This week starts with a lot of hype surrounding the two impending quarterfinal fights: Jesse Taylor vs. Dante Rivera and Matt Brown vs. Amir Sadollah. Both are expected to be interesting fights, but there is far more hype around the Brown/Sadollah fight because they have become such good friends.
The show then turns to the topic of who is going to corner who, since all four fighters are from Team Forrest. Understandably, Forrest doesn’t want to make the decision, so Dana flips a coin: Forrest will corner Jesse and Amir, Rampage will corner Matt and Dante. All seem happy with the results.
Back at the house, the guys are cooking and Jesse decides he should probably work on his eating habits. Jokes are made all around at how Jesse is always eating — and not things that are good for him. We’re flashed several images of Jesse stuffing his face with whatever’s around…. that’s hot. Yet somehow, he manages to stay pretty cut — the guys are amazed.
How ironic, back at Team Forrest’s training session, Jesse weighs in at 190lbs and needs to cut weight — shocker! So what does he do? He throws on the plastic and plays some ping-pong! (Amazingly, this works!) Then he drops some more weight by urinating (in his shorts) outside the hot tub and gets back in! (The best part is when Dante comes out to soak in the tub and gets in without knowing what Jesse did — hehe!)
Fight day rolls around and both Jesse and Dante are cool with fighting each other. Should make for an interesting fight.
Almost immediately, Taylor goes for the take down. He is very controlled, but equally as aggressive. Taylor lands a lot of strikes, but Rivera is very squirmy. Taylor is at half guard, but Rivera keeps at his neck and keeps twisting and turning to get out. Taylor gets side control and continues to ground and pound. Taylor switches back to half mount and continues the GNP. Rivera keeps twisting and finally gets Taylor into full guard. He latches onto Taylor’s head, but he struggles and Taylor is able to land more punches than Rivera is able to block. After more GNP, Taylor gets up, but does nothing and ends up back in full guard. He stands up again and lands two great strikes. With 20 seconds left, Rivera tries and almost gets Taylor’s arm in an armbar. But the round ends with more GNP from Taylor.
The round starts and Taylor is clearly more tentative, but he goes for and gets the takedown. In full guard, Taylor repeats his first round performance and continues his GNP. Rivera manages to land a few punches from his back. Rivera kicks Taylor off, but he ends right back in full guard. We hear Rampage yelling from the corner for Rivera to push him off and stand up. Taylor has total control as Rivera makes yet another futile attempt to kick him off. The ref warns them to advance their position, and when they don’t, he stands them up. Again…Taylor takes him right back down for some more GNP (*ho hum*). Rivera manages to get Taylor off of him, but he comes back with a big fist. After two solid minutes of GNP from Taylor, Rivera looks for his arm, but no luck. Round two ends the same way at Round 1: with Taylor droppin’ bows and fists on Rivera’s face.
Winner: Taylor by unanimous decision
After the fight, Dana summarizes it best: ‘Jesse takes Dante down. Dante eats punches and elbows.’ It was a disappointing performance for Dante (who Rampage says gift-wrapped the fight for Jesse), but it wasn’t exactly a world-class performance for Jesse either. Both fighters seem a little disappointed in themselves.
[I have to agree with Dana on this fight. Normally when I am taking notes during a fight, I write furiously to keep up with the action. For the first time ever, I put the pen down.]
And so begins the hype for the next quarterfinal fight. Both Amir and Matt are looking forward to the anticipated “blood bath”. Even though they’re friends and roommates, Amir says that he’d rather fight a friend and lose to a friend than an enemy.
At Team Rampage training, Rampage waxes poetic about how Matt has a Samurai Spirit, just like him (uh, oh… we’ve heard this before! Don’t jinx Matt like you jinxed Gerald, Rampage!!). He says that Matt was meant to be a fighter; he has a fighter spirit and he likes that.
Matt doesn’t claim to have much of a game plan — he just knows they’re gonna stand and bang. Amir promises not to fold; he respects and likes Matt. He thinks that both will show well and get better no matter who wins. Both very classy, respectable guys. So let’s see who will be the least bloody….
Sadollah is the first the to strike, but almost immediately he ends up on the defensive. Brown comes at him with a flying knee and a couple good combos. Sadollah throws some weak shots. They clinch — Sadollah lands a good knee to Brown’s liver that leaves him clearly hurtin’. They swap knees while continuing to clinch. Brown loosens up his grip. He goes for a take down, but is unsuccessful. Brown backs off and strikes with some good jab and kick combos. But Sadollah comes back with a great kick to the head! No visible damage though. Brown returns and nails Sadollah with a couple good body kicks. Brown backs off, then goes on the offensive. He continues to throw jabs, but only half or so land. Sadollah lands a great kick to Brown’s leg that knocks him off balance. Sadollah takes advantage and follows up with a flying knee. Brown is able then to clinch. They swap some body shots and knees and the round ends with the two clinching against the cage.
Both fighters come out swinging. Brown looks very aggressive and comes at Sadollah with a barrage of punches. He backs off and Sadollah comes at him with a flying kick, but misses. They end up back in the clinch. Sadollah seizes Browns arm and tries to take him down, but Brown works the position and lands a huge knee to the chin. He continues to kick and punch at him as Sadollah is looking tired. Finally, Sadollah gets Brown on his back and is full guard. Ending up in full mount, Sadollah lands some weak jabs. Brown keeps trying to get up, but Sadollah keeps him down with some elbows. Sadollah stands up, but ends up back in full mount. Lands some more jabs and elbows to Brown’s face. Brown uses the fence to walk himself around and turn. Sadollah is able to get his arm, but Brown wiggles out. Sadollah takes advantage of the position and gets Brown’s head in a triangle. Brown taps pretty quickly.
Winner: Amir Sadollah by submission (triangle choke)
Overall, Dana is impressed with the fight. Matt came out with big punches, big knees and big kicks. Clearly Amir has a solid chin.
Both fighters go on to show each other lots of love and respect after the fight. Amir is happy that he won and happy that he didn’t make his friend look bad. Matt is happy that his friend won. He gave it his best and has nothing to be ashamed of. Aww, how sweet… Good way to end the show. We got a good fight, and finally the fighters behaved like men instead of a**es.
And they saved the best for last — the previews of next week’s show. Jeremy May is back to his old tricks. His victim: Jesse Taylor. With the (of course) alcohol flowing, May’s trying to get under his skin and it looks like it works. Fight-wise, we’ll get to see the last two quarterfinal match-ups: Dan Cramer vs. Tim Credeur and C.B. Dollaway vs. Cale Yarbrough, and then the semifinals are announced. Looks like another drama-filled episode!