Episode 5: Wiggity Wack
Previously on The Ultimate Fighter, Team USA chose Brit Nick Osipczak to fight American Mark Miller, giving Osipczak a big win over the Americans. Could this loss be a wakeup call for Team USA, or will it be the wedge that drives between them?
Bisping is pretty thrilled by the win and tells his guys to get used to this elated feeling. Henderson, on the other hand, looks for the loss to be a wakeup call for his guys. Pierce says it opened his eyes, with Dent adding that it’s pissed them off and are looking for revenge. On the ride home, Dent goes on to warn the rest of the guys to be respectful when they get back to the house. He’s worried that Cameron is going to run his mouth and make them all look bad (and rightfully so, as Cameron tells Dent he’ll pretty much do what he wants). Demarques points out that they are not really a team, and aren’t fooling anyone into thinking so.
Upon arriving back at the house, the disparity in their ages is apparent (their ages range from 21 to almost 30) — one guy is running his mouth about how many girls he’s slept with (another refers to him as the Wilt Chamberlain of MMA) — including the wife of a friend. You can see the older guys rolling their eyes at the pure BS spewing from this kid’s mouth. Some of the older guys talk about distancing themselves and hanging out more with the Brits, noticing that they’re more mature.
Back at the gym, the guys assemble for Team UK’s fight announcement, in which Andre Winner will take on Santino Defranco. Bisping is confident in Winner, while Hendo thinks Santino could take Andre down and pick him apart. Prior to the weigh-ins, Winner is shown trying to cut weight in a sweat suit. Winner grapples with Bisping and both are going all out. Winner even gets Bisping down to the cheers of his teammates. This could be bad for Defranco!
At Team USA training, the focus is on Defranco talking about the issues he had when he made it through the second season of TUF in 2005 — where it was found he had two brain aneurysms that required him to leave the show to have brain surgery. If the goal of showing this is to garner sympathy for Defranco, it definitely worked.
On fight day, an incredibly confident Defranco doubts Winner’s abilities against someone with as much experience as he has. In their respective locker rooms, Defranco is hyping himself up, as Bisping is doing the same for a seemingly calm Winner. Winner asserts that the only way he can lose is via submission.
Andre Winner vs. Santino Defranco
Round 1: The fights starts with a good leg kick from Defranco. Winner spends a lot of time backing up. Defranco delivers another leg kick, which is followed up with a jab from Winner. Defranco shoots, but can’t get him down. They clinch but separate quickly. Solid jabs from Winner, and Defranco responds with several good kicks. Defranco shoots and fails again due to Winner’s impressive sprawl. Good combo from Winner, followed by another. They continue swapping jabs and kicks, but no damage being done really. Finally a jab from Winner rattles Defranco. Defranco finally gets Winner down, but pulls him down into his guard. Defranco looks for a triangle, but can’t get his leg over. Winner gets out of it and Defranco just wraps his legs fully around him. Winner backs off and starts in with a barrage of punches which Defranco is not really defending. Finally the ref stops it.
Winner: Andre Winner via TKO
Team UK is elated, as this win is a huge boost to their morale. Winner is so happy he cannot describe the feeling of his victory. Defranco is pretty hard on himself for looking for the way to end it quickly and being impatient. Hendo tells them to be confident in their game and stick to their game plan. Instead of moping, they should all use these two losses to fuel their fire. They need a mental boost, so they need to pick a winning fight.
At the house, things are not like they’ve been in past seasons. There is a clear unfriendly vibe, and some USA’ers are giving Dent a hard time about being antisocial. This irks Dent who just wants to train and fight. He even tells his own teammates that it’s more enjoyable to hang out with the Brits.
Team USA trains the following morning, with Hendo having them sprinting up stairs (OUTSIDE)! Hendo starts talking possible fight scenarios, with Demarques and Pierce as possibilities. Pierce doesn’t seem to be very confident in himself. Hendo wants him to fight Faulkner, but he’s reluctant since they’ve become close. Cameron has some choice words about Pierce and his “fear”, then he pisses off Miller. All of this dissension starts Demarques on a rant, which just further annoys Dent. As usual, Demarques runs his mouth about them not being a team, but he just continues to alienate them. I’m sorry, but does Demarques realize that he’s part of the problem? The coaches step in to remind them of why they are there. They need to be a team — “you can’t train by yourself, you can’t get ready by yourself.” They need to be there to help each other out. He tells them to bust the UK’s guys balls, not each other’s.
Like night and day, the Brits are back at the house having a great time, acting like a real team. There are clearly no egos on their team which is why they seem to be getting along better. They seem to be bonding and that’s what they think will contribute to more wins for them. The team dynamic is undeniable.
They assemble back at the gym for the next fight pick from Team USA and Hendo chooses Demarques Johnson to fight Dean Amasinger. Hendo claims to have done this to “ensure” a win for the US. Bisping agrees that Demarques is probably USA’s best fighter, but thinks Dean should not be underestimated. He’s still looking for UK to go 3-0. Bisping discusses Demarques’s previous wins, which frequently seem to be by triangle, which he fears Dean is susceptible to. Dean comments that he’s tightened up his loose spots in his game and is quite confident in himself. On Demarques’ end — he refers to Dean as Mr. T: the Mohawk with the bald spot. Is it terrible that in a way I want Demarques to lose?
He feels good, and Hendo has confidence in him. He prays in the ring — thanking god for the chance to fight (you think god condones this? To me this is like a crack addict thanking god for crack!).
However, Demarques feels the pressure for a win. In the locker room, Dean is anxious, wondering where Bisping is. All are on edge, as it is obviously very strange for the coach to be MIA. No one knows where he is. Even Dana is now concerned. In the nine seasons of TUF, there’s never been a situation where a coach didn’t show up. But the fight must go on — the assistants are confident they can corner Dean. Dean is disappointed, but what can he do but fight.
Demarques Johnson vs. Dean Amasinger
Round 1: Great leg kick from Amasinger . He goes for another kick that gets caught. He falls back and Johnson is on top. They stand up and exchange for a moment. Amasinger shoots and takes Johnson down. Immediately Johnson goes for an armbar, but Amasinger frees his arm. In Johnson’s guard, he tries to get some shots in, but Johnson makes it difficult to land anything. Amasinger backs off a bit and gets his neck caught between Johnson’s legs and gets set up for the triangle. Johnson pulls it in tight and Amasinger taps.
Winner: Demarques Johnson via Submission (triangle)
So, Team USA finally gets a win. Hendo jokes that Bisping didn’t show because he knew his guy was going to lose and that he wouldn’t be able to gloat. Dean is tearfully pissed off at himself and is not taking the loss well. He can’t believe he got caught. He thought he’d be able to overpower Demarques. He still wants to know where Bisping is, but he doesn’t blame him for the loss.
Next week: The Bisping question is solved. Will Team USA ever get along? Is it the house? Personally, this season seems like no other so far. Part of me says the guys are more mature, and the lack of stupidity in the house is evidence of this. But, on the other hand, people can’t seem to get along. Even adults could make the best of this situation — and the Americans just aren’t cutting it. I sure hope that Demarques’ win spurs the team on and is the start of a new chapter for them. But if Demarques is the best the team’s got, I am not really hopeful.