Dana White might have a new favorite fighter, even if they didn’t win on The Ultimate Fighter 30.
This week’s episode of saw Mohammed Usman fight rival Mitchell Sipe in the second heavyweight bout of the season. While it was Usman who won a unanimous decision, the brash attitude of Sipe definitely caught the UFC president’s attention.
“I love the talking and craziness,” White said to guest Forrest Griffin with a laugh at one point during the fight. “This dude is f****** nuts.”
Unfortunately for Sipe (5-2), his talking and posing was not enough to eke out a win over Usman (7-2)*. Sipe had his moments, clearly winning Round 1 with a knockdown followed by ground-and-pound, but his antics appeared to distract from his performance, at least according to his coach Amanda Nunes.
“He got the first round. He starts playing in the second round, he’s not really focused anymore, not listening,” Nunes said post-fight. “We were asking, ‘Focus, focus, focus, Mitchell,’ the whole time.”
Coach Julianna Peña now holds a 2-1 lead after three fights this season.
Usman, the younger brother of UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, kept a steady demeanor throughout the fight, relying on an effective jab and a strong overhand right to get him back into the fight. Though Sipe stayed busy in Rounds 2 and 3, it was Usman who landed the more damaging punches in the judges’ eyes.
The win was an emotional one for the recent PFL competitor, not only because of Sipe’s constant verbal jabs before and during the fight, but because Usman had a personal tragedy on his mind. During a conversation with teammate Chantel Coates, who was dealing with a recent miscarriage, Usman revealed that his two-year-old son Nash drowned in 2019. In a tearful post-fight interview, he dedicated the fight to Nash.
"He is the main reason that I fight."@Umohammed97 reflects on the inspiration he continues to receive from his son, who died at three years old.— ESPN+ (@ESPNPlus) May 17, 2022
Stream the third episode of #TUF30 now ▶️ https://t.co/LSmMV252PU pic.twitter.com/s2qaYn4W4t
“Daddy did it, Nash,” Usman said after his win.
Here are the first-round results so far:
Zac Pauga def. Nyle Bartling via unanimous decision
Mohammed Usman def. Mitchell Sipe via unanimous decision
On next week’s episode, Team Peña’s Chantel Coates fights Team Nunes’ Brogan Walker in a flyweight bout.
(*TUF bouts are considered exhibitions and fighters’ pro records are not affected by the results on the show)
Season 30 of The Ultimate Fighter is being coached by UFC bantamweight champion Julianna Peña and UFC featherweight champion Amanda Nunes. The two are expected to meet in a rematch on a date to be announced following the airing of TUF 30.
The finalists of the TUF 30 heavyweight and flyweight tournaments will compete for a six-figure UFC contract at a finale event with a date still to be announced.
New episodes premiere at midnight every Monday exclusively on ESPN+.
Here is the TUF 30 roster divided by team:
Advancing to Round 2: Pauga, Neil, Usman
Eliminated: Bartling, Peralta, Sipe