Back (late) again for another thrilling installment of my TUF9 round up. This weeks episode was actually really good, some good training footage, not too much focusing on “house highjinks” and an entertaining fight at the end:
This week we get to see who Bisping and Hendo have as their coaching staff. Bispings “assistant” coaches are his own coaches in real life, wolfslair trainers Mario Sukata (ground) and Dave Jackson (muay thai). Hendo for some reason thinks 2 isnt enough and has a boxing coach, a muay thai coach, a wrestling coach (can’t he coach the wrestling?? He’s an ex-olympian!!) and a jiu-jitsu coach…. oh and himself. To be honest I’m not loving Hendo’s on screen “personality”. He doesn’t say a whole lot and doesn’t (so far) seem to much of a team motivator. Fair enough he’s up against Bisping who is outspoken and always has something to say but Hendo just seems a little subdued. Maybe he’s just that way, but it doesn’t make for great TV.
Anyhoo we find out the fighters up in the first UK vs US fight are WW’s Mark Miller for Team USA and as they get first pick they choose Nick Osipczak to fight him. I think the US team think he isnt up to much and even Dana says that “he fought a leprechaun” in the prelims to make it to the house and that he favours Miller for this one. Fair enough if you are judging solely on the prelim fights in the 16 to 8 cut in the first show….if I was judging just on that I’d give the edge to Miller too.
There is some great training footage in this one, Team UK are really focussed and I have a really good feeling that we are gonna own the USA team in this Series. There isn’t a lot of focus on Team US at all in this one in terms of training, although we are treated to some “hilarious” (no, really) japes from the US team which involve writing on bits of kit that the UK guys leave lying around. Apparently them doing this means they are “winning” 2-0. Once for writing on Dave Faulkners Team UK tshirt and once for writing on Ross Pearsons wrestling boots. Ross threatens to “smash them” when he gets back to the house but then doesnt do anything…. disappointing but understandable. Save it for the cage!! Made me laugh when the UK team just dismissed it all as a bit gay, and that when Ross asks one of Team USA “who wrote on me boots like” in his North-East accent he has to repeat himself about 300 times before the US guys understood what the hell he was saying. Bisping basically just tells the team to rise above it and be professional and not to get drawn into it all. Which is good advice, i think the UK team are all about the training and the fights and it should stay that way.
Damarques Johnson is getting wound up by Bispings comments that the UK team are gonna win. He also seems to have styled himself as Team US’s “leader”. He seems like he’s actually a bit of a dick but he is also the USA teams best fighter so he will probably be sticking around for a while yet unfortunately, it’s great that Bisping is messing with their heads already though. I like Bispings style. One of the things i liked most about this episode was when we see Bisping and the other Uk coaches picking apart some footage of Millers fights to formulate their gameplan. Really interesting stuff. I hope there is more of this sort of stuff as the series goes on.
The fight strategy for Team UK is draw Miller in then take him down and control him on the ground as he has no offence off his back. Not really sure what the strategy is for Team US but they certainly don’t need to worry about Osipczaks kicks as “he’s not much of a kicker” according to Cyrille Diabate…hmmmm hope that one doesn’t bite you on the ass Cyrille (now you see how i’ve cleverly tied in the post title with the content 😉 )
Both fighters make weight OK and we move onto the fight:
As expected Miller rushes in strong and they clinch immediately, Osipczak takes him down with a nice judo throw and looks to pass guard. Bisping shouting out advice constantly. Miller tries for ages to work a kimura from the bottom but can’t get it and eventually they are up on their feet following a scramble and Osipczak dives in for another takedown but this time Miller sprawls and ends up in Osipczaks guard. They get up again and Osipczak eats a big knee from clinch and throws a slightly less effective one of his own, he then eats 2 good punches from Miller and goes down but is ok, gets straight to his knees and takes Miller down again, sticking religiously to the gameplan.
The fighters start to look a bit tired as the round goes on with more back and forth action and there is a lot of screaming from cageside. The US team think Osipczak is hurt and Bisping yells for Team UK to be quiet so that Osipczak can hear his instructions and not them all screaming their heads off.
Miller kicks Osipczak away as he stands out of Millers guard looking to throw some shots and then shoots to take Osipczak down but he gets guillotined for his trouble. Here it looks like Miller actually taps out but the ref can’t see it, as everyone screams “he tapped” in unison on Team UK, Osipczak loosens his grip for a moment and Miller pops his head out. One minute left of round and Miller looks to throw down, Osipczak tries to work an angle and maybe catch an arm from his back but seems tired and is taking a few shots, as the action moves back to the feet Osipczak gets another takedown right on the bell. Tough round to call as Osipczak took some damage but he controlled position well and took Miller down pretty much at will (not forgetting the “phantom tap”!!) For that reason i’d give the round to Osipczak.
Both look tired as bell goes and Miller is open-mouth breathing while Osipczak has his hands quite low and loose – much to Bispings disgust and he screams at him to get them up. Miller charges in throwing big shots again but again Osipczak does a nice level change and scores the takedown. From here there is a 2-3 minute ground battle with each exchanging position and throwing short shots. Miller nearly gets a guillotine (which Osipczak gets out of then politely puts his head back into but works out again). Osipczak nearly gets a triangle but Miller pops out. Herb decides to stand them up with 1 min 20 left on the clock and BOOM Osipczak fires a high right head kick sending Miller faceplanting to the mat – No kicks hey Cyrille???
In post match round up by coaches Hendo says Miller didnt stick to the gameplan but gives Osipczak respect for being “tougher than he looks”. Osipczak says Miller fell for the old “look low kick high – oldest trick in the book”. Bisping carries on doing great job of getting under the US teams skin with some comments and says he is doing it deliberately to mess with their heads and isnt concerned if he is coming across as a dick on TV. We then see Miller throwing up in the warm-up rooms, an unfortunate side effect of over-exhaustion and getting a 6foot blokes shin bone wrapped round your skull.
Next episode preview shows Team US looking much less of a team than the Uk guys with some splits starting to show. Looking forward to it!