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TUF 24: Episode 4 thoughts

In Episode 4 of TUF 24, we saw No. 2 Yoni Sherbatov face No.15 Eric Shelton.

Sherbatov talked about his upbringing, his boxing skills, being a Golden Gloves contestant, his grappling, and his all-around skills. Dana White mentioned his punching power. Cejudo and his coaching staff talked up how Sherbatov was the best fighter they’ve seen and is the favourite to take the show.

We got the backstory too.

Sherbatov has four kids, and takes pride in being a father. Supporting the family is all he wants. During training, Shelton mention that he hasn’t fought many southpaws, so his training was based on looking for holes in their game.

TUF 24
Courtesy Zuffa LLC.

Each fighter talked about feeling the stress. Shelton didn’t want to let his girlfriend down. Sherbatov felt stressed, pressured about getting the job done, being Russian and accomplishing goals. It was interesting to see that this season they showed previous fights that each coach had against Mighty Mouse. Each team got to see the footage and get feedback from their coaches, a reminder that all of this is to beat Demetrious Johnson.


When the fight started, Sherbatov was the first to start with a headkick which missed. The fighters started slow, realizing the importance of their positions. Shelton answered back with a few low kicks of his own, then started connecting with counters. Sherbatov rushed in with flurries a few times, which forced Shelton to cover up. Sherbatov started mixing levels, then saw an opening for a take down and went for it.

Shelton surprised most by getting up and reversed things with taking Sherbatov down. Shelton scored a few strikes before Sherbatov got up, scored another takedown, then they were back on their feet. This time though, it looked like Sherbatov was a little gassed. That ended the first round. A very close round, but I gave it to Shelton.

Sherbatov came out in the second round looking for things, but Shelton countered, and stuffed takedowns. It was easy to see a shift in confidence. Shelton started to own the center of the cage. Sherbatov set up a takedown with a low legkick, but Shelton made him work for the takedown. Sherbatov got the takedown against the cage, and tried to posture up, but Shelton never stopped moving. Eventually, he twisted and turned into a reversal, striking Sherbatov’s body and head. Shelton regained control, went for a rear-naked choke, and got the submission win.

Rankings in this season means nothing.

Next week, we will see No. 7 seed Ronaldo Candido vs. No. 10 seed Jaime Alvarez.


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