We are now finished the preliminary fights. Episode 8 of The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 – TUF10 had the last fight, a match between Michael Wessel and Marcus Jones.
First off, highlights of last week’s bout were shown. I noticed a couple of weeks ago, and then it was reinforced yesterday, that the highlights make the bouts look fantastic. Last week’s fight clips between Mitrione and Junk showed the two of them standing toe-to-toe and slugging. Then we saw a clip of Junk taking Mitrione down. We didn’t see the boring bits: both men leaning against each other in the center of the octagon doing nothing as the buzzer sounded for the end of round one, and later, both guys exhausted and swinging wildly, if at all. Perhaps in future seasons, the boring fights should just be highlights. At least the fights here actually show fighting: the reality show in which girls fight (Fight Girls) muay thai, and the winners go to Thailand to fight a top contender there, had video clips of the audience (!) in the middle of the bouts, so we didn’t see the whole matches. Even at that, though, they were far more exciting than the majority of bouts in this season of The Ultimate Fighter.
Back to the show: In the aftermath of the previous fight, we saw Junk’s injuries – both eyes were swollen and one eye was very bruised. Mitrione said something about his brain hurting and went directly to bed. (This is crucial to the show: in a clip for next week’s episode, Mitrione is shown going to the hospital and Slice is once again thrilled at the prospect of fighting again.)
Michael Wessel is the shortest of this season’s contestants at 6 feet tall. He has a 6,1 and 0 record in professional MMA, including a loss in the UFC last December against Antoni Hardonk. Mike played college football and was in the Arena Football League for several years. He has been a strength and conditioning coach at a university in Arizona. We see him during training practice doing strikes. The plan is for him to use his overhand right and big punches.
Marcus Jones, whom Evans calls “Big Baby”, is among the biggest of the men at 6’6″. He has a 7.5 inch reach advantage over Wessel. Jones played professional football with the NFL for eight years, but now trains with Gracie Tampa. His record is 4-1. His attitude toward MMA is refreshing: he loves learning new techniques and loves watching matches. During the training session, he laughed with glee when taught new moves. Jackson wondered whether Jones had a fight instinct, though. Jones, meanwhile, thought he had a good shot at winning.
Round 1 had Wessel go in to close the gap (he did say he wasn’t afraid of anyone). Wessel attempted some strikes, but Jones put an arm around Wessel’s shoulders and took him down with a throw which looked like a spinning uki goshi. Jones landed in Wessel’s guard and after maneuvering, tried a rear naked choke (hadaka jime) when he had Wessel’s back and finished him off quickly with a juji gatame. Jones impressed us with some decent ground work.
The quarterfinal matches were set up, with Dana White giving Jackson his wish – Marcus Jones against Darrill Schoonover. All other matches were determined through questioning the fighters and having White decide the order.
The Quarterfinals consist of:
Roy Nelson vs Justin Wren
Brendan Schaub vs Jon Madsen
James McSweeney vs Matt Mitrione
Darrill Schoonover vs Marcus Jones
November 5, 2009
p.s. As an afterthought: I read an online interview with Mike Wessel in which he complained that Kimbo Slice was permitted to have three members of his posse, his wife and one child come to his fight against Roy Nelson. Wessel suggested that it was in Slice’s contract. This, however, was completely unfair to everyone else in the house, who may have no contact with anyone, including Wessel, whose wife was to undergo surgery for cancer while he was locked away in the house. Special treatment for Slice from the beginning, I guess.
p.p.s. In another article, Kimbo Slice told someone that he had had one day of jiu jitsu training about three months before going to the house. If he is serious about MMA, he should be training ground techniques every day. There are many techniques which will be difficult for him, if not impossible, since he is so solidly built. Marcus Jones is big, but not really muscle bound, so jiu jitsu techniques would be far easier for him to accomplish.