Don’t tell Dana White I said this, but nobody watched this season of The Ultimate Fighter (seriously don’t tell him, last thing I want is him bringing up my sketchy past with Taco Bell). Obviously that’s an extreme hyperbole, but this season, the one that was supposed to reinvigorate the series (don’t we hear that every season?), was one of the lowest rated in the history of the show.
If you are like me, then you are a morbidly attractive Mexican and you probably didn’t catch much of this season’s Ultimate Fighter. Also if your like me then you are probably a bit nervous as to who you are going to pick on the upcoming finale card this Friday.
That’s why I decided to be somewhat productive. Other than socializing with people, eating, sleeping, and being physically active, I have nothing else to do, so I’m going to embark on a marathon. Not one that involves anything that’ll make me live longer, but a marathon of this season’s TUF.
I’ll tell you what you need to (I.E. fights, story lines, etc.), and I'll keep it concise. Alright, enough with the cheesy intro, let’s get to the recaps!
All the recaps of the entire season of The Ultimate Fighter are after the jump.
Episode 1 Recap
32 fighters, 16 of them will make it in the house, and it’s live! Well, it was… The fights will just be one five minute round.
After being out struck, Joey Proctor (7-1) took down Jordan Rinaldi (5-0) and submitted him with a guillotine choke. Cristiano Marcello (12-3), the experienced PRIDE coach, put Jared Carlsten on his back and locked on a rear-naked choke after several slick transitions. Sam Sicilia (10-0) knocked out Erin Beach (3-1) in the beginning seconds of their fight with a hard right punch. Chris Tickle (7-4) bombarded Austin Lyons (9-1) with strikes from the sound of the bell, until Steve Mazzagati saw enough.
With four fights and four finishes, a case could be made for all regular UFC bouts to be one round. (That was sarcasm.) Andy Ogle (8-1) edged out Brendan Weafer (6-3) in decision fashion after staying on top of Weafer, escaping failed triangle attempts, and ending the round with a guillotine choke that looked tight. In a back-and-forth fight, Vinc Pichel (6-0) worked off his back and eventually submitted Cody Pfister (6-3) with a rear-naked choke after landing some hard elbows that cut open his opponent. The second decision of the night saw John Cofer (7-1) out point Mark Glover (6-1-1) by putting him against the cage and on his back with his wrestling as well as landing significant strikes on the feet and the ground. After threatening guillotine chokes and out-striking Chase Hackett (4-1), Chris Saunders (9-2) won the fight on the judge’s score-cards.
The first upset of the night saw James Vick (4-0) win with a decision after he had successfully defended the take-downs of Dakota Cochrane (11-2) and threatened submissions as well as scoring with strikes on the feet. Michael Chiesa (7-0) dominated Johnavan Vistante (3-1) by taking him down and then overpowering him for a rear-naked choke submission. After being on the bad end of a couple of striking exchanges, Mike Rio (8-1) utilized his wrestling to neutralize Ali Maclean (9-5-1) and submit him with an ol’ fashioned rear-naked choke. In the most impressive victory of the night thus far, Justin Lawrence (3-0) knocked out James Krause (15-4) after he had already displayed his wrestling skills by taking down Krause previously in the round.
Daron Cruickshank (10-2) completely thrashed Drew Dober (7-3) on the feet to win the fight on judge's scorecards. Things didn’t look good for Jeremy Larsen (8-2) at first, but he was able to end the round with enough ground and pound to convince the judges enough to give him the nod over Jeff Smith (9-1). The most notable thing in the fight between Al Iaquinta (5-1-1) and Jon Tuck (6-0) was Tuck’s gruesome, broken toe that he suffered during the fight. In a fight that went everywhere, Iaquinta had the edge on all aspects of the fight. Myles Jury (9-0) fought a safe fight as he controlled Akbar Arreola (16-9-1) with takedowns en route to a decision win.
To put into context what exactly transpired, the most impressive performances of the night had to go to Justin Lawrence, Daron Cruickshank, Cristiano Marcello, and Sam Sicilia.
For the sake of your computer’s hard-drive (I’m sure it’s filled with morally correct videos) I’ll recap the rest of the season’s episodes in three sentences or less.
Episode 2 Recap
The teams are drafted (fighters are in order on when they were selected).
Team Cruz: Justin Lawrence, Sam Sicilia, Myles Jury, Mike Rio, James Vick, Vinc Pichel, Chris Tickle and Jeremy Larsen.
Team Faber: Al Iaquinta, Cristiano Marcello, Daron Cruickshank, Joe Proctor, Mike Chiesa, John Cofer, Andy Ogle, and Chris Saunders.
Devastating news to start the season occurred as Michael Chiesa learns that his father passed away, Dana White allowed Chiesa to go home for a few days during the grieving process. After upsetting Dakota Cochrane in the fights to get into the house, James Vick pulls off another huge upset as he knocked out Daron Cruickshank with a knee as Cruickshank shot in for a take-down. The knockout happened after Cruickshank had gotten the best of the stand-up, in fact the knee by Vick was his first landed strike of the entire fight.
Episode 3 Recap
Emerging in the Gabe Ruedigar role of being an unlikeable complainer that weasels his way out of training, Chris Tickle begins to have enemies in the house most notably John Cofer of Team Faber which could foreshadow a potential fight between the two. Justin Lawrence knocked out Cristiano Marcello with a left hook in the second round in a fight that Lawrence controlled entirely on the feet. Marcello, an expert on the ground, fought with a stupid game-plan as he didn’t attempt to take the fight to the canvas, until the second round out of desperation.
Episode 4 Recap
Dominick Cruz’s training style of basically making training torture proves to be a negative as Mike Rio suffers a minor knee injury. Urijah Faber visits the house with some life coach dude to socialize with the fighters, and Andy Ogle is featured through-out the episode, most notably about his poetry and desire to fight Mike Rio because he sees holes in Rio’s game and Rio beat his friend in the fights to get into the house. In the first three round fight of the season, Al Iaquinta outpointed Myles Jury on the feet. Jury won the first round with superior striking, but fatigue seemed to be a negative factor for Jury as Iaquinta controlled the fight on the feet from then on.
Episode 5 Recap
Michael Chiesa is set to fight Team Cruz’s Jeremy Larsen this week, and Cruz tries to extract information from Sam Sicilia who is a teammate of Chiesa’s back home but it is to no avail. Chris Tickle continues to be obnoxious as he complains about multiple health problems, one of them being gout which turns out to be a façade. Michael Chiesa fought the safe fight as he slammed Larsen to the mat multiple times and controlled him from top position en route to a decision win.
Episode 6 Recap
Dominick Cruz comes full circle on Chris Tickle as he begins to accept that Tickle talks a lot to deal with the stress of a fighter’s life-style, and Tickle is a legitimately decent guy. Things escalate between Mike Rio and Justin Lawrence as Rio is complaining that Lawrence is kicking too hard during sparring. Chris Tickle got the best on the stand-up in his fight against Joey Proctor, but Proctor took Tickle down fairly easily and then submitted him with a rear-naked choke in the first round.
Episode 7 Recap
The first authentic back-and-forth between Faber and Cruz happens when Faber defends Chris Tickle after Cruz tears Tickle a new asshole Lombardi-style. Andy Ogle has a spaz attack on the show due to all of the cameras and pressure. In the first third round finish of the show, Vinc Pichel wore out John Cofer with striking in the first two periods, and Pichel took the fatigued Cofer down in the third and easily submitted him with an arm triangle after several transitions.
Episode 8 Recap
Ronda Rousey is the featured guest on the show this episode and she completely tore through the guys in training with her throws. The first controversial decision of the season happens with Chris Saunders “upsetting” Sam Sicilia in a stand-up affair. I thought Sicilia easily one round two with the superior combinations on the feet, and round one could go to either fighter. Either way you slice it, it should have at least gone to the extra third round.
Episode 9 Recap
Urijah Faber wins the coaches challenge against Dominick Cruz. The challenge was an obstacle course that was based around shooting guns (now that’s a great idea for a coach’s challenge, shooting guns! Seriously, the next one has to be like a Monster Jam or something of that nature). Andy Ogle was able to submit Mike Rio with a rear naked choke after sweeping him in the second round. On the feet Ogle looked comfortable (aside from being rocked by Rio in the second) as he landed power shots to counter the jab of Rio.
Episode 10 Recap
Quarterfinals time! James Vick decisioned Joey Proctor by using his reach advantage to out strike Proctor. Vick did a solid job of getting back to his feet and keeping it where he wanted it. In a slobberknocker, Michael Chiesa TKO’d Justin Lawrence in the third round. Chiesa won the first round by threatening multiple submissions off of his back, Lawrence won the second by out-boxing Chiesa, and in the third Chiesa swept Lawrence after being taken down and finishes Lawrence with punches from the full mount position.
Episode 11 Recap
BREAKING NEWS! Renan Barao is the replacement for Dominick Cruz! Oh wait… you already knew that? Damn… Vinc Pichel fought an aggressive fight against Chris Saunders and it paid off as Pichel got the nod from judges after he made the fight a grappling battle. Al Iaquinta completely destroyed Andy Ogle on the feet, and he ended the fight with a knock-out after he had already knocked down Ogle a couple of times with his powerful strikes.
Episode 12 Recap
The big news for the fighters from Dana White is that every fighter that isn’t medically suspended will be on the Finale this Friday. James Vick took the first round against Michael Chiesa as he dominated the stand-up portion of the fight, almost finishing Chiesa towards the end of the round, but Chiesa took down Vick at the start of the second round and finished the fight with ground and pound to advance to the finals. Al Iaquinta took a close decision over Vinc Pichel as he was able to land some nice combinations on Pichel as well as take his opponent down. Pichel did have some glimpses of greatness with a couple of his combinations, but it was Iaquinta’s fight.
So that’s it, ladies and gentlemen! After watching the entire season I enjoyed some of the fighters on the show, but historically speaking from an entertainment level this season is probably on the lower tier (above the Lesnar/JDS season for sure though). One crazy tidbit about this season is that this Friday will mark Al Iaquinta’s third straight week of fighting.