This week featured the two semi final bouts in the lightweight tournament. I always love when we get two fights in one episode because it cuts out almost any time for the drama in the house and focuses solely on the fights and only the most pertinent information from outside the cage.
The first fight is between Cameron Dollar and Andrew Winner. It is revealed in training that Dollar has some very bruised ribs but nothing that should keep him from competing. We get a glimpse at Winner's training but there isn't any news there.
However, the one good bit back at the house this episode was the piece on how Winner sucks his thumb. Apparently this has been going on all season without the audience hearing a word about it until now.
He claims that he barely ever does it anymore and that they haven't caught him on camera because he only does it in order to get to sleep. However, big brother is always watching and at the end of the piece we are given a blatant thumb sucking shot as he relaxed on the couches. Sorry Andre, you won't be able to live this one down.
From there we move into the fight where things get a little crazy on the feet which is not the strategy Henderson wants Dollar to implement. He begs him to get the fight to the mat but is having a lot of trouble against the more explosive and agile Winner.
The fight finally gets to the mat but Winner quickly sweeps Dollar and winds up in mount. From there he quickly transitions into a triangle choke and easily submits Dollar in the first round.
This was a poor showing by Dollar who was one of the surprise semi-finalists. Dollar's inexperience showed as he didn't listen to his corner at all and just went pedal to the metal without any real strategy. Now the US and UK each have a member in the finale.
Up next is the fight between Ross Pearson and Jason Dent. Both guys are training hard for this fight and seem to be taking the opportunity very seriously. Dent was not very impressive in his last win and vows to put on a better performance this time around.
All three rounds looked very similar. Pearson kept the pressure on Dent at all times never giving him any time to breath. He was consistently the more aggressive fighter even if he never had the accuracy or power to put Dent away.
Dent showed some good flashes of crisp striking but was too technical for his own good. He probably needed to stay in the pocket and let it all hang out to try for the (T)KO because he was never going to win the fight just picking and choosing his spots to counter attack like he did. However, Dana White seemed pretty impressed with his performance and Dent more than likely earned an undercard spot at the TUF 9 finale.
Pearson went on to win a unanimous decision making the lightweight final an all English affair and putting the UK team up 2-1 for the finale. While Henderson didn't comment on his feelings about the lightweight final you know it has to burn him up not seeing one of his guys fight for the title.
This week's quote of the week (which fortunately is making a comeback after a shabby show last week) goes to Dollar talking about his upcoming fight with Winner:
"I can't lose to a guy that sucks his thumb!"
Ouch... he must feel like he just lost to Linus from Peanuts, blankie and all. Cameron had his tongue firmly in cheek on that quip but I bet it still stung a little to know you just lost to a guy that needs the same safety mechanism to get to sleep as toddlers.
Next week is the last show before the finale as Frank Lester takes on James "The Dentist" Wilks in a rematch from the quarter finals. That's not his real nickname but after their last fight it should be. Will we see Lester get some revenge and make it an all US final at welterweight evening up the score between the two countries? Or will Wilks rearrange Lester's grill one more time on his way to giving the UK a 3-1 edge in the finale?
Until next time,
Soccer kicks and head stomps...