This week started out pretty slow but the fight that capped it off ended the show on a great note. This week marked the beginning of the semi-finals. I was hoping for a two fight episode but you can't always get what you want (well, at least until next week).
The show started off with the fight announcements. Dana White was toying with the idea of team mate vs. team mate to ensure a US v. UK finale. However, White made an unusually sensible choice and stuck to the US v. UK format for the semis. White still toyed with the fighters though asking them who they wanted to fight and then giving them someone else.
The breakdowns of the semis goes like this:
Osipczak v. Johnson
Winner v. Dollar
Pearson v. Dent
Wilks v. Lester
White is obviously hoping he can get some bad blood match ups in the finale to gin up some interest. Johnson v. Wilks would be great and you really can't go wrong at lightweight with any match up but UK v. UK. The only part about the match ups I didn't like was the rematch between Wilks and Lester.
Fortunately for Lester he doesn't have many more teeth to lose. Rematches are always toughest on the team/person who won the last match up but I don't see this match up going any better for Lester than the last one.
Also, noted during the fight announcements was that Frank Lester is the only fighter to ever get beaten, comeback, and win his fight. I didn't realize that but that's an impressive feat considering all the good fighters that have been on the show in the past eight seasons.
There is some lame controversy back at the house during a BBQ between Pierce and Whitson about Pierce's heart and how he may as well go over to team UK. Pierce half heartedly stands up for himself but is totally unconvincing. He then goes on to share inside information about his teammates with the UK team turning him into the Benedict Arnold of the season.
Henderson confronts Pierce at training and of course Pierce denies it even though they have him on camera. I have no pity for Pierce and as far as I'm concerned I feel sorry for the guy because he's the one who will have to live with himself and his actions on the show.
There are the requisite training montages and fortunately they move quickly into the fight between Johnson and Osipczak. Let's break it down:
Round 1: Both fighters come out landing some good shots. Johnson takes the fight to the ground but both times Nick gets back to his feet quickly before any real damage can be done. Right before the end of the round Nick rocks Johnson.
Johnson survives the round while also landing some shots as the two go toe to toe for the last thirty seconds of the round. They both get a standing ovation but that was Nick's round after the shots he landed on Johnson.
Round 2: This round was all Johnson. He took Nick down early and stayed on top landing some good ground and pound. He almost finished Nick at the end of the round but Nick lucked out and the round ended before the ref could call the fight.
Round 3: This was a close round to call as both men were exhausted and didn't do much on the feet. Johnson landed a take down and dropped some good ground and pound. But then Nick reversed him but couldn't do much damage with the limited time left.
This was a really exciting fight and both guys should've been proud of their performance. However, the winner was Johnson who moves on to the welterweight finale in three weeks.
I'm not going to harp on this the way I did last week but I still don't like that the producers kept Mask from the Tapout crew in the show.
And I hate to end on a down note but this week nothing was worthy of my quote of the week so it'll have to wait for next week. Next week looks fantastic as both lightweight semi finals will be on display to see who will get to the finale. And Frank Lester (who needed the most rest) will square off last in two weeks against Wilks.
Until next week,
Soccer kicks and head stomps...