Episode 4 of The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 (TUF9) US vs UK aired last night, resulting in the elimination of one of the fighters. The US had won the coin toss, so Dan Henderson, the US coach, picked Mark Miller (US) to fight Nick Osipczak (UK) in the welterweight division.
The overriding theme of the night was one of the problems when making assumptions:
In a previous episode, Henderson had mentioned that the UK fighters had limited experience on the ground. In reality, one of Bisping’s assistant coaches (actually one of his own coaches) is a grappling guy.
Dana White was impressed by Mark Miller and thought that in the preliminary eliminations Nick Osipczak didn’t look very strong, so guessed that Miller was going to win.
Michael Bisping and his coaches analysed Mark Miller’s preliminary elimination fight in great detail. Bisping saw a one-dimensional stand-up fighter with no ground skills if he were on his back. Their approach when training Osipczak was based on those assumptions.
In the actual fight, we had two strong fighters with a myriad of skills on the ground and standing. Round 1 had Osipczak doing an harai goshi on Miller almost immediately, taking him to the ground near the fence. When in Miller’s guard, Osipczak accomplished nothing, resulting in Miller’s turning over and being in Osipczak’s guard. When the bottom, Osipczak actually did some elbows and in future ground fighting, Osipczak was far more effective from the bottom than the top.
When standing again, Miller punched Osipczak, causing his opponent to hit the floor. Again from standing, they traded punches, most of them connecting. Osipczak took Miller down again and applied elbows and then punches to the ribs. The next take down was by Miller with Osipczak on the bottom holding Miller in a guillotine. It sure looked like Miller tapped out twice, but he managed to get his head out.
There was another take down by Osipczak just at the buzzer. A very busy round with both fighters working their full game.
Round 2 had Miller coming in with big punches, but being taken down again with Osipczak in side mount applying elbows, doing yoko shiho gatame (!), and knees to Miller’s ribs. Osipczak had his head caught in a guillotine choke many times, a couple of which looked strong. Miller rolled to the wrong side while holding Osipczak in the choke and Osipczak didn’t manage to stop the roll even though his arm was posted to that side. Weird. On the bottom, Osipczak tried ground and pound, elbows, and a figure of four, causing Miller to cover up from the top!
The referee had them stand up at this point. Osipzcak looked down and did a head kick that knocked Miller out.
UK 1; US 0.
This was a big win for the UK team, partially because the US guys had done a couple of pranks (how old are these people?!), irritating the UK guys. Bisping wisely told them to be big about it and not retaliate. I hope the rest of the fights are as entertaining as this one was.
UFC‘s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 (TUF9) is on Wednesdays on Spike at 10:00 p.m. EST.
April 23, 2009