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.
June 18, 2009