Leading up to tonight, Mitrione was on the fence about fighting, and Kimbo was looking to get past a hurt knee in hopes of fighting again. Who will fight tonight? Two more quarterfinal fights plus two semifinal fights on a 2-hour special on the Road to the Finale.
Tonight starts with a speech from Dana about the desire to fight. The eyes of half the guys have glazed over. Surprisingly, no one is jumping at the chance to take Mitrione’s spot. This shocks Dana, so he pulls Kimbo aside. But even Kimbo is making excuses. He claims he can’t fight like he wants to fight and so he doesn’t want another loss on his belt. Apparently one of his knee problems is arthritis, which obviously won’t go away except in the short term with a shot of cortisone. What can Dana do though? He can’t and won’t force someone to fight if they don’t want to. But Kimbo is so full of it… “This won’t be fair to me. Won’t be fair to my family.” Scared much? I knew Kimbo wasn’t going to fight again on the show! Damn the UFC for hyping the entire season like he was!
Later, Matt’s on the phone with his doctor, who he tells he is feeling good. Doc says he’s fine to fight, and he’s up for it. Rashad makes fun of him a little bit by the way this all went down, and rightfully so. It should have never come to this. James is happy to hear that Matt stepped up to take the fight. His game plan is to stay aggressive and take Matt down (as he has no ground game). But it is clear that James hates Matt. Most of the guys see this as going the way of James, as long as he doesn’t let his emotions get the best of him and keep him from the game plan. At training, Matt “reveals” that this whole thing was in part to rattle James a little big to keep him wondering who he was fighting, to perhaps throw him off his plan a bit. He’s really not that “unstable.” Umm…yeah…sure.
Back at the house, Scott comes back from the eye doctor where he was told he has tears in his retina, as a result of being hit in the eye. This resulted in surgery and the diagnosis that he may never fight again. Unwilling to take that news, he wants a second and third and fourth opinion. Who can blame him? But what’s funnier is the reaction of Marcus who is told this news on the ride to the gym. When he finally makes it there, he makes a bee-line for Matt and gets right in his face. It takes Justin, Darrill and Brendan to keep him away. He literally looked like he was going to kill him. As Rashad puts it, “Big baby just needs to learn that this is part of being a fighter.” Wow, Big Baby really is a big baby. It’s not like Matt meant to scratch his eye! And I must have missed where they said Scott might lose his eye…or the part where the doctor said with certainty that he might not fight. Overreact much, Marcus? But Rampage puts it better, “Marcus is the nicest guy in the world, that’ll kill you.” Rampage then makes Marcus give him his word that he will not act on his impulse to kill Matt. Save it for the cage, buddy!
Scott returns to the gym, after a trip to the doctor. The surgery was a success, his eye will be fine and, though the doctor doesn’t recommend, he can fight again. Big baby is relieved…awww!
Dana gives this fight to Matt as long as he fights the way he did against Scott. Otherwise, James is going to put his lights out. To further highlight the tension at the weigh-ins, things get a little heated in the stare down when James shoves Matt. Only a preview of what’s to come. Nice!
Matt doesn’t feel like he needs to prove himself. Hmmm, well he’s alone in that thought.
The fight starts with a lot of dancing and several missed shots between the two. McSweeney finally lands a soft leg kick which is countered with a jab by Mitrione. Another leg kick by McSweeney is checked. Mitrione returns to the kick. Nice head kick by McSweeney is dodged. Good straight leg for McSweeney. Finally McSweeney lands a solid jab to the head, but they continue to tentatively dance and feel each other out. Mitrione catches McSweeney’s leg and is able to connect with a combo. This clinch as McSweeney tries to take Mitrione down. He is finally successful. Mitrione is on his back and Mitrione tries to be offensive, but Mitrione latches on to his leg, attempting a heel hook and can do nothing. McSweeney finally has an awkward side control, but Mitrione has his leg again. Finally he lets go and McSweeney is able to grab onto Mitrione’s neck. Mitrione swings his hips up and pulls Mitrione’s head down to sick in the hooks for a guillotine. As McSweeney pulls tighter, Mitrione taps.
Winner: James McSweeney via Submission (Guillotine)
Dana was impressed by both: impressed in Mitrione’s heavy hands, and impressed that McSweeney took those shots. But everyone is surprised that Mitrione tapped so quickly, even Mitrione.
Next up in the last quarterfinal fight, Big Baby takes on Titties….um that just sounds wrong…
Darrill feels like he is being underestimated, but without a doubt, both of them are taking this very seriously. Marcus respects Darrill as a good fighter, as he never stops, he’s always going. They are both very intense…and a little scary even.
Jones strikes first with a nice leg kick. He then goes right for the takedown and gets it. In side control, he tries to pin Schoonover by stepping over his head. He succeeds a couple times and in the meantime lands several solid strikes to the head. Schoonover continually tries to maneuver out, but in the process nearly gives up an arm. Schoonover tries to roll over and Jones almost mounts his back, but Schoonover returns to his back. In full guard, Jones continues to rain blows. Jones backs off and Schoonover scoots hoping to be let up, but Jones won’t let him. Back in full guard, the two exchange several shots, but finally Jones drops 2 huge shots that put Schoonover to sleep. And it’s over.
Winner: Marcus Jones via KO
Marcus totally controlled this fight, as seen by all. He was continually working — kimuras, crucifixes, you name it. And Darrill just wasn’t fighting back. Rashad finally admits that Big Baby can fight. Even Dana is impressed with Marcus: he’s big, strong and has killer instinct. Darrill is understandably taking it hard. It’s his first MMA loss, the first time he’s been knocked out. But he’s not going to let it stop him.
So the quarterfinals are done, and Dana has decided the semifinals which will be three 5-minute rounds:
Roy Nelson vs. James McSweeney
Brendan Schaub vs. Marcus Jones
Dana’s picks: James (he is not impressed with Roy, and thinks James wants it more) and Brendan (he feels Brendan’s stand up is better, but again, thinks Marcus wants it more).
Yay for Rampage-isms! If Marcus believes in Marcus the way Rampage believes in Marcus…
After the fight announcements are made, the trash-talking between Rampage and Rashad begins once again. Granted, Rashad was the instigator, but Rampage is first to get in Rashad’s face. All I hear is a lot of “Yeah?” and “Dude.” There’s some serious bad blood between these two. It’s a damn shame this fight will never happen
Looking forward, Rampage hopes and believes that Marcus could win the whole thing. He just would love to have Marcus win and shut Rashad up. At training, Rampage and Marcus discuss their strategies. They expect Brendan to punch and run, but Marcus claims he can catch him (as he once caught Barry Sanders in open field). He says he just “acts” like he can’t move. Gee, between he and Matt there’s a lot of “acting” going on!
And on to Rampage’s next prank, which involves pink teddy bears, horses and other miscellaneous stuffed animals. Team Rampage proceeds to remove everything from Team Rashad’s locker room, paint the room pink, hang a disco ball and decorate it with the pink animals, topped off with a pacifier. And they really think this will bother Rashad?
Back at the house, poor Zak is back to being picked on once again. James proceeds to write “Linda” on the side of his head with a Sharpie (which then becomes “Lindagay”). But the poor kid doesn’t fight back. He’s just too damn nice. He tries to see it in a mirror, but can’t read the end — and no one will tell him!
The next morning, Team Rashad arrives at the gym. Rashad enters their room…to find a blow-up doll (male) with his shorts on amidst the lovely pink room. Everyone chuckles at it all, but no one is bothered really. “It’s actually really nice.” Guess it’s another failed prank for Rampage.
At training, Rashad predicts that he will have 2 of his fighters in the finals. He breaks down the Roy / James fight: Roy has good stand up and good Jiu Jitsu. James has good stand up and not so good ground game. All he can say is, “we’ll see.” Yes, we shall.
The following day at the house, Zak is the target again. Zak is in the bathroom, doing his business, and the guys are not happy with the smell that is emanating. They decide to open all the drawers outside the bathroom so that he can’t open the door. When he can’t open the door, he freaks out and tries to break it open (he apparently gets claustrophobic). Realizing Zak might break something, James pushes the drawers back in allowing him out. When Zak finally gets out he straight-up attacks James. James does swing back, but he puts Zak in a headlock to get him to calm down. Hmm…maybe Zak’s not so nice after all. But I would probably want to put James’s head through a wall too.
Team Rashad’s coaches show up at the house to give their guys a pep talk. Rashad tells James to fight like it’s his last fight ever. If you think that way, you’ll give it your all. Not bad advice. But Roy brings up a good point: James is friends with Rashad. James trains with Rashad. Rashad is James’s coach. Roy is basically fighting his own team. I didn’t see any coaches prepping Roy. Just his teammates.
McSweeney strikes first with a checked jab, but Nelson returns with a combo. McSweeney with several more weak jabs, followed by an overhand right. A big right swing from Nelson misses. McSweeney with a nice body kick. Very sloppy exchanges from both. Nelson goes for a takedown and pins McSweeney against the cage. McSweeney wraps around Nelson’s neck and tries to work a choke but cannot. They continue to clinch and Nelson swings big but misses. McSweeney circles and brings it back to center. Nice jab from McSweeney. Brief clinch with a solid knee from McSweeney. McSweeney begins to egg Nelson on, smiling and pointing to his chin. Again, Nelson charges and gets McSweeney down. In half mount, Nelson immobilizes one arm with his knee. In side control, Nelson works knees and elbows. McSweeney tries to buck out, but Nelson has his upper half completely immobile. Nelson just unleashes punch after punch after punch, and McSweeney can do absolutely nothing. Finally the ref stops it.
Winner: Roy Nelson via TKO (punches)
Rashad is a little disappointed in James, that he strayed from the game plan and perhaps got too self-confident. Finally, Dana is impressed with Roy. But notice something? Whose corner was Team Rashad in? Where was Rashad after it was over?
And then there was one…fight that is.
Rashad feels that Brendan does have the power to knock Marcus out (and perhaps cause him to quit MMA?). Not only does Brendan plan on winning this, but he plans on winning this in convincing fashion.
Two hours, two confrontations. The smack begins again. In the passing between Rampage and Rashad, more words are exchanged and faces are got in again. Anyone count how many times the word “bitch” was dropped? An eerie silence actually led me to believe a punch might be thrown, but alas, we are left disappointed once more.
Rampage says he’s now feeling the pressure of Marcus fighting, but he really is hoping for a win (again, not for Marcus, but to shut Rashad up. At least he realizes he’s selfish).
(Every season I write that I’m going to learn my lesson and stop looking at the time before a fight starts. Yeah, I still haven’t learned my lesson. As I watch commercial after commercial, I see there are only 9 minutes left in the show. It’s gonna be a short fight. Dammit!)
Schaub strikes first, but Jones immediately takes him down with authority. In full guard, he manages to switch to side control as Schaub lands a few shots. Jones lands several nice shots. He looks to mount Schaub and does so. Schaub manages to buck Jones off and Jones is now in half guard. The scramble back up and Schaub launches an assault. Schaub gets too low and gets caught by a knee but is unfazed. Schaub then lands a huge right hand shot that knocks Jones to the ground. Schaub pounces immediately and leashes a flurry of unanswered shots to the head. Jones is out cold and the ref stops it.
Winner: Brendan Schaub via KO
Both guys looked really good. Marcus had solid ground game with the mount, but couldn’t capitalize. Brendan was just more skilled and technical. Rampage is heartbroken, but so is Marcus. He wonders if this might be his last fight, as he doesn’t want to put his wife through this anymore. He just wants to move on. Rampage admits that he might have cried (nay, BAWLED) had the cameras not been around. Who’s the big baby now?
So, the finale is set! Former NFL player Brendan Schaub will take on former IFL Champ Roy Nelson this Saturday. In all honesty, I feel like this fight really is the two best fighters of this season. Yes, it was a mediocre season, but here’s to hoping the final fight won’t be.