This weekend, The Ultimate Fighter 29 comes to a close when the TUF middleweight and bantamweight tournament finals take place at UFC Vegas 35 on Saturday. In the middleweight final, Team Volkanovski’s Bryan Battle faces Team Volkanovski teammate Gilbert Urbina after Team Ortega’s Tresean Gore was forced out due to injury and in the bantamweight final, Team Volkanovski’s Ricky Turcios takes on Team Volkanovski teammate Brady Hiestand. That makes it a clean sweep for coach Alexander Volkanovski over coach Brian Ortega and even though the circumstances with Tresean Gore’s injury are less than ideal, the UFC featherweight champion is happy his team has had so much success this season.
“I’ll take it,” Volkanovski told the UFC’s Karyn Bryant. “It is a clean sweep. We’ve got all four in the finale. Obviously, it was unfortunate how that happened but I guess I’m just going to have to take it anyway.”
Team Volkanovski’s success is made all the more impressive by the poor start they had at the start of the season. Team Ortega won the first four fights in the house before Team Volkanovski stormed back to win seven of the next eight contests. But though his team ended up getting the worst of the season, Ortega himself was fairly successful, winning the Coaches Challenge with Volkanovski and getting the better of the prank warfare, including removing the tires from Team Volkanovski’s car and leaving them a donkey, and leaving enormous snakes in the locker room for Team Volkanovski to find. In comparison, Team Volkanovski’s prank of filling a room with clocks was fairly uninspired but that’s because, according to Volkanovski, they were limited in what they could retaliate with.
“That first prank that he got with the wheels and the donkey, I love it, mate,” Volkanovski said. “I was all for it. We walked out and we were absolutely cracking up. We thought it was great. But the thing is, a lot of people don’t realize that we ended up having his keys. We found his keys in the gym and we were gonna do pranks on his car but we weren’t allowed to. We weren’t allowed to touch his car, even straight after he pranked our car, we weren’t allowed to prank his car. He made sure we weren’t allowed to touch his car. So he was like a protected species.”
Aside from being limited in their ability to retaliate, Volkanovski also says that his best pranks were cut from the show, either because they were too bawdy or because Ortega was just too sensitive.
“There was another one we did that didn’t make the cut - maybe because people don’t really get our Aussie humor or maybe Ortega didn’t like it - we ended up making Brian Ortega urinal cakes,” Volkanovski said. “So we did that at the end of the show and put them all through the APEX. Literal urinal cakes with Brian Ortega’s head on it after his fight with Max (Holloway) so it was all busted up. So we put that all through the APEX for a bit of a laugh. It wasn’t personal but I think he might have took that to heart so they didn’t air it.
“Me and Craig Jones were stirring him up the whole time. We were pretending to take leaks on the Team Ortega signs, on his posters, on his car because we weren’t allowed to mess with his car so we’d take photos and post it just to get under his skin. So then we thought we take ‘taking the piss’ to a whole other level by making the urinal cakes. And as I said to him, the closest he’s gonna get to gold is a golden shower.”
In the end, the prank warfare was endemic of a growing dislike between the two fighters. during the season, Volkanovski has been open about how Ortega rubs him the wrong way and now with TUF wrapping up and their long-awaited featherweight title bout on the horizon, Volkanovski is excited to finally get his chance to settle things with Ortega.
“I just want to get in there. It’s been too long,” Volkanovski said. “It’s been way too long and to have that last fight taken away from me through the whole COVID situation hurt me but at the same time, it is what it is. It gave us the opportunity to do The Ultimate Fighter which I guess I can say I’m thankful for because it was a great experience and I guess it got to build up this fight as well. Because again, there was no bad blood at all. And would I say there’s bad blood now? No. But to say we like each other would be a lie.
“He’s definitely not someone I would hang around with and I’m sure I’m not someone he would hang around with. But at the same time, do I want to insult his family and do things like that? No, that’s not the type of human being I am. But do I want to punch him in the face? Yes, 100 percent. I cannot wait to go out there and punch him in the face. Being able to compete with him and even watch the show and some of the comments he would say and different types of energies here and there. It makes me laugh but at the same time, I get to share the octagon with him soon and put some hands on him and that’s all that matters.”
Volkanovski and Ortega will face off in the main event of UFC 266 on Sep. 25 in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Now they are friends?
Fair, although I would say I am 1 thru 5 before other comes in, but I understand. Respect Daniel, carry on, god bless. Nice one mate, get a bottle of 12 onto the set now. You were seen! @ProperWhiskey has landed The Big P 12 @laura_sanko @espn #tasty #forbesnumber1 pic.twitter.com/c1keOU2Qyj— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) August 26, 2021
But now DC has beef with Max.
With so many fighters being broke, you’d think they’d all finally get together and do something about it.
Get well soon.
Alex Oliveira (22-10-1, 2 NC) vs. Niko Price (14-5, 2 NC); UFC Fight Night, Oct. 2.
Lando Vannata (12-5-2) vs. Tucker Lutz (12-1); UFC Fight Night, Nov. 13.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
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