By Steve Juon, Wrestling Observer
The Blackzilians are still up 200-100 after Hayder Hassan’s victory last week – the only man to win either of American Top Team’s victories – but the final four fights are worth 100 points each.
Felipe Portela says he’d fight Hayder Hassan again this week if he could. The Blackzilians are sitting around game planning, and Jason Jackson notes that if they win two it’s all over – ATT needs to win three to get a mathematical edge. Dana White: “These guys have to be very careful in how they select this next fight.” The Blackzilians are training using water resistance afterward.
Dan Lambert and ATT are trying to figure out who’s up next in the final four. They want to give Steve Carl a second chance, but they also don’t want another weight cutting incident. Carl: “I’m happy to step up and fill that slot. I’m ready to get in there and win, show them why they put me on this team. I didn’t really show the Steve Carl everybody’s used to.”
The Blackzilians want to put Kamaru Usman in again, and he vows to “seize the moment and capitalize on the opportunity.” He knows he’ll pick up the W to both ensure his place in UFC and provide a future for his family. They also get a visit from their family members to boost their morale. Jackson was thrilled to see his son. “Glenn you get an A+ for that one.”
It’s weigh-in time. Usman is 170. Carl is 171.25. Glenn Robinson: “I’m thinking – really?” It’s a commercial cliff-hanger though. He gets all his clothes off at the commercial break and weighs in again – 171 even.
* Steve Carl (American Top Team) vs. Kamaru Usman (Blackzilians)
The fight is underway at 10:36 ET. Carl is in the blue trunks, Usman the black. Carl is being very aggressive early – he’s clearly trying to make up for the last fight. Usman gets a takedown 56 seconds in and yanks the legs away from the fence so he can’t get up, then pops him in the face with a left. He gets back up at 1:20 but Usman shoots right back in looking for another one. This time Carl fends it off and Usman has to resort to rabbit punches to the chest. He gets warned about grabbing the fence and Carl spins and drops levels – but Usman jumps out of the single leg and starts swinging wildly.
A knee grazes him as he shoots in again, and he can’t get it. He has bloodied up Carl’s nose this round, but Carl isn’t making anything easy. Usman gets another warning about the fence and the camera zooms in on his hands. Carl and Usman keep spinning around. Usman pops him with some big shots, stuffs a takedown, and winds up on top with under 30 seconds. Carl would like to throw his legs up for a triangle but there isn’t enough time. Usman ends the round with hammer fists. Lambert looks pissed.
If Carl doesn’t bring it this round, he’s going to take his second L of the season and give the Blackzilians everything they need.
Unfortunately he’s on his back two minutes in and having to use a butterfly guard to keep distance and scramble to his feet – he gets up at 2:22 but he’s already given up a striking advantage this round, and he’s taken down again at 2:44. Usman is working to take his back and punishing him right rights to the face. Carl lets him on top and tries to get a guillotine but he doesn’t have it. He gets up with 90 seconds left but is taken down and hammered again. Usman is transitioning positions at will. Usman is throwing knees to the ribs and throwing him around at the horn. Anything other than a unanimous decision for Usman would totally shock me.
There are only a couple of minutes of TV time left when we come back so there’s definitely not a third round.
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All three judges score it 20-18 for Usman, and the Blackzilians take a 300-100 lead.
See you next week!