6.19.2008

TUF Review and Preview

Last night was the special extended episode of The Ultimate Fighter before the big finale show that would see the coaches fight for the Light-Heavyweight title as well as the two show winners fighting for the show crown.

After the opening credits, the show jumped straight into one of the most anticipated matchups of the season, Amir against CB "He of the permanent smirk". I've got nothing against CB, he's been a good fighter, is big, strong, fast and dominated his fights. But Amir was the underdog and I just have a tendency to go for the underdog.

It was a great fight. Really. Two and a half rounds of back and forth fighting. Amir's stand-up was better than CB's and CB's ground game was just a little better than Amir's. But Amir impressed me throughout the fight, his flying knees, his combinations, his aggression and absolute iron jaw. Also, he was totally unfazed by a nasty gash under his eye and blood going everywhere.

CB, on the other hand, who'd looked so powerful in his previous fights, didn't look overwhelming, didn't strike fear into Amir's heart and, as the fight wore on, showed that his conditioning wasn't quite what it could have been. In other words, he gassed out and his pace of fighting slowed considerably. He was still throwing big punches but they were telegraphed and Amir was able to slip many of them without trouble.

In the end, Amir was able to catch CB in an arm bar and force him to tap out or risk getting his arm broken or ligaments torn. It was a great fight.

Plus, big props to the UFC for the way they showed the fight. The first two rounds of the fight were shown without a break, five minutes of fighting, a fade to black and then back to five minutes more of fighting for the second round. It was a great way to show the fight and I almost felt guilty using my 30 second advance on my Tivo to get right back to the action. Almost.

After CB's defeat, the show switched gears to what happened after the fighters were released from the house for a couple of days. Jesse Taylor, the other finalist and renowned nutter, partied too hard and his ego got too inflated. He kicked out a limo window and then freaked out a bunch of women in a bar. All of which might have been forgiven but when security showed up, he got aggressive and started shouting that he was a UFC fighter. Which, as anyone who's got a passing knowledge of UFC President Dana White, is a serious, serious breach of decorum. He ended up getting booted out off the show and out of the UFC.

Kind of a shame but he should have known better and should have kept his shit tight instead of getting drunk and stupid.

After Jesse's ejection, there was no one to fight Amir in the final so they brought back CB and Tim, who'd been beaten by Jesse to get to the final. They would fight to see who would advance to the final. What I thought was going to be a fairly one-sided match, with CB dominating Tim, turned out to be one of the best fights of the season. It went the full fifteen minutes and stayed mostly standing up where Tim demonstrated some surprisingly effective and quality striking. In the end, CB was able to eke out the victory and rematch with Amir for the final.

One hell of a great night of MMA! I'm looking forward to the finale not just for the CB and Amir rematch but because it'll also see Forrest and Rampage squaring off for the title. Rampage is a great show and a fantastic fighter, Forrest is almost always underestimated and always, always comes in to a fight in superb condition and has a great big heart. It should be a kickass fight too!

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