The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 (TUF9) had its lightweight semi-finals last night. Andre Winner fought Cameron Dollar and Ross Pearson fought Jason Dent.
The first bout, between Winner and Dollar, had the potential to be excruciating for Dollar as he had a rib injury. Henderson‘s game plan was for Dollar to punch his way in, take Winner down and finish him off. During training, though, Dollar’s side was so sore, that his training was impacted. Henderson suggested that both his lightweights were going to win and it would be White‘s biggest nightmare, that of US versus US, instead of US versus UK, in the lightweight final.
During training, Winner worked on stand-up only and said he wanted to keep the fight boxing. A segment of the show dwelt on Winner’s tendency to thumb suck, something I didn’t know adults did. He was funny about it, somewhat embarrassed, and the other guys laughed about it, but were surprisingly tolerant.
Winner came into the match with a 9-2-1 record and stated that he had to pay the bills, so treated every fight as though it were the last fight. Dollar’s record was 4-1 going in. He believed that God wouldn’t have given him the chance to do this if he couldn’t handle it.
Round one began with a flurry of punches from Dollar and a take down attempt. Winner threw a big shot to Dollar’s chin, and connected, and then applied some knees.
Dollar tried for another take down at the fence, and eventually got it, but Winner rolled onto the top and then the bottom, putting Dollar into a triangle choke (sankaku jime). Dollar tried to stand with Winner’s legs wrapped around him, but finally tapped out.
Winner’s comment to the camera was that the stand-up guy won by submission. Since Dollar’s ground skills are good, Winner should be proud.
Ross Pearson was called a bulldog by the announcer and the title is apt: he’s solid, thick-necked, and keeps coming forward. Even during training, when he popped out his shoulder, he had Bisping yank it back into place and went straight back to training. Pearson said he was going to hit Dent with everything he had, hoping for a knock out.
Jason Dent’s previous matches were boring and his attitude in the house was very negative (although I don’t blame him for hating it – no television, radios, computers, phones, newspapers, and living in a confined space with fifteen other people who are not your friends OR family. Oh, and no contact with family or friends for the duration of the stay. There’s all the alcohol you could possibly drink, though.) Henderson said Dent had not yet shown what he was capable of. Dent did say that he lost every match which had gone to decision, so he was looking for TKO.
Round 1 began with Dent’s kicking and Pearson’s striking. They ended at the fence in a clinch with Pearson’s kneeing Dent’s head, trying uppercuts, a big strike to the ribs (which caused Dent to buckle) and kicks. Pearson has a strong head kick which he used many times and, if they had not been blocked, would have resulted in a knock out.
Dent applied some heavy uppercuts, but Pearson’s tough. Pearson then answered with strikes to the body and face – many, many strikes which were unanswered by Dent.
Just before the end of the round, Dent connected a few times with head strikes.
Round 2: Dent tried some low leg kicks and strikes to the head. Pearson was very clever at the fence and timed his strikes to Dent such that they happened as Dent bounced off the fence, resulting in Dent’s getting hit each time he came off the fence.
Pearson managed a take down of his own, controlling Dent from guard, full, and half mount. After they stood up, Dent tried a take down with no success, so he did a butt flop. Pearson jumped on him and did some ground and pound here.
Round 3: Dent came out impressively with multiple strikes and kicks. Pearson replied with uppercuts and a rib/kidney shot to the same side which he hit the previous round. Pearson took Dent down at the fence and served elbows and heavy fists to Dent as Dent lay on the bottom.
Dent turned over and turtled and then went on his back again, with Pearson in his guard. Dent attempted armbars many times from the bottom, but was unsuccessful. Pearson controlled the match completely while on the ground.
Unanimous decision in Pearson’s favour.
Both fighters in the lightweight final are from the UK.
UFC‘s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 (TUF9) is on Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. on Spike.
June 11, 2009