TUF 9 episodes 1-3 ranking

*Please note my TAR blogs are ten times better and with screen caps

The Ultimate Fighter 9

There have been thirteen winners. All of them have been American.
.
.
.
.
Except ONE!

Michael Bisping of the United Kingdom. Since then MMA has exploded in the UK. And now the UFC has come to England to give a new generation of fighters their shot. Sixteen Brits are about to slug it out for the honour of representing their country. Who will Michael Bisping lead into the battle against the Yanks for a showdown in Las Vegas? The Ultimate Fighter–United States vs. United Kingdom.

– As per usual since the round of 32 knockout phase introduced in TUF 7 prevents the TUF House cast being known until episode three. I absolutely detest the round of 32 knockout phase, but I suppose if you like higher risk of injuries and only two or three people getting an edit all season, well, this era suits you.

– I wonder if the winners in the UK bracket fly over to watch the US bracket. Or if production grew a brain this season and wait a month before merging the American and British fighters into the House to start the tournament process. The latter would make sense. But knowing competitive reality TV producers, they take a while to understand what changes are necessary.

– Widnes, United Kingdom. Just outside of Liverpool, according to Dana. First time ever it will country versus country in case you didn’t know. In one of the most worked scenes I have seen in more credible competitive reality TV shows, Michael Bisping happens to be standing on the road outside the gym as the car pulls in. You may as well have him say “C’mon in mates!”

Er, save that for TUF Australia.

– Bisping introduces Dana to the frigid Wolf’s Lair camp. Dana is the only one wearing a T-Shirt. The sixteen fighters inside are all wearing toques and hoodies. Dana is a tough sonofab—- to be wearing a T-shirt and his bald head.

– This season is 155 and 170 this season. Clearly the lightest weight classes (at this time) are the most popular seeing how TUF 5 and TUF 7 featured the 155 weight class and is considered the two best seasons. Meanwhile how people regard the seasons featuring athletes at the opposite end of the weight scale is a different story.

– Dana can’t believe how much the sport and the talent has grown. No kiddin’. Otherwise Jon Hess would be auditioning on the US side of things. It is revealed only eight of sixteen will fly to the US. Sounds like it will be immediate as well. Crap. So much for my dreams.

DANA: Tomorrow will be the most important day of your life.

Internalize that then follow it up with a loss, and we could be dealing with eight suicides on our hands.

DANA: Welcome to The Ultimate Fighter, motherf—-ers.

Gotta love Dana White’s unnecessary cursing.

– Montage of hands being wrapped up. Stretching. Rich Franklin and Dan Henderson enter. Wait, what? Oh. This is before the Henderson vs. Franklin fight had yet to occur. So whoever wins that fight (spoiler: It was Henderson) goes on to be the American coach. Franklin was bummed to lose by split decision, I’m sure. However, the guy has made so many dang appearances on TUF that seeing a sophomore face on TUF is a welcome change.

– UFC 93 was in Dublin. Makes sense for Franklin and Henderson to fight there. Camps can stick around on the British Isles.

GARY KELLY: Me record’s 2-1-1.

Yep, our first fighter confessional is the biggest British stereotype I have heard in me life. Next thing he’ll be complaining about how fighters in the House will be after me Lucky Charms.

– I’ve seen Gary Kelly a couple times, I reckon. Michael says he is aggressive. From Liverpool. He trains with Michael regularly. Bisping’s success has made him hungry.

If I say he is hungry for Lucky Charms, would you shoot me?

GARY KELLY
155
Liverpool
2-1-1

– His opponent, Andre Winner, is certain Gary is not stronger nor faster than him. He acknowledges the ridiculousness of his last name.

ANDRE WINNER
155
Leicester
9-2-1

– I pick Gary because of the more dynamic airtime. No sponsour intro. It’s Dan Mirgliatta as we head into our first bout of the evening.

– They touch gloves. Andre has really fast hands. Fast feet. Andre clinches. Against cage. Andrew is kneeing his belly. They switch as Gary is against the cage. Andre continues kneeing. Gary trades.  Uppercuts from Gary. Andrew is bleeding. Sharp elbow from Gary. More knees from Andre. Great grappling. Overhands from Gary. Andre is punching Gary’s ribs. Andre has an arm but gives it up. More knees. Gary attempts uppercuts some more. Muay Thai clinch by Gary but breaks it. Trades continue. Andre lands a BRUTAL knee to the head in the clinch. Gary drops. Bisping curses as Andre drops in some more punches.

Winner is declared Winner. I’ve managed to make one incorrect prediction already. Gary is wearing an oxygen mask but is finally on his feet. Gary doesn’t know what happened. He asks Andre what happened. Wow. That’s one heck of a knee against the cage.

– I’ve noticed no music is playing in the background. Cut out the sound editing for a couple episodes and you save tens of thousands of dollars.

HENDERSON: You’re gonna have subtitles all over this s—.

Very true, Henderson. Half of the stuff has been subtitled so far.

– A man named Jeff Lawson heads out of the dressing room. This episode isn’t messing around. Another lightweight.

JEFF LAWSON
155
Bournemouth
13-2

– He has experience under his belt. And he still hasn’t made a career for himself. Something tells me he won’t go far. He doesn’t think his opponent is scared of him. My theory is further supported.

– James Bryan is his opponent. He fights out of his bath. So that explains the poor hygiene of the Brits. Why do they mix sweat, blood, and naked bodies in a bath where cleanliness is of the utmost importance?

JAMES BRYAN
155
Bath
3-1

Oh. I retract my previous statement.

– James thinks Jeff is coming to the end of his career. I for one agree.

*Commercial*

– B-Roll of industrial district. Music appears to amp up the fight. Well known British ref Marc Goddard is here to oversee things.

– They touch gloves. Lawson kicks while Bryan punches overhand. Bad move cause Lawson swoops in and takes him down. Full guard. Lawson is now in half guard. Side control. Bryan has an arm but gives it up. Lawson is trying to work for a leg on his feet as Bryan is on his back. Lawsom comes in and has side mount. Bryan puts him into half guard. Neither fighter is impressive.  Lawson spins to choke Bryan’s neck with his legs. Bryan has enough space as he has a hold on Lawson’s arm. Lawson is spinning and turning until he nearly has an arm secured. Bryan frolicks until Lawson yanks it. Decent jiu jitsu. The tap. 0-for-2 in terms of my predictions. Lawson does a backflip and knew it would be an easy fight. We see Bryan cry into a rag.

– Next one. Che represents a gym out of Gloucester. I hate how towns named ‘Gloucester’ have about five extra letters than necessary. Almost as bad as whoever came up with the name Krzystof Soszynski or Marc Rcezpcynski.

CHE MILLS
170
Gloucester
7-2

– He likes the physical challenge. Che predicts victory by KO.

JAMES WILKS
170
Laguna Hills, California
5-2

Fighting out of California? Did producers miss the theme? That’s cheating! Wilks defends he has been fighting in the US for eight years but is British at heart. Marcus Davis will likely make the same excuse if Irish fighters are introduces to the series.

– They touch gloves. James leg kicks. They trade wide open punches. Some land. Che brings James to the ground in an awkward position. Punches from the top. James has Che’s right leg. Che twists and punches some more in the face. Che falls to the ground and grabs a leg as well. After two seconds Che taps.

– James doesn’t care about the giant gash across his forehead. He feels fine and performed well. Dana is ecstatic and shakes James’ hands. Bisping was shocked and claimed Che was one of the favourites.

– Che says something but I can’t make it out and he’s gone so who cares.

– Martin Stapleton. He’s wearing a very funny hat straight from 007 Goldeneye. Yes, he’s a lightweight. All kooky people not named Shonie Carter are lightweights. He has sacrificed a lot and works in the military for his family. British Tommy Speer?

– Introduced to Dan James. Too many James. He is our first Walesean. . .Welsh! First Welshman in TUF. Obligatory representative. Doubt he’ll have an impact. Strategy will keep it standing up and finish early. What an original strategy for a striker.

MARTIN STAPLETON
155
Rochdale
5-1

DAN JAMES
155
Swansea
3-0

– Goddard is referee. Martin shall win? They dance around. No gloves touched. Mixed strikes. Martin lands one. Dan misses a couple. Both are fast. Martin charges in and puts Dan on his back. Full guard. Very tight. Stalemate. Dan is holding Martin’s gloves. Referee warns. Martin’s arms are trapped. Referee warns about gloves. Martin suddenly frees them and spins around to take Dan’s back. Dan goes on his back. Full mount. Pounding. Dan gives his back. Completely flat. Martin slaps on a choke. This is taking too long. Dan taps. Match over. Dana is impressed. Biggest fight in Martin’s fight.

– Next fight. Introduced to A.J. Wenn. He wants a ticket to Vegas. We see Ross Pearson practicing boxing on a blue mat for a while. Oh. He’s tough. Rock music playing too. Ross talks about his training. Ross doesn’t care who is in there because he is so amped. Even if it was Bisping.

AJ WENN
155
Wisbech
7-2

ROSS PEARSON
155
Nottingham
9-3

*Commercial*

SIGN:
LITTER
City of Liverpool

Well that isn’t exactly an attractive statement. No beautification campaigns to be implemented anytime soon. Now let’s watch Ross win by knockout.

– Dan Miagliotta is our referee. First time that I’ve spelt it right. they touch gloves. Missed leg kick by A.J. Ross charges in as they spin and dance along the cage. Ross is very flexible as he knees the face. A.J. attempts knees of his own. Stalemate. A.J. hooks a foot but Ross tries to trap it. Fails. A.J. raises his foot and Ross trips him for .2 seconds. Back to the same dance. Long  hug. No one is striking. All for position. They grapple some more. AJ knees body. He has a leg but fails to capitalize. Ross has the underhooks and takes AJ down. Side control against the cage. AJ gets on his feet too easily. Same dance. Ross punches AJ’s face. AJ knees body. They dance along the cage some more. Ross almost trips but AJ has insane balance. Ross knees AJ’s body and head repeatedly. Lands a great punch to the face. Has underhooks and takes AJ down against the cage. Doesn’t get any type of dominant position though. AJ is holding and stalling. Back on feet and clinching against cage. Both fighters are drained. AJ has weak knees to the body.  Hold some more. Ross knees the face. AJ knees body. Clinch continues. AJ has taken Ross down but Ross scrambles quickly. AJ charges in but Ross gets up and is in clinch. Ross lands a brutal knee. They aim for the cage as AJ shoves Ross into the cage. Ross uses the fence to scale with his feet and use a supercharged knee into AJ’s face. One of the sweetest moves I have ever seen. One second left. A brutal knee to the face. And another. And another. Referee breaks it up instantly. Saved by the bell. AJ is still on his feet.

DANA: He’s out. He might not come back out.

– AJ is staggering as he is in corner. Sits on chair.

*Commercial*

– AJ answers the bell. Second round. Ross fires a leg kick. So does AJ. AJ misses another. Ross lands an uppercut then drops him with another. Ross swoops in and lands ten more punches. Refereee calls the fight. Second round shouldn’t have even happened. Bisping and White are impressed. Bisping thought Ross reminded him of himself.

– Next fighter comes in with no introduction. A ginger.

TOMMY MAGUIRE
170
Peteborough
5-2

TOMMY: I fight because I can’t sing and I can’t act.

Sound reasoning to bash people’s faces in.

NICK OSIPCZAK
170
London
3-0

– Nick tells us where he’s from and has never fought a ginger person before. Now I feel shallow. The fighter’s first observation was the same first observation I had.

– No clock. Must be a boring fight. Touch gloves. They trade kicks and punches. Tommy charges in but wind up in clinch. Nick is the aggressor. Tommy eases Nick into a takedown. Tommy stands above Nick. A successful upkick that forces Tommy to come crashing to the ground. He passes Nick’s guard but Nick escapes and back into clinch. Tommy has neck in head lock. Possible guillotine but not enough leverage.  He drops to the ground. Nick gets his head out and is in half guard. He elbows Tommy’s face. Tommy has an arm from the bottom but Nick escapes. Dan signals for Tommy to get up. Back on feet. Circling. Nick crowds in to fire solid strikes. Unanswered knee and punch from Nick. Tommy misses a couple strikes. Nick clinches Tommy’s head and lands some big knees to the face. Punches to the body and face. Tommy is doing a terrible job of defending. Nick drops Tommy with a punch. He’s out. Referee stops. Henderson doesn’t think Nick has much power. Not impressed by his performance as GSP would say.

– ???: REIDERNATOR TIME!

Uh, what?

ALEX REID
170
LONDON
10-9-1

– It’s Alex Reid. Bisping knows him. Alex needs a hair colouring and he would look exactly like Sir Richard Rose from Sunset Riders.

ALEX: I need to be aggressive and look into his eyes and see his soul. . .See. His. Soul.

Cuh-reepy.

– Hip hop music plays as the African-English man enters.

DEAN AMASINGER
170
Nottingham
4-1

He has a beard. Oh, and he pities the fool. Too much A Team as a child.

*Commercial*

A pigeon flies from the town square. Goddard begins the fight. No clock again.

– They exchange fists on their feet. Dean comes in for the takedown. Bisping summarizes the fight. Alex keeps attempting triangles but fails. Dean did nothing. End of round.

– Alex leg kicks. Dean gets some punches in. He charges in and has an enormous takedown of Alex. Alex pulls a triangle on Dean and was very tight. Dean gets out. Dana doesn’t understand how he lost the triangle. Alex asks Dean to hit him during the fight. Dean is resting on top of Alex’s guard. Alex asks Dean if that’s it. Referee tells him to stop talking. End of round. Alex wants another round.

– It’s going to sudden victory. Good because these guys suck.

– They have weak punches. Dean clubbed Alex with fists and knees. Alex is walking away at one point. Dean goes in for the takedown. Bisping thinks the fight could’ve been done on his feet. Alex goes for another triangle but fails to squeeze. Dana comes in to announce the winner. It’s Dean after three utterly dreadful rounds. Dean is happy to get past the initial nerves and will perform closer to his potential. Dean collapses on the training mat. Alex thought it was even steven and only performed by a millimetre.

– We’re introduced to Jason Bateman. Shouldn’t he be working on Arrested Development? Oh. Not that guy. I’m disappointed. His hands are being taped up.

– Opponent is David Faulkner. Member of the Wolf’s Lair. Bisping says the guy is all about the heel hooks and raves about he is the real deal, but doesn’t believe in himself.

JASON BATEMAN
170
Grimsby
2-1

DAVID FAULKNER
170
Liverpool
2-1

– Drawn out rock music and clapping from the audience. Dan is the referee. Not spelling his last name again.

– David charges in for a takedown but Jason scrambles to his feet. Bisping wants David off the fence as he is shoved in there during the clinch. David turns Jason into the fence. Couple knees from Bateman. He breaks it and throws some strikes. David goes in for takedown but Jason defends and they are back in the clinch. Jason has both of David’s arms but gives it up. Awkward takedown as David has half mount on Jason. They spin around and adjust position. David snags a leg with cat-like reflexes and turns to force Jason to tap.

– Bisping points out his sick leg locks. He is proud. Dana thought nearly everyone that advanced were good and has the killer instinct.

– Dana says good job to all sixteen, regardless of the victory or defeat. He proceeds to kick out those losers whose dreams are crushed. Dana says they will fly out to Las Vegas. He calms down their fears of Las Vegas being an unfair territory but insists it’s neutral because fighters from all over the world are in Vegas.

– The team jerseys are blue. Bisping wants them to do England UK proud. Lawson wants to smash the Americans. Andre views them as bad news. Bisping is ready to take it to the Yanks.

Next time on TUF: Oh. Memorial for Charles Mask Lewis. The founder of Tapout and known for his crazy costumes as a Tapout boy.

It’s the American’s turn. Dana is back in Vegas. Somebody is struggling to lose weight. Unlike the UK fighters, somebody pulls a Fainting Phillipe on the first day. Can Team USA rebound? Or are the Brits ready to club the Yanks? Who will represent Team USA against Team UK and have a shot at becoming the next Ultimate Fighter?

Rank the Fights

1) AJ Wenn vs. Ross Pearson (Skillful grappling followed by the biggest beatdown of the premiere. Those knees were vicious. How the heck did AJ answer the bell for the second round?

2) Gary Kelly vs. Andre Winner (Perhaps the best fight in terms of striking. They weren’t afraid to go after each other, and that’s what we love to see in MMA. That brutal knee was the best strike of the episode.)

3) Che Mills vs. James Wilks (Great rally from James as he grabs a leg and taps Che out from the bottom. Granted it was a quick fight.)

4) Martin Stapleton vs. Dan James (Only about ten seconds of the whole fight can be considered exciting or engaging to watch.)

5) James Bryan vs. Jeff Lawson (I am not impressed by either fighter.)

CONFESSIONALS

AJ WENN 1x
ALEX REID 2x
ANDRE WINNER 2
CHE MILLS 3x
DAN JAMES 1x
DAVID FAULKNER 3
DEAN AMASINGER 2
GARY KELLY 2 x
JASON BATEMANx
JAMES BRYAN 2 x
JAMES WILKS 2
JEFF LAWSON 2
MARTIN STAPLETON 2
NICK OSIPCZAK 3
ROSS PEARSON 2
TOMMY MAGUIRE 1x

Second episode

Previously on TUF: At the Wolf’s Lair in Northern England, sixteen fighters slugged it out for a spot on Michael Bisping’s UK team. Lightweight Andre Winner floored Gary Kelly with a knee early in the first round. Welterweight Nick Osipczak used brutal kicks to send Tommy Maguire packing. And Bisping favourite David Faulkner wasted no time submitting Jason Bateman with a heel hook. Also joining the UK team are welterweights James Wilks and Dean Amasinger. At lightweights Jeff Lawson, Martin Stapleton, and Ross Pearson.

Now it’s the United States turn. Sixteen fighters are ready to battle their way to Team USA. Who will earn the right to go to war with the Brits and earn a shot at becoming the Ultimate Fighter?

– No intro. We’ll see it next week I’m sure.

– Plane touches down. Dana is driving in a van. He was impressed with the fighters from the UK and is ready to watch the American fighters go to work. He hopes they are as impressive. Two possible coaches were Henderson and Franklin. They fought at UFC 93 as I mentioned. We see the highlights. Henderson won by a somewhat controversial split decision. Only Henderson is here from this point forward. He talks about his Olympics background.

– His strategy is to beat the heck out of the UK guys. Thank god he never went into the military.

– They enter the gym.

DANA: You’ve seen the show. You know where to go.

Sure enough they line up perfectly on the mat. The mohawk man seems like he is looking at a cameraman for a cue.

DANA: Your coach is going to be Dan Henderson. One of the greatest fighters in MMA history. He is one of the toughest motherf—ers I’ve ever met in my life. You’re in for a tough season. Bisping is ready to kick the s— out of you guys and I’m not kiddin’.

– One of the guys mid-speech collapses. His eyes haven’t rolled back luckily. Two seasons in a row where a guy collapses on the first day? This time Dana is completely calm. Guess the fainting man learned nothing from Phillipe. The guy is out cold. Dana stands over him. Where’s the medical staff?

– His name is Jason Pierce. In a confessional he says he couldn’t tell what happened other than that he fell asleep and opened to see his eyes. He knew he was ‘that guy’.

DANA: What is your weight?
JASON: 169.
DANA: And before?
JASON: Buck eighty.

– This is different from Phillipe’s faint, according to Dana. Philippe was hot and nervous. Pierce is strictly having trouble from cutting weight.

– Dana finishes off the speech without further incident. Pierce wants air. Every season we are told people have problems. Wow. I can’t think of a season where somebody DOESN’T have problems. Epitomized by TUF 2’s 22-person cast and the finale ruckus by Jesse Taylor.

– One of the doctors checks out John the Lightweight. There is something on his forehead. It’s a pus-filled lump. Been there for two days.

– Since production loves squeezing eight fights in one hour we immediately cut to Dana and John on the couch. As with Paul Bradley from TUF 7, the lump is contagious and he cannot train nor be in the house. Roman gone in TUF 6, Paul gone in TUF 7, Brian, Jason, and Karn gone in TUF 8, and now John in TUF 9. Four consecutive seasons of someone being med evac’d in the first round.

– It’s herpes. Yeah. He’s gotta go. There is another guy named Christian who has not made weight yet. Team USA couldn’t be off to a rougher start.

– Christian is outside on a bike wearing a black track jacket. Dana interrogates him if he wants to do this. He pressures Christian that the British guys were all on weight. Five F-bombs in two sentences. Christian says it is no big deal as it is another weight cut. Eventually he was getting dizzy and had back pain. He comes inside. Dana is pissed wondering why he isn’t on weight. It’s 173 pounds. Two more to go.

– Dana says Christian has until two o’ clock. The black hoodie is back on. He is wheezing and walking at a measly three miles per hour. We see Christian take a fall in real time. The guy COLLAPSES on the treadmill. I think three fights are canceled.

– Dana finds it ridiculous these guys don’t show up on weight.

DANA: SEASON NINE MOTHERF—ERS! SEASON NINE! W

Dana doesn’t understand how fighters don’t get what the show is about by this point. In their defense. the castaways on Survivor still don’t understand how to play after 25 seasons.

DANA: This is the worst start to a season in the history of the show.

I see Dana has repressed TUF 2 from memory. Or the broken noses, hands, and Jason Guida’s infamous weight cut from last season’s premiere.

– Dana says Christian is quitting. Christian denies the word ‘quit’.

DANA: You quit?
CHRISTIAN: Yeah, you’re right. I quit.

Car waits for Christian outside. Dana thinks the British guys are ready to kill these Americans and insists they be ready. John has already exited. Dana says the two people without a fight will not get in by default. They’ll have opponents eventually.

– Dana says there will be six fights instead of eight for this round. I wonder what they’ll do about the two missing fights.

MARK MILLER
170
CHICAGO
10-4

– He says he is fighting one of his training partners. Win or lose they’ll be friends.

KEVIN KNABJIAN
170
CHICAGO
10-3-1

– No wonder they are training partners. Essentially identical record too. Kevin doesn’t look too happy to be fighting his teammate. He jokes his partner is a pr—.

KEVIN: Keep your hands down and let me hit you in the face.

Great trash talk.

– Mazzagatti is our referee. No clock. They touch gloves. Kevin comes in with missed strikes. So does Mark. They exchange some light kicks and punches. They are circling and moving around a lot. Both are doing great defensively. Very quick pace but no scratches on either fighter. Troubles with sparring partners.  Kevin dives for a takedown but instead eats some punches. Back on feet. Both are missing huge blows. Mark is getting much better of the striking thus far. Kevin’s face is bloody. Kevin lands a good counterpunch. Mark is bouncing around. Dictating pace of fight. Clock returns for the remaining 46 seconds. Does something happen? Mark lands some harsh punches.  Kevin starts blocking. Mark’s reflexes are great. Lands a good leg kick. Punch to the ribs. Missed spinning back fist by Kevin. Mark comes in for more strikes. Some are getting through. End of round. Mark won that round.

– Cornerman snaps at Kevin to use his right hand. Round two. Touch gloves. Kevin breaks through with a lethal combo. Mark drops. Kevin comes in but fails to finish. He grabs an ankle and starts twisting as much as possible. Mark escapes with some great technique. Kevin clinches him into the cage but Mark breaks it off. Kevin fires punches to the face. Mark is countering but Kevin is defending. Mark is charging as Kevin retreats. Both are patient with their strikes. Not anymore. Mark is dictating pace. Mark is charging as Kevin works to defend. A lethal uppercut breaks through the barrier. Kevin reacts like a dazed fighter from Mike Tyson’s punchout. Kevin is dazed. Mark swarms him on his face. Several punches to the chin. Mazzagatti calls it despite Kevin going for a leg on the way down. WHAT?! Why call it? Is this McCarthy dealing with Sakuraba again? Kevin was borderline out. . .but still. The fight was very much alive. Dana and Henderson are disappointed by stoppage. Mark puts an arm on Kevin’s shoulder but Kevin brushes Mark away and shouts curses on both yer houses.

Henderson jokes Dana is the wrecker of friendships.

– Kevin admits he didn’t take advantage of some of the beatdowns he dealt. Mark goes over to him and says they’re still boys. He is having a tough time being happy for the victory. Easily best fight of the season thus far. Kevin sulks in locker room knowing he could’ve won this s—.

– As he exits he tears a big hole on a poster of Chuck Liddell. Suddenly Liddell’s liver disappears from the picture. Complete hole. Bas Rutten would be proud.

RICHIE WHITSON
155
Temecula
4-0

Temecula and wearing a tapout shirt? I think he should be aiming for the WEC Ultimate Fighter. Looks like Carrot Top or Shawn White.

DANA: Kid looks like Shawn White.

Whoa. Dana is hip and with it.

– Richie sounds a lot like Jeff Kent!

PAUL BIRD
155
Des Moines
4-1

– Paul says the caged door is freedom. He can do whatever he wants legally to another human being. You can do whatever you want legally outside of a cage too.

– Henderson said that Whitson is from Alaska and started training in his gym. He is scrappy supposedly.

– Rosenthal is our referee. They touch gloves. Whitson misses a kick. Paul lightly connects with punches to the chin. Paul charges in for takedown. Richie works back on his feet. Paul takes him down again and has his back. Richie bucks him off. Paul has a leg. Now his back. Climbs on top. Richie works Paul off but back is still taken. Paul takes him down but Richie is back on his feet. Paul does some awkward kick from the back but Richie escapes. Centre of octagon again.

– Richie deals a leg kick. Pace is quick. Richie charges in but Paul avoids the strikes. Paul’s face is bloody. Richie comes in for more punches but Paul takes him down. Richie gets back up. Richie lands some quality punches. Paul is swinging for the fences. Paul goes for a takedown but is stopped by Richie. He has half mount on Paul. Sharp elbows. Paul is doing a great job of defending. Richie smothers Paul’s mouth before dealing strike after strike. Paul goes for an arm but Richie avoids it. Rosenthal warns Richie about the back of the head. Paul turtles as Richie works some punches from Paul’s back. He towers onto Paul’s back. The hooks are in. The choke is in. Slight rotation. Paul taps. End of fight.

– Dana was impressed and that Richie beat the crap out of Paul. Best fight thus far. Richie wants to make the dream of reality and represent the country.

WAYLON LOWE
155
Jefferson City, Tenessee
5-2

– Ever since he was a kid he wanted to represent the US in a competition. Sacrificed a lot to get here and who wants it more.

SANTINO DEFRANCO
155
Tempe
13-4

– Speaking of TUF 2, Dana says this guy made it onto that season. However, doctors diagnosed him with a brain aneurism. He proceeded to have surgery and is now back on the show seven seasons later. He was the 23rd cast member of TUF 2. Santino believes it is the biggest fight of his life. They touch gloves prior to the fight.

– Dana makes fun of Waylon’s tattoo of a sunshine around his belly button.

– Mazzagatti is unfortunately our referee. They circle and dance quite a bit. Ten seconds. Fifteen. Waylon comes in and gets the takedown on Santon. Full guard against the cage. Santino closes the distance. Waylon stands up and crashes into Santino’s full guard. Santino has a rubber guard. Clock disappears. Must be a boring round. Occasional strikes. Big intervals between strikes. They’ll be stood up like my prom date. Santino is cowering as Waylon stands over him and deals some big strikes from up top. Elbows to the right ear. That right ear should be ruined. Punches to the ribs. I declare Santino utterly defenseless. More punches to ears and ribs. Mazzagatti warns Santino to fight back. More strikes. Santino is doing nothing. Clock re-appears at 44 seconds.  More strikes to the ribs and right ear. He probably can’t hear half of what Mazzagatti is saying. Non-stop punches for the last fifteen seconds. This is the only time a card should be 10-7. End of round.

– Santino can’t get up.

*Commercial*

– Santino is back on his feet and gets into his corner. Cornerman says he needs to do something and attempts to fire him up.

– Round two. Touch gloves. Santino lands a huge knee on Waylon’s face and holds him downn. He takes Wayon’s back and has a hook in for a choke. Plenty of rotating. Waylon submits. Loud cheering from the crowd. Dana couldn’t believe it. Neither can I. A pitiful guy proceeds to dominate the second round within a minute. Wow. We see highlights for the first time ever this season. I imagine this guy goes far? Santino wasn’t impressed with his first round performance. Easily made up for it though.

BERGER vs. PIERCE
170

Rosenthal is our referee.

– No introduction from either fighter. Dana knows Berger for a long time and likes him. He doesn’t know anything about Pierce other than the fainting.

– Early in the first round Pierce drops Berger with a right hand and goes for submissions but doesn’t pull anything off. In second round Berger is able to pass Pierce’s guard but doesn’t impose any damage nor will. Third round isn’t more impressive than the first two rounds. Winner by unanimous decision is Jason Pierce. Pierce is excited to move one step further and is ready to win the tournament.

DOLLAR vs. HAYDEN
155

– Wow. Another summarized fight? We got to see 6.5 out of the 8 UK fights. These guys aren’t aggressive enough it seems. Hayden takes Dollar down, gets his back, and starts hammering. End of round one.

– Same as round two. Hayden gets Dollar down. Starts pounding him. Dollar slips out through the back and puts a choke on Hayden and chokes him out fast. Sleeping. Out cold.

– Dollar wants to learn everything and get to the top as high as he can.

– Final fight.

DAMARQUES JOHNSON
170
Salt Lake City
13-6

– He wants to plan on smiling and enjoying every last minute of it. What a compelling interview. Some punching, some kicking, and blood. But he promises to smile. No need to be nervous. Okay. He’s a good interview. He intends to hurt people’s feelings and do the mad dance.

RAY ELBE
170
Phuket, Thailand
20-11

One guy from California fights on the UK team but another man from Thailand fights on the US team? I hate these contradictions. Huge record too. A favourite to win the season? Ray finds it to be a great advertisement and re-invent himself far into this career. He has a Lynard Skynard tattoo on his heart. Or Michael Jackson. Or Aunt Jemima.

*Commercial*

Statue of Liberty and American flag. Of course. Rosenthal is our referee.

– They touch gloves. Both dance around. Ray fires off some punches. Misses leg kicks. DJ comes in but misses. Ray fires a spinning back fist but misses. Ray misses strikes of his own. They exchange but great defense. Looping leg kicks from Ray. DJ charges but ain’t got nothin’. Both throw some kicks and punches to the belly. Odd scramble as suddenly DJ has full mount on Ray. Ray is bucking like mad. DJ takes it slow. Punches to the ear. Fires more strikes from top. Ray is bucking some more. Great battle. DJ nearly pokes Ray in the eyes as he smothers. Uses shoulder and elbow strikes. Was that a headbutt? I think it was. Elbows. Looks for an arm. More punches. Several break through Ray’s defenses.  Brutal punches. Ray gives his back. Awkward hooks as he reigns down hammer fists. Back to full mount.  Elbows and punches. More punches. Ray turtles. Rosenthal warns. Two seconds later fight is over. THAT IS A TON OF BLOOD. HOLY CRAP. NEVER GOT TO SEE IT. HOLY CRAP.

– DJ is pumped and says it is surreal and feels like a dream. Ray feels the same way. I doubt he will know it is real for another day.

– Henderson has six members of Team USA. A little bit excited and a little bit concerned they only have six. But knows he has a competitive team. Red jerseys are handed out.

– Dana says they will leave as completely different men in six weeks. Best and worst experience of their lives.

– Dana says unnamed competitors Kyle and Jason are not part of Team USA yet because they cannot get into the house without fighting and winning. Dana found them some opponents and introduces them into the gym.

– Dana informs us they just flew in two men–Frankie Lester and Rob Browning. They will fight the other two for the remaining spots in the house.

– Henderson is concerned because Rob Browning is sure enough Junie Browning’s brother. If you don’t know who Junie Browning is, you’ve never watched any of the past eight seasons of TUF. The most infamous guy in TUF history. Noah Inhofer’s blunder has faded since TUF 3.

– Jason Dent will fight Rob Browning. Dana hopes Rob is all talent and no nuttiness. Kyle Reid versus Frank Lester.

Next time on TUF: It’s the USA versus the UK. Once the Americans get their final two fighters, the real war begins. Sixteen fighters, two nations, one octagon. Two warriors will have to survive a gauntlet of pressure and pain to win a six-figure contract and earn the right to become the next Ultimate Fighter.

So there will be only 9.5 episodes of House time where we have to squeeze in twelve full fights? Or rather, fourteen fights in ten episodes? Good luck getting to know any of the fighters once again.

Rank the Fights

1) Waylon Lowe vs. Santino Defranco (Santino is going to quit. He’ll totally quit at the end of the round. Wait, he’s coming out? Big knee? Rear naked choke? Dang.)

2) AJ Wenn vs. Ross Pearson (Skillful grappling followed by the biggest beatdown of the premiere. Those knees were vicious. How the heck did AJ answer the bell for the second round?

3) Gary Kelly vs. Andre Winner (Perhaps the best fight in terms of striking. They weren’t afraid to go after each other, and that’s what we love to see in MMA. That brutal knee was the best strike of the episode.)

4) Demarques Johnson vs. Ray Elbe (They squared off in the beginning, but Demarques pounded him, pounded him some more, and created one of the biggest gashes in TUF history. I love blood.)

5) Che Mills vs. James Wilks (Great rally from James as he grabs a leg and taps Che out from the bottom. Granted it was a quick fight.)

6) Richie Whitson vs. Paul Bird (Decent striking by both guys. Paul clearly didn’t know what to do on the ground compared to Richie. There was a fine armbar attempt by Paul, but Richie brushed it off and slapped on a textbook rear naked choke on Paul.)

7) Martin Stapleton vs. Dan James (Only about ten seconds of the whole fight can be considered exciting or engaging to watch.)

8) James Bryan vs. Jeff Lawson (I am not impressed by either fighter.)

CONFESSIONALS

CAMERON DOLLAR 1
CHRISTIAN FULGIUM 1x
DAMARQUES JOHNSON 2
FRANKIE LESTER 0
JASON DENT 0
JASON PIERCE 2
JOHN DAVID-SHACKELFORD 1x
KEVIN KNABJIAN 3x
KIEL REID 0
MARK MILLER 2
RAY ELBE 1x
ROB BROWNING 0
PAUL BIRD 1x
RICHIE WHITSON 2
SANTINO DEFRANCO 2
STEVE BERGER 0x
TOM HAYDEN 0x
WAYLON LOWE 1x

Third episode

Previously on TUF: Dana traveled to Great Britain and witnessed a powerful display of force by the British. Eight fighters earned their spot on Michael Bisping’s team to take on the US. But the American fighters in Vegas got off to a bad start. In the end two fighters got removed from the competition. Six fighters fought their way onto the US team. But two spots still need to be filled.

Up next Kyle Reid and Jason Dent prepare to take on alternates Frank Lester and Rob Browning. Who will be left standing to fight for the USA and seize their chance to become The Ultimate Fighter?

– Intro time. How is there an intro when two people have yet to fill out the roster of sixteen? Spoiler in intro, perhaps? Santino, Cameron, DJ, Mark, Jason, Richie. . .ah, they left out the two remaining names. Unusually long pause. Dean, Nick, David, Jeff, Ross, Martin, James, Andre. Coaches. Dana has the kookiest picture of himself.

– House. Statue of Liberty. And Jack the Ripper? The Americans are first to move in. Reaper on top of Big Ben. Whoa. Frank Lester gets the first  confessional. But how come he gets to be in the House? The logistics for this season sucks.

– Rob Browning has drank two shots. A ritual in the Browning household. Jason Dent welcomes the Brits onto their turf and knows the Brits will want to show them up. Somebody incorporates the word ‘scallywags’.

– Brits’ van comes in. I’d imagine they’d be pissed to see ten people from Team USA to be in the House against their eight. Martin is cool with the eight Americans. Everyone introduces themselves. Plenty of hugs.

– Santino says the Brits are cool even with not knowing what they are saying or their accents. He finds them interesting. Ross Pearson makes fun of them saying dude all the time. Andre airballs a basketball. Ah. Every stereotype is being exposed.

– Somebody is throwing eggs onto the basketball court. It’s Rob Browning from the porch. Ross is ready to beat him up. I wonder if this Browning will have just as much leeway. Browning has a beer in his hands too.

– Rob throws three more eggs onto the court. David makes fun of Rob. Everyone says Rob being Junie’s brother has really high expectations for schenanigans. And ratings. Santino says he isn’t disappointed. DJ goes to bed to get away from Rob. Rob enters the room and they joke about him having eggs. Rob is furious and gets into a fight with one of the Brits. So many of them have the identical buzz cut that I can’t tell who is who.

– Rob is wearing Bret Hart sunglasses as he gets right into the guy’s face. The other guy calls him a f—ing idiot and asks Rob to show is t–s. Rob claims he will whip his a– and starts making fun of his accent. Nick, the only one on Team UK without a buzz cut, attributes it to “little midget man’s syndrome”.

– Rob throws two more eggs into the billiard room. He staggers in and urinates in the shower. Pierce’s blood is boiling. How dare he try to toilet train a Browning. Rob continues to stagger and makes Pierce flinch with an egg. Pierce isn’t concerned cause he already was hit with an egg. Rob begs Pierce to hit him with an egg. Pierce gives him a light shove. Rob shoves and puts an egg on Pierce’s shirt. Continues to beg hitting him. Rob’s shirt is off.

– Rob thinks Pierce is a pretend fighter and laughs in his face. Pierce thinks Rob is giving the American side a bad rep. Understatement of the season? Rob tells us in a confessional that we won’t like him for six weeks.

And this is only Night 1. Pierce catches onto this fact too. Martin gathers everyone except Rob to discuss what pranks is off limits. Food and bodily fluids off limits. No jokes involving boogers, urine, or semen is off limits. Messing with sleep too. Everyone says that Rob will be the only one violating this but it’s fine because Dent will send him home in a couple days.

UK and US united under a mutual hatred. Dent does not want to lose to Junie Browning Jr. Rob is completely alone on the basketball court. He has less social skills than Junie

– Rob agrees everyone should’ve fought to be in the House.

– Training session with Henderson. He finds it odd that four guys have yet to officially make the team. Henderson says they’ll work a lot on wrestling and ground-and-pound. He left out the part about developing a nasty left. Henderson says wrestling in the UK is non-existent. So lay and pray abuse shall lead to some exciting fights. Groan.

– The guys who will be fighting each other refuse to train with one another. Mark loves representing the country. More ferocious training and rock music plays. DJ says they are fearless. DJ drops more F-bombs than Dana White in two sentences. So many bleeps.

– Bisping training session. Struggled to get a VISA but finally makes it for the first training session. Everyone in USA is getting along with one another sans Junie Junior. Bisping wants them to be a bit more pumped up as they casually say everyone is great. He hears about the pre-agreed upon absence of mind games. Bisping wants that out the window and for mind games to be played. DJ doesn’t want to kick the dog. He finds Bisping to be the proud parent at a basketball game that he got into a fist fight with.

– USA is ready to beat the UK team at Quarters or Rock, Paper, Scissors.

DJ: Bisping can take all that pride and f—ing shove it up his f—ing British a–.

– DJ finds himself getting territorial like a dog. A British bulldog?

Bisping knows he has to train the team well and they succeed and are represented well. It’s time to train. The players sparr hard with Bisping which takes him off guard. Trash talk of US continues. Bisping thought first day of training went well.

– Next day at the House. Rob talks about what he’ll do if he wins the fight. He brags that he is 4-0 and this is his first fight at 155. He is usually 135, and as of right now he is five pounds underweight. It explains why he was not in the preliminary group of 32. He is starting to get into good with the UK guys. Ross thinks Rob is dumb. James has nicknamed him ‘Fifteen Minutes’ because Rob is milking for fifteen minutes of fame. Together him and Junie make a half hour.

– Dent wants to get the first fight and end it right away. He is 22-8 and has a full team of UK fighters to beat up too.  Dent has been around for eight years. Frank Lester understand the big opportunity before him. Kyle Reid drinks water right out of a milk jug. Reid is from the Miletich camp.

– Kyle sounds drugged out. He doesn’t want to do a 9-5 job of every day life. He is a fighter. No other job he wants.

– Fight Day. Jason Dent brags he won all of the titles out of northeastern Ohio.

Well that must be a real competitive group. Wouldn’t that just be your local neighbourhood?

– Rob ain’t scared. Kyle knows this fight is for the top spot. Except it isn’t. He doesn’t care if he dies in the ring. Frank views it as the most important competition in his life. Losing isn’t an option.

Actually it’s one of two options. Winning or losing. There is nothing else. His logic is motherf—ing flawed.

– Kyle says his opponent Frank isn’t mean enough to beat him. Perhaps it is the Couture approach.

KIEL REID
170
Bettendorf
8-1

What a freaking strange way to spell his name.

FRANK LESTER
170
San Diego
3-2

Frank has fought at 205 before. Kiel is a wrestler. Frank is a striker. Ah. Classic striker versus grappler.

– Dana White introduces the fight. Mazzagatti our referee. They do not touch gloves. They circle. Frank misses some punches. Kiel aims high with a fist and misses. Circling. Kiel lands a punch on the chin and takes Frank down against the cage. Half guard. Zero space against the cage. Odd guard position. Frank fails to work to his feet. More definitive half guard. Kiel punches the right ear. I have a feeling this will go on for at least another round. Kiel has an arm around Frank’s throat but gives it up. Punches to the ear. Slow pace. Frank is scrambling. Back to their feet. Kiel has a standing guillotine. Uses it to knee Frank. Frank gets out and punches and knees Kiel. Kiel goes for underhooks. He has Frank’s leg. Frank takes an arm. Kiel uses pure strength to take Frank to the ground. But everyone is screaming that Kiel is out. Holy crap Kiel is out. Mazzagatti stops the fight after Frank attempts to snap Kiel’s unconscious arm. It’s over.

– Dana summarizes the fight. Kiel hit his head on the ground during the takedown and knocked himself out. Gray Maynard knows what that feels like. I thought that incident only occurs once every thousand matches. Not twice within a couple hundred matches. Frank celebrates as the others feel bad for him. DJ says a W is a W for Frank.

KIEL: You know you can’t beat me.
FRANK: I just did.
KIEL: I beat myself.

! Graphic.

But seriously, this guy has the level of sportsmanship as the Browning family.

– They keep arguing as Frank’s arm is raised. Unusual situation. This episode is in slow motion. Bisping makes fun of Frank’s celebration of ‘California baby!’

FRANK: I’m going into the House!

You already were. . .

– Frank brags about some of the strikes. Kiel thinks he made more of an impression in four days than Frank will make the whole season. Yep, Browning family loses with more grace than him.

KIEL: No disrespect, but he doesn’t have what it takes.

O rly

– Rob Browning and Jason Dent prepare.

JASON DENT
155
Mentor, Ohio
18-9

ROB BROWNING
155
Lexington, Kentucky
4-0

– They enter the octagon and trash the opponent per usual.

ROB: I’m gonna show what the Brownings are all about.

Uh, I think I already have a good idea.

– Everyone is clapping. I presume in support of Dent. Mazzagatti is our referee. They touch gloves.

– They both bounce back and forth. Jason does an uppercut from the opposite side of the cage. They close in on range. Rob misses a looping leg kick. Plenty of feints. Rob is feinting like mad. Jason lands a leg kick. Another leg kick. Rob is missing punches and kicks. Rob punches the face of a well defended Jason. Rob charges in and grabs two legs and presses Jason against the cage. Jason escapes. Rob fixes his mouthpiece. Rob has poor rhythm.  Punches more of Jason’s arms against his face. Jason lands a leg kick. Zero energy in the audience. Jason misses a head kick. Jason does a looping kick but it accidentally connects with Rob’s crotch. They close in again. Rob charges in but Jason defends the takedown. Rob is turtling. Jason is wailing on Rob’s head. The back of it, as Mazzagatti points out. Jason holds a turtling Rob. Rob is curled up against the cage. Jason tries to break the barrier. Knee against the kidney. He comes in with more punches. Elbow. Rob has done nothing. Need to do something with the erratic Mazzagatti. Jason punches some more, more, and more. Mazzagatti warns Rob to fight back.  And warns Jason not to hold the cage. Rob is completely flat on his stomach. Mazzagatti stops it.

– Wilks is surprised to admit that he feels sorry for Rob.

– On the other side of things, Henderson was happy to see Rob go because he did not want to deal with another Browning.

– DANA: Finally we have Team USA.

Yeah. Only took three episodes.

– Dana has yet another coin. We know he can’t go a whole season without a coin. One is blue for Team UK, the other is red for Team USA. Whatever side it lands on is who gets to pick the first fight. There won’t be a Shamrock Hammer, however. Fight match-ups will rotate between the countries. Apparently it being a failure in TUF 6 was enough to warrant its return in TUF 9. So much for the excitement and importance of the match-ups.

– USA gets first pick. That’s it for today.

Rank the Fights

1) Waylon Lowe vs. Santino Defranco (Santino is going to quit. He’ll totally quit at the end of the round. Wait, he’s coming out? Big knee? Rear naked choke? Dang.)

2) AJ Wenn vs. Ross Pearson (Skillful grappling followed by the biggest beatdown of the premiere. Those knees were vicious. How the heck did AJ answer the bell for the second round?

3) Gary Kelly vs. Andre Winner (Perhaps the best fight in terms of striking. They weren’t afraid to go after each other, and that’s what we love to see in MMA. That brutal knee was the best strike of the episode.)

4) Demarques Johnson vs. Ray Elbe (They squared off in the beginning, but Demarques pounded him, pounded him some more, and created one of the biggest gashes in TUF history. I love blood.)

5) Kiel Reid vs. Frank Lester (Two words: Gray Maynard.)

6) Che Mills vs. James Wilks (Great rally from James as he grabs a leg and taps Che out from the bottom. Granted it was a quick fight.)

7) Richie Whitson vs. Paul Bird (Decent striking by both guys. Paul clearly didn’t know what to do on the ground compared to Richie. There was a fine armbar attempt by Paul, but Richie brushed it off and slapped on a textbook rear naked choke on Paul.)

8) Martin Stapleton vs. Dan James (Only about ten seconds of the whole fight can be considered exciting or engaging to watch.)

9) Jason Dent vs. Rob Browning (Nothing to recommend watching. Except that it features a Browning?)

10) James Bryan vs. Jeff Lawson (I am not impressed by either fighter.)

CONFESSIONALS

ANDRE WINNER 2
CAMERON DOLLAR
DAVID FAULKNER 1
DEMARQUES JOHNSON 4
FRANK LESTER 8
JAMES WILKS 2
JASON DENT 6
JASON PIERCE 1
JEFF LAWSON
KIEL REID 5
MARK MILLER 1
MARTIN STAPLETON 2
NICK OSIPCZAK 2
RICHIE WHITSON
ROB BROWNING 5x
ROSS PEARSON 5
SANTINO DEFRANCO 2

BISPING

LIGHTWEIGHTS

ANDRE WINNER
JEFF LAWSON
MARTIN STAPLETON
ROSS PEARSON

WELTERWEIGHTS

DAVID FAULKNER
DEAN AMASINGER
JAMES WILKS
NICK OSCIPZAK

HENDERSON

LIGHTWEIGHTS

CAMERON DOLLAR
JASON DENT
RICHIE WHITSON
ROB BROWNINGx
SANTINO DEFRANCO

WELTERWEIGHTS

DEMARQUES JOHNSON
FRANK LESTER
JASON PIERCE
KIEL REIDx
MARK MILLER

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