The Ultimate Fighter Season 11 TUF11 began with more fights (or partial fights) in one hour than we’ve seen to date. For people unfamiliar with MMA, there were good varieties of techniques and skill levels. We also had injuries, lots of blood and a couple of boring bits. All ’round, it was one of the best episodes of The Ultimate Fighter that I’ve seen. Nothing was on long enough to cause me to want to change the channel and there was something new in the next five minute segment.
In episode 1 we had 28 competitors and fourteen fights. Those fourteen winners will be fighting in the next few weeks to come up with the final seven. In order to have eight finalists, the coaches will name the eighth person from among the losers of the previous seven matches.
As for the fights on this night, we had some serious bleeding from a head wound, a broken orbital socket (Victor O’Donnell vs. Chris Camozzi (W)), a popped shoulder (Cleburn Walker vs. Kris McCray (W)), and the worst broken nose I’ve ever seen – flattened and askew -(in a bout between very close friends, Clayton McKinney (W) and Charley Lynch). We had several knock outs: Jamie Yager (W) vs. Ben Stark; Jordan Smith vs. Brad Tavares (W); Jacen Flynn vs. Charles Blanchard (W); and Kyacey Uscola (W) vs. Brent Cooper.
Joe Henle (W) won with a juji gatame against Constantinos Philippou, while we had a few matches that went to decision: Josh Bryant (W) vs. Greg Rebello, Rich Attonito (W) vs. Lyle Steffens, Nick Ring (W) vs. Woody Weatherby, and Kyle Noke (W) vs. Warren Thompson. Court McGee vs. Seth Baczynski went to a third round with McGee winning.
In addition to all that excitement we had a Frenchman, Norman Paraisy, who had said that he wanted to prove that the French were fighters and didn’t deserve the negative comments they always got. He gave up after round one against James Hammortree.
One of the best fights of the night was against Victor O’Donnell and Chris Camozzi. Both men fought well, with Camozzi throwing O’Donnell with harai goshi twice, both times quickly and with precision. O’Donnell continued through the fight with a broken orbital socket, eye mostly shut, a very tough guy.
The first episode of TUF11 was fun and I’m looking to see more of the same.
Episode 2 had the coaches, Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, choosing their team members from the winners of the first episode. After all the men were picked, Ortiz mocked Liddell’s choices when talking to his own team, mentioning the size of the guys Liddell had chosen, most of them being 5’9″ or slightly more. Dana White even went up to Liddell and made comments, suggesting that Liddell had the worse team and White couldn’t understand his picks. Liddell saw something in the men he chose and he was happy with his team.
In addition, Liddell got to pick the fighters for the first preliminary bout, naming Kyle Noke from his team to fight against Clayton McKinney from Ortiz’s.
Comments from Liddell and his coaches about Noke were that he had good strikes, kicks, ground game and no weaknesses that they could see. McKinney was a total other animal. He was complaining continually about his shoulder, injured during his elimination fight. He was not relating to anyone in the house and slacked off during training due to his injury. (An MRI found bone bruising, but nothing structural wrong with it.) Ortiz felt that McKinney had never been truly tested before.
During the match, McKinney switched stances a number of times, and had his hands far too low. The men exchanged leg kicks, but seemed hesitant. After a failed take down by McKinney, he ended in Noke’s triangle choke (sankaku jime) and, with perhaps 30 seconds before the choke was on well, did not escape. Tapout. Win by Noke.
McKinney tried to leave the room immediately, but Ortiz and his coaches made him watch an escape from the triangle and then attempt the escape twice. Ortiz really is a fantastic coach. Instead of letting his own disappointment overwhelm him, something we have seen in past coaches on The Ultimate Fighter (Rampage Jackson certainly comes to mind), he spoke positively to McKinney and showed him how to avoid the triangle in the future.
As for mocking Liddell, fight one goes to Liddell.
The Ultimate Fighter Season 11 TUF11 is on Spike on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST.
Click here to go to TUF11 Episode 3.
Click here to go to TUF11 Ep. 4.
April 10, 2010