“A Little Tired” By Elliot Olshansky –Ultimatefighter.com
Last week, thirty-two fighters descended on the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, ready to fight for an opportunity to win a six-figure UFC contract. Sixteen went home, sixteen are left standing, and it’s time for Michael Bisping and Jason “Mayhem” Miller to choose up sides so we can get to the business of seeing these guys scrap.
But first, it’s move-in day at the TUF house, and it would appear that the mansion from season 12 is back in use. Louis Gaudinot is concerned that the house will start to feel small quickly, because of all the other fighters around. But the more immediate issue is that the fighters are going to get bigger, because their first official act upon moving in is to raid the fridge and have a big ol’ barbecue. Concerns about making weight are voiced, but it doesn’t seem to go anywhere, because they keep on eating.
Once everyone’s digested, it’s time to pick teams, and both Bisping and Miller spend some time developing a strategy. When Dana White finally flips the coin, it takes a long roll, but it eventually lands in Bisping’s favor. The Count chooses to have the first pick in each weight class, giving Mayhem control over fight selection.
Your teams, in order of selection, are as follows.
Team Bisping Bantamweight: Louis Gaudinot, TJ Dillashaw, John Albert, Josh Ferguson
Team Miller Bantamweight: John Dodson, Johnny Bedford, Dustin Pague, Roland Delorme
Team Bisping Featherweight: Diego Brandao, Akira Corassani, Marcus Brimage, Stephen Bass
Team Miller Featherweight: Dennis Bermudez, Bryan Caraway, Dustin Neace, Steve Siler
Bisping is thrilled with the way the featherweight picks worked out, as he got the top four fighters on his list. He knocks Mayhem’s intelligence, but Miller is thrilled with his team, and hints that some of Bisping’s fighters would rather be on his team. Bisping thinks it’s a stupid statement, given that he’s actually won the show himself.
It’s training time, and Miller is pumped up from working out with his guys. He’s really impressed by the energy, and Johnny Bedford is psyched to be working with such great guys. Steven Siler gets busted open and has to have it taped up in a goofy sort of fashion, but it’s all looking good for the boys in orange. Well, except maybe for Mayhem’s kip-up attempt.
Over at Team Bisping practice, things get off to a pretty solid start. Marcus Brimage is thrilled with the instruction, especially on the jiu-jitsu end of things. The tractor tires factor into the workout – despite Bisping’s disaster with those on season 9 – and the guys get their sweat on.
Meanwhile, back at the house, Mayhem brings some state-of-the-art technology home to his guys: compression suits to help his team recover after practice. Apparently, they’re big with Lance Armstrong, among others. The team is impressed by the advanced equipment, and Miller advises them not to share with the other team.
It’s time to announce the first fight, and Miller matches his second featherweight pick, Bryan Caraway against Bisping’s third pick, Marcus Brimage. Miller is confident in Caraway’s grappling prowess, and doesn’t think that Brimage will be able to handle it.
As Team Bisping gets set for another practice, Marcus Brimage lets us in on his big influences: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Dragon Ball Z. Because his stand-up is so nasty – and because Caraway’s strategy is likely to center on taking the fight to the ground – Bisping and the coaching staff go over takedown defense with him. The bigger issue, however (at least to Marcus) is that he weighs 157 pounds, well above the 145 pound weight limit. Fortunately, he gets a visit at the house from Bisping and the other coaches, who put him through a weight-cutting regimen that involves running in a sweatsuit and bouncing back and forth between a bath in salt water and laying in bed covered in blankets.
Over on the other end, Caraway is battling nerves, and is described as a “headcase” by a man known professionally as “Mayhem”. Caraway has seen a sports psychologist to help him battle his issues, and is working on putting the plan in action. Fortunately, Mayhem has a way to help break the tension: the season’s first prank. Miller leads his team in rolling all the tires into the Team Bisping dressing room, setting the last tire up so that it falls right in the path of the door when it closes, preventing the boys in blue from getting into the room.
Weigh-in time, and the scale centers on 145. Marcus makes the weight limit with ease, and Caraway does the same. Dana is impressed by Brimage’s stand-up, and considers it a ballsy move to go after him right away. As the fighters square off, Team Bisping sings a little marching song about how “Darkness” is going to knock Caraway out. Miller is amused, but Bisping is less so when the team gets back to the dressing room and can’t get in, thanks to the tires. Bisping becomes the latest TUF coach to break down a door, joining the likes of Forrest Griffin, Josh Koscheck and Tito Ortiz.
Bryan Caraway is also not thrilled, since he found the song insulting. Who could blame a guy for getting angry at being called a “f—ing bitch” in song? Brimage is envisioning his striking, pausing only to acknowledge the fact that he farted on camera. Caraway didn’t have a good night of sleep, but he’s ready to go. He’s planning on working level changes to get the takedown and looking for the submission. Brimage, on the other hand, considers himself physically superior, and expects that advantage to translate into victory. The Tale of the Tape shows an eight-inch reach advantage for the much more experienced Caraway, Steve Mazzagatti is your ref and we are underway.
Round One: We get some tentative punches to start, but Caraway rushes in and gets the takedown right off the bat. Brimage tries to scramble to his feet, but Caraway closes the distance effectively, and works some punches from the top. He takes the back and starts looking for the rear naked choke, but Brimage fights the hands effectively and even throws some more of those punches over the shoulder that he used so effectively in his elimination fight last week. Caraway keeps going for it, though, and uses a body triangle to keep Brimage in place. Sly little insult from Miller in the course of his coaching: “He’s got Bisping coaching him on grappling right now!” Caraway appears to have his arm in deep with about a minute left, but Brimage fights it off. Marcus gets back to his base, but he can’t stand up or shake Caraway off, and Bryan continues to throw punches from the top and look for the choke until time expires.
Round Two: Marcus comes out more aggressive with his strikes, and even stops Caraway’s first takedown attempt. The second one gets him down, though, and Caraway takes the back quickly and looks for the choke. Miller lets some of his old Bully Beatdown taunting slip into his coaching – “Say goodnight-night, Darkness!” – but Marcus gets out of the choke and gets back to his feet. Caraway gets the fight to the ground again, briefly, but Marcus gets back to his feet and Mazzagatti tells Caraway to do the same. Bryan gets one more takedown when the fight is restarted, takes the back, and slips his hooks in. This time, he puts the choke in while Marcus is prone, which stops him from throwing any defensive punches, and with the choke slipped in and locked on, Brimage taps out.
In the fight recap, Dana notes that Caraway’s eye was swelled up by Brimage’s backwards punches. Bisping thinks that Brimage was on the verge of winning the fight on the feet, but turned it into too much of a brawl. Marcus himself is embarrassed to have let everyone down, while Caraway gets a rousing ovation in the Team Miller locker room. Amid a subdued Team Bisping, the Count tells his team that they’ll win the next one, and that they need to let the bad energy go. Will they? That’s where we’re leaving it for this week.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Were you surprised at the order of team selections? Where would you rank the tire prank among TUF’s best practical jokes? Leave your thoughts below and keep coming back to UltimateFighter.com as we follow these teams all the way to the six-figure contract!