You know the drill by now…28 fighters will fight it out to see who will become the blah blah blah. You’re either pumped up to see a twelfth season of this stuff, or you’re not. If you are, but couldn’t be bothered to watch it (or you simply would rather read what I have to say and watch it in your imagination, like in the good ol’ days before fancy televisions), here you are.
“In the first season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’, he was the ultimate bad boy!” Josh Koscheck, ladies and gentlemen. The voice-over guy is already in mid-season form, which is comforting. He promises that the teams will be made of “the most diverse group” in TUF history. Is that because Nam Phan is on the show?
Shots of the training center! Shot of the fighters walking in! Confessional footage of fighters talking about how awesome it is to be there and how starstruck they are! Introduction and motivational speech from Dana White!
This is all so…familiar. Well, except for Koscheck’s sideburns, which are somehow more “Bruce Lee” than that of the fighter whose nickname is “Bruce Leroy”.
Ugh…is Dana done yet? Is there a Dana White TUF motivational speech generator online yet, too? Because there should be. Anyway, since we have fourteen (!) fights to get through, we get right to the taping of hands and the hitting of mits. For my part, I give my fingers a little crackety-crack and get ready to type like a madman. Let’s do this.
Marc Stevens starts us off. He’s from Syracuse, NY and is a rare MMA fighter with tattoos and a mohawk! That’ll help him stand out. He knows Josh Koscheck, as he wrestled for him in college. They don’t have an “ongoing relationship”, though. White asks Kos about him, and Kos says he’s an “okay wrestler”. Ha, a glowing recommendation.
His opponent is TJ O’Brien, and he’s going to stand out just as much as Stevens with a nickname like “The Spider”. Your referee is…oh, who gives a crap. They’re ready to punch each other in the face and all that stuff. “Bring it on, come on!” In no time at all, Stevens readily eats a low kick in order to throw a looping right that cracks O’Brien and puts him down. Stevens swarms for the stoppage and then asks Koscheck, “Remember me now?” Yeah, he does. He says you’re an “okay wrestler”, remember?
Who else we got here? Spencer Paige, who says, “If I was a bettin’ man, I’d bet on me.” Steve Magdaleno is “well-rounded” and will presumably be betting on himself, as well. Some kicks are blocked and haymakers thrown, as Magdaleno shows a willingness to throw some head kicks, though none are landing. Paige is putting hand combinations together nicely. Paige makes Magdaleno feel the heat from strikes, and Magdaleno can’t get the takedown. Well, until he does, anyway. A close, competitive first round ends that I’d give to Paige.
Round two begins as Paige begins to overwhelm his opponent again through sheer volume of strikes. Magdaleno gets another takedown and is in half-guard, pounding away when he can. Paige regains full guard and is able to stand up. Magdaleno drops for a throw but it backfires and he falls on his back with Paige on top of him in the mount, instead. The round was edited so I’m not sure how to score it, since I don’t know how much time was actually spent in each position. Apparently all three judges gave it to Paige, so he must have been mounted on Magdaleno much longer than shown.
Nam Phan is up next up and talks about how martial arts have been passed through the generations in his family, from father to son, father to suh-on. He’ll face Mike Budnik, who’s 35 years old and a former pro skateboarder. Budnick looks really relaxed…sleepy, even. He starts off with a few leg kicks and gets a takedown, to boot. Phan sits back for a leg lock but there’s nothing happening. He ends up on his back with Budnick thinking about passing guard, then simply standing up.
Budnick lands an uppercut as he’s just throwing single punches. He goes for a nifty little throw but Phan lands on his feet and gets a takedown of his own. He stands in Budnick’s guard and lands some shots. Soon, though, they’re back up and it’s Budnick getting another takedown into side mount. Of course, Phan just stands up, too, so all that happened is a lot of wasted energy and a lot of typing on my part. While I was complaining, Phan nailed Budnick with a body shot that crumpled him a bit, and Budnick just balled up and waited for the stoppage while Phan punched to a TKO win.
Now, here we are with the fight highlights. Jason Brenton and Andy Main faced off, with Main winning after transitioning from a tight arm bar to a triangle choke. Ran Weathers and Jonathan Brookins fought, with Brookins taking down Weathers seemingly at will and controlling him to a decision victory. Sako Chivitchian won by decision over Toby Grear, thanks to takedowns and a few strikes here and there. Afterwards, he promptly puked…and puked outside.
Jeffrey “White Shorts” Lentz took on Daniel “Black Shorts” Head, as GSP wrote an “X” over Lentz’s face on his chart before the fight even began. His profiling didn’t work so well, though, as Lentz teed off on Head’s dome for two rounds, in a fight reminiscent of Fedor-Nogueira I, except for the size and talent of the fighters and importance and geographic location of the fight itself.
Paul “The Wheel” Barrow (yes, really) brought his 3-0 record in against Alex “Bruce Leroy Caceres. He said he got the nickname from “getting into fights at school”. Um…I don’t see the connection. He sports a nice ‘fro and a jump suit like Bruce Lee’s famous one from “Game of Death”.
Caceres grins like the Cheshire Cat throughout the fight, and briefly thinks about a guillotine choke early on. He shows a willingness to mix up his kicks, though he throws strikes one at a time rather than in combinations much of the time. Barrow struggles to get a takedown against the fence, but can’t finish it. Caceres creates a scramble and takes Barrow’s back, quickly sinking his hooks in. He can’t get the rear naked choke, until Barrow decides to stand up and Caceres jumps on his back, giving it another go. Barrow taps and Caceres moves into the house.
Pablo Garza also brought an undefeated record of 7-0 on the show to face Michael Johnson in a fight to get into the house. We get the highlight treatment, as Johnson gets a takedown and works some vicious ground and pound in round one. Round two saw Garza getting his takedown attempt stuffed, only to end up with Johnson on top of him again. Johnson took the obvious decision victory.
Aaron “White Shorts” Wilkinson and Michael “Black Shorts” Richman were relegated to highlight treatment, too, which means…let me guess, a decision? Yep. The UK’s Wilkinson got takedowns and then was ruthlessly subtitled in his post-fight comments, which were only hard to understand if you don’t know how to speak English.
Then, we were treated to Joseph “White Shorts” Duffy against Kyle “Black Shorts” Watson. Duffy brought plenty of energy but got stuck in a bad position and had to tap from a rear naked choke. Watson is out of Matt Hughes’ H.I.T. Squad gym. JJ “Red Shorts” Ambrose faced off against Sevak “Black Shorts” Magakian, and Ambrose worked hard for a kimura from the guard, but Magakian persevered. We also saw Ambrose going for a guillotine from the guard, too, although Koscheck informs us that Ambrose “made a lot of mistakes by laying around on the bottom.” Hmmm. That’s the problem with just seeing highlights, I guess, because I just saw the winner stuck in two submission attempts while doing nothing whatsoever offensively himself.
Cody McKenzie looked to pick up where either Olaf Alfonso or Tom Cruise in “The Last Samurai” left off…take your pick. Oh! Or better yet, Eric Roberts in “Best of the Best”. Anyway, for anyone who didn’t get any of the three references, McKenzie’s sporting the samurai ponytail look, complete with beard. He’s also a “commercial fisherman in Alaska”, and he doesn’t really have a coach at home. Amir Khillah is an Egyptian fighter who wants to be “the Bisping of the Middle East”. Way to aim low, my friend.
Good thing these guys couldn’t possibly look more different, since they’re both going with white shorts. McKenzie has a head kick blocked as GSP tells White that he’s going to win by guillotine. Come on, GSP…SPOILER ALERT! I mean, why would they show him saying it if it doesn’t end up happening, am I right? McKenzie is the one who is almost stuck in a guillotine first, but he gets out, gets taken down and sure enough, sinks in a guillotine that knocks Khillah completely unconscious. McKenzie talks afterward about how he uses a different grip on the grip where he flips it a big and angles his arm so that his bicep cuts off one artery and his forearm takes care of the other.
Dane Sayers takes on Ariel Sexton, and Sayers says he wants to be a role model for Native Americans. Sexton has a 76″ reach and does a killer impression of a tyrannosaurus rex, for whatever it’s worth. A funny moment takes place where Sayers asks Herb Dean what he needs to do to tell his opponent that he doesn’t want to touch gloves, and Dean tells him it’s all up to him. Sayers signals across to Sexton with his hands that he isn’t interested in “touchin’ em up”.
It’s all for good reason, as Sayers flies across the cage at the start of the fight with an ambitious flying knee attempt that ends with him defending a takedown and working for a guillotine against Sexton. Sayers ends up slamming Sexton and the two separate. Sexton locks his hands around Sayers’ waist but still doesn’t get the takedown, and the two start throwing rather sloppy punches. A scramble ensues and Sayers goes for a rear naked choke on top of Sexton, but he’s up too high. Sexton probably could have shucked him off, but doesn’t and the round ends.
In round two, Sayers does touch hands to start and Sexton becomes the aggressor, teeing off on Sayers until Sayers desparately shoots for a takedown and gets stuffed. Sexton gets separation and comes at Sayers again, trying to tee off on his tired foe. Sayers goes for a guillotine as the two clinch and even jumps into guard as Sexton continues standing, but he’s too tired to finish it. He then gets a standing rear naked choke, and Sexton holds on as long as he can, but is forced to ultimately tap out. “He’s got some balls,” White says about Sayers.
The winners are all assembled, and McKenzie laments that the fighters can’t have girls in the house as White talks about what they can expect on the show. Then, we get a nice, lengthy “this season on ‘The Ultimate Fighter’” package, which shows, among other things:
–flips into the swimming pool
–”Bruce Leroy” infuriating a housemate with his dance moves
–Koscheck lecturing his fighters
–Mike Tyson cheering during a fight
–fighters squirting water on one another
–a fighter punching another one in the face in the backyard
–Koscheck briefly choking a member of GSP’s coaching staff
Looks like fun!
Tags: Alex Caceres, Cody McKenzie, Dana White, Dane Sayers, Georges St. Pierre, Josh Koscheck, Marc Stevens, Nam Phan, Spencer Paige, The Ultimate Fighter, The Ultimate Fighter 12, The Ultimate Fighter St. Pierre vs. Koscheck