian Lane, the “Let Me Bang, Bro!” guy.

Dana White returns to talk up Lane’s punching power but also to remind us that Nijem has fought nine times in the UFC.

And by default, the last matchup will be Team Garbrandt’s Justin Edwards, the last pick in the draft, vs. Team Dillashaw’s Joe Stevenson.

The good news for Garbrandt: This season does include a wild-card fight.

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