The Ultimate Fighter Season 8: Episode 11

First, I feel I must apologize for the delay in getting this recap up. With a sinus headache and god-awful congestion, my focus on the show and my recap is not what it usually is. So my apologies for the lateness…and if my writing is not at its usual quality.

I was hoping that since both these episodes featured two fights, there wouldn’t be much room for scenes at the house and all the drama that goes with it, but considering what I saw in the previews, I’m not all that optimistic.

Episode 11 starts with recaps of previous fights: Bader crushing Lawlor with a first round knockout; Marshall choking out Shane Primm; Roop defeating Polakowski; and Nover submitting early-favorite Dave Kaplan. Now it is time for the semis. The first fight up is Bader vs. Marshall followed by Nover vs. Roop. Both should prove to be interesting fights.

The show immediately starts out with the Weigh-ins for the Bader/Marshall fight. Already this tells me it’s going to be a long fight if they’re getting right to it. Dana comments how Mir has three guys in the Light Heavyweight semis, while Nogueira only has one — Bader. He adds that Bader/Marshall will be an interesting fight, as Bader is a good wrestler with okay standup, but Nog thinks that Bader is better than Marshall at both. Dana thinks Marshall is the worst possible match for Bader, as Mir adds that Marshall can out strike him on his feet, and his Jiu Jitsu is very smooth. Bader, on the other hand, thinks this is a good match up for him, because he has more heart and more skills. But, of course, Marshall thinks Bader underestimates him. Apparently so does Dana, because he thinks Eliot has slick submissions, and has a chance at submitting Bader.

At Team Nogueira Training, Bader tells Nog how Marshall called Bader out after beating Primm, and now he thinks Marshall regrets it. He wants to settle it all in the cage. Bader is happy with his training and has been working on his JJ with Nog every day. The ever optimistic Nog thinks Bader is going to win the season. Shots are shown of Nog and Bader sparring, and they are both going at 100%, training hard, making Bader look thoroughly impressive.

At Team Mir Training, Marshall is actually excited to take on Bader because he feels like it’ll be his biggest challenge. He realizes that he is going up against a two time All-American wrestler who is probably the favorite to win the show (I guess he doesn’t have the benefit of talking to US all season!). Like Dana, Mir thinks it’s a great matchup for Marshall, because he thinks Bader probably won’t take him down, and even if he does, Marshall is a black belt in Jiu Jitsu, which Bader is not. Marshall refers to Jiu Jitsu as is his bread and butter, as it’s what he knows and loves. He adds that even if the UFC doesn’t work out for him. he plans on teaching it.

FIGHT DAY
Both guys feel like this is their fight to win. Since this is the semis, they will fight three five-minute rounds.

ROUND 1
They come out and touch gloves, both looking pretty aggressive. They begin exchanging some strong punches. There is a great leg kick from Bader. A HUGE head kick from Marshall is followed by a good leg kick. Mir tells him to aim for the knee, which he does and gets Bader’s knee, followed by another. Bader retaliates with a great jab. Bader goes in with a leg kick which Marshall nearly catches. Both keep going on the offensive with some great exchanges. Bader lands a leg kick followed by an overhand jab. Marshall attempts, but misses a head kick (clearly, he is trying to use his long legs to his advantage). Marshall goes for a body kick, but Bader catches it and gets Marshall on the ground. Bader is in Marshall’s guard working the GNP. Marshall wraps his long legs around and tries to control Bader. They are warned to advance their position. Bader gets in a few random shots at Marshall’s head. They are warned again with a minute left. Marshall manages to also get a few shots at Bader’s head. Bader is really just showing his lay and prey skills. Marshall tries to reposition, and eventually gets Bader off of him as the round ends.

ROUND 2
They touch gloves and get right back to business. Both are swinging aggressively. An attempt at a head kick from Marshall gets caught by Bader and Bader brings Marshall back to the ground. In Marshall’s guard, he is not doing much. Bader wriggles Marshall over to the cage. Both are trying to posture, but not much is really happening. Marshall begins working on a triangle, but can’t get his leg all the way up. Bader gets in several shots at Marshall’s head. Marshall begins going for an armbar, but Bader picks up Marshall and slams him to force him to let go, which he does. They are warned once again to advance their position. With no progress, the ref stands them up. With 90 seconds left, they continue standing up until Bader shoots on Marshall and gets him back down. In an awkward position on his side, Marshall can’t do much. He turns and Bader is in his guard. Bader lands a good elbow to Marshall’s head. They are warned — again. Marshall is trying to turn off his back and look for a submission, but Bader won’t allow it. The round ends with more of the same.

ROUND 3
Before the round even starts, Krzysztof is yelling at Marshall to stop letting it go to the ground. They come out striking and again, Marshall goes for the kick that gets caught by Bader. They are now on the ground, with Bader back in Marshall’s guard. Marshall keeps working to get the triangle, but can’t work his leg up. Bader is really just laying on him, which allows Marshall get shots at Bader’s head. Bader is trying to posture into full mount but can’t get his hips up and over. Bader tries to hold onto the cage to get position (which Mir yells to Marshall to use to his advantage). They are warned to advance, and are soon after stood up. Great leg kick from Bader. He then shoots and gets Marshall on his back again. Marshall is trying to turn to get Bader’s arm, but Bader picks him up and slams him. Up against the cage, Bader is doing exactly what he did in the last two rounds. He alternates between elbows and fists. Marshall is working for some sort of submission, but can’t make it happen. The ref stands them up again. Marshall goes for a big spinning head kick, but misses. Marshall lands a good leg kick. Another missed spinning leg kick lands Marshall on his back. With Bader in half guard, we see MORE of the same. Marshall is either going for Bader’s neck or arm, but gets neither. More GNP from Bader, with even a few knees. The round ends the same as the other two, letting the fight go to the judges.

Winner: Ryan Bader via decision

After the fight, everyone had a lot to say. Nog comments that, like he thought, the fight started with striking, but as soon as it went to the ground, Bader controlled it. Dana didn’t see it as rosily. He felt that Bader held Marshall on the ground and didn’t do much damage, but Marshall didn’t take any risks or do much to change the fight. And of course, Mir puts his two cents in (the a$$hole as usual). He gives credit to Bader for getting the win with limited abilities (because he’s a good wrestler, not a good fighter).

Bader is very happy with his win, and happy to be in the finals. Marshall is actual very accepting of his loss, admitting that Bader beat him. He refuses to make excuses for his loss. He’s frustrated, but knows he just needs to get better.

Now onto the LW fight….

Dana feels like this is going to be a tough fight for Roop; Nover is explosive, well-rounded, aggressive. He is no longer “Fainting Philippe”. Mir, however, is not willing to count Roop out and truly believes that Roop can beat Philippe.

(with just over 10 minutes in the show….)

We don’t get much of the guys talking up the fight, but both Nover and Roop have big opinions of themselves. Nover thinks Roop is a very good fighter, and takes into consideration how tall he is. He feels the pressure of being expected to win, but is able to compartmentalize it and put it aside. He discusses his game plan of submitting Roop in the first round. Roop feels as ready as he can be mentally; his hand is banged up, but his face looks worse than it really is. He plans on using jabs and kicks to the head to end the fight by knockout. He clearly intends to win. Mir thinks he’ll fight harder despite his hand and calls him one of the toughest dudes on the whole show, describing him as a “warrior in every aspect of the word”. We shall soon see who the true warrior is.

FIGHT DAY
Both guys seem seriously pumped about the fight. Roop says he respects Philippe as a fighter and as a man, but he still plans on making him bleed. He knows he’s the underdog, but that’s when he fights best. He doesn’t think Philippe can beat him, and especially not knock him out.

Nover says this is ticket into the finals. He knows Roop is a tough guy, and for that reason he is going to take him seriously and come out with all he’s got. Nover refers to himself as animalistic — as he takes all emotion out of the fight. He’s the tiger, Roop’s the deer. He’s hungry and Roop is in his way.

ROUND 1
In the tale of the tape, both have the same reach, but Roop has a clear height advantage.
Both come out aggressively swinging, and immediately Nover takes Roop down. In Roop’s guard, Nover lands several good shots. They both roll and Roop is now in control. Nover has Roop’s arm (they really have each others’ arms), but there is no real action. Roop is now in Nover’s guard. They are both trying to posture for control. Nover gets Roop’s arm and manages to roll over and pull it far behind Roop’s back. Pulling hard, Roop quickly taps.

Winner: Philippe Nover via submission (armbar)

Post-fight, Nog comments that Nover turns mean in the ring just like Anderson Silva. Dana says the fight went just as he expected. Nover controlled it and caught Roop. When Roop tried to escape, Nover wouldn’t let go and almost broke his arm.

After his win, the guys jokingly tell him to sit down so he doesn’t faint again, so Nover pretends to faint again. Humble in his win, Philippe is thrilled (and for some reason — this is where I lost sound to the show! So anyone else who knows what they’re saying…feel free to fill me in!).

As is expected, Nog is very happy to have two of his guys in the finals. They show Roop off in the ring by himself, clearly feeling very defeated.

In the next episode, we’ll see the remaining two semi fights: Sosyznski vs. Magalhaes and Browning vs. Escudero. There are several scenes from the show, and if the show is half as good as the preview, we’re in for a HELLUVA lot of drama! *sigh* but what else is new?

Episode 12 recap coming shortly…