Episode No. 11 of “The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption” opens with focus on the upcoming semifinal matchups, which pits two pairs of Team Dillashaw fighters against one another, with Dhiego Lima vs. Tom Gallicchio and James Krause vs. Jesse Taylor
There’s concern about the condition of Krause’s eye, though, because he suffered a scratched cornea in the quarterfinal round. UFC President Dana White informs coach Cody Garbrandt that if Krause is not ready to go he can bring back any member of his team to the competition.
Team Dillashaw is not pleased with White’s decision. Ramsey Nijem in particular thinks he should get another opportunity and is complaining about the situation, which irritates Gilbert Smith. The Team Dillashaw members get into somewhat of a heated argument, but the tension eventually fizzles.
Preparation for the first semifinal between Lima and Gallicchio begins. As has been the case for all the matchups between Team Dillashaw fighters, head coach T.J. Dillashaw gives both fighters maximum attention in the training room. However, he won’t appear in either corner during the fight to remain impartial.
During a break in training, the team Dillashaw fighters and coaching staff overtake the Team Garbrandt locker room. They paint the walls blue, which represents their team color and hang Team Dillashaw signs and photos on the walls.
Once Team Garbrandt arrives at the gym, they tear down all the photos and write, “Snake Free Zone” on the walls.
Back at the “TUF” house, Krause is beginning to grow frustrated with his surrounding fighters. He’s constantly being asked about the condition of his eye and whether he will be able to compete. It turns into an argument with Team Garbrandt’s Johnny Nunez, which goes on for several minutes.
During the next Team Garbrandt training session, coach Dillashaw sneaks into the locker room with a number of live snakes in his possession. He places them in the center of the locker room, which turns into a comical scene once Team Garbrandt returns from training.
At the official weigh-ins, Lima and Gallicchio come in under the required 171-pound welterweight limit. A friendly staredown follows, with both fighters smiling as they pose.
Fight day arrives, and after warmups take place in the locker rooms, both fighters enter the octagon for the first “TUF 25” semifinal bout.
Team Dillashaw’s Dhiego Lima (12-5) vs. Team Dillashaw’s Tom Gallicchio (19-9)
Round 1 – Gallicchio opens with leg kicks and is pumping his jab. Lima pops him with a straight shot up the middle and is moving around the octagon as Gallicchio is more flat-footed. Lima lands a hard body kick, but Gallicchio keeps pushing forward. Gallicchio is looking to close the distance, but Lima is keeping his range. Gallicchio shoots for his first takedown, but it’s easily stuffed. Gallicchio is throwing hooks while Lima connects with better straight punches. Lima nearly misses with a hard right hand; Gallicchio is responding with decent shots at every turn. The pace of the striking is picking up, and Lima shuts down another takedown attempt. Lima lands a nice overhand right. Gallicchio shoots again, but Lima sprawls. Lima is finding his range on the feet, which is beginning to pose issues for Gallicchio. Both sides pick their shots over the final minute of the round, but nothing decisive lands.
Round 2 – Gallicchio shoots for a takedown right away and gets in deep on it. Lima rejects him, though, and lands a powerful knee to the face of Gallicchio on the break. Gallicchio isn’t deterred and keeps moving forward. He’s taking combinations from Lima, which forces him into another takedown attempt. He nearly grounds Lima but can’t get control on the floor. They fight along the fence before Lima escapes. Lima snaps Gallicchio’s head back with a right cross, and he’s gaining confidence. Gallicchio looks to be slowing down and eats a partially blocked head kick as a result. Lima is landing dynamic striking combinations and working Gallicchio’s legs with kicks. Gallicchio changes levels for another takedown, but Lima isn’t having any of it. Lima grabs the fence to stop a takedown, which causes referee Herb Dean to stop the action. He takes one point away from Lima, changing the entire dynamic of the fight. Both fighters have a little more urgency, and Gallicchio shoots for a takedown. It’s not even close, and he absorbs more hard strikes. Lima is picking Gallicchio apart over the final minute until the horn sounds.
Round 3 – They hug to start the round and then Lima blasts off a body kick. Gallicchio’s takedown attempts continue to be denied by Lima, who is seeing everything coming in the striking and grappling departments. Gallicchio lands an overhand right, which is probably his best strike of the fight, but Lima is not rattled. Gallicchio has more of his takedown attempts stuffed and is visibly exhausted. Lima begins to batter him with punches, which causes referee Dean to warn him to fight back. Gallicchio’s takedown attempts have nothing on them at this point, which allows Lima to stock him around the octagon and land punches at will. Gallicchio gets deep on the legs as Lima gets overly aggressive and for the first time in the fight has solid top position. Lima attempts to kick his opponent off but Gallicchio has strong grappling and sticks to him. Lima is fighting hard to stand up, but Gallicchio takes side control. Lima finally scrambles up to his feet, and Gallicchio has almost nothing left in the tank. Gallicchio goes for one final takedown, but it’s thwarted. Lima shoots for his own takedown in the final seconds and finishes the fight on top, pounding Gallicchio with strikes.
Dhiego Lima def. Tom Gallicchio via unanimous decision
Lima becomes the first fighter to advance to the “TUF 25” tournament finals, and perhaps more impressively, becomes the first athlete in the history of the reality series to make it to the finals twice.
He lost to Eddie Gordon in the “TUF 19” finals, but Lima isn’t planning to have history repeat itself.
“I feel great; I’m back in the finals,” Lima says after his win. “This is what I came here for. Now it’s time to take it home.”
Lima received praise from coach Dillashaw for his accomplishment.
“Dhiego’s had a great attitude this entire season,” Dillashaw says. “So I’m happy for him. A good human being is moving on to the finals, and I’m happy for him.”
Lima will compete at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale on July 7, and his opponent will be decided on the next episode when Taylor fights either Krause or his yet-to-be-determined injury replacement.
Catch new episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption” every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on FS1. MMAjunkie recaps each episode of the reality series.
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Source: MMA Junkie