Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Ultimate Fighter Nine: Episode Eight Review

This was your pretty standard week on The Ultimate Fighter. The fight was a little underwhelming and nothing really stood out otherwise. Let's see what I can spin out of this "filler" week.

The episode opened up with your standard training montages and fight announcement. Due to Jason Pierce's injuries Henderson was forced to match up Jason Dent and Jeff Lawson.

There was a lot of back and forth between Pierce and his trainers about his leg injury (which had morphed from cellulitis to staph) and whether or not he could fight. Pierce's negative energy permeated the house, and it was easy to tell he didn't want the fight. His teammates complained about how he only responds to the U.K. team but still eats all the U.S. food without pitching in.

On the U.K. side, they show us a bizarre problem David Faulkner is having with his mouthpiece. Every time he puts it in his gag reflex kicks in and he immediately has to spit it out. Obviously this is going to cause serious problems in a fight and Bisping seemed pretty disturbed by the situation.

The best part of the whole episode came right before the fight. Lawson has slowly started coming out of his shell (while Dent really hasn't) and he puts on a little show for the boys. At first he's just clowning around wearing silly stuff and being stupid.

This general tomfoolery turns into a full on professional wrestling match (including masks and homoerotic outfits) between Lawson, Faulkner, and Dean Amasinger that was capped off by a suplex off the diving board into the pool. Amasinger then promptly had a bag of flour dumped in his face. I found the whole situation to be absolutely hysterical, and it brought some levity to an episode with a lot of negative energy.

We move on to the fight, which had a good ending but left me unimpressed with both fighters.

Round one saw some lackadaisical stand up for the first minute or so and then Lawson took Dent down quickly. He tried some submission attempts but nothing was ever close to finishing Dent. Lawson basically spent the whole round in top control.

Round two went much differently. Lawson gassed out quickly but Dent still wasn't able to capitalize on the feet. He took Lawson down and was finally able to cinch in an anaconda choke for the victory.

It was a shame Lawson gassed out like that. Dent got the victory but I don't see him making it past the next round after this performance. This leaves the tally at 4-3 in favor of team U.K.

Earlier in the episode Dana White brought Pierce in to ask him how he felt and whether or not he could fight next week. Pierce gave him a terrible answer saying that he was mentally ready but physically he wasn't there yet. Pierce's body language was bad as was his attitude (as it has been all season, even before the infection).

White brought him back in after Dent's win and informed Pierce that he won't let him fight next week. Now one of the defeated U.S. welterweights will get another shot against Faulkner next week. The question is who?

As always I leave you with my quote of the week. This week's gem comes from Lawson explaining why people underestimate him as a fighter:

“I’m a ginger for God sake. Everyone underestimates a ginger don’t they?”

I'm not sure where this distaste for red heads comes from. Outside of the infamous red-headed step child Americans don't usually have such negative feelings about "gingers." Brits, I'll never understand them...

That's it for this week folks. Next week looks promising as Bisping and Damarques have words and next week's fight should be interesting if it can live up to the hype of the preview. Until then,

Soccer kicks and head stomps...

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