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The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption episode 11 recap - Snakes in a gym

Tom Gallicchio tries to psych himself into an upset over Dhiego Lima, the prank war goes reptilian, and James Krause has a mild flip-out in the house.

Drama in the house? We’re getting drama in the house? Is it because James Krause has a ridiculously hard path to the final, the result of Dana White going against both coaches and picking Krause to fight Jesse Taylor? The hint is that Krause’s cornea injury may somehow figure into it.

The promo says we’re getting house drama, the first of the season, as well as the first semifinal between the dangerous Dhiego Lima and the guy who keeps winning despite all expectations, Tom Gallicchio.

And here we go: Dana White talks with Cody Garbrandt and rewards him for his outstanding coaching record and rational behavior by letting him pick the alternate in case Krause can’t go. Has Dana been watching this season?

Ramsey Nijem does not take this news well. He apparently gets into something with Gilbert Smith, who seems ready to come out of retirement to throw down. The cameras miss the first part of this, and we’re treated to a bit of Blair Witch Project cinematography while someone runs to the lobby area outside the dressing rooms. Given all the action that’s happened in that area this season, you’d think they’d stick a remote camera in there.

Nijem isn’t scared of Smith and notes that he has let himself go a bit since announcing his retirement.

“Looks like the only thing he can fight now is diabetes,” Nijem says. Ouch.

After a bit of Lima training, we get prank time. Team Dillashaw goes into Team Garbrandt’s dressing room to paint it Dillashaw Blue, a metaphorical reflection of how the season has gone, with Dillashaw’s fighters dominating and filling all four semifinal slots. If Krause can’t fight and Cody gets another fighter in the mix, will they have to paint it again?

Seth Baczynski is still on the show! He appreciates a good prank. But the team takes red tape to spell out Team Cody, all before the late-arriving Garbrandt shows up. They declare it a “snake-free zone.”

Finally, we’re off to the house, where Krause is getting annoyed with people coming up and asking about his eye. He snaps and flips off Johnny Nunez. “You’re trying to wish my downfall for your opportunity,” Krause says.

They keep going for a while. But nothing is thrown. Nunez doesn’t even get out of his chair, but he got some air time.

We get a bit of Gallicchio training, and he confides that everyone has doubted him. Including his family. More than the money, he wants to be able to go home and tell his mom and dad he made the final. It’s as if the producers want to remind us that, despite the two spats so far this episode, this is a really nice group of fighters.

But first, the prank war escalates. While Team Cody is apparently playing volleyball -- as Dillashaw says, they’ve got no reason to train for anything -- T.J. puts a bunch of snakes in the Garbrandt dressing room.

Julian Lane spots them first and is dumbfounded. Urijah Faber, who hasn’t been on camera in a couple of weeks, comes in with open-mouthed shock. But they’re all amused.

Weigh-in is uneventful for a change, and we get a funny staredown with a bit of role reversal -- fierce striker Lima gets in a college wrestling pose and grappler Gallicchio puts up his fists. They’re both smiling in appreciation. Someone should cast them in a buddy movie.

Fight Day finds Gallicchio pacing the lawn and doing more affirmations than Stuart Smalley: “You’re going to drink your water. You’re going to eat your breakfast. You’ve beaten tough opponents. You’re going to get your takedown. These are not the droids I’m looking for.”

His confessional doesn’t seem confident. “He’s a very big opponent. He’s a very talented opponent. But I’m going to give it my all.”

Through the first round, it’s the sort of fight you’d expect from people who’ve been training together for a while. They anticipate each other’s moves, rendering offense quite difficult. Gallicchio isn’t totally overwhelmed in the standup, landing occasionally, but Lima stuffs his takedown attempts even as Tom starts shooting from far away, diving at his feet like a free safety trying to make a touchdown-saving open-field tackle.

Round 2 finds Gallicchio getting closer to the takedown, but Lima keeps getting free, and he lands a knee as they get back to their feet after one miss. Then Lima cracks Gallicchio with a right hand that seems to stop time like some sort of sci-fi freeze ray. A head kick follows, and the strikes come fast and furious after that, with Gallicchio wincing as Lima lands another one on his face.

But we have another twist. Gallicchio gets close on another takedown attempt. Lima gets free, but referee Herb Dean calls time. He calmly walks over to Lima and says he’s taking a point for grabbing the fence. Lima doesn’t complain, and he gets right back to punching Gallicchio’s face from all angles.

Round 3, though, starts with more of the same. Gallicchio absorbs a lot of punches to the face and can’t get Lima down. He finally gets a legitimate takedown halfway through the round and spends a minute or so on top, but he’s unable to do anything with it. They stand, and Gallicchio responds with increasingly desperate takedown attempts. With 10 seconds left, Lima actually takes down the exhausted Gallicchio.

The fight recap shows a lot of slo-mo of Gallicchio’s ears wobbling as Lima cracks him in the head repeatedly. The decision is unanimous, as it should be: Lima goes to the final.

The doctors check out Gallicchio, who has a bloody knee and toe. He also says his jaw is sore, prompting the doctors to take a look.

“I think I’m missing a tooth,” he says. Then he slaps the doc’s shoulder and says he’s just kidding. Gallicchio has had the teeth of a hockey player for a while.

Next week: James Krause vs. Jesse Taylor. We think. And TUF 24 winner Tim Elliott turns up, apparently just to stir things up in the house.

And Gallicchio turned up on TUF Talk after the episode with one of the best lines in show history: “I don’t think they took into account the damage I did to his hands with my face.”