TUF 9 finale ranking

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

TUF Finale

– Both Andre Winner and Ross Pearson are subtitled in the intro. But not Wilks! There is one comprehensible Brit.

– Diego and Clay talk about trash talking while they trash talk one another. Clay Guida looks like me as of six months ago. Wild hair and beard.

– Joe Daddy Stevenson and Nate Diaz are on this card. Two TUF winners. Andre Winner. Ross Pearson. Kevin Burns (No TUF affiliation). Chris Fireman Lytle. James Wilks. Damarques Johnson. Clay Guida. Diego Sanchez. We’ve got a full card on our hands, ladies and gentlemen. They go all out for the TUF finales.

– Pearl at the Palms per usual. Rowdy fans holding beer and kissing the camera. Mike Goldberg is ready to commentate for the 100th or so time. He goes on to pump up TUF winners as superstars. Another fight for Diego Sanchez at 155 pounds. Joe describes him and Clay as ferocious competitors. Mike Goldberg almost slips to say the competitors are fighting for America’s Next Top Model.

– Camera slips as Joe wants to talk about lightweights but instead shows welterweights. I am sure Joe Rogan will cuss somebody out during the commercial break. Mention of the improvement of British MMA representation at the top of the food chain.

-First fight is Nate Diaz against Joe Daddy Stevenson. I should mention that most British fighters are easier to understand than Nate Diaz.

Nate Diaz vs. Joe Stevenson

– Both won TUF as lightweights. Nate thinks that there are a bunch of fighters better than Joe Stevenson.

– Prediction: Joe Stevenson will submit Nate Diaz. Even with all of the Cesar Gracie teutilage. Stevenson’s experience will trump him too.

Nate Diaz
10-3
24
6’0
156
76″

Joe Stevenson
34-10
27
5’7
155
70″

Joe shall get inside of that reach advantage.

– Nate Diaz is running around the ring like an idiot.

Mazzagatti is our referee.

– Joe offers gloves. Nate refuses to touch. Joe charges in and takes Nate down. Nate has a guillotine choke around Joe. It looks tight. Joe is struggling to get out. Joe is out. Nate grabs Joe’s wrists as Joe stands over him. Both are attempting to strike. Joe reigns down some punches. Joe has half mount. He has his thumb jammed into Nate’s right ear. Nate gives his back. Joe doesn’t have much of a grip on nate though. Joe has Nate in a reverse crucifix.  Could snap Nate’s left arm. Nate makes it to his feet. But Joe is freezing the progress. Very technical fight. Joe rolls Nate over against the cage. Reverse crucifix against the cage. Nate looks squished. Nate turns into Joe. Joe wraps an arm around Nate’s throat. Very tight. Nate is awfully purple. Nate is not budging. Nate is flipping over but Joe still has a grip. Joe lets go. Amazing. Joe is back in Nate’s guard but instead opts to stand over him. Nate searches for a triangle but Joe gets around it. Finally on their feet. Joe takes Nate down and they flip until Nate is on his back but with an arm around Joe’s throat. Nothing there. Joe stands up over Nate yet again. Joe escapes the clutches of Nate as they stand up against the cage. Joe proceeds to knee Nate’s body. Nate goes onto a knee. So Joe can’t knee the head anymore. Joe is stuck with kneeing the calf. End of round.

– They touch gloves. Joe fires a leg kick. Nate with his unorthodox stance. Joe charges in and has Nate down but Nate has an arm around Joe’s throat. He mounts Joe. Both are stuck as they grab limbs. Nate has side control. But Nate flips over to headlock a turtling Joe. Both roll about on the mat. Joe gets to his feet. He clutches Nate as he knees Nate’s body. Nate is on his knees to avoid Joe’s knees. Joe opts to knee Nate’s thighs. As soon as Nate is up Joe knees Nate’s face. Nate goes to the mat. Dana White is on Twitter. Started in UFC 98. Joe has side control on Nate but Nate uses his legs to push Joe away from the position. Joe is standing over Nate and reigns down some punches. Nate attempts to strike from the bottom. Nate tries for a triangle but Joe will have none of it as he escapes easily. Nate turtles as Joe clutches Nate on the ground and knees the body. Very Coleman-like. Both are on their feet. Joe has Nate against the cage. Joe knees Nate’s legs. They dance along the cage a bit. But Joe still has Nate against the cage. Nate turns the tables but Joe does it again. Nate goes to the ground voluntarily as Joe ends up in half mount/half guard. He attempts to advance but Nate defends well. Nate upkicks but not much energy on it. Joe squishes Nate from up top. Nate has his legs wrapped around Joe’s head. But gives it up. Joe grabs Nate’s leg. End of round.

– Joe offers a glove but Nate denies it. Joe grabs a leg and has Nate against the cage. Nate spins down to the octagon. Joe has a tight grip on that leg as Nate is against the cage. Both attempt to knee each other. Joe takes Nate to the ground as Joe takes Nate’s back. But Nate HIP TOSSES Joe to the ground with an arm around Joe’s throat. Joe has half guard. Nate rotates into Joe’s guard. Both rough each other up a bit. Nate stands up over Joe to reign down some strikes but Joe upkicks. Nate goes in tighter to the ground. Nate has an arm around Joe’s throat and rolls. Nate squeezes his legs around Joe’s throat behind him but Joe escapes and has Nate against the cage. Joe takes Nate down against the cage. Mike Goldberg promotes Joe Rogan’s comedy special after the finale. Joe is landing knees to the body and legs of Nate Diaz as Nate has a knee on the ground against the cage. More knees to the body. And Joe has an arm around Nate’s throat. Both dance along the cage. Position continues. They break it up. Both collide with some strikes. Nate does a half-hearted takedown but Joe is back to his feet. Joe goes for a leg but Nate defends. Nate front-kicks. They exchange strikes but largely miss. Nate misses a few punches. Joe goes for a leg but is stuffed by Nate. Nate throws some strikes. End of fight.

– Joe offers a hug and Nate reluctantly accepts. Gracious in defeat. As Joe gracious as a Diaz can be, anyway.

NOTE: Joe Rogan declared Nick Diaz one of the top ten pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Uh oh. Somebody is going to be in trouble for talking about Strikeforce.

– All 3 judges score it 29-28 in favour of Joe Stevenson.

Andre Winner vs. Ross Pearson

– Andre’s mom is from the Caribbean. Dad is from the UK. He wants to take them on a trip if he wins. We see him train in the gym three days a week. Mark Phillippe style tire flips. Andre thinks he is much more focused now in contrast with his early days of being lazy.

– Ross runs through a rough neighbourhood without a shirt. Talks about his girlfriend as the camera zooms in on her short skirt. And talks about his dog. He doesn’t want to be a reality star but rather a UFC athlete. Trains with a crazy man named Barry Gibson. Uh oh. His gym looks awfully small as we see only one man there.

ROSS “The Real Deal” PEARSON
10-3
24
5’8
156
69″

ANDRE WINNER
10-2-1
27
5’11
155
73″

I predict Andre Winner by submission. Just cause?

– Herby is our referee. Time for some Brit on Brit crime. Transformers sponsours the fight clock.

– They circle one another. Both feint numerous times. Ross connects a couple punches. Andre lands a leg kick. So does Ross. Both have a ferocious exchange. They circle. Ross lands a leg kick. Dana White is on Twitter. Did you know? Andre knees Ross’ leg. Both clinch with Ross against the cage. Ross is trying to jump up. He turns the tables. So does Andre. Short knees by Andre. Knee to Ross’ body. As Andre knees, Ross turns the tables. But Andre turns the tables. Andre has a Muay Thai clinch but gives it up as he is against the cage. A couple knees. Ross knees Andre’s body. Andre turns Ross into the cage. Andre has a Muay Thai clinch. Andre has Ross’ arm trapped. Ross takes a low blow. He is down. Herby tells him he has five minutes. It was a knee to the groin. Rogan wants another look at it because he thinks it was to the thigh. We’re back. Both have a crazy exchange. Uppercuts by Winner. Ross goes for a leg as Andre is against the cage. Andre defends. Andre has a Muay Thai clinch. Andre turns Ross into the cage. Knees to the thigh. Andre punches Ross’ body several times and the face. End of round.

– Both circle. Ross misses a leg kick and a body kick. Ross goes in for a strike but misses. Andre lands a leg kick. Ross Muay Thai clinches and lands a couple knees. Ross has Andre against the cage. Andre knees then turns Ross into the cage. So much clinching. Ross raises his knee to Andre. Nothing new to report. Andre nearly hits the groin again. And again. Ross knees Andre. More of the same. They break. Ross throws a strike then clutches Andre’s head. Andre splits off. Ross lands a few punches and a knee. He goes for a single. . .then we’re back against the cage. Ross uppercuts as they move along the cage. Ross knees Andre’s body. Andre gives up a Muay Thai clinch. Ross strikes Andre’s face. Andre lands a couple uppercuts. End of round.

– Ross comes in for a few strikes to the face. They trade. Ross lands a leg kick. Andre Muay Thai clinches. But back against the cage. They spin along the cage. Ross uppercuts. This is the easiest fight to referee ever for Herby. Ross lands a knee and a punch before going back to the centre of the octagon. They trade a few punches. Both land a combination. Until Andre pushes Ross into a cage. They spin further along the cage. Ross lands a couple short uppercuts. Andre throws a couple elbows. Ross throws rabid punches. But not much else is new. Both take turns being against the cage. The inevitable Randy Couture dirty boxing reference is made. Ross takes Andre down to one knee but both are back up against the cage.  Both finally have an exchange. Then back in the clinch against the cage. My god. This reminds me of the TUF 4 finale fights. A few short strikes. End of fight. Andre’s nose is bleeding while Ross’ forehead is bleeding.

– Which one of these guys will go on to defeat Penn in a major upset? Unanimous decision by score of 29-28 is Ross Pearson. Ross goes to the ground and cries. Oddly enough he spends more time on the ground here than he did the whole fight. Dana hands the contract and says it was a great fight. Joe Rogan sneaks in. Henderson and Bisping are both in the octagon. Why?

– Very generic interview. You could guess the questions and answers yourself.

– The welterweight fight and the Sanchez-Guida fight are getting major pimpage. There is a guy in Sanchez’s locker room who is hidden halfway behind the door. Don’t understand him.

– Speaking of a boring TUF finale fight we have. . .

CHRIS “Lights Out” LYTLE
36-17-4
34
5’11
170
68″

KEVIN “Fire” BURNS
8-2
29
5’11
171
74″

Chris Lytle by knockout?

– Herby is our referee. They touch gloves and circle. Both miss punches. Chris body kicks. They throw some bombs but miss. Kevin nearly trips himself. Both are throwing big strikes. Kevin leg kicks Lytle. More strikes already thrown than the first two fights combined. Chris lands some strikes to the head. Kevin lands a body kick then misses another. Kevin front kicks Chris. Chris punches Kevin’s head. Kevin body kicks Chris. Both miss some punches. Kevin stuffs a takedown. Kevin lands a solid punch to the head. Kevin lands another brutal punch. Chris misses a punch. Kevin lands a couple more. Chris comes in and lands a couple more. Both are throwing wild combos. It’s like a game of Shot for Shot. Kevin lands a big uppercut. Chris lands a punch on Kevin’s face. Kevin lands a leg kick. Couple body punches by Chris. Chris throws very wildly and misses. Chris barely connects with a punch. Kevin misses a couple punches. Kevin clinches and lands a knee to Chris’ head. Kevin accidentally kicks Chris’ groin. Joe Rogan finds it amusing. (“Swack!”). They resume. Both take their turns striking. Kevin drops Lytle with a couple punches. Lytle drops. Kevin swarms with a few more punches. Lytle works his way back to his feet and has Kevin against the cage in a clinch. Both dance along the cage. Kevin elbows Chris to break the clinch. Both strike one another. Kevin lands a big knee to Chris. They strike a couple more times. End of round.

– They touch gloves. Kevin misses a punch and leg kick. Chris lands a couple left hands. Kevin is wobbly. Chris comes in to punch a couple more times. Kevin is backing away and covering as Chris punches. Then it switches. Kevin punches and knees Chris. They give each other distance. Chris lands a combo. So does Kevin. Both feint. Chris lands a body punch. Wild bombs that all miss. Chris strikes but Kevin charges in and takes down Chris. Chris has an arm around Kevin’s throat but gives it up. Half mount. But both willingly stand up. They circle. Chris comes in and body punches and punches Kevin’s face. Kevin body punches. Chris lands a couple punches. Chris lands another body punch. Chris body punches and misses another punch. Kevin backs away. Kevin clinches and knees Chris’ belly. Gives up clinch. They take turns striking some more. Jesus. Chris punches Kevin’s head and body. Kevin uppercuts Chris. Kevin knees Chris’ body.Kevin accidentally kicks Chris in the groin. Booom. Fighting resumes. Chris kicks Kevin’s body. Kevin answers the strikes. Kevin misses an overhand then runs away. Chris throws some more overhands and a kick. Chris misses an uppercut. Still swinging for fences. Kevin is breathing heavily. More body punches. Kevin is running away from the fight as Chris chases him with strikes. Kevin strikes Chris’ groin AGAIN. Herby only gives a warning. Fighting resumes. Chris kicks Kevin’s cup as retaliation. Back to being even. They strike some more. End of round.

– Oh look. Rashad is in the crowd. It is announced him and Rampage are the coaches.

– Chris catches Kevin’s leg at the start of the round. Chris lands a punch. Kevin is BLEEDING. It’s a ton of blood. Chris is striking with punches and kicks. Kevin is still backing away. Chris kicks Kevin’s body and punches the gash. Kevin feints a knee. Chris punches the belly. So does Kevin. Chris punches the non-bloody side of Kevin. Kevin fires a superman punch. Chris punches Kevin’s body and face. Both continue to trade but Chris is getting the better of the striking. More punches to Kevin’s ribs. Chris misses more wild punches. Chris punches Kevin’s body some more. Chris rocks Kevin with a huge hook. Then striking continues. Neither of these guys are budging. Chris keeps closing the distance as Kevin backs away but both are constantly throwing punches and kicks. This is a kickboxing match. Feints. Then Chris fires a combination. Chris lands a hook on the chin but Kevin is unfazed. Jesus. Chris breaks the barrier as he gets through the hands of Kevin. He swarms but Kevin gets out of it. Kevin lands an uppercut. His hands drop and takes a deep breath. They continue. It’s like Chris wants Kevin to take a breath. Chris lands a head kick. So does Kevin. Chris lands a body shot. Kevin throws some punches. And some more. Kevin lands a head kick. Kevin swarms Chris as Chris attempts to retaliate. Bell rings. Both hug each other. Holy crap. How did both survive it?

– Winner by unanimous decision 29-28 is Chris. Third decision in a row but all three decisions are very different.

JOE ROGAN: If you guys don’t get Fight of the Night, I’m calling the cops.

Damarques Johnson vs. James Wilks

– Damarques goes on about some religious crap and how he’ll come out a different person after this fight. Fighting is pure like bottled water. It’s like a cheap documentary watching this. Montage of him training in all disciplines, of course. His sense of humour has yet to be seen that was taken for granted throughout all of TUF 9. Much better than listening to whiny Jason Pierce or that anti-social semi-finalist Jason Dent. Damarques says something about dreams. Maybe because Diego Sanchez is on this card.

– Wilks time. A British guy who lives in Laguna Hills, California. Never gets old. We see him at a beach where there are lifeguards. Is this Baywatch or TUF? Jeez. So we see Wilks’ training and being on a motorcycle. Real original. Talks about working on submissions and workouts. My dad would like this part. We see an odd shadowed shot of a wind fan. Dunno what that is aboot, as Wilks would say.

– The pain is over as Goldberg cuts in.

JAMES WILKS
6-2
31
6’1
171
75″

DAMARQUES JOHNSON
14-6
26
6’1
170
75″

Damarques by knockout? Sure, why not. Decisions have to stop at some point.

– Mazzagatti is our referee. They slowly walk out and touch gloves. Transformers is the sponsour again. Both throw wild strikes. James lands a huge hook on the chin. DJ barely stands. James lands some more strikes. They clinch against the cage as James lands a knee. DJ forces his way out of the clinch. Both trade. James lands another brutal combination. Muay Thai clinch. James throws a few more hooks. DJ ferociously punches from the cage. They go to the ground. James is in DJ’s full guard. DJ has control of James’ right arm. James stands over DJ as he reigns down some punches. He drops down for a heel hook but DJ rolls and escapes. DJ works his way on top of James and throws some elbows down. James goes for a heel hook. They roll to where James has DJ’s back as well as a leg lock. DJ frees himself by elbowing James. Oh, he’s not quite free yet. DJ escapes is on top of James. Now in his full guard. Ross has an oma plata or whatever it’s called. DJ gets out but James attempts a triangle. Very close. James converts to wrapping his legs around DJ’s left arm. But gives it up. DJ turtles as James takes DJ’s back. DJ is on his feet as James still has his back. DJ looks depressed. James takes down DJ despite DJ sprinting away. DJ turtles as James STILL has DJ’s back. James strikes DJ. Now it’s a rear naked choke. It looks tight. But fails to get it under DJ’s chin. Now it’s under. DJ taps. James earns the submission right before the buzzer. Impressive. So much for my faith in DJ. I bet editors didn’t expect Wilks to dominate like this. Given his lack of confessionals compared to DJ’s huge amount of airtime.

– James is declared the winner. Bisping must be s— grinning as we speak. Luckily Henderson doesn’t get emotionally invested. DJ congratulates James on being handed the contract.

– Typical interview. James talks about the new gym he opened up but I won’t advertise it unless he pays me. 😀

Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida

– Clay Guida by decision. ‘Tis my prediction. Both are yelling at each other in the octagon.

CLAY: This is my house!
DIEGO: Yeah! Get it!

CLAY GUIDA
25-6
27
5’7
155
68″

DIEGO SANCHEZ
22-2
27
5’11
156
72″

– Sacramento Kings sponsours Diego Sanchez. Who knew. Diego proceeds to do a Kane-like impression as Buffer announces his name.

– Rosenthal is the referee. Quite the staredown. Joe says it’s a draw in the mean face contest. They do not touch gloves. Both go WILD. WILD. WILD. WILD. WILD. Several uppercuts and knees by Diego. Clay is trying to answer back. Flying knee by Diego. Somebody’s mouthpiece falls out. Probably Guida’s. No opportunity to pause as both do not stop. Another flying knee by Deigo. More punches. And more. Clay is bleeding from the nose. Clay takes Diego down and is in his full guard. Diego’s guard is much higher. Possible triangle? Clay throws some strikes with plenty of head movement per usual. Diego has a gut across the side of his face. Or it’s Guida’s hair. I dunno. Clay shoves Diego into the cage while on the ground. Diego is indeed bleeding. Diego has a leg on top of Clay’s head. Diego stands up. Both take a breather. Rosenthal pauses to order Clay’s mouthpiece back in. Joe speculates a broken nose for Guida. Diego drops Clay with an ENORMOUS headkick. Clay gets back to his feet. How is he not dead? Diego attempts another flying knee. They circle. Clay misses a couple strikes. Diego lands several uppercuts. Clay shoves Diego into the cage. Clay drops for a single. Somebody in the audience repeatedly yells “FINISH HIM!” Well I’ll say. Both clinch against the cage. Diego goes for a leg and rams Clay back into the cage. Diego takes Clay to the ground. Half guard. Clay keeps the distance tight. Diego has an arm on Clay’s throat. Pushes on him. Lands an elbow. Back to their feet. They trade some more. End of round. Wow.

– They circle. And some more. Diego misses a head kick. Diego closes distance but Guida backs away. They trade some more. Diego goes for a kick but Clay takes Diego down. Full guard. Diego holds him tight from the bottom. Clay breaks free but Diego is elbowing from the bottom. Attempts a high guard. Clay covers Diego’s mouth. Some elbows from Clay. Diego aims for wrist control. Clay stands up over Diego. Clay punches Diego’s side. Diego has Clay’s left arm. Clay gets his arm back and starts striking from on top. Then Diego goes for Clay’s right arm. Both of Clay’s arms are trapped. Clay rides on top of Diego. Still full guard. Both try to elbow each other. Diego is relentless with those elbows. Clay is not covering up too well. Diego has his right leg tight around the back of Clay’s head. Short elbow by Clay. Both are extremely bloodied. Diego elbows Clay some more. Clay answers with his own elbows. Big exchange. Diego attempts an armbar but misses. Diego sits against the cage. Clay is shoving Diego further into the cage. End of round. Clay’s face is extremely red. What part of his face isn’t bleeding?

– Clay fires a couple kicks as he chases Diego around the octagon. Diego comes in with a few strikes. Clay mildly answers. Both circle each other. Diego charges in but Clay stuffs the takedown. Diego falls. Gets back up. Both circle one another. Diego lightly connects with a head kick. Nowhere near as bad as round one. Both size each other up. Diego misses a jab. Clay misses a few jabs. Wild punches. Diego misses a couple jabs of his own. Diego lands an uppercut. Diego stuffs a takedown. Clay lands a leg kick. Both go for big hooks but miss. Clay lands a big punch on Diego’s face. Both exchange combos for a couple seconds. Then come back in and punch some more. Clay lands a big overhand right. And a couple more. We can hear it. They circle. Clay misses a spinning backfist but without the backfist. Clay goes in for a takedown but Diego wraps to take Clay’s back. Clay is on top though. Diego holds onto an arm triangle. It’s tight. He must let go when Clay is solidly on top in Diego’s full guard. Both elbow each other a bit. Clay punches Diego’s side. Diego goes for Clay’s right arm. Very close. But Diego is on the bottom. Clay straightens his arm but still in trouble. Diego’s back is covered in blood. Close to an armbar but both strike each other. End of round. Both raise their arms in victory. But only one can win.

– 29-28 Guida. 29-27 Sanchez. 29-28. . .for the winner by split decision is Diego Sanchez. I agree with the decision.

– Joe takes back his comment of Chris Lytle and Kevin Burns being fight of the night.

DIEGO: Were you not entertained???

Odd response to a question about a fight.

– I still don’t understand how Clay didn’t get knocked out by the headkick. The same astonishment when seeing Newton surviving Pele’s headkick in Pride. Except Newton rallied to win minutes later.

Somebody throws a Mexican flag into the ring.

And ladies and gentlemen, that is how TUF 9 ends. With a Mexican flag.

Rank the Fights

1) Jason Dent vs. Ross Pearson (Easily the best slugfest of the season.)

2) Frank Lester vs. David Faulkner (You know that scene in Matilda where Bruce Bogtrotter raises the cake in triumph but suffers a strike to the head in the process while the audience cheers? The same thing happens in this fight. The conclusion is reminiscent of Sakuraba versus Gracie and when the heavily favoured Gracie when the corner throws the towel into the ring.)

3) 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.)

4) Cam Dollar vs. Andre Winner (There is not a moment during the fight where it felt like it dragged. Both aimed for knees, punches, elbows, and kicks to do damage. The ground game was relatively exciting. Andre’s surprising triangle was a great way to end the match. The only demerit is that it’s a shame these two fighters couldn’t have put on a longer fight.

5) James Wilks vs. Damarques Johnson (This was easily the most unexpected outcome of the season. I couldn’t have been more confident in Damarques winning this match. After all he was getting the most three-dimensional edit of any fighter to make it to the finals. He was lining up to be like Matt Serra, Mac Danzig, and Rashad Evans–all fighters who dominate the cameras because editors have seen their true talent. Damarques is very marketable as well. It’s a huge curveball to see Wilks strike better than Damarques, grapple better than Damarques, and work the jiu jitsu skills better than Damarques. Damarques raves about how he is always fearless and happy in the ring. But the expression on his face from about the tenth second of the fight until the end indicates that reputation is out the window for good.)

6) Nick Oscipzak vs. Damarques Johnson (A classic brawl for a chunk of the fight. It could have been the best fight of the season if there wasn’t such inactivity during the ground portion of the fight. How the heck did Damarques survive those hooks and uppercuts at the end of the first round?)

7) Jason Dent vs. Jeff Lawson (The energy in the gym was electrifying. Nothing was ever consistent in this fight. Both were frequently aiming for submissions. Sure it wasn’t an emphasized brawling fest but enough big strikes were landed to keep you on your toes. A couple of Lawson’s fakeouts were great. I would also add that Dent’ unorthodox  submission is a welcome relief from the abuse of rear naked chokes.)

8) Mark Miller vs. Nick Oscipzak (So many reversals. Who was in control? Some good strikes too. Yeah they were slow to work at certain moments, but then the knockout kick came.)

9) James Wilks vs. Frank Lester (It was exciting in the stand-up and exciting on the ground. Wilks landed some impressive strikes and knees during the fight. Frank’s inability to go down was worth the prolonged destruction. Oh, and who can forget one of the most iconic images of TUF 9–the four missing teeth? Is that how a Christmas tune was inspired?)

10) 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?

11) 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.)

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

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

14) Dean Amasinger vs. Damarques Johnson (Seeing a guy struggle helplessly to escape a triangle choke is disturbingly gratifying.)

15) James Wilks vs. Frank Lester (Three rounds of dirty boxing. Dirty boxing is not exactly the most exciting style. James dominated about ninety percent of the fight as well. From the first minute you could see Frank was too spent from fighting three long fights that there was nothing in the tank compared to how little time James has spent fighting. James make it into the finale by landing a couple knees to drain an out-classed Frank Lester.)

16) Richie Whitson vs. Ross Pearson (It was a great stand-up battle. Unfortunately it was sullied by a couple of illegal blows that cannot help one but wonder how this fight would have looked if it was played by the rules.)

17) 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.)

18) Cam Dollar vs. Martin Stapleton (Short fight without any memorable strikes except for the one to the top of the head. Textbook rear naked choke. Should be lower, really.)

19) 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.)

20) Andre Winner vs. Santino DeFranco (Well. . .uh . . .at least Andre finished it relatively quickly. Did Santino do anything worthwhile?

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

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

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

24) Ross Pearson vs. Andre Winner (The prototype for how a finale fight shouldn’t be. Ninety-nine percent of the fight was dirty boxing. The battle was practically dead even as neither fighter did anything spectacular. I bet the judges flipped a coin and awarded it to Pearson.)

CONFESSIONAL COUNTS

AJ WENN 1 / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 1.0
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 1.0

ALEX REID 2 / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 2.0
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 2.0

CHE MILLS 3 / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 3.0
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 3

DAN JAMES 1 / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 1.0
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 1

GARY KELLY 2 / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 2.0
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 2

JASON BATEMAN 0 / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 0.0
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 0

JAMES BRYAN 2 / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 2.0
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 2

TOMMY MAGUIRE 1 / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 1.0
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 1

CHRISTIAN FULGIUM 1 / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 1.0
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 1

JOHN DAVID-SHACKELFORD 1 / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 1.0
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 1

KEVIN KNABJIAN 3 / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 3.0
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 3

RAY ELBE 1 / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 1.0
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 1

PAUL BIRD 1 / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 1.0
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 1

STEVE BERGER 0 / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 0.0
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 0

TOM HAYDEN 0 / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 0.0
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 0

WAYLON LOWE 1 / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 1.0
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 1

ROB BROWNING X / 0 / 5 / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 2.5
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 5

KIEL REID X / 0 / 5 / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X / X
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 2.5
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 5

MARK MILLER X / 2 / 1 / 8 / 0x / 0x /  0x / 0x / 2 / 0x / 0x / 1x
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 1.17
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 14

SANTINO DEFRANKO X / 2 / 2 / 0 / 6 /  1x / 1x / 2x / 1x / 0x  / 0x / 0x
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 1.36
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 15

DEAN AMASINGER 2 / X / 0 / 0 / 7 / 1x / 0x / 2x / 0x / 1x / 2x / 2x
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 1.55
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 17

MARTIN STAPLETON 2 / X / 2 / 0 / 2 / 8 / 2x / 0x / 0x / 0x / 0x / 3x
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 1.73
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 19

RICHIE WHITSON 2 / X / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 9 / 0x / 0x / 4x / 0x / 0x
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 1.36
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 15

JASON PIERCE X / 2 / 0 / 1 / 1 / 3 / 2 / 7 / 4 / 1x / 0x/  0x / 0x
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 1.90
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 21

JEFF LAWSON 2 / X / 0 / 1 / 0 / 1 / 1 / 11 / 0x / 0x / 0x / 0x
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 1.45
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 16

DAVID FAULKNER 3 / X / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3 / 2 / 5 / 0x / 0x / 1x
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 1.36
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 15

NICK OSCIPZAK 3 / X / 2 / 11 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 4 / 0x / 1x
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 2.0
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 22

CAMERON DOLLAR X / 1 / 0 / 1 / 2 / 7 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5 / 0x
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE:  1.45
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 16

JASON DENT X / 0 / 6 / 0 / 6 / 0 / 1 / 5 / 0 / 1 / 6 / 0x
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 2.27
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 25

FRANK LESTER X / 0 / 8 / 1 / 0 / 6 / 1 / 1 / 7 / 0 / 0 / 8
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 2.91
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 32

ANDRE WINNER 2 / X / 2 / 1 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8  / 1
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 1.64
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 18

DAMARQUES JOHNSON X / 2 / 0 / 6 / 9 / 0 / 1 / 1 / 4 / 5 / 0 / 4
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 2.91
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 32

ROSS PEARSON 2 / X / 5 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 7 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 7 / 1
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 2.27
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 25

JAMES WILKS 2 / X / 2 / 0 / 0 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
CONFESSIONAL AVERAGE: 16
CONFESSIONAL COUNT: 1.45

Conclusion

As you can see, this was a very neglected cast. Especially the Brits who were given virtually no airtime. James Wilks has gone on to be TWICE as neglected as previously heckled finalists Tommy Speer and Patrick Cote.

But you know what makes it even crazier? Cote and Speer didn’t win. Meanwhile Wilks goes on to claim the victory in dominating fashion. In addition, Pearson had less confessionals than Cote or Speer did (they had 27 while Pearson had 25). So our two winners are the bottom two for confessionals from anybody who made the finals. That’s ludicrous.

So what can we attribute to such a shortcoming in confessionals? Because Damarques and Frank tying the lead for 32 this season is nowhere near the usual 50+ confessional threshold we witness in virtually all other seasons. Players like Serra, Rashad, and Leben can either near 100 confessionals or surpass it.

Where did the airtime go?

Essentially the first three episodes were spent on preliminary fights spread amongst 36 fighters. That could do it. It leaves a higher concentration of fights for the remaining nine episodes once it gets down to the core of sixteen fighters. I know I sound like a broken record by now, but its impact on getting to know the fighters and understanding the storylines are greatly dwindled. Even for those who just want to see fight after fight after fight. . .think about the future of these 36 fighters. Will you remember any of these guys? Frank Lester? Damarques Johnson?
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That’s what I thought. This is surprising when the more seasons of TUF we see the less of a chance there can be a breaking new star because there won’t be as much of a demand. Look at TUF 1. Lodune Sincaid goes on to be a star in WEC and other leagues. Bobby Southworth holds a Strikeforce/EliteXC title. Karalexis fights a few times in WEC and has a title shot. Do I need to re-iterate the legacies of Koscheck, Griffin, Bonnar, Sanchez, Florian, and Leben? Hoger was shown fighting on a UFC card three times before being cut. The least popular player managed to snag some money from the craze. C’mon.

You have 10/16. Jason Thacker is always referenced indirectly as the whiny Canadian who slept on a urine-soaked pillow thanks to Leben. Some could stretch it to 11/16.

How can we have new British talent if UFC fails to give them their proper time to develop a personality? I doubt there is one lone night where they dressed up as Mexican wrestlers then receded back into their bedrooms and humbly accepted Bisping’s training guidelines. How did Amasinger feel about Bisping missing his fight? The relationship between Faulkner and Pierce? Their insight into Team USA? There was so much potential.

Henderson is a very straight forward guy and doesn’t really go on the attack in conflict outside the octagon. Therefore Bisping was essentially trying to egg on a blank wall, and shifted his focus to taunting Damarques Johnson. Better than Hughes-Franklin drama at least.

Dana White was shown excessively. He is following Probst’s footsteps of making himself have a greater presence throughout the seasons.

Team USA was a lovely trainwreck. They must be the least cohesive team in TUF history. Pierce’s betrayal that leads to an eruption from Sean White, young versus old, and Dent versus everyone as well as himself. The inevitable quitting from Pierce and Faulkner oddly enough had the most developed storylines of the season. Much like Survivor: Nicaragua, building up your season to two quitters in the final episodes of a competition does not exactly leave the greatest taste in our mouths.

In terms of fights, they didn’t excel nor fail. However, seeing how these weren’t heavyweights, I think it’s safe to say these fights were overall considered sub-par. The fights in the first two episodes were better than virtually all fights after the ‘real season’ started.

Faulkner with the hypnotist to keep in his mouthpiece is more amusing than Ruediger’s failed Colonic. But not as crazy as Barrera’s wife’s “the devil has possessed me” phone call.

The cameo by Rob Browning seemed very forced. We just went through this for twelve episodes last season. Did we really need Rob Browning to pop in and do it for a full episode here? Add in the fact that he never fights at 155 makes this very clear that production and Spike made Dana do this to draw in viewers.

The fights in the TUF finale weren’t that great. By the finalists, anyway. Guida versus Sanchez and Lytle versus Burns is another story.

There were two pranks in episode four. And that was it for the season. Pierce hanging out with the UK team is all we saw from that point forward. I won’t forget Lawson suplexing Amasinger into a pool. Or Team UK having a good ol’ fashioned flour fight by the pool.

Bisping freaking out over a guy calling him a band-aid may be the only other eventful thing all season. Besides all the melodrama following Pierce.

What is my final rating for the season?

The Ultimate Fighter 5 – 8.99/10
The Ultimate Fighter 8 – 8.51/10
The Ultimate Fighter 3 – 8.5/10
The Ultimate Fighter (1) –  8/10
The Ultimate Fighter 6 – 7.7/10
The Ultimate Fighter 4 – 6.8/10
The Ultimate Fighter 7 – 6.5/10
The Ultimate Fighter 9 – 6.3/10
The Ultimate Fighter 2 – 6.0/10

TUF 4 had Shonie Carter, Mikey Burnett, and some of our favourite MMA fighters from the 90s as well as the cameos from all of the hottest names at the time. Serra dominated screen time but that was because he openly challenged most of the other coaches. Dana’s presence wasn’t really felt during the season either.

TUF 7 had the goofiness, over-the-top, and eccentric behaviour of Forest Griffin and Rampage Jackson. It was neat to see a TUF winner become a TUF coach for the first time (Serra doesn’t count because he was already an established UFC star prior to TUF). You had a few pranks, a bit of conflict sprinkled in, Jeremy May, Jesse Taylor’s offscreen hotel meltdown, and a couple of memorable fights.

TUF 9 didn’t excel at either of the things present in TUF 4 or TUF 7. There weren’t any cameos all season. None. The coaches themselves rarely appeared at the House until the final episode! What up with that? In most conclusions of a season I find myself skipping over a lot of details. But with TUF 9 I know I covered everything. Except Santino’s comeback in the preliminary fight. And Frank Lester breaking the fight frequency record with four fights in four weeks and becoming the first fighter to compile multiple wins and losses in a season (oh, and being the first fighter to be brought back and win a fight).

Luckily Dana and others spotted these fatal flaws with the season. The extra preliminary round in TUF 7 or TUF 8 were more of a hindrance than a benefit. So for TUF 10 we get sixteen fighters from Day 1 through Day 40. Although it is because of one superstar name in the brawling universe that prevents producers from wanting to take a chance.

See you in a month for TUF 10!

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