Archive for October, 2010

The Ultimate Fighter Season 12 TUF12 – Ep. 6

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Episode 6 of The Ultimate Fighter had advertised that there would be two fights. As the time went on, literally, we kept saying that these fights are going to be short. The first fight of the show was between Cody McKenzie (11-0, all submissions using the guillotine) and Marc Stevens, Koscheck‘s number one pick.

McKenzie said he was not an athlete, not an orthodox fighter, more of a scrapper. The latter has been witnessed multiple times as he got into  verbal scraps with Koscheck, his way of defending GSP. He actually chucked Koscheck’s chin after the weigh-ins. St-Pierre said that McKenzie was not afraid of anyone. When talking to one of Koscheck’s team, McKenzie said that Stevens was better at everything, and listed the skills, but that he (McKenzie) would win.

Stevens has had more than twenty fights and was prepared for McKenzie to attempt the guillotine. He said fighting was just another day. Dana White thought that Stevens, who although he is a good wrestler, would try to keep the fight standing to avoid the choke from McKenzie. White mentioned that Stevens won his elimination fight by knock out and that he expected Stevens to win.

The fight began after the half hour mark of the show and if you went to get a drink or blew your nose, you would have missed it. At about thirteen seconds into the match, after McKenzie attempted a kick, Stevens caught the foot and went down to the floor with McKenzie, ending in McKenzie’s half guard. With one leg trapped, and an arm under his neck, Stevens was prime for the guillotine. It was on so tightly, that he passed out.

There was stunned silence by Koscheck and his team. GSP, in the change room, told his team that there would be no wall-banging, which Koscheck and his team did the previous fight after their win.

The next fight was between Jonathan Brookins, of GSP’s team, and Sevak Magakian. Koscheck said that Magakian was a wild man, an Alpha male, who loves to fight. He thought Magakian had tremendous talent, was a great wrestler, had good judo and jiu jitsu.

GSP told us that no one knew how good Brookins was, including Brookins himself. He felt that Brookins’s wrestling was amazing and he was getting better at boxing , absorbing the training like a sponge.

As we saw Brookins practicing yoga, he explained that he was mellow, yet competitive. He felt he was but a small, little speck in the universe.

The fight began in earnest with a beautiful ura nage (suplex in wrestling terms) by Brookins, with his ending in side control of the judo guy. Magakian managed to stand at the fence, with Brookins on his back. Then with his hooks in, and much patience, Brookins slowly worked for the rear naked. When he couldn’t get his arm under Magakian’s chin, he let go of the choke attempt, actually re-positioned his arm and eventually got it. Tap out.

When speaking to the camera afterward, Brookins said that he did not want people to fear him, but wanted respect.

In this episode, Koscheck, once again, showed his lack of good judgement and maturity. At the beginning of the episode, he and his team were at the house gloating over their win the previous fight, mocking St-Pierre’s team members. He always tries to get GSP’s goat: in this episode, he hid one of St-Pierre’s sandals.  St-Pierre told his team that he only gets involved in conflict when his well-being is jeopardized. He just walks away. That was not to say that he did not remember all the things done to him. He remembers them and uses their memories in his fight with the individual.

The Ultimate Fighter Season 12 TUF12 is on Wednesday at 10:00 p.m. EST on Spike.

ayjay

October 21, 2010

The Ultimate Fighter Season 12 TUF12 – Ep. 5

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

The Ultimate Fighter Season 12 TUF12 Episode 5 produced the first win for Josh Koscheck‘s team.

Spencer Paige, from GSP’s team, fought against Nam Phan. GSP stated that Paige was a hard worker and had a lot of heart, good hands and good take downs. Paige thought that he was quicker than Phan and could find his opponent’s chin.

During the fight, despite Paige’s four inch reach advantage, Phan took control almost immediately. His strikes connected and Paige looked hesitant. Phan caught Paige’s kicks and knocked him down. At the end of the first round, Phan had Paige in a Kimura which looked very strong and lasted until the buzzer.

During the break, GSP told Paige to kick Phan in his leg and to stay in the middle. Koscheck mentioned Phan’s experience as incentive. From the beginning of round 2, there appeared to be a problem with Paige. He looked as though he were limping and did not listen to instructions from GSP. He was kicking so hard that he fell down and was doing limited punching (we learned afterward that he had broken his hand during the fight). Phan, on the other hand, was pommelling Paige. Both rounds went to Phan.

Afterward, Koscheck, thrilled at finally winning, made some comments to GSP. St-Pierre said that there are bad losers and bad winners. Koscheck certainly falls into the latter. When the teams were in their respective dressing rooms, which are side by side, Koscheck and his guys banged on the adjoining wall in unison. Scenes from next week’s episode show Koscheck and his team mocking GSP’s team.

During this season, during all the previous seasons, in fact, there have been poor behaviours among the team members and among the coaches. That does not apply to all, of course. Nogueira, for example, was a great coach and his team were very positive, played sports together and seemed friendly toward each other. Most of GSP’s team reflect his personality: he’s quiet, hard working and polite. Aside from Caceres, the other team members who won their fights did not boast or mock Koscheck’s people.

Koscheck has mocked GSP’s accent, his body movements, his workout clothing, anything he could. He always talks of his hatred for the man. This is not mature behaviour and the attitudes of his team members reflect his personality.

My interest is in the training and the fights. The petty comments and jealousies which we witness every season of The Ultimate Fighter are juvenile and irritating. Can we not see people who are professional, who can win without gloating and train because they love what they are doing instead of training to kill someone?

Some years ago there was a Canadian tennis pro who, when he won matches, calmly smiled and waved to the crowd and went to the net to shake hands with his opponent. When asked why he didn’t make a great show of it as most winners did, he said that he thought it was inappropriate to gloat when the other person had just lost the match. Every once in a while we see that happen in MMA, but I’d like to see more of that attitude. It has to start with the coaches.

The Ultimate Fighter Season 12 TUF12 is on Spike on Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. EST.

ayjay

October 19, 2010

The Ultimate Fighter Season 12 TUF12 – Ep. 4

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

The Ultimate Fighter Season 12 TUF12 Episode 4 was the closest episode in any series to having a fight within the house. Caceres has had major ego problems since his win and has irritated most of the house members. In the fight between Johnson and Wilkinson, Caceres had been shouting multiple times for Johnson to “f*** Wilkinson up”.  Sevak Magakian took great offense, saying it was unprofessional. The conversation degenerated from there, certainly not helped by the alcohol in the giant brandy snifter from which Caceres was drinking.  Sevak went after Caceres and would have attacked him had he not been pulled away by Pham. Caceres is immature and mouthy, alcohol not withstanding.

Mike Tyson proved himself to be a positive influence to GSP’s team, giving a pep talk about confidence. In contrast, Koscheck told his team members that they would improve if they listen to what he says.

This week’s fight was to be between Kyle Watson and Andrew Main, both jiu jitsu guys. Watson, the oldest fighter this season, is Matt Hughes‘s jiu jitsu coach. Main is the youngest fighter this season.

GSP stated that Watson had maturity and experience going for him. Watson, himself, said that he analyzes his opponent’s strength and weaknesses. Ultimately he aimed to be on top on the ground and his opponent was going to get beaten up.

One of Koscheck’s coaches said that Watson was slow and methodical, so he wanted Main to control the fight. Main said he wanted to work on his striking, mix up his hands. He said he had the speed and power and planned to take Watson down, pass the guard and finish the fight. Koscheck believed that Main was the better fighter of the two and wanted Main to sweep Watson, submit him and get off the bottom, to be on top and use that power.

GSP believed both guys were stressed and had Watson practice going into the octagon to get him to relax, visualize and reduce his anxiety. The other team members cheered him on as he came into the room and went into the cage as though it were the beginning of the fight. One of GSP’s comments during the episode to help the anxiety was,”Courage is not about not being scared, but about being scared and doing it anyway.” 

Round 1 had Main connecting with multiple strikes, whereas Watson threw inside and outside leg kicks. When in the clinch, Main jumped on Watson’s back and tried a rear naked choke.  He fell off, still holding Watson’s arm, but the choke was lost. Watson was in half guard and moved very slowly and methodically to improve his position, bringing Main to his level.

Round 2 began with Watson breathing heavily. Main threw punches and kicks. Watson grabbed both Main’s legs for a take down and worked up Main’s body. He achieved side control easily. He went from side to half guard with slight ground and pound, to side and then the back. He grapevined Main and got tap out with a rear naked choke.

Watson’s movement on the ground, his calmly controlling the opponent and moving up the body or to whatever side he wanted is very much the way our senior people fight. Take your time, breathe, control what you can. Don’t let go of one area until you have another area under control.  Watching him fight on the ground was like watching Dave, Mike or Chris in our club. Nice.

The Ultimate Fighter Season 12 TUF12 is on Spike at 10:00 p.m. EST.

ayjay

October 12, 2010

The Ultimate Fighter Season 12 TUF12 – Ep. 3

Friday, October 8th, 2010

The Ultimate Fighter Season 12 TUF 12 Episode 3 showed a significant difference in the training styles of Georges St-Pierre as compared to Josh Koscheck. GSP wanted his team members to have fun playing around, to have the goal not to win, but to become better MMA artists. Koscheck lectured his team in what he called “mindless training”.

GSP brought Olympic wrestler Gia Sissaouri to work with his guys, giving them the opportunity to train with a world class athlete.

The fight this episode was between Michael Jordan and Aaron Wilkinson. As an aside, what’s with the sub-titles whenever Wilkinson is speaking? He is English with, granted, a thick accent, but he is speaking English. GSP is speaking English with a thick French-Canadian accent, but still understandable. There are no sub-titles for GSP.

GSP said that Jordan was very focussed. Jordan was not to circle to the right, to Wilkinson’s power hand. GSP maintained that Jordan would utilize boxing and be put on his back and would win after ground and pound. Jordan considered himself a better boxer and better wrestler than Wilkinson.

Wilkinson stated that Koscheck’s team had the same work ethic as his team in England. Koscheck wanted Wilkinson to keep his feet moving. Wilkinson thought that Johnson underestimated him, believing him to have no wrestling ability. He planned to stand and strike and then take Johnson down.

Dana White thought the fight could go either way. During the episode, he received a call GSP requesting Mike Tyson be allowed to come to meet his team. Johnson thought having Tyson there was added incentive for him to win.

Round 1 had both men succeeding with take downs, although Wilkinson had more control over Johnson. Near the end of the round, Wilkinson was in Johnson’s half guard and applied elbows; Johnson did little to stop the onslaught.

During the break, GSP told Johnson that he wanted him to press Wilkinson and not the other way ’round. Johnson started Round 2 with a big shot to Wilkinson’s face, pressed him against the fence and then took him down, ending on Wilkinson’s back.  Wilkinson retaliated by a take down of his own and, in Johnson’s half guard, did some ground and pound.  Johnson got up and took Wilkinson down again, using G & P at the fence.

During the next break, GSP told Johnson that Wilkinson could not fight while going backward. Johnson began the third round by pushing Wilkinson right away. He struck Wilkinson, causing him to hit the floor. Johnson did some G & P and then ended the match with a rear naked choke.

The Ultimate Fighter Season 12 TUF12 is on Spike at 10:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday.

ayjay

October 8, 2010