This weeks TUF episode was about the last two spots on the USA team being filled.
It starts basically with the fighters walking into the house and noticing that there are sections designated for each team. All the fighters get pretty comfortable with each other, joking around, playing basketball, etc. until someone started throwing eggs. That someone of course is Rob Browning (Junie Browning’s little brother). He was pushing fighters and causing problems the entire time he was inside the house. Soon after these incidents happened though, both teams were praying that Jason Dent would finish him and stop “Junie Browning Jr.” from causing any problems in the house, because he would never officially make it in the house.
The fighters this year made a pact that they would not do anything perverted, humiliating or vile tricks to each other. This could make for bad reality television, but it could finally give us more of a detailed look at who these fighters are, how they got there, and how hard they work to achieve their goals.
The training sessions for each team were different looking to say the least. Team USA had the idea from their coach (Dan Henderson) that they would be working a lot on wrestling, ground and pound (GNP) and control (both on the ground, and standing up in the Greco-Roman wrestling clinch). Henderson saw this as a major advantage against Team UK because wrestling is not a strong suit of the UK fighters.
Team UK though, had a rounded skill level training session. What I mean by this is that they practiced many things including striking, wrestling, ground control, clinch work, and basically everything you would need inside the octagon. This could play to their advantage if they can prevent the USA guys from taking them down. With a coach like Dan fighting against them though, this could be a challenging problem to say the least.
Now to the fights
Kyle Reid (8-1, welterweight) vs. Frank Lester (3-2, welterweight)
This fight, from the intro, looked to be a classic “Striker vs Grappler” match up. The grappler was Kyle Reid, and the striker was Frank Lester.
The match of course starts out with the striker looking for some striking, and the wrestler looking for the takedown. In this case though, Kyle scores a takedown rather easily and starts a bit of body and head ground and pound. Kyle then moved from Frank’s full guard to his half guard, than landed a little bit more damage, but still nothing serious. Eventually though, Frank got back to his feet, and delivered a punch and a knee combo to Kyle, stunning him and making him go for another takedown. His shot was blocked though, so he pinned Frank against the cage. This caused him to eventually lose his double leg attempt and try a single leg from his side. Since he left his arm exposed to a Kimura attempt, Frank snatched it and pulled. Kyle though, not thinking of the consequences of only having one arm for a takedown, left his head entirely exposed, and when both men fell to the ground, Kyle landed on his temple and forehead. He was immediately unconscious, but Frank kept on twisting the Kimura until Mazzagatti stepped in to declare the contest over.
Frank Lester wins via Knockout at 1:44 of the first round.
The worst part about this whole experience was the fact that Lester only one because of Kyle’s stupidity. Kyle, was definitely winning this fight because he was pushing the pace the entire time and controlling Frank. It was a terrible way for a match to end, especially without a truly decisive win.
Rob Browning (4-0, lightweight) vs. Jason Dent (18-9, lightweight)
In this fight, Rob Browning had a clear disadvantage going in. He weighed in at less then Dent, and also had less fight experience. If Rob was going to win, it would be a long, hard and tough battle.
This match started off differently then I had anticipated. Browning came out using technical Thai Boxing strikes such as push kicks, leg kicks, and an effective jab from good angles to keep the distance between him and Dent. He was out pointing Dent pretty easily during this time, but soon became over confident in his takedown attempts. His first one was easily stuffed, and when the second one came in a little later, Dent took complete control of this mistake, and grounded Browning. This left Browning’s sides opened to knee strikes and punches. Dent was coming in with a constant barrage of knees to the body, strikes to the body and head, and a serious sprawl that was preventing Browning from doing anything at all. In the end, Browning was against the cage eating punches and heavy elbows, forcing Mazzagatti to end the match.
Jason Dent wins via Technical Knock Out at 1:24 in the first round.
After the fights on this episode, I am happy to see that Jason Dent is another very tough individual for Team USA. He will be a very tough guy to beat for anyone in the house and maybe even top 2 on the USA team lightweight division.
I expect some very good match ups by the end of this show. I am getting more excited with each episode this year, because the competition is very strong. I also feel that the semi finals and finals this year will be very intense, especially for the US and UK fans.
The Ultimate Fighter this year was about putting Team U.K. VS Team U.S.A.. From the words of Dana, it was the most exciting season he has seen yet. The first episode was showing the 16 UK fighters trying to fight there way into the home. Only 8 will make it so let us see what happens in the season Premiere.
There are 8 fights tonight, but some of them were just quick recaps of what happened, while others were the entire fight.
Andre Winner (9-2-1, lightweight) VS. Gary Kelly (2-1-1, lightweight)
The fight basically started out with Andre shadow boxing until a clinch was initiated by Gary Kelly. In the clinch, they were exchanging knees, punches and elbows from many different clinching angles. Eventually though, Andre caught Gary in the Thai Plume clinch and hit him with two devastating knees to the head. The fight was ended by way of knockout.
Andre seems to have great clinch work and KO power in his knees. He could be one of the guys to make it into the semis or finals.
Andre Winner wins Via KO at 3:12 of the first round.
Jeff Lawson (13-2, lightweight) VS. James Bryan (3-1, lightweight)
Jeff Lawson immediately starts the fight by clinching and using a judo throw on James to the get him to the ground. From there he uses a series of guard passing and Ground and Pound to get in a final position of North South. From here Lawson used some incredible Jiu-Jitsu to out roll and then finally finish the fight via armbar.
Jeff has incredible BJJ from what I am seeing. His stand up was not used, so I am not sure where his stand up is, but his ground game will more then likely be very good compared to most of the guys in the house.
Jeff Lawson wins Via Armbar at 3:15 of the first round.
Che Mills (7-2, welterweight) VS. James Wilks (5-2, welterweight)
The match starts with a series of jabs and overhands that connect from James to Che. Che grabs a takedown though but stands up inside the guard of James. James immediately initates a heel hook after eating a few punches though, finishing the fight quickly and easily.
I cannot really give my idea of how good James was because it seemed to me like Che was not a very rounded adversary. I think we will need another match to determine exactly where he stands
James Wilks wins via Heel Hook at 4:30 of round 1
Martin Stapleton (5-1,lightweight) VS Dan James (3-0 lightweight)
Martin Stapleton begins the fight by connecting with a hook, then shooting in for a takedown. Dan James though gives up his back during the ground battle and allows Martin to land some ground and pound, before Dan gave his back up a second time. When Martin got his back the second time, he finished with a Rear Naked Choke, by flattening out Dan James for an easy win.
Martin showed no remorse and took advantage of every thing Dan did wrong. He looks to have quite a bit of potential.
Martin Stapleton wins via Rear Naked Choke at 3:22 of the first round
A.J. Wenn (7-2, lightweight) VS. Ross Pearson (9-3, lightweight)
The match started with A.J. landed a jab and following up with the clinch. From there though it seemed A.J. was going for judo throws and knees but was not really getting anything done. Ross, though, landed a couple good knees, a sweep, and eventually a takedown. A.J. got back up and the clinch began again. This time more strikes were landed from A.J. but again Ross got the advantage and another takedown. Again though, A.J. stood back up and got into a clinch. Ross was controlling him with underhooks and whizzers the whole time, until eventually A.J. took him. Ross took some punches but got back up immediately. They both then got back stand up positions, and then Ross blocked a takedown attempt from A.J. got into a clinch situation again and threw a flying knee. It landed, and Ross then followed up with a couple more knees almost finishing A.J., but the bell rung.
Ross came out right away with the idea of finishing A.J. because he knew he was still hurt from the knees. He waited for A.J. to throw a punch, and immediately countered with an uppercut, overhand. The fight was ended with ground and pound
Ross looks extremely talented. He has great all around skills and looks to be a finalist for Britain at this point. I look forward to his next fight.
Ross wins via Technical Knock Out at 4:39 of round 2
Tommy Maguire (5-2, welterweight) VS. Nick Osipczak (3-0, welterweight)
They begin by having a small exchange, but then clinching. Tommy grabs a quick takedown and lands some ground and pound, but was answered by an upkick by Nick. They both then stood back up in the clinch and Tommy landed a good knee. Tommy then attempted a guillotine by jumping into guard, but it was defended by Nick and put Nick in a gull guard position. Nick asks for the fight to be stood back up though by the ref, and the fight is in the stand up positions. Tommy looked a little tired at this point, and because of this, Nick was unleashing combinations of knees and punches to the body and head. Eventually Nick landed a flush knee on the jaw of Tommy, finishing him off pretty easily.
Nick seems to have weak power in his strikes, but not bad for technical skill. His ground game looks poor though and so does his takedown defense. He could have problems early on with his current skill set.
Nick Osipczak wins via Technical Knock Out in Round 1 (Time was not given properly)
Alex Reid (10-9-1, welterweight) VS. Dean Amasinger (4-1, welterweight)
This fight was a recap fight. Dean was taking Alex down over and over again, and getting the better of the stand up. Alex, was attempting triangle after triangle, but all were defended.
Dean seems to have good striking but a low confidence level in his skills. He will need to improve in order to make it into the later rounds of the tournament.
Dean wins via Decision at round 3
James Bateman (2-1, welterweight) VS. David Faulkner (2-1, welterweight)
David and James clinch right away and basically have a pushing and strength battle. David scores a takedown though and maneuvers into a heel hook after James spins. Perfect leg lock execution from David, followed by a quick tap from James, scoring David the victory.
David looks like he has ground potential, but his clinch work was not very good, and he did not really show any stand up skills. I am not sure where he stands as of yet.
David Faulkner wins via Heel Hook at 3:13 of the first round.