(Cue the Arrested Development G.O.B "illusions" montage!) For whatever reason Spike decided to air the last two episodes of TUF 8 back to back this Weds even though the finale isn't until next Saturday... go figure. In any case these were the episodes I love. There were two fights in each episode limiting the drama and bull**** inside the house. We immediately jumped into the weigh in and training before the Ryan Bader v. Eliot Marshall fight. This fight was very underwhelming. We all knew Bader was going to wrestle and take Marshall down but you would've expected Eliot to put up some kind of fight on the feet and if it went to the ground to be actively looking for submissions. He did neither. Bader looked about as good as Eliot on the feet which he shouldn't have and on the ground they both just laid there. Bader won by default simply for his take downs. It was a terrible fight to kick off the first show but things picked up quickly. At least Eliot took his loss like a man which I applaud him for since most guys on the show can't seem to do that. I was happy though that Nogeuira's only light heavyweight left made it to the finals.
The next fight was Philippe Nover v. George Roop. I don't think anyone except Roop gave himself a chance in this fight and for good reason. There was nowhere Roop had an advantage (even in range! they had the same reach even though Nover gave up 4 inches to Roop!) Nover was sick in this fight shooting out of the gate with bad intentions landing some great shots. Nover took it the mat where Roop somehow swept him but in the process got caught in a Kimura which ultimately ended the fight (which is impressive because you don't see too many finishes by kimura anymore). I was so excited for Nover! The kid from Brooklyn is in the finals! Not only that but it set up a possible all team Nogueira finale!
The next episode was a little more explosive. It started off with a nice fight between KS and Vinny Magalhaes. It was a classic grappler v. striker match up. KS definitely had the best of the stand up throwing some solid punches and great leg kicks. Vinny looked like he was in trouble until he miraculously pulled guard and in a flash had KS in an arm bar and he was forced to tap. KS had a solid gameplan and executed it well except for one mistake which cost him the fight. It's unfortunate because I really do think KS is the better all around fighter but Vinny just caught him. Plus KS was my pick to win this thing. In any case it's all over with and Vinny is in the finals but I guarantee you we will see KS very soon in the UFC.
After this we had to deal with more of Junie's bull*** which as we all know is a result of Junie being a total nutjob and wanting to fail for god knows what reason so he intentionally tries to get himself kicked off rather than lose on national tv. However, Dana White and the other guys in the house make the right decision and basically force him to fight Efrain. This dialogue lead to one of the best quotes ever on TUF from Dana "This isn't survivor. You don't vote anyone off. You have to beat him off... that didn't sound right did it?" After that laugh a thon we move into the fight where Junie simultaneously looks like he wants to be anywhere in the world but that cage and like he's already bored with having to fight Efrain. Efrain on the other hand looks like a man possessed. They both start exchanging immediately and for some reason Junie feels like he has to shoot on Efrain which was a terrible plan. Mir even admitted that Junie didn't listen to a word he said so he just sat down and said nothing. Efrain stuffed his take down attempts and made the most of the fight on the feet. Junie looked a little better in the second round but Efrain this time takes Junie to the mat where Efrain has the advantage and makes the most of it locking in a D'arce choke to end the fight. Junie, like a spoiled child, sulks and storms out of the room vowing to never fight again and eventually we learn how much his coaches hate him when Mir won't even go out to see him and the one coach that does go out blows him off after Junie whines like a little girl. I'm so thankful this whole Junie storyline is over.
So in the finals it pits Bader v. Vinny in what is going to be the anti Griffin v. Bonnar fight. Bader and Vinny both want the fight on the mat and the winner will be the person who can control the other. Can Bader's wrestling control Vinny's BJJ? And in the lightweight finals it should be a great intra team finale as Nover fights Efrain. This should be a great scrap as both guys are well rounded and fast paced.
That's all for this season. It was filled with ups and downs, drunken knockouts, psychopathic rages, terrible pranks, people unknowingly eating other people's bodily fluids, soccer shoot outs, guys "beating each other off", Stankie, oh yeah... and a solid sample of fights. Stay tuned for my Fight Night and TUF 8 Finale previews and reviews. Until then,
Soccer kicks and head stomps...