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The Ultimate Fighter: Season 12 Episode 3: “Unleash Hell”
Last week on TUF, the coaches chose the teams. In the first prelim match-up, Alex Caceres took on Jeff Lentz who was winning most the fight until Caceres came out with a surprising submission for the win. Who will fight next in the quest to be The Ultimate Fighter?
In the house after Jeff and Alex’s fight, they’re hanging out drinking casually. But Alex is running his mouth about being underestimated. He’s really rubbing the win in, and it’s amazing that Jeff (or anyone else, for that matter!) has not turned around and back-handed him. What he doesn’t realize is that no one is listening.
At Team GSP training, GSP is very happy with the win, but this is still not his ultimate goal. He wants to turn them into true martial artists. To aid in this goal, he brings in a champion wrestler. This is to give the guys the experience of training with a world-class athlete. Basically, he came in and made them all feel stupid and inexperienced (in a good way :P).
When Team Kos gets together, the guys are supposed to be sparring and grappling, but really seem to be doing nothing but complaining. Koscheck sees this, and lets them know that he is not happy with their lack of focus. His little pep talk seems to have worked and lit a fire under them. Suddenly they’re busting their asses and looking good.
The following day, they arrive for the next fight announcement, as chosen by GSP. They choose their #1 Michael Johnson to fight Aaron Wilkinson, the Brit. GSP sees this as an easy win for Johnson, but Kos warns that underestimating Wilkinson is a mistake and that he might just be the sleeper.
After their fight is announced, Johnson is sitting before training and being all philosophical about his dreams and efforts to get into the UFC. GSP is impressed with his demeanor, his focus and motivation to win, in addition to his preparedness. They start discussing strategy, neutralizing Wilkinson’s stand-up in an effort to get him down. He and GSP are both highly motivated.
And what would a season of TUF be without pranks? As Team Kos arrives, they see that GSP’s car is parked all by its lonesome. So they decide to park their cars ridiculously close on either side of his…so that he can’t get in. But, as GSP puts it, this is not his first rodeo, and he manages to get in and drive off into the sunset.
Thanks to subtitles (no offense to British fans!), I gather that Wilkinson fights out of the Wolfslair. His goal against Johnson is to keep moving to maintain control. He suggests perhaps taking Johnson down and immediately getting back up, but Kos warns that that could potentially put him dangerous situations, as Johnson is a good wrestler. But the coaches agree that the plan has merit and may work. Regardless, he knows that he is underestimated by all.
Many of the guys weigh-in with their thoughts on the match-up, and (shocker), their respective teammates choose them for the win. Dana doesn’t help either, saying that Michael Johnson is really talented, but that Wilkinson shouldn’t be underestimated.
Prior to the fight, Dana manages to bring in Mike Tyson to talk to Team GSP. The guys are all pumped to see the legendary boxer who happens to also be a huge fan of MMA. Johnson is thrilled to be fighting in front of Tyson.
They both seem slightly hesitant at first, but Johnson fakes first, drawing a jab from Wilkinson. They exchange quickly and brutally which turns into a clinch against the cage. Johnson gets Wilkinson pinned and looks for a guillotine but is in an awkward position. They return to their feet and Wilkinson lands a beautiful knee. They continue to exchange, with several nice shots from both. Johnson goes for a body kick, but it’s caught, which Wilkinson uses to drive Johnson back. They clinch again, but now work is done. Back to the center, they both punch and counter, with the occasional leg kick thrown in. Finally Johnson shoots low and gets Wilkinson down. Wilkinson tries to roll out, but gives up his back. Johnson looks for the choke, but Wilkinson is able to stand up and shake him off. This time Wilkinson is able to pin Johnson against the cage with control of one of his legs. Johnson staves him off for a short while, but Wilkinson manages to get him down. In half mount, Wilkinson’s uses one arm to stabilize Johnson and the other to pound his face and body. Pinned into the corner of the cage, Johnson is not doing a lot to defend, but it doesn’t look as though Wilkinson is doing a lot of damage either. The round ends with Wilkinson in Johnson’s guard, but no progress.
Johnson puts the pressure on first, but Wilkinson returns it. Johnson lands a straight jab that knocks Wilkinson’s head back, but he can take it. Johnson gets Wilkinson against the cage, but Wilkinson drives him right back. They exchange, but it’s not long before Johnson goes for and gets the takedown. He is in Wilkinson’s guard, but he rolls, giving up his back. This does not last, though, and they are back up. After a few jabs, they clinch again, with Wilkinson in control and Johnson cannot get him down. Soon after, Wilkinson gets Johnson down and as Johnson is trying to get up, Wilkinson looks for a standing guillotine. Johnson’s head pops right out. Back on their feet, the pace is fast as they both continue to throw bombs and look for takedowns. A nice straight jab from Wilkinson, and a nice body kick. Johnson tries to shoot, but Wilkinson tries half-assedly for a choke. Johnson just punishes him with a few knees. Now Wilkinson shoots, but Johnson’s sprawl keeps it standing despite Wilkinson’s attempts to sweep. The round ends with both guys swinging.
Sho nuff…going to a third round!
Neither of them shows how tired they really are and come out swinging. Johnson connects big, knocking Wilkinson onto his back and pouncing. He rains down so many unanswered hammerfists. Wilkinson tries to roll out to avoid them, but he gives up his back. Johnson immediately goes for the RNC. Wilkinson is quick to tap.
Winner: Michael Johnson via Submission (Rear naked choke)
For the most part, all agreed that Wilkinson won the first round, while Johnson won the second (except for Kos, who thought Wilkinson won both. Huh?). Johnson is please with himself, and looks forward to winning more to win it all. Kos is still proud of Wilkinson for giving his all and putting on a show.
Where did Johnson get all that energy to come out like that in the third round?? He came out like a bat outta hell and put any doubts to rest. Could Tyson’s presence have given him that little bit of motivation he needed?
Next week: Tyson sticks around and offers advice to Team GSP. Kos tries to rattle GSP. Bruce Leroy runs his mouth in the house, sending Sevak into a rage. Another prelim fight rounds it out.