Saturday, November 20, 2010


This episode was surprisingly average, given that there two fights and a mind-boggingly awesome guest appearance. It's still one of the better ones of the season, I suppose.


I predicted Watson would take this fight. I figured he'd easily take Wilkinson down, eventually take his back and choke him out.

The first round starts and my predictions were right on the money so far. Watson takes Wilkinson down with very little effort and immediately gets top position. Watson quickly take Wilkinson's back and locks in the Rear Naked Choke. So far so good, and Aaron Wilkinson taps out 3:59 into the first round. That was a quick and easy victory if there ever was one.
Kyle Watson chokes out Aaron Wilkinson


Freddie Roach trains Jonathan Brookins of Team GSP
Color me surprised when I found out that legendary boxing coach Freddie Roach would guest star in this episode and coach Team GSP! It was really cool seeing him train the guys, though he only had very interesting screen time. It seems that, like me, he's favoring Michael Johnson in the next fight based on his comments. While he did say that Alex Caceres was effective and would do very well despite being clumsy, he said that Michael Johnson reminded him of Manny Pacquiao. The disparity there is pretty apparent.


Josh Koscheck didn't have much to do during the Michael Johnson's and Alex Caceres' Wigh-ins, so he decided to have a little fun. He honestly believed that GSP wanted Johnson and Caceres to fight because he thinks Caceres is the weakest fighter on Team GSP. Because of this, he thinks that GSP wanted his top pick to fight the weakest link so that Johnson could have an easier ride to the semi-finals.

From that train of thought, he started to work his magic to get into the heads of two particular individuals: GSP and Johnson. He would tell GSP his thoughts on the weakest vs. the strongest link to make GSP look bad in front of everybody, and to get into his head for their fight. He tells Johnson and Caceres that he's betting on Caceres to win the fight to both annoy Johnson so he could possibly slip up. He probably plans to have Johnson lose so that the weaker fighter can make it to the semi-finals, and if he fights Nam Phan, then Team Koscheck would have an easier time to get to the finals and possibly win it all.

That's just me speculating, though. He did try to get into those guys' heads, but he just probably couldn't help himself because he's Josh Koscheck; always playing the clown.


Jeffrey Lentz of team Koscheck wraps Alex Caceres' hands
Anyway, things continued to be interesting when Koscheck became serious at supporting Caceres during the fight. The pre-fight preparation footage was just hilarious. Jeffrey Lentz, who Caceres defeated in episode 2, volunteered to help him out and corner him for the fight, supposedly out of respect for having defeated him (though he still feels it was just a lucky break). In the locker room, Koscheck remarks to Lentz, "if you still want to continue smoking", you can make a living out of wrapping people's hands". Then, while Caceres performs his Bruce Lee impersonations to warm up, Lentz keeps telling him to not do those moves during the fight. Classic.


Johnson kept Caceres down on the ground for much of the fight
Johnson's game plan is to take Caceres as quickly as possible and pound him out. Caceres, on the other hand, wants to keep it standing.

There's a lot of action in the first round, but most of it is composed of Johnson taking Caceres down over and over again, with either double legs, slams or from the clinch, and Caceres quickly standing up. Caceres impressed me very much with his wrestling, despite the fact that he almost always got taken down very easily. Johnson's clearly the stronger of the two, so it was interesting to see him be constantly incapable of holding Caceres down. Despite being constantly taken down, Caceres kept his confidence levels and emotions high, so much so that, when his mouth piece fell off in the middle of the round, he loudly and brashly taunted Johnson to pick it up for him.

Neither fighter took much damage in the round, but Johnson clearly took it, just because he had managed to take Caceres down several times.


Alex Caceres throws a head kick
The second round starts very much like the first, with Johnson easily managing to get Caceres down to the ground, but actually doing what I thought he would pull off right from the start: he managed to hold him there, pin him against the cage, and rain down ground and pound. The round now clearly going his way, Johnson locked in a guillotine and I was sure that that was it.

Caceres, however, continued to impress me by not only escaping the choke, but managing to separate from Johnson completely and take the fight back on his feet. Unfortunately for him, the rest of the fight was pretty much the same as the action in the first round. Johnson would take him down again, Caceres would eventually scramble back to his feet, then rinse and repeat until the bell rang.


Michael Johnson takes Alex Caceres down
Michael Johnson, who predictably takes the fight via unanimous decision (20-18, 20-18, 20-18) because of his numerous takedowns despite doing no significant amount of damage to his opponent.

GSP emphatically praises the fight for being as good as he promised it would be, but I gotta agree with Koscheck on this one: the fight kinda sucked. There was a good load of action throughout, but it was mostly just the same thing over and over again. This would have looked much better if Johnson had managed to stop Caceres within the first round via strikes, but nope, Caceres was all slippery and managed to get back up every time.

GSP got what he wanted though. By having both guys fight each other, they settled down and began to finally respect each other.


Dana, GSP, and Koscheck shockingly agree right off the bat which matchups they want to see next, and quickly transition to the announcements.

Michael Johnson knocks out Alex Caceres' mouth piece
First up is Jonathan Brookins vs. Kyle Watson. I really like Brookins and think that he has a very well-rounded skill set, but BJJ seems to be his preferred style, and Watson's leagues better than him at that. Brookins might want to use his BJJ expertise to keep away from Watson's submission attempts and keep the fight standing, though, where he has the clear advantage in this matchup. Still, it's very close. If Watson manages to get him down, there's a very big chance that he'll be able to pull off a submission. I'm still predicting Brookins, though.

 The next fight is, of course, Nam Phan vs. Michael Johnson. Michael Johnson's still the bigger, stronger athlete among the two, but, as all his previous fights have shown, he is severely unbalanced in this game. He has plenty of strength and power, but his skill set is still sorely lacking, especially when compared to Nam. In this case, I'm guessing that it's going to be a brains vs. brawn matchup, and, like the result of the Lesnar vs. Velasquez fight, I'm predicting that brains will win out.


The first semi-final match: Kyle Watson (left) vs. Jonathan Brookins (right)
If the semi-finals go exactly the way I predicted, then we'll wind up with a perfect Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck matchup: Jonathan Brookins vs. Nam Phan. Koscheck's been taking a lot of shellacking this season, given that they lost a good majority of the fights, but if I'm predicting correctly, they could still win the whole thing. That's right, I'm predicting this early that Nam Phan will be the Ultimate Fighter this season.

I really like both of these fighters, but I believe that Phan is even more well rounded and stronger than Brookins is, so I'm giving the fight to him. Still, I'd like at least both fighters to get a contract with the UFC as I was incredibly impressed with both of them this season. I'd like to see how both of them develop within the organization in the future and, like Diego Sanchez and Kenny Florian, might even eventually become top-ranked lightweights and get shots at the title.
The second semi-final match: Nam Phan (left) vs. Michael Johnson (right)


A 2-hour special episode awaits us next as the series transitions into the live finale on December 4th! There are only 2 fights left, though, so I'm kind of cringing what they'll use to fill up the time. I'm really glad that a majority of the season didn't focus on the antics in the house like previous seasons have, so I'm hoping they don't resort to that just to fill up the time they have. The last season had some special forces soldiers come by and train with the fighters, though, so that was pretty cool. I'm hoping that something similar happens once again.

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