Last night’s episode of UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 (TUF9) US versus UK brought out some of the worst in a few fighters. As the Americans sat around (they are limited in entertainment – no books, no magazines, no newspapers, no radio, no television or phone), we were regaled by someone’s (Dollar’s?) bragging about his sexual exploits, causing at least one American to leave the room. The British team, in contrast, played sports (with Americans looking on from the balconies) and developed a camaraderie and team spirit.
After the first fight last week, which the Americans lost, one American fighter suggested that they be respectful toward the Brits. Cameron Dollar and Damarques Johnson disagreed with this concept, causing the first of many arguments among the Americans.
The first fight of this episode was to be between Santino Defranco and Andre Winner. Henderson said that Defranco was experienced and well-rounded and could take Winner apart if they stayed standing. Winner thought that he could lose only if there were a good submission. It’s refreshing to hear a fighter admit that he could lose.
Santino is the fellow who tried out for The Ultimate Fighter in 2005 only to find that he had two aneurysms and required immediate brain surgery. In his preliminary elimination bout, shown in Episode 2, he was dominated in round 1 only to return in round 2 to do a flying knee and then choke out his opponent. He had a 4 inch reach advantage on Winner and a record of 13-4.
Winner won his preliminary bout handily, and his stats were similar (9-2-1).
Round 1 had Winner starting with some strong outside leg kicks while Defranco tried a take down which Winner stuffed. Defranco did a couple of jabs, then a feint and another take down attempt.
Winner used a variety of punches (overhead right, double jab and right) and leg kicks, while Defranco succeeded at his next takedown; Winner ended up on top, however, inside Defranco’s rubber guard. Defranco kept trying an oma plata from the guard, but eventually Winner got out and went to side mount, his punches overwhelming Defranco. TKO referee stoppage.
The next fight was between Damarques Johnson (13-6) and Dean Amasinger (4-1). Bisping admitted that Johnson was the US team’s best fighter but Amasinger was skilled and fit and could win if he fought hard. He made a point of telling Amasinger that Johnson’s favourite technique is the triangle and to be aware of that.
Henderson thought that Johnson’s skills lay in his striking, ground and pound, and good armbars and triangles.
At the bell, Amasinger started with kicks, but got taken down immediately by Johnson, who tried an unsuccessful armbar. Amasinger was in Johnson’s guard, at one point picking Johnson up to slam him to the mat. All the while, though, Johnson worked toward getting the triangle choke, which eventually won him the match, giving the US team their first win.
Oddities about this episode: Johnson, who curses with the grace of Dana White, praying out loud to God while in the octagon (anytime, on any scripted show, where actors pray out loud is weird and unbelievable; in this case, we have a fighter on a reality show who knows there’s a cameraman ten feet away filming everything); TUF’s version of “Where’s Waldo?” in “Where’s Bisping?”. Michael Bisping missed Amasinger’s fight – very bad form, unless you’re lying in a hospital bed with tubes in your nether regions, or there was an emergency of major proportions. Even still, you would still call or someone would call, n’est-ce pas?.
UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 (TUF9) US vs UK is on Spike on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST.
April 30, 2009