(Internet issues will be keeping The_Vortex out of action this week, so you’re stuck with me again.)
As anticipated, Wanderlei Silva’s strategy of targeting Team Sonnen’s lower ranked fighters could only be effective for so long and "The Bad Guys" have rallied back with two straight victories. The last middleweight quarterfinal fight sees Warlley Alves (Team Sonnen, 5th overall) v. the ever serious Marmota (Team Wanderlei, 8th overall). Marmota has been mean mugging everyone the whole time he’s been in the house so now he gets a chance to show what he can do. Chael Sonnen is so confident in the match-up that he says he’ll call Dana White personally and tell him to sign Marmota if Alves loses.
We get a lot of differing opinions on Alves this episode. Up until now, he’s come off as friendly if somewhat aloof. Apparently he’s rubbed his teammates the wrong way. They warn him about how unpleasant he can be. Peregrino dances around the wording until Pezão just comes out and says he can be "a prick". Alves doesn’t understand and Pezão says he’s not doing it in front of a mirror so of course he doesn’t see it. Ouch. Geez, a guy doesn’t want to party with the octagon girls one time and this is what he gets?
If there’s anything seriously wrong with Alves’s behaviour, Sonnen is unaware of it. He’s hyping him heavily as being in perfect, peak condition for his upcoming fight. I’ll leave it to him to explain it:
Sonnen: "You know how sometimes you’ll eat a piece of pizza and then you’ll tell everybody that’s the greatest pizza in the world even though there’s plenty of other pizza you haven’t had? But, you just know there’s no pizza better than this pizza I’m eating right now. I told them that’s Warlley."
I hope the translator got paid overtime for that one.
So…you want me to eat Warlley?
On the other side, we learn more about why Marmota has developed such a hard shell. He was adopted at age 7 and his father passed away when he was 14. His family has never supported his fighting. He and Isabel hit it off from day one, probably because they’re both so dour. He tells her that he’ll become completely focused and intense on fight day. You know, because he’s such a warm and cuddly teddy bear normally.
Shout out to Art Jimmerson.
They do an excellent job of hyping the fight this week. Most of the cast is convinced that the fight will be an exciting one, whether it’s a quick finish as Peregrino predicts or a thriller that will need an extra round according to Lyoto. I have no idea what to expect since Marmota got into the house when his opponent suffered a freak injury and we only got to see the highlights of Alves’s entry fight. Sonnen’s coaches have been high on Alves since they first saw him though.
In case you forgot that this was TUF Brazil, it’s game show time! I don’t want to alarm anyone, but the TUF Brazil Coaches’ Challenge involves football. Take a second to recover from the shock, please. In addition to a cash prize for the coaches and the fighters, the winning coach will also receive a jersey autographed by Pelé. Whoa!
Okay, that’s pretty good.
Proving once and for all that the tides have turned, Sonnen does amazingly well. I’m not surprised since Sonnen strikes me as the kind of guy who’d be interested in a variety of athletics. Wanderlei has always been about one thing: destruction. He looks sluggish and disinterested, knocking over pylons as he tries to hurdle them.
It’s another win for Team Sonnen. They’re going streaking! Er…they’re on a win streak. Though this is TUF so it could go either way.
First I mock your entire country, then I take your money and a trophy from one of your national heroes.
It’s party time back at the house (it’s always party time back at the house), a Hawaiian themed brouhaha complete with bad shirts and hula girls. Everyone agrees that Marmota’s grim attitude makes him fun to laugh at. Jollyson Francino suggests TRUTH OR DARE and I think I just peed a little. The only question they show is him asking Patrícia Andrade who the prettiest and ugliest guy is. She says Cara de Sapato is the prettiest, but they don’t say the ugliest. Come on!
The game takes a strange, yet obvious turn when people start getting called out to kiss each other. Wagnão has to give Patrícia a kiss, which is uneventful. Then Rick Monstro gets to kiss Ana Cecília. The house is delighted. They chant "On the mouth!" and taunt him about being so into it. Rick Monstro is happy he got to kiss the prettiest one. Then everybody jumps in the pool.
Seriously, how much does the American TUF experience suck compared to this?
Reports say that Sonnen is winning the popularity contest in Brazil, something that would have been unfathomable a year ago. The editing certainly portrays him in as positive a light as possible. He’s frequently visiting the house to buddy up with his team. He goes to check on Alves’s weight and the staff is pleased to see Alves a couple of pounds under. Sonnen tells him he can have some more pasta.
On fight day, it’s Hortência’s turn to support for the boys. She wakes Alves up by rubbing his chest and then slaps Lyoto on the ass. And to think, all Jason Thacker ever got was pee on his sheets. Alves doesn’t seem like he’s that into it. He says he dreamed about the fight. He doesn’t say whether he won or lost.
Just let me sleep, woman.
Octagon girl contestant Fernanda Hernandes knows that her job is to "make the event prettier and more feminine". That’s a nice way of saying it gives guys something to look at in between all the dry humping. Thank goodness the quarterfinals are almost over because I’m running out of superlatives to describe how attractive these women are.
You know, if Rafaela hadn’t gone first I’m not sure Fernanda wouldn’t be the champ right now.
Master Dória and Dedé Pederneiras, two TUF Brazil staples, are brought in to give Marmota’s training a boost. Dória is the boxing coach for Team Nogueira and a mentor of Cara de Sapato. Marmota is enamoured by Dória’s striking expertise, he only wishes he could have come sooner. Dedé is Marmota’s coach from back home. Everything is in place for him to succeed.
Your first name is not a nickname.
As promised, the fighters come out aggressively. They attack each other with kicks. Marmota backs Alves up and lands an overhand right. Alves shakes it off then clinches up. The action moves to the cage with Alves putting on the pressure.
Marmota gives Alves too much freedom in the clinch. He eats a big knee that drops him into a crouch. A second one catches him square on the chin. It’s a miracle that he’s able to stand up after that. A third knee makes sure he goes down and stays there. A fast, brutal finish.
Wanderlei offers a harsh appraisal of Marmota’s performance. He says that he didn’t show up and that he "zoned out". Marmota always looks the same to me so I don’t know if that’s the case. Even in the locker room after, he’s stone faced.
Alves is so pumped that he rips his portrait right off the dressing room door and slaps it onto the tournament board. You can’t blame him for being excited. After that knockout, he looks like one of the favourites to win the tournament. Vinny Magalhães wants to sing a song, but Hortência cuts him off. This is the first time I’ve ever disapproved of her actions.
Next week: That’s three straight wins for Team Sonnen and he still has his top heavyweight lined up to fight. It’s Team Sonnen’s Pezão versus Team Wanderlei’s Jollyson Francino for the final spot in the heavyweight semifinals!