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The Ultimate Fighter

The Return Of The Ultimate Fighter | Episode 4 Recap

Both Teams Prepare For The Third Fight On The Return Of The Ultimate Fighter. See Which Of The Bantamweights Comes Out On Top

Previously on The Return Of The Ultimate Fighter

Down 0-2, featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski tabs middleweight Ryder Newman to take on Tresean Gore, only to have the Team Ortega product control the fight and win a decision after two rounds.

Now on a three-fight skid, Dustin Lampros is called on to get Team Volkanovski out of its funk, as he’s paired off with former Contender Series contestant Vincent Murdock in the second bantamweight fight of the season.

It’s time for Episode 4 of The Return of The Ultimate Fighter.

MORE TUF 29: How To Watch The Return Of The Ultimate Fighter | Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3All Things TUF 

The Return Of The Ultimate Fighter Teams Pose For A Photo Before The Start Of The Show (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
The Return Of The Ultimate Fighter Teams Pose For A Photo Before The Start Of The Show (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

The episode kicks off at the house with a bruised-up Ryder wishing Tresean nothing but the best in a confessional interview and the two sharing a meal together in the living room, reminiscing about their recent battle, each man encouraging the other to continue to persevere and use their fight as a catalyst for growth.

Inside the UFC APEX for their training session, Volkanovski gives his squad a pep talk, acknowledging that things haven’t gone their way thus far, but that everything can turn around with one victory and that these moments build character.

As they go through their workout, TUF 15 winner Michael Chiesa comes in to join the festivities and pay the team a visit. The sixth-ranked welterweight contender trains with Brady Hiestand, who is celebrating his birthday, which serves as an extra reason for “Maverick” to make an appearance and pass on some wisdom to the Team Volkanovski hopefuls looking to follow a path he successfully navigated.

SEE WHAT THE COACHES OF TUF 29 HAD TO SAY : Volkanovski | Ortega

Members of the Team Ortega coaching staff drop by for a steak dinner prepared by Tresean, getting a little personal time with their charges.  As a barber cleans up Andre Petroski, who speaks about the influence having a daughter had on him, Ortega shares that he has two sons, ages seven and eight, sharing a video of them training with the team.

Vincent expresses his appreciation for the coaches coming through in a confessional interview before tapping out of the evening’s festivities and getting some shuteye with his fight on the horizon.

Back at the APEX four days before the fight, assistant coach Paul Herrera scouts Dustin with Vincent, diagnosing him as someone who is going to come out quickly and has limited weapons.

Get To Know Vince Murdock | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter
Get To Know Vince Murdock | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter

Ortega works through combinations and setups with Vincent, both on the mats and in the boxing ring, as the Team Alpha Male staple admits there is a small chip on his shoulder to perform well after being the last bantamweight picked.

Back at the house, Dustin explains he’s from a small town as he and Brady eat lunch, connecting over their shared family histories with alcoholism.

A teary-eyed Dustin explains his mother endured multiple surgeries that left her in tremendous pain and depressed, prompting him to move home from Florida for a spell. He moved back to Florida as the difficult familial situation continued, and three weeks later, his mother passed.

With tears streaming down his face, the Team Volkanovski bantamweight explains that his younger brother found her on the couch and called him, panicked and unsure what to do.

“I was on the way to Florida and I couldn’t help,” he says. “That’s what kills me the most and I feel guilty every day.”

Dustin explains that he is motivated to show his brother that the difficult situations of life can be escaped and you can create the life you want for yourself through hard work, a sentiment echoed by Brady in a confessional interview clip.

Get To Know Dustin Lampros | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter
Get To Know Dustin Lampros | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter

Boca Raton, Florida is the scene for Dustin’s home video, with the 27-year-old explaining his entrance into mixed martial arts as he’s shown working out at Sanford MMA.

“Junior year of high school, I met Tyron Woodley at a church and I told him how I liked MMA and thought it was really cool,” Dustin begins. “He told me he had a gym that was going to be opening up, so I went by there and started training with him.

“At 18, I had my first MMA fight,” continues the Freeburg, Illinois native. He explains that a little later, Woodley told him if he really wanted to pursue MMA as a career, he should consider taking the next step and moving down to Florida, which Lampros did.

Check out every contestant's profile on The Return of The Ultimate Fighter.

“I’m fighting for my little brother,” the emotional bantamweight says in a confessional interview layered between footage of him Face Timing with his little brother. “My little brother looks up to me a lot and I think that is where my drive and motivation to want more in life comes from.

“I’ve done everything — absolutely everything — for this moment,” he adds, “and when I step into the Octagon, Dana White, the UFC, and the whole world — everyone watching back home — are going to realize who I am and what this means to me.”

Three days before the fight, Team Volkanovski is back at the UFC APEX going through Dustin’s fight prep. Volkanovski praises his movement and talks about the pressure “Scrappy” brings to the cage, with the plan being for Dustin to use his range, use his pressure, and break Vincent to secure the victory.

Alexander Volkanovski Talks With His Team On The Return Of The Ultimate Fighter (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Alexander Volkanovski Talks With His Team On The Return Of The Ultimate Fighter

The Team Ortega coaching staff is huddled up in their locker room, asking how it is that Vincent landed on the show as an experienced, 30-year-old fighter in order to better understand him as coaches.

“In 2019, I got called up to the UFC,” begins Vincent. “Before the fight, my brain scan came back and they were like, ‘I hope this isn’t real because if it is, you should be dead and we don’t really know how you’re here right now.’”

Vincent explains that he has moyamoya disease, an extremely rare condition where certain arteries in the brain are constricted.

“I had an 11-hour brain surgery, I left within 24 hours, and the thing they couldn’t figure out is how I made it this far,” he continues. “Had no one let go of a choke or had I not tapped, I would have died. They guessed that being signed by the UFC and being an athlete is probably what saved me.”

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Vincent’s home video begins with him walking through the doors at the Team Alpha Male facility in Sacramento, California, where he’s trained since 2012. He explains that he picked up cycling, logging 12,000 miles in a calendar year, before explaining how he met his wife, who is now pregnant with their first child, through UFC Hall of Famer Clay Guida.

He details how he was headed down the wrong path through high school, but landed in an MMA practice through a friend, quickly getting addicted to the sport and making it his career pursuit.

“I feel like I’ve already won some of life’s biggest battles,” he says. “Being here today, staring at this camera, and talking to you guys is like, I stared death in the face and I’m still fighting. Considering what I’ve overcome in my life, nothing will stop me from winning.”

The Return of the Ultimate Fighter Streaming Every Week on ESPN+
The Return of the Ultimate Fighter Streaming Every Week on ESPN+

Back at the house, Dustin appears to be unsure about his weight cut, so Team Volkanovski middleweight Gilbert Urbina gives him a pep talk and help him out as Dustin says he’s “12 pounds over.”

The coaching staff arrives, Gilbert explains that Dustin has been in the sauna for 45 minutes straight, and the boys go into the bathroom to check on him, encourage him, and help him shed those pounds.

“The weight was a big issue,” says Volkanovski, “so we’ll see if what we’re doing is working.”

It’s Weigh-In Day at the UFC APEX.

FIGHTER PROFILES: Dustin Lampros | Vincent Murdock

Vincent hits the scale, coming in at 136 even. And now the moment of truth as Dustin takes to the scale.

“You’re a little high, we’re gonna bring the apron over,” says the Nevada State Athletic Commission official conducting the event.

The three-sided structure that allows athletes to get down to their birthday suit is brought out and Dustin steps back on the scale.

“You’re a little bit heavy,” the NSAC official says.

“What the f*** is going on here?” asks a surprised Volkanovski.

“It’s less than a pound. You’ve got one hour to make weight,” explains the NSAC official as Dustin looks surprised by the miss.

“Dustin has a pretty big cut; he went all night and still had to do few in the morning,” explains Volkanovski, “but he’s struggling to get that water out. He’s got an hour left, so as long as he runs back to the toilets, does a couple pellets out, we’ll be sweet.”

Dustin returns to the scale for his next attempt as Vincent and Ortega look on, frustration evident in their faces.

“There it is,” the NSAC official says, drawing a roar from Team Volkanovski as the bantamweights face off.

Dustin admits in a confessional interview that hearing he was over “broke me a little bit,” which is never what you want to hear from an athlete the day before they step into the Octagon.

As the fighters depart the face-off, Dustin looks to shake hands with Vincent, but the Team Ortega representative wants no part of it.

Vince Murdock prepares to fight Dustin Lampros on The Return Of The Ultimate Fighter (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Vince Murdock prepares to fight Dustin Lampros on The Return Of The Ultimate Fighter (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

It’s Fight Day between Team Volkanovski’s Dustin Lampros and Team Ortega’s Vincent Murdock.

Jason Herzog is the third man in the Octagon with the bantamweights.

Round 1: They touch gloves and we’re off, with Dustin pressing forward to start, backing Vincent up and landing a low calf kick. Vincent counters with a combination of his own, Dustin pressed in again, and a kick lands a little low, but Vincent shakes it off without a stoppage in the action.

Dustin lands a kick coming forward, but Vincent catches his leg and connects with a swift combination, moving back to the center of the Octagon after landing. Each time Dustin presses in, Vincent fires off a right hand that backs him up, allowing him to get his back off the fence and initiate the exchanges in space.

Watch The Return Of The Ultimate Fighter With Your ESPN+ Subscription

Dustin starts finding a home for his right hand, but Vincent fires back, prompting Volkanovski to warn his charge to be careful of the responses and use feints to set up his shots. Vincent lands a long right hand and then catches a kick, nearly dumping Dustin to the floor from it before they return to the center.

As Dustin moves forward, looking for an opening, Vincent connects with a clean one-two that puts the Team Volkanovski fighter on the canvas. Vincent swarms, unloading follow-up blows that prompt Herzog to take a closer look as Dustin scrambles back to his feet. Vincent stays on him and connects with a beautiful knee to the jaw that sits Dustin down, prompting Herzog to stop the fight.

Official Result: Vincent Murdock def. Dustin Lampros by KO (strikes) at 2:40 of Round 1

Just a clinical, patient effort from Vincent to secure the stoppage victory and give Team Ortega its fourth straight win.

Vince Murdock Post-Fight Interview | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter Episode 4
Vince Murdock Post-Fight Interview | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter Episode 4

Dana White says he was excited for this matchup and pumped about how it played out. Each coach weighs in on the fight, both acknowledging that Dustin landed a couple good shots early, only to have Vincent respond in kind right away.

“No matter how things are going, you’ve gotta respect your opponents and always have your hands up, especially when you’re coming into firing range,” says Volkanovski.

“Dustin tried to come back in, Vincent with the slip, counter with that right,” says Ortega. “He dropped him and after that, he just jumped on his back, started teeing off on him. Dustin got back up, Vincent hit him with a knee, and got the first-round victory in under three minutes.”

“It was a great finish for Vincent and another win for Team Ortega,” adds White. “And now they’re up 4-0.”

“It feels great having a fully functioning brain; I was able to think in there,” says an ecstatic Vincent. “It’s been a while since I’ve been able to feel like I win. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders.

“I miss my wife so much and this is a big moment for both of us,” he adds, his voice cracking with emotion, “and Baby Murdock on the way.”

A dejected Dustin walks back to the locker room.

“It’s my first loss, I feel like I let a lot of people down; I’m pretty disappointed with myself,” he says. “This sucks.”

Brian Ortega Fight Recap | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter Episode 4
Brian Ortega Fight Recap | The Return of The Ultimate Fighter Episode 4

Vincent and Dustin talk backstage, with Vincent telling him he was doing well and the two sharing a hug as they look forward to being able to hang out together again now that their fight is in the past.

Back at the UFC APEX, it’s time for the next middleweight fight announcement.

Volkanovski chirps to Ortega for being late to the announcement, apologizing to everyone, prompting Ortega to respond, “You’re on my time.”

“Someone is still bitter, huh?” asks the impending featherweight title challenger, laughing.

“You won; it’s all good. I’ll let it go,” answers Volkanovski, laughing, but Ortega keeps pressing.

“You’re just a s*** person, eh,” Volkanovski says of his opposing coach and next opponent. “He thinks he’s a nice person and he’s calling everybody (unintelligible). Your boys did well. Remember that: your boys did well; you didn’t do s***! You did f****** nothing!”

Ortega stands astride his future adversary, loving every minute of getting under Volkanovski’s skin as his team starts to chime in.

Volkanovski explains Team Ortega is routinely late because Ortega is out front taking selfies, prompting Andrei Petroski to declare, “They came to see us after the fight! They showed up to be with us.

“You should try that secret; you guys might win one,” adds Team Ortega coach Paul Herrera.

“Why don’t you have some class, man?” responds Michael Chiesa, standing with the Team Volkanovski fighters. “You don’t have to pick on the contestants; they’re trying their best. Let the coaches have their fun, but have a little class, buddy.”

After acknowledging how much he loves having Volkanovski pissed off, Ortega announces the next bout, selecting Kemran Lachinov will face Team Volkanovski’s Bryan Battle in a battle of the last two picks.