Archive for June, 2009

UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Finale TUF9

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Finale (TUF9) was one of the best events the UFC has put on.  Not only was it free (yay), the fights got better and better, from one fight to the next. Even Joe Rogan changed his mind about which fight was the Fight of the Night.

The first broadcast fight was between Nate Diaz and Joe Stevenson. You’ll recall that in his bout with Diego Sanchez, Stevenson kept the fight standing and lost. In this battle, he and Diaz spent a great deal of time on the ground, trading guillotine choke attempts. Stevenson had Diaz at the fence several times applying knees. To avoid knees to the head, Diaz put one knee on the ground, but Stevenson was in control each time.

The best segment of round one had Stevenson trapping both of Diaz’s arms, one with his legs and the other with his arm. Diaz was at the fence and rolled over, but his arms were still trapped, with Diaz on the bottom. Diaz managed to escape, but then got put in a very tight guillotine, which came close to ending the fight.

Round two was more of the same, guillotine attempt by Diaz, Stevenson in Diaz’s half guard, Diaz turtling and Stevenson’s applying knees. Stevenson controlled the round while standing and on the ground.

Round three had Stevenson attempting a single leg take down, but Diaz did an harai goshi, ending up in Stevenson’s half guard and then full guard at the fence. Diaz managed to pass the guard.

Stevenson then did his own take down and kneed Diaz’s side at the fence.

Standing again, Diaz tried a take down and many, wild strikes, but little was connecting.

Unanimous decision in Stevenson’s favour.

The Ultimate Fighter lightweights were up next – Ross Pearson versus Andre Winner. I must admit, I thought Pearson had a wider range of skillsets than Winner, and would completely dominate Winner, who is mostly a stand-up guy.

Almost the entire match was standing, with many clinches at the fence as the men worked for superior positions. (I heard no booing here and this fight was not much different from the UFC 99 fight between Spencer Fisher and Caol Uno in which the audience booed throughout as the fighters jockeyed for position.) They traded knees, used dirty boxing, with Pearson throwing huge overhand looping strikes and Winner a flurry of body strikes just before the end of round one.

Round two had Pearson kicking to the head and body, trying a take own, and connecting with knees, while Winner managed a strong uppercut and knees of his own. The round ended with Winner’s flurry of strikes again.

Round three had the men in the clinch for a good portion again, trading strikes and knees. Pearson’s uppercuts were effective as was his take down of Winner. Winner went down to one knee and up again. While in the clinch, Winner had some shoulder strikes and short jabs. Pearson had a straight jab which rocked Winner.

Unanimous decision in Pearson’s favour, but Winner was not easily dismissed.

Chris Lytle and Kevin Burns came up next. Lytle had fifty-seven professional matches coming in to this fight.  Burns came in with ten. Lytle wanted to have fight of the night and knock out of the night, so we expected big things.

Lylte came out with huge punches, big looping strikes, and big kicks. Burns applied leg kicks, high kicks, body kicks, knees and strikes. He rocked Lytle with an uppercut, tried to deal with him on the floor, but Lytle came to. Burns followed up with many strikes and knees up to the buzzer.

Round two had Lytle rocking Burns with his overhand shots. Burns managed a take down, ending in half guard.

While standing Lytle kept striking Burns’s left side, doing combinations, one strike to the head, the other to the ribs. Burns backed up throughout most of the round, half turning his body as he went.

Round three began with a huge overhand right by Lytle which produced an enormous cut over Burns’ left eyebrow, with blood pouring down his face and chest immediately. That did not stop Burns, though, as he answered with a knee and body kick.

Lytle punched Burns’ left temple again, causing him to stumble. Burns tried head kicks and strikes, but he was exhausted.

Unanimous decision in Lytle’s favour.

The Ultimate Fighter welterweights Damarques Johnson and James Wilks fought next. Johnson mouthed off a great deal during season 9, opinionated, and expressing real hate toward Wilks.  Johnson was also regarded as the U.S. team’s best chance.

What we saw from start to finish of this fight was complete domination by Wilks. He began with strong jabs and knees, such that Johnson was protecting himself at the fence, unable to reciprocate.

Wilks took Johnson down and while in Johnson’s guard, tried a heel hook. Johnson slipped out of it, but a few seconds later Wilks tried it again.  Wilks then trapped one of Johnson’s legs and compressed it, while Johnson struck Wilks on the head many times as he tried to extricate from the leg compression.

While in Johnson’s guard, Wilks tried an oma plata, and as Johnson moved around, the arm got more and more trapped, such that people on our boat were groaning, imagining the worst.

Wilks grapevined Johnson and tried for the choke, but Johnson’s chin was down. For some seconds they fought this until Wilks trapped one of Johnson’s arms with his leg and tried for the choke again. Tapout at six seconds before the buzzer in round one. Technique of the Night.

Wilks’s battle with Johnson had the potential to be fight of the night until Diego Sanchez came out against Clay Guida. Both these fighters have at least two dozen professional fights. Sanchez is a BJJ black belt with one school and brown with his current school. Guida is a wrestler wth fantastic cardio, who came out singing and jumping.

The match went the full three rounds with both men succeeding in take downs and ground and pound. In round one, Sanchez connected with a head kick to Guida and Guida hit the dirt. We thought it was a knock out as his head bounced, but amazingly, Guida got up straight away.

Round two had Guida in Sanchez’s full guard and Sanchez elbowing the top of Guida’s head. Now Guida had blood from his nose and from the top of his head. Sanchez tried a Kimura, but Guida freed the arm and did some ground and pound. He then trapped Sanchez’s arm behind his back (we’d just mentioned it as a possibility).

Round three had Guida chasing Sanchez with strikes and combos. Sanchez really had slowed down by this point, even though he wasn’t the one bleeding profusely everywhere. Guida attempted a take down and Sanchez, an arm triangle, which Guida spun out of. While in Sanchez’s full guard again, Sanchez attempted the Kimura again. Blood was everywhere and Guida was slick, resulting in his avoiding all the arm bars.

Split decision in Sanchez’s favour. Fight of the Night. In the post-fight interview, Guida was still jumping around as he’d been before this brutal match. He’s amazing.

ayjay

June 21,1 2009

UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 TUF9 – Episode 12

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

The last semi-final of The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 (TUF9) aired last night.  Frank Lester fought in the three-round semi against James Wilks, who had defeated Lester in a previous bout (Lester took a knee to the mouth and left several teeth, real and fake, in his mouth guard in that fight).

Dan Henderson stated that he felt that Lester knew he could do better than in the previous match-up; Lester said  that if “Henderson believes in me, then I believe in me.” Lester also talked about feeling far more calm in the octagon, having fought several times already. Henderson’s direction to Lester was to throw straight punches and more of them, Lester having a tendency to throw looping punches.

Wilks said he thought he was a technically better striker than Lester and better on the ground. Bisping‘s analysis of the previous fight was that the two men were close when on their feet, but on the ground, Wilks was better than Lester.

The funniest segment of the episode was the coin to the forehead scenario: the premise is that you push a coin strongly onto your forehead, such that it sticks to your skin. Then you hit the back of your head until the coin comes off. The higher the number of hits, the smarter you are. In reality, after you demonstrate the technique, you push it on your friend’s head and instead of leaving the coin there, you surreptitiously remove it, and your friend bashes himself on the head for a long time, sometimes never grasping that there is no coin there.

They tried the game on Bisping and he actually hit himself a goodly number of times, until he realized that there was no coin and he’d been had.

We did that years ago in a restaurant and it really is funny. Eventually you have to say something, though, as the guy does bash himself.

Round one: The two men traded strikes and kicks. Henderson kept yelling for Lester to jab and go first, not wait for Wilks to do something. In fact, most of the time, Lester did not follow direction.

Wilks had his left hand very low throughout most of the match and Bisping was yelling at him to raise his hand. Lester had a couple of strong jabs and Wilks attempted a  take down, which Lester stuffed.

While in the clinch, Lester connected strongly with a couple of strikes while Wilks kept trying for a take down.

Round 2: Lester came out with strong jabs, but Wilks had some huge kicks. Wilks then tried another take down, which Lester again stuffed. While in the clinch, Wilks tried knees to the head and short strikes.

Lester had a huge jab right down the center, but Wilks rocked Lester with a head kick. While tied up, Lester attempted a take down of his own, unsuccessfully. Wilks applied knees to the head and jabs.

Round 3: Lester came out breathing heavily. Wilks struck Lester with some hard punches and a knee to the head.

When in the clinch, Wilks used the knees again, although this time, Lester went down to the floor on his knees. Wilks followed suit with several more knee strikes until the referee stepped in for TKO.

Lester’s face was a mess after all those knees. Dana White paid him a great compliment by stating that Wilks was the better fighter, but Lester was one of the toughest. Lester had had four fights in thirty-four days and was just tired and worn out. He went into the fight with a black eye and probably numerous other injuries which weren’t visible or talked about.

The U.K. has three of the four fighters in the finale this Saturday, which Bisping gloated about. Damarques Johnson will be fighting James Wilks for the welterweight final and Ross Pearson will fight Andre Winner for the lightweight final.

Johnson seems to hate Wilks, the reasons for that being unclear, except for the fact that Wilks has lived in the U.S. for some years, training and teaching various martial arts and weaponry. Perhaps Johnson feels that Wilks should not have been allowed to compete for the U.K. team while living in the U.S.

After the finale, the next bout for TUF9 is the coaches’ fight in UFC 100. Henderson and Bisping will be one of the main events that night. Bisping feels that Henderson’s time is past and Henderson thinks Bisping is a douche bag, whatever that means to him. Certainly, Henderson was more mature during TUF9, but Bisping’s coaching style worked, with his team members becoming close to each other and to him. It’ll be interesting.

The UFC The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 (TUF9) finale is June 20, 2009 on Spike.

ayjay

June 18, 2009

Studying Judo for Shodan Grading – Pt 2

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Each week, while working toward my shodan grading in Judo, Dave and I have been going to a local park just to walk through the kata. The walk is strange and awkward to me, but a necessary evil. I walk up to him, he grasps my sleeve and lapel and proceeds to push me to the point where I throw him. This is performed first from the right side and then the left.

Since the walk is so stilted and both partners have equal numbers of steps, etc., someone looking on should realize that this is a routine of some kind, even if the person knows nothing of the kata in martial arts.

It had rained right before we went to the park last week, so we began the walk-through on the asphalt near the hoops. I noticed a police car on the street at the other side of the park and mentioned it to Dave. The car then drove around the park (it’s really a large school yard with a dirt track and playground) and then back again. All the while, we continued to walk through the kata, just short of doing the throws.

After another drive-by, the officer parked his cruiser in the school parking lot and casually sauntered over, with a, “Hi, folks. Everything OK?” We stopped our kata practice and began to walk toward him, saying that everything was fine. He then mentioned the shoving and pushing that he’d seen and that he’d been concerned. When I laughed and replied that we were doing a judo kata, he immediately looked abashed and said,”Oh, oh! Carry on!” He explained his concern again, but beat a hasty retreat, not without hanging about in his car for another ten minutes or so.

We wondered if he had had to call in that he was investigating the pushing and shoving and then again to explain what the result of the investigation was. A bit embarrassing.

If he had known anything about the judo kata, he would have known that I was doing the throwing of the big guy, not the other way around.

Dave still can’t get over the fact that a police officer came to question us when we were doing relatively innocent movements. When he and his cousin, Chris, got involved in judo twenty years ago, they did all manner of crazy stuff: built home-made weapons and body armour, went to a park by Chris’s house and bashed each other about the head and shoulders to test their skills and the armour, shot arrows at each other to see if they could either catch them (Dave) or deflect them (Chris), filmed a home-made medieval martial arts movie in the park with friends, chasing and “killing” the bad guy. In ALL the antics of those two, no one ever called the police and they were never stopped by anyone, or quizzed for that matter.

A walk-through of the judo kata in a public park in full view of the neighbouring houses is quite innocent in comparison. It made our day.

Click here to go to Studying Judo for Shodan Grading – Pt 1

ayjay

June 16, 2009

UFC 99 June 13, 2009

Monday, June 15th, 2009

By the time we had access to Pay-Per-View for UFC 99 (the first UFC in Germany), most of the first round of the bout between Marcus Davis and Dan Hardy was over. Davis did look as though he had received more damage. These two guys had had an on-screen hate going over Hardy’s comments about Davis’s “The Irish Hand Grenade” nickname. Davis is American and Hardy had called him a fake Irishman. I guess this was to be good for television.

Round two began with kicks and a knee from Hardy resulting in Davis’s hitting the floor. Hardy went after him, but Davis managed to recover. While Hardy was in Davis’s guard, Davis tried a variation on juji gatame, but Hardy extricated himself.

Davis took Hardy down at the fence and when in Hardy’s guard did some ground and pound.

Round three, started with a good left from Davis. Hardy went down and Davis was in his guard applying elbows. Davis also tried heel hooks, but Hardy spun out of them successfully.

Hardy then had a take down and was in Davis’s guard using elbows to do damage to Davis’s eye and cut his nose.

They were made to stand up and both tried strikes.

Split decision in Hardy’s favour. Davis’s face was a mass of blood. Interestingly, in the post-fight interview, Hardy said his comments about Davis were, essentially, psychological warfare in order to affect Davis’s game plan.  I think it worked: Davis wouldn’t shake hands afterward.

The next fight was between Spencer Fisher and Caol Uno. Fisher wins most bouts by knockout and Uno tends to win by submission. Both men have had dozens of professional fights.

The match went the full three rounds with Uno’s trying to take Fisher to the ground every couple of minutes, and Fisher’s stuffing the take downs with good sprawls, and then fighting in the clinch.

While in the clinch both guys used knees and small, close strikes. The men were holding each other off, gripping wrists, trying various ways to get control. There didn’t seem to be much action, but the manoeuvres were all tactical. When Fisher got a hand free, he would strike; Uno would knee Fisher’s legs.

Both men tried sasae tsurikomi ashi at one point, with Fisher’s version succeeding in getting Uno to the ground and landing on the bottom.

Standing again, Uno kneed Fisher’s head.

Round three had Fisher striking a huge left to Uno’s head. Uno tried an ankle pick take down at the fence and spent a great deal of time trying to complete it. Fisher had the fence to help him and fought the take down, basically sitting on one leg with his back against the fence.

Eventually Uno was in full mount at the fence and used hammerfists and elbows. Fisher rolled from his side, to his back, and to the side again. This was the only time in the match that Uno was in control, but too late. Unanimous decision in Fisher’s favour.

By round three the audience was almost continually booing.  What we saw were two professional athletes with different fighting styles, one wanting to go to the ground, and the other, determined not to go there, but both knowing how to work to get to their favourite positions. (This fight could have been extremely boring, with the fighters never actually connecting, e.g. Anderson Silva versus Thales Leites in UFC 97. Leites wanted to go to the ground and Silva avoided it to the extent that they rarely touched each other.) They were very closely matched, both just happened to be equal in their strength levels, and knew how to counter each other’s moves.  I thought the audience might have been uneducated as to MMA. Perhaps they are more familiar with K1,  Muay Thai, or some other martial art. These two fighters did not deserve the disrespect shown them by the audience. (Should some of you think that I am bigoted against Germans, please know that I am German, having come to North America when I was three.)

Next up were Mike Swick and Ben Saunders. Swick’s background is Guerilla Jiu Jitsu and kickboxing; Saunders wins about equally with knock outs and submissions.

Round one started with Saunders taking Swick down.  They were on the ground for quite some time, with Swick holding Saunders in butterfly guard and Saunders just on top, not doing anything. There was some trash talking between them, quite audible as they were right by the announcers. Since nothing much happened here, I was wondering why the audience wasn’t booing.

Standing again, Swick kicked Saunders’s leg. In the clinch, Swick used knees and foot stomps.

Round two had Saunders attempting a head kick, which Swick blocked. In the clinch, Swick used knees again. He then took Saunders down and the men ended up in the same position as round one.

Made to stand, Swick kneed Saunders and then started attacking with a flurry of strikes, at least fifteen, one of which was to Saunders’ left temple causing Saunders to crumple. Knock out of the night.

The heavyweights were up next: Mirko Cro Cop versus Mostapha Al-Turk.  Al-Turk had a four inch reach advantage, does jiu jitsu, loves ground and pound, and wins most of the time by knock out. Cro Cop is a kickboxer, who wins by knock out with both hands and feet.

The match started with Al-Turk looking jittery, nervous, busy. He tried huge strikes and a leg kick and then attempted a take down. Cro Cop followed Al-Turk around the octagon, looking for the perfect moment to strike. When Cro Cop connected, in among his strikes, was an inadvertent poke to the eye. Al-Turk covered his face and turned his back. Neither Cro Cop nor the referee realized what had happened. Cro Cop continued the attack until the referee stepped in for TKO.

In the post-fight interview, Cro Cop said that he hadn’t realized he’d poked Al-Turk in the eye, but that Al-Turk would have lost either way. This is probably true, but after having watched the eye poke multiple times in slow motion, it’s a terrible way to win a match.

The first co-main event was between Cain Velasquez and Cheick Kongo. Velasquez came in at 5-0 and had won all his matches by knock out. Kongo, at 3″ taller and 5″ reach advantage, came in with 24-4-1. He generally wins by knock out.

Once again, the match went the distance. In each round, Kongo came out strongly for the first thirty seconds, actually winning the round with huge strikes. Unfortunately, Velasquez is very difficult to subdue: in round one, Kongo rocked Velasquez with two huge strikes, but got taken down himself. Velasquez had side control, then full mount; Kongo rolled over and stood up, just to be taken down again.

Kongo really seemed helpless on the ground. Velasquez quite smartly took Kongo down whenever he wanted and applied strikes and elbows.  At one point, they were in the clinch at the fence, with Velasquez slightly to the front of Kongo and Dave said that Kongo was going to get thrown with harai goshi. Velasquez tried it, but it wasn’t successful.

By the third round, as Kongo came out strongly again, instead of continuing with his stand up which was so powerful, he went after Velasquez and let himself be taken down again. Everyone on our boat was yelling, “Don’t go to the ground!”

The end of the match had Velasquez take Kongo down in the center of the octagon and, while in full mount, doing some ground and pound. Velasquez had opportunities for submission: Kongo had his arms flailing wildly as he turned away from the assault, so Velasquez could easily have applied a juji, resulting in a win. Kongo could have put his feet under him, lifted his hips, and thrown Velasquez off balance enough to get free. Neither of these things happened. Kongo is incapable on the ground. At this stage in his professional career, he should be working on all aspects of MMA so as not to get caught. He needs at least a year of solid groundwork. Velasquez could have finished the fight with a submission, ensuring a win, just in case Kongo had managed to get free to stand up (where he is extremely dangerous).

Unanimous decision in Velasquez’s favour.

The other co-main event was between Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva. This, too, went the distance. Franklin said he was looking forward to this fight as he likes to fight from standing and so does Silva.

The first round began with combinations from Silva and a take down using kuchiki taoshi. Later in the round, Silva tried a triangle choke from standing, but while doing a butt flop, lost the choke.

When standing, Silva had his hands down and Franklin connected through the gaps.

Round two had Silva applying a body kick, with a counter from Franklin. Franklin tried a head kick which Silva caught.  He then used a combination of kicks and punches. One jab caught Silva and took him down. Franklin controlled the round with strikes and punches.

Silva attempted many strikes, most of which Franklin ducked. At the end of the round, a left high kick from Silva rocked Franklin. 

Round three had Silva throwing an inside leg kick and both men striking. Franklin kicked to Silva’s ribs. While in the clinch, Silva tried a knee to the head, a body kick and a head kick. After a burst of strikes from Silva (to cheers from the crowd), Franklin took Silva down.

Unanimous decision in Franklin’s favour. Fight of the night.

ayjay

June 15, 2009

UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 TUF9 – Episode 11

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 (TUF9) had its lightweight semi-finals last night. Andre Winner fought Cameron Dollar and Ross Pearson fought Jason Dent.

The first bout, between Winner and Dollar, had the potential to be excruciating for Dollar as he had a rib injury. Henderson‘s game plan was for Dollar to punch his way in, take Winner down and finish him off. During training, though, Dollar’s side was so sore, that his training was impacted. Henderson suggested that both his lightweights were going to win and it would be White‘s biggest nightmare, that of US versus US, instead of US versus UK, in the lightweight final.

During training, Winner worked on stand-up only and said he wanted to keep the fight boxing. A segment of the show dwelt on Winner’s tendency to thumb suck, something I didn’t know adults did. He was funny about it, somewhat embarrassed, and the other guys laughed about it, but were surprisingly tolerant.

Winner came into the match with a 9-2-1 record and stated that he had to pay the bills, so treated every fight as though it were the last fight. Dollar’s record was 4-1 going in. He believed that God wouldn’t have given him the chance to do this if he couldn’t handle it.

Round one began with a flurry of punches from Dollar and a take down attempt. Winner threw a big shot to Dollar’s chin, and connected, and then applied some knees.

Dollar tried for another take down at the fence, and eventually got it, but Winner rolled onto the top and then the bottom, putting Dollar into a triangle choke (sankaku jime). Dollar tried to stand with Winner’s legs wrapped around him, but finally tapped out.

Winner’s comment to the camera was that the stand-up guy won by submission. Since Dollar’s ground skills are good, Winner should be proud.

Ross Pearson was called a bulldog by the announcer and the title is apt: he’s solid, thick-necked, and keeps coming forward. Even during training, when he popped out his shoulder, he had Bisping yank it back into place and went straight back to training. Pearson said he was going to hit Dent with everything he had, hoping for a knock out.

Jason Dent’s previous matches were boring and his attitude in the house was very negative (although I don’t blame him for hating it – no television, radios, computers, phones, newspapers, and living in a confined space with fifteen other people who are not your friends OR family. Oh, and no contact with family or friends for the duration of the stay. There’s all the alcohol you could possibly drink, though.) Henderson said Dent had not yet shown what he was capable of.  Dent did say that he lost every match which had gone to decision, so he was looking for TKO.

Round 1 began with Dent’s kicking and Pearson’s striking. They ended at the fence in a clinch with Pearson’s kneeing Dent’s head, trying uppercuts, a big strike to the ribs (which caused Dent to buckle) and kicks. Pearson has a strong head kick which he used many times and, if they had not been blocked, would have resulted in a knock out.

Dent applied some heavy uppercuts, but Pearson’s tough. Pearson then answered with strikes to the body and face – many, many strikes which were unanswered by Dent.

Just before the end of the round, Dent connected a few times with head strikes.

Round 2: Dent tried some low leg kicks and strikes to the head. Pearson was very clever at the fence and timed his strikes to Dent such that they happened as Dent bounced off the fence, resulting in Dent’s getting hit each time he came off the fence.

Pearson managed a take down of his own, controlling Dent from guard, full, and half mount. After they stood up, Dent tried a take down with no success, so he did a butt flop. Pearson jumped on him and did some ground and pound here.

Round 3: Dent came out impressively with multiple strikes and kicks. Pearson replied with uppercuts and a rib/kidney shot to the same side which he hit the previous round. Pearson took Dent down at the fence and served elbows and heavy fists to Dent as Dent lay on the bottom.

Dent turned over and turtled and then went on his back again, with Pearson in his guard. Dent attempted armbars many times from the bottom, but was unsuccessful. Pearson controlled the match completely while on the ground.

Unanimous decision in Pearson’s favour.

Both fighters in the lightweight final are from the UK.

UFC‘s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 (TUF9) is on Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. on Spike.

ayjay

June 11, 2009

UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 TUF9 – Episode 10

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

Despite Dana White’s suggestion of having teammate versus teammate for the semi-finals, in order to have the actual finals with US versus UK, the semi-final match ups had opposing teams fighting.

Frank Lester will fight in the last fight to give him as much time as possible to heal from his latest bout; however, he will fight the man who beat him in his first match, James Wilks. You’ll remember that Wilks kneed Lester in the mouth, resulting in not a few teeth, real and fake, being left in Lester’s mouth guard.

The first semi-final match was between Damarques Johnson and Nick Osipczak. Johnson began with a solid left/right combo to Osipczak’s head, while Osipczak threw a lower leg kick.

Johnson acquired a take down, while in the clinch, doing a sasae tsurikomi ashi (sweeping drawing ankle throw). Standing quickly afterward, the men traded punches with a nice left jab from Johnson. Osipczak tried a soto makikomi, which ended in a take down and Johnson in Osipczak’s guard, then half guard. Johnson applied some ground and pound, while Osipczak elbowed the side of Johnson’s head.

Standing again, they began the best part of the match: With 30 seconds to go, Osipczak rocked Johnson with an uppercut and then immediately followed through with multiple strikes around the octagon. Unbelievably, Johnson managed to come to and fought back, throwing solid shots of his own. He’s certainly tough; I thought he was out on his feet.

Round two had Johnson coming in mouth-breathing and looking done in, but still managing to throw a knee to Osipczak’s chin.

Osipczak tried a take down, which ended badly with Johnson taking his back and then having side mount. Johnson applied elbows, moving from side to half guard and then side again. Johnson tried a Kimura, but gave up and used elbows again.

While in full mount, Johnson wrapped one leg around Osipczak’s waist and did some more ground and pound.  Osipczak turned a bit to the side to protect his face, but exposed the back of his head to Johnson and ended up getting punched several times. Osipczak managed to hang on until the bell.
 
Each time Osipczak was mounted, he tried for juji gatame with good hip movement and leg placement, but never had the arm.
 
Round three had both fighters looking fatigued and moving much slower, but still trading punches. Johnson attempted a flying knee. He then took Osipczak down, with no resistance.

From half guard with Osipczak on the bottom, Johnson did shoulder strikes and elbows and moved to full mount. Osipczak surprisingly managed a reversal and was on top. His strikes were not enough to win the round, though.

Johnson is off to the finals with a unanimous decision. Osipczak had just endured his first defeat.

Post-fight scenes showed Johnson with ice on his left leg and talking about having bitten off a piece of his tongue. He was more interested in getting healthy than thinking about the final.

The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 (TUF9) is on Spike on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST.

ayjay
June 4, 2009