Ok there are going to be tonnes of blogs about TUF9, and they will probably post weekly so you get much more up to date info than you are getting here. But I haven’t blogged about MMA for a while and I am avidly following the new series so I thought i’d do my bit to bring anyone who has been under a rock the past couple of weeks up to speed.
So the first two weeks have been splitting the 16 from each team into the final 8 from each team to go into the house by making them fight each other in an elimination bout. This will be a pretty long post so make sure you are sitting comfortably:
Week 1 TEAM UK:
Fight 1: Gary Kelly vs Andre Winner.
Winner is an early favourite to win, very talented guy. Kelly is brother of current UFC fighter Paul Kelly and fights out of Bispings home gym – Wolfslair. Also LOL @ the fact that kelly gets subtitles so the US audience can understand his accent. Dan henderson even seen saying “you are gonna have subtitles all over this shit”. hahaha.
Fight starts with a nice exchange on the feet, they go to clinch which Winner dominates landing good solid knees. Kelly lands a nice elbow over the top and tries to dirty box with Winner but is pushed onto the fence. Winner lands a sweet knee to the head and follows it up as Kelly goes down and the ref stops it. Bisping was obviously rooting for his teammate, Dana says “he got clipped”. Yes Dana he sure did! Kelly doesnt even know what Winner hit him with.
Winner is defo one to watch this series.
Fight 2: Jeff Lawson vs James Bryan
Jeff “awesome lawson the ginger ninja” (to give him his full unofficial title) is far more experienced than Bryan and it shows. Despite Bryan protesting in the pre-fight that Lawson is coming to the end of his career, Jeff blasts through him like he is nothing. Setting up a clinch with a low click he lands an uchi-mata throw ending in Bryans guard, he then throws down some G’n’P and passes to half guard, then side mount keeping top position really well. Lawson then catches an arm and despite Bryans best efforts he sinks in the submission. Very slick from Jeff.
Fight 3: Che Mills vs James Wilks
Mills is another “on-paper” favourite to do really well in the show. He is veteran Mark Weirs cousin and trains out of Weirs Range fighting gym. He is predicting a KO win. Wilks lives and trains in the US but is “british at heart” and wanted to represent team Uk… which he will do as he despatches Mills pretty swiftly. Mills presses forward looking for the KO early but Wilks counters well, drops for a leg and secures a heel-hook.
Fight 4: Martin Stapleton vs Dan James
My first reaction is aaaaarrrgh! as you first see Stapleton in side profile and are introduced to his alien friend..his massive cauliflower ear. That is one of the most messed up caulis i ever saw! What a beauty, he deserves to win just for that 🙂
Fight starts with Stapleton landing a good left hook, getting the takedown and working top position well. As James tries to sit up, Stapes works the position nearly getting a choke as James rolls, then getting mount as he rides top position well, forcing James to give his back once more and this time its over. Rear Naked Choke finish for Stapleton.
Fight 5: AJ Wenn vs Ross Pearson.
I had heard of both these guys before, but not seen them fight. The fight instantly turned me into a Ross Pearson fan. He is hyped up and demonstrates his aggressive all out style straight away landing a nice foot sweep takedown and big slam in a round which is dominated mostly in the first 3 minutes or so by the two guys clinching on the fence. Pearson lands some huge knees and another big slam and AJ looks in trouble. AJ gets the takedown but Ross kicks out and gets up nicely, AJ shoots again but this time Pearson sprawls beautifully and springs back up to his feet, following nicely with a massive flying knee against the fence as he pushes AJ back. He then lands another that really rocks Wenn but the round ends. AJ looks out on his feet and was definitely saved by the bell.
Round 2 starts with Pearson looking to capitalise on the damage inflicted at the end of the first round – he lands a left hook and big right hand sending Wenn down. He follows up with some strikes on the ground and its all over. Nice stoppage win for Pearson and he looks a really good prospect.
Fight 6: Tommy Maguire vs Nick Osipczak
Maguire says he fights cos he cant sing or act and it beats working for a living, Ozipczak has the best line in the whole program when he says he knows nothing about Maguire other than he’s a ginger and he’s never fought a ginger before “so that’ll be good”.
In the first round Maguire gets the takedown against the fence, Osipczak gets up and Maguire looks for a standing guillotine then jumps to guard much to Bispings disgust. Osipczak slips out of an armbar attempt from Maguire off his back and stands up. He uses the range he has on Maguire well then gets to clinch and when they are against the fence he just unloads on Maguire landing a HUGE knee to KO his first ever ginger opponent.
*Maybe all ginger people should be subjected to the same fate? Probably not very fair to generalise ALL gingers but it would make a great TV show… “Tonight on ‘kneeing gingers in the face’ – Geri Halliwell gets initimately acquainted with my kneecaps and I see if I can smash the nose of that annoying twat from the harry potter films”. I reckon it could be a winner. Hmmmmm I am digressing again as normal and obviously need coffee.*
Fight 7: Alex Reid vs Dean Amasinger.
There cant be anyone who knows anything about UKMMA that doesnt know who Alex Reid is. I have been to a few Cage Rage shows and witnessed his lengendary Weigh-in “stunts”. Like when he fought Xavier Foupa Poukam (who’s catchphrase is “its punishment time”). He came to the weigh-in wearing bondage gear with a leather whip and started whipping Poukam yelling “It’s punishment time WOOOOH” – He is a funny bloke. But his recent performances in MMA fights have been pretty poor, albeit to some VERY good fighters. He has got legit skills but doesnt seem to rise to his true potential in the cage.
His appearance on the show just came off as a bit too “try hard”. He comes in yelling “It’s Reidernator time, YEAH!” while his opponent is far more chilled (plus anyone who does a Mr T “i pity the fool” impression in their pre-fight smack talk like Amasinger does is Ok by me)
We just get a highlight of this fight. The 1st round pretty much just shows Amasinger getting the takedown and holding top position with Reid trying to throw up his “Trusty triangle” submission attempt. Round 2 is very much the same but this time Amasinger ends up in a very tight triangle from Reid and you can hear his breathing is suffering. However Reid does not attempt to adjust his position and finish it, content to just squeeze with his legs instead of work a better angle to finish the submission. Consequently Dean works out and then you just see Alex saying “hit me dean… woooo!” a lot.
It goes to a third round and you get the same again, takedown from Amasinger, triangle attempts from Reid. Amasinger rightfully gets the decision, not looking overly impressive but you have to account for nerves. From what I know of the guy he is a beast and so I hope we see more from him in the later shows.
Fight 8: James Bateman vs Dave Faulkner
Faulkner is another of Bispings teammates. According to Bisping he is a great fighter but is mentally weak and doesnt believe in himself enough. Fight starts with the two men almost instantly going to clinch. Bateman throws flying knees from clinch and sprawls the takedown attempts of faulkner well. Faulkner eventually gets it to ground and gets top position but gets reversed and grabs a leg, getting a tap from a heel hook.
Overall Dana is really impressed with the UK team and says they have the killer instinct.
Week 2: TEAM USA
Not a great start for Team USA. First off the show starts with Dana giving them all a chat and Jason Pierce faints. Apparently he had a nasty weightcut dropping from around 80k to 66k for the fight. John-David Shackleton is found to have a herpes lesion on his forehead in the medical (yummy!), this is infectious and so he is cut from the show. Christian Fulgium comes in overweight and is told to lose the rest of the weight before 2pm. We are treated to the sight of him passing out on the treadmill which although harsh and probably painful is quite funny. Its his own fault, how can you get an opportunity like this and then mess it up by not having your weight preparation right. No excuse for that! He gets cut from the show as he cant make the weight.
Fight 1: Mark Miller vs Kevin Knabijan
These two guys are training partners and trained together for their stint on TUF. Harsh that they had to fight each other, especially as only one of them can now go through. Miller looks aggressive with his punches, Knabijan shoots a desparate takedown and misses. On the feet he is eating a lot of Millers jab and doesnt look happy. Maybe his mind isnt right for fighting his mate but you gotta do the job on whoever is put in front of you! Easy round for Miller. Knabijans corner tell him to throw the right hand and in round 2 thats what he does, landing a real nice 1-2 knocking miller down. He follows up with G’n’P and then looks for a leglock. Miller gets out and they get back on their feet and from here Knabijan just loses all momentum. Miller nearly takes his head off with a huge uppercut sending Knabijan to his knees, as he gets back up Miller is all over him blasting him with shots and finally getting the KO.
Fight 2: Richie Whitson vs Paul Bird
Bird says he is gonna kill him and despite getting an early takedown, it is Whitson who gets the best of this fight sprawling well and landing punches. Bird tries the takedown again and ends up in guard with Whitson throwing down, Whitson takes Birds back and uses strikes to get the opening and secure the choke. Nice performance from Whitson.
Fight 3: Waylon Lowe vs Santino Defranco
Defranco tried out for series 2 but was found to have a brain anneurism. He had surgery and is now 100% and back to try again. That is true warrior spirit and commands respect. In the fight Lowe gets the takedown and Defranco works his guard, for the last two minutes of the round you have Lowe just throwing down from guard with punches and elbows and Defranco just covering up and doing NOTHING. Im surprised it wasnt stopped but i guess a lot of the shots – although the cumulative effect must have been painful – werent getting through clean. Defranco gets up at end of round but for a second or two it looked like he wasnt going to! In round 2 there is a massive turnaround with Defranco landing a big flying knee flush on Lowes chin. Defranco gets top position and Lowe gives up his back allowing Defranco to sink the choke. A gutsy showing from Defranco.
Fight 4: Steve Berger vs Jason Pierce
We only get a highlight of this fight as it goes the distance. Looks pretty boring, suffice to say fainting boy Pierce pulls out a decision win. Whoever fights this guy from team UK has nothing to worry about.
Fight 5: Cameron Dollar vs Tom Haydon
Again we only get highlights of this: Haydon gets the takedown and takes his back hammering him with strikes in round 1. Round 2 has same thing but this time Dollar slips out the back door and takes Haydons back and secures the choke for a surprise win after being dominated.
Fight 6: Damarques Johnson vs Ray Elbe
Thaiboxer Elbe throws short, low teep kicks to the legs to keep Damarques at range as the round starts but Johnson has range on Elbe anyway and manages to land his punches quite easily. For a guy who spent 3 years in thailand i thought Elbe would be better on the feet. Getting no joy stood up, he tries a sloppy takedown and Johnson literally rolls him over to his back then gets mount and starts dropping elbows. Elbe gets a huge cut on his eye and rolls to his front but johnson rides it out and carrys on throwing shots not even trying for the choke. Ref stops it.
For the two that didnt fight (due to the forced drop-outs at beginning of the show) they will bring in 2 new fighters:
Jason Dent will now fight Rob Browning (thats right Browning, as in Junies brother… great 😦 hope he isnt as much of a dick as Junie is) and Kyle Reed will now fight Frank Lester.
Major annoyance with this episode is that, for some inexplicable reason the replacement fights will be shown next week, which just seems stupid and will eat into the time focussing on the fighters training and getting used to their new housemates next week. Not only that but they showed a spoiler in the “on next weeks show” clip showing Browning smashing an egg on some guys chest in the house so we have to assume that when Dent and Browning fight it is Browning who wins (and we also have to assume that Browning is indeed as much of a dick as his brother)
Obviously I am supporting the UK so you may claim bias, but based on the showing from the US guys Johnson looks to be the most impressive US fighter and then maybe Miller. Apart from these 2 I cant see anyone on team us who will trouble any of the UK guys. But MMA is a funny old game and anything can happen. Once everyone gets to the house then the fun starts.
The team lineups for the house look like this so far:
Team UK – Dave Faulkner, Dean Amasinger, Nick Osipczak and Jame Wilks
Team US – Mark Miller, Jason Pierce, Damarques Johnson (and one more to be decided on episode 3)
Team UK – Andre Winner, Jeff Lawson, Martin Stapleton and Ross Pearson
Team US – Santino Defranco, Cameron Dollar, Richie Whitson (and one more to be decided on episode 3)
LW winner will be Winner. How could he not with that name 🙂 but Lawson is also a good bet. Based on episode 2 alone, there doesnt seem to be a US LW that can hang with these guys. Pearson for the UK also looked fierce so he could be a darkhorse.
WW winner could be Wilks or Faulkner from Team UK, but Johnson looks a good prospect from team US with Miller also looking good.