For the second week in a row on UFC‘s The Ultimate Fighter TUF9, we had drama with the proposed Pierce and Faulkner match.
Pierce now had a staph infection on his leg, the infection having progressed from cellulitis. He spent the entire episode all wrapped up in a hoodie. When Dana White called him into a meeting, Pierce’s comments sounded as though he had a fever; he stated that his leg was sore and that one of the doctors suggested that he could get a bone infection if the leg were injured. White gave him a few days to decide whether he wanted to fight. Pierce’s responses to all White’s questions were in monotone.
This episode no longer mentioned Faulkner’s leg injury (in which he whacked his leg with a sledgehammer, causing a massive lump and infection). His problem during training was taking out his mouthguard: he has a strong gag reflex and can’t seem to function with the mouthguard in. Bisping said that the referee might deduct points for removing the mouthguard, so Faulkner would have to learn to deal with it.
In addition to his being ill, Pierce, a major complainer, had Henderson saying he had “negative energy”. Santino talked about Pierce as being the most negative guy in the house. In all the scenes, Pierce is all covered up, morose and grumpy-looking.
The fight of the night was between Jason Dent and Jeff Lawson. Lawson, according to Bisping, is fantastic on the ground, has great take downs and will submit his opponents quickly. Lawson has 21 wins by arm bar and joked that he would throw four or five punches, do a throw, and apply an arm bar. He also admitted that no one was going to get knocked out by him. His attitudes were lighthearted and refreshing. His main issue was that he had had bronchitis for the first nine days in the house, during which time he was unable to train at all. He wanted Dent to “lie down and let me get the arm bar”.
Dent, per Henderson, is “surprisingly technical” on his feet and the ground. Unfortunately, he “irritates” Henderson, is “tough to coach” because he doesn’t want to get better, to look at his weaknesses. When your coach says that you are tough to coach, you have problems.
Before the fight, Dana White called Pierce in again and told him that he wasn’t going to fight. What he wanted was a reaction from Pierce, an indication that he really wanted to fight, to please let him fight. Pierce looked upset afterward, but White’s feeling was that once Pierce got into the house, he realized he was not a fighter. Henderson said that if Pierce had fought, he would have lost.
The match between Dent and Lawson started out strongly: after a couple of leg kicks from Dent, Lawson threw Dent with harai makikomi, taking him to the ground. Lawson then tried what looked like a heel hook, but was unsuccessful. While in Dent’s guard, Lawson got on his feet and threw a number of punches. He then picked Dent up (Dent’s legs were wrapped around Lawson’s waist) and dropped him to his back (daki age). Dent was on the bottom for almost the entire round.
Round 2 had Dent throw some leg kicks while Lawson looked exhausted, turtling a couple of times. Lawson would bend forward from the waist, hands on legs, and then do something astounding like a flying knee. He has lots of skills, but this was not to be his day. The match ended with Dent applying a rear naked choke on the ground, not even in a grapevine. Lawson tapped out very quickly despite the fact that the choke and the hold were weak.
The comments at the end of the episode blamed Lawson’s loss on the chest infection, which impacted his cardio and gave the poor result. Dana White commented that the win was very weak. I would like to see Lawson when he is healthy: he has some strong throws and ground skills. His stand up needs work and he has problems with his posture when his legs are kicked (actually moves such that he is off-balance and the leg kicks hit harder), but he seems like a good guy who has potential.
Earlier in this episode Lawson, Faulkner and Amasinger entertained themselves and the other members of the UK team with professional wrestling skits complete with masks and donkey ears. Right at the bell for Round 1 someone on the UK team yelled, “Release the Hate!”, causing Lawson to look over and laugh. There’s a guy who is relaxed and happy to be doing what he’s there for.
The UFC‘s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 TUF9 is on Spike on Wednesdays at 10 p.m.