The night’s second episode starts with highlights from Soszynski’s surprise submission win over Kingsbury; Magalhaes’ quick and masterful submission of Bruchez; Efrain’s win over Nelson (as well Junie’s extreme reaction); and finally Junie’s lackluster and unimpressive win over Delgado. This show’s semifinal fights will feature Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Vinny Magalhaes and Junie Browning vs. Efrain Escudero. However, the previews imply that Junie might not even make it to the ring….
Soszynski talks about fighting Vinny — who is not only his teammate on the show, but back at his training home in Temecula. His game plan is to break Vinny down. Krzysztof refers to his fists as his wife and his son, which he plans on putting right through Vinny’s face. Vinny however is not nervous, though he thinks Krstyof probably is. He adds that he doesn’t care if he has to hurt Krzysztof, he just wants to win.
(they are getting to this awfully fast, which tells me it could be a long fight)
They come out and begin with a lot of dancing and feeling each other out. Soszynski gets in a solid leg kick, while Magalhaes gets in a couple solid jabs. A good head kick from Magalhaes. They continue dancing. Finally Magalhaes attacks, gets Soszynski’s back against the cage, swings his legs up around his waist and gets Soszynski down on the ground in his guard with his legs wrapped around him almost in a triangle. It’s not locked in, but Magalhaes is punishing Soszynski with shots to his head. Soszynski is struggling, but manages to pull himself out of the triangle. Soszynski backs away and allows Magalhaes to stand. They go back to a lot of inaction on their feet. This changed up with a HUGE body kick from Magalhaes. Good leg kick from Soszynski, which is followed by another; two more; and another; and another. They’re both circling. Magalhaes lands a leg kick, and Soszynski returns with three. Magalhaes attacks, but falls. Some good exchanges and Magalhaes ends up on his back. Soszynski tries to take advantage, but Magalhaes stands and they clinch. Magalhaes swings his hips up and gets Soszynski in his guard. He grabs onto Soszynski’s arm and pulls it taut. He rolls to lock it in and Soszynski quickly taps.
Winner: Vinny Magalhaes via Submission (armbar)
After the fight, Dana claims he was impressed by both their game plans. The whole fight impressed him: Soszynski’s brutal leg kicks, that Magalhaes was constantly pulling guard. Both plans worked, but Soszynski slipped.
Magalhaes refers to it as the biggest win of his life. Although Soszynski is disappointed, he will take the loss and move on. He has learned that he needs to work on his Jiu Jitsu and looks forward to fighting again.
This means that the Light Heavyweight finale will be between Ryan Bader and Vinny Magalhaes.
Later, Junie is training for his fight. He feels like his timing is off, that he’s gotten worse since he’s been on the show because he hasn’t had the mat time he usually gets back home. He’s visibly frustrated and complains that he doesn’t even want to fight. He tells as much to Mir, and Mir tells him no problem. Mir’s not going to force him to fight. All the rest of the team give it the ok, that he’s out and Shane’s in. Mir says he’s a head case and obviously not mentally ready for it.
Back at the house, a few of the guys are outside talking about the final fight between Bader and Vinny (Junie claiming that Bader will lose on the ground). Primm is the only one from the red team, so he feels he must defend them. Junie claims that even if he loses in the house, he guarantees that he will be the most successful fighter from the show. Primm tells him to prove it. This prompts Junie to throw a glass coffee mug straight at his head (which shatters) and proceeds to attack him. The other two guys there have to literally pull Junie off of him. They get Junie into the house, and when Primm comes in, he’s smart enough to go outside. He clearly realizes he has f**ked up big time.
That same night, the guys are discussing Junie’s actions. They all believe it’ll be hard for Dana to let Junie stay once they see the footage, especially considering this is the second time he’s done something like this. Dana comes into the house after getting the phone call. He gets Junie alone and comes right out and asks him what the f**k is wrong with him. He tells him he can’t figure out if he’s “retarded, bi-polar, or is afraid of failing”. He asks why he told Mir that he didn’t want to fight. Junie claims he was just pissed and feeling the pressure, because he doesn’t want to lose. Dana agrees — claims he would rather find a way out than lose. Junie says he never pulls this kind of stuff at home. But Dana warns him, if he thinks the house is hard, it’s only worse in the UFC. Technically, he should’ve been kicked off the show three times already. He asks Junie what he thinks he should do. Dana tells him that he’s a great reality star because he acts like an idiot, but the question is, is he a good fighter? Dana doesn’t know how he can reward a guy who acts this way. His decision is that he’s going to talk to the other fighters to get their take. He doesn’t want the other guys to feel like he’s showing Junie favoritism.
When he has them all outside, he admits that Junie is a nut job and that Junie should’ve been kicked off a long time ago. But he also tells them that this is what Junie wants because he can’t handle the pressure and he is afraid to lose on national television. Junie has two choices: he can either go home and claim that he would’ve won the show, but he got kicked off because he was the “baddest” one there OR he can stay on the show so Efrain can “beat his ass”. (And this is where we hear the famed Survivor comparison where Dana slips and tells them they can’t vote him off, they have to “beat him off” — which makes all the guys laugh). He tells them it’s up to them — and they wholeheartedly decide to keep him.
He goes back downstairs and tells Junie what the guys decided, asking Junie if he wants to stay — to which Junie responds “hell yeah”. Dana tells him he better get his s**t together. This is Junie’s chance to prove himself — whether or not he’s the tough guy he claims to be. Dana is hoping he’ll even grow up a little bit. Junie says he feels lucky for the second chance and thanks them all.
In the van, Junie says that if he loses to Efrain, he’s not going to fight anymore. He says if he can’t beat him, he can’t beat anyone in the UFC. He feels that Efrain doesn’t have the tools in his toolbox, thereby making him confident that he can win. Escudero is also confident. Efrain just wants to beat Junie because he’s been talking s**t and getting under his skin since day one. He thinks Junie should keep his mouth shut because he doesn’t think he can back it up.
Both look calm and ready. Browning enters the cage and literally sits down in the corner. At the start of the fight, they touch gloves, and Junie makes like he’s stretching. They exchange some jabs. Browning comes at Escudero with a leg kick. Escudero returns but misses. Both try leg kicks, but nothing happens. Good kicks from Escudero followed by a HUGE body shot from Browning. Browning swings and misses, so Escudero takes him down. He gets his arms around Browning’s neck, but can’t get a submission out of it. They roll over and Escudero stands, trying to keep Browning down. Browning gets up and Escudero taunts him to come forward. They exchange a few jabs and leg kicks. Escudero lands a good jab to his face. They clinch and Escudero is in control. He gets good shots in on Browning’s ribs. Browning is going for the take down, but Escudero is keeping control and continues to elbow his head. Browning lands a couple rib shots. But Escudero lands some good knees. There is a continued exchange of knees and jabs in the clinch. They are back in the center, exchanging shots. Browning lands a good body kick which Escudero follows with two good leg kicks. Browning goes for a flying knee that fails. Then Browning attempts a high head kick and misses, so Escudero retaliates with a straight jab to the face. Escudero keeps faking the shoot. Browning goes for shots that keep getting blocked. Escudero lands a good leg kick. Both keep landing jabs and leg kicks and the round ends on their feet.
(In the corner, Mir is telling Junie that his stand up sucks — I love it!)
The round starts with a jab exchange. Both seem lucid and aggressive. Browning attempts a spinning back fist that doesn’t land. More jab exchanges. Browning shoots and gets Escudero against the cage in the clinch but can’t get him down. Both are still swinging hard. HUGE right from Browning lands on Escudero’s cheek. Escudero comes back with two of his own. (If I hear Mir yell three strikes one more time, I’m gonna hit HIM!). Good leg kicks from Escudero. Escudero then shoots and gets Browning on his back. He is in half guard, and Browning tries to get his arms around Escudero, but can’t do much. Escudero continuously punches and elbows the ribs, kidneys and legs. Escudero tries turning to side control and gets it as Browning rolls over. As Browning rolls, it looks like Escudero gets his neck trapped in an awkward choke. Escudero pushes a little further and Browning taps.
Winner: Efrain Escudero via submission (choke)
Escudero celebrates with a mid-cage back flip, while an extremely irate Junie storms out of the cage into the locker room, where he “gingerly” slams the door.
After the fight, a lot gets said. Dana shakes his head at the fact that Junie walks out and into the cage, and sits in the corner, as if he was better than Efrain. Dana calls the first round scrappy, noting that it was very back and forth. Nog says that Junie’s striking is better than Efrain’s so it was dangerous for Efrain to keep it on their feet, but it worked out ok. Mir says that Junie stopped listening to them altogether, and wasn’t doing anything that was asked of him. Never was the game plan to shoot on Efrain. As he’s not a cheerleader, Mir decides that if Junie wasn’t going to listen to him, he was going to just sit down and enjoy the show — and that’s what he did. Mir says Junie knew the choke was coming, knew how to get out of it, but feels that Junie quit. He even adds that he was kind of glad to see Junie lose. Dana feels that justice was served.
Junie, outside, doesn’t feel like Efrain is better than he thought, just that he himself is not as good as he thought. He thinks maybe he’s in the wrong sport. All the other guys come outside to talk to him, and Junie just makes excuses that his training wasn’t as good as back home. The coaches yell at him for not listening and making excuses. Junie says that this was a waste of his time, that fighting is obviously not for him.
Now the semis are over, it’s time for Mir to pay up on the bet. If Nog’s guys won in the semis, Mir would have to shave his “supermodel hair”. So Nog goes ahead and shaves Mir’s head. Both coaches discuss their experiences with the teams, which were good for the most part.
So, that sets the stage for the finale. On Dec. 13th, live on Spike we’ll have:
Light Heavyweight fight: Jiu Jitsu World Champion Vinny Magalhaes will take on All-American Wrestler Ryan Bader
Lightweight fight: Wrestling phenom Efrain Escudero will square off against the world’s toughest nurse Philippe Nover
Then on Dec 27th, coaches Nogueira and Mir will settle their battle in the cage. I for one, am looking forward to all the fights on both nights. Although the finalists aren’t all who I expected them to be, I will be sure to watch and see if I’m right about the winners.