The Ultimate Fighter 9 Big Board: Episode 5 – Winner vs. DeFranco, Amasinger vs. Johnson

The Ultimate Fighter: Season 9 USA vs U.K.

The Ultimate Fighter: Season 9 USA vs U.K.

In an episode featuring two fights, Team UK and “Team” USA split the fights one apiece, leaving Team UK still holding the overall lead at 2-1.

In the inaugural lightweight fight, Team UK’s Andre Winner defeated Team USA’s Santino DeFranco via G’n’P in round one. The second fight of the night saw Demarques Johnson finally put Team USA on the board with a first round submission of Dean Amasinger. Both winners looked very impressive in victory, and both coaches saw the fights that they picked come out in their favor.

Winner showed sharp stand-up and great upper-body strength, his fast hands neutralized DeFranco’s reach advantage. His striking kept DeFranco from finding his range, and when DeFranco tried to shoot in, Winner not only stuffed the takedowns, but throttled DeFranco to the mat in the process. In the end, Winner stopped a DeFranco takedown attempt, dragged his opponent to the cage wall, and pounded him out until the stoppage.

The fight between Johnson and Amasinger was also quickly ended by Johnson, who submitted Amasinger with a triangle choke, despite the UK fighter’s best efforts to slam out of the submission. Astute viewers probably saw Johnson’s triangle coming from a mile away, and even though Michael Bisping had previously warned Amasinger to beward of the triangle, to no avail. In any case, Johnson won quickly and provided the USA with its first win, while Amasinger stayed classy in defeat, despite the strange circumstances (see notes).

Again, two fights are slated to air on next week’s episode, and this time I will not foolishly try to speculate which fighters will be picked.

TUF Top 3

Which of the fighters are the front-runners to winning it all? As more and more fights occurs, the cream slowly rises to the top…

Lightweight

  1. Richie Whitson – Team USA (Previous rank: 1)
    The red-haired Alaskan, already nicknamed “Carrot Top” by internet fans, defeated Paul Bird via first round submission to earn the right to represent the USA. The Team Quest prospect showed good takedown defense and quick hands in his victory, making him the top standout so far from 155.
  2. Ross Pearson – Team UK (Previous rank: 2)
    Pearson looked quick and spry in his slugfest victory over AJ Wenn, battering Wenn with knees and punches until picking up a 2nd round TKO. On this week’s episode, Pearson was showing taking exception to Team USA members drawing on his wrestling shoes.
  3. Andre Winner – Team UK (Previous rank: n/a)
    Winner, an early favorite coming into the show, was shaky in his prelim fight but turned up the heat against Santino DeFranco, beating the American in the stand-up game before finishing on the ground. Winner’s combination of strength and length will provide a matchup nightmare against whichever lightweight stands in his way next.

Dropped out: Jason Dent – Team USA

Welterweight

  1. Demarques Johnson –Team USA (Previous rank: 1)
    Johnson solidified his status as the welterweight to beat so far with his quick submission of Dean Amasinger. While Dean wasn’t one of the top welterweights, Johnson’s finish was still convincing enough for him to keep the top spot.
  2. David Faulkner – Team UK (Previous rank: 2)
    When your own coach says that you’re “mentally weak”, it’s a red flag on your credentials that’s hard to ignore. Faulkner quickly finished James Bateman with a heel hook, but we won’t be able to see what the Wolfslair prospect is really made of until he’s put into some kind of peril inside the cage.
  3. Nick Osipczak – Team UK (Previous rank: 3)
    The first winner on the main show didn’t look overly impressive in doing so, but he showed a good chin in dealing with Mark Miller’s punches in the first round. Osipczak so far has not shown much technique, and instead seems to be coasting on his physical talents alone. Now at least, his KO win should make the other welterweights respect him a little more.

Notes:

  • Michael Bisping was MIA during Dean Amasinger’s fight against Demarques Johnson, a fact which was not lost on either Dan Henderson or Team UK. The tease for next week’s episode advertises Bisping’s explanation for his absence. Whatever Bisping’s reason may be, Henderson stated it best when he said that Amasinger was missing his head coach from his corner in the “biggest fight of his life”. The bottom line is that Bisping’s excuse for being truant better be good.
  • In the non-fighting portion of the show, Team USA members started turning on each other, as lightweight Cameron Dollar started to grow into the role of this season’s resident asshole; picking fights with his teammates while jovially recalling his story of sleeping with his buddy’s wife. Meanwhile, welterweight Jason Pierce’s reluctance to agree to Henderson’s plan for him to fight David Faulkner didn’t do his reputation any favors.
  • Quote of the Show:

    “I’m not trying to go rape or pillage anybody.”

    - Demarques Johnson, on his gameplan against Dean Amasinger.

    The Ultimate Fighter 9 Big Board: Episode 4 – Nick Osipczak vs. Mark Miller

    The Ultimate Fighter: Season 9 USA vs U.K.

    The Ultimate Fighter: Season 9 USA vs U.K.

    Advantage, UK. 

    In a fight between two of the less-impressive welterweights on the show, Team UK’s Nick Osipczak defeated Team USA’s Mark Miller via a head kick in round two. The finish was ironic due to the fact that prior to the fight, Team USA Muay Thai coach and Pride FC veteran Cyrille “The Snake” Diabaté had told Miller that Osipczak possessed no knockout power in his legs.  

    In all fairness to Diabaté, Miller’s height disadvantage and sloppy hands left him pretty open to be put to sleep. It was a puzzling matchup choice by USA head coach Dan Henderson; Osipczak had a five-inch reach advantage on Miller, who never had much of a ground game to rely on in case he got out-struck.  

    Overall, it was a sloppy yet exciting fight where both men only sparingly listened to their corners. Osipczak at least showed the capacity to fight in both a “southpaw” (left-handed) stance and a traditional stance, a fact that Team UK head coach Michael Bisping used to his advantage. Neither man showed much takedown defense or head movement during their fight.  

    Two fights are slated to air on next week’s episode; if teaser footage is to be believed, it seems as though Frank Lester will be called on to be one of the fighters competing.  
     

    TUF Top 3 

    Which of the fighters are the front-runners to winning it all? Early days for sure, but it’s never too early to be keeping tabs on the early standouts.  

    Lightweight 

    1. Richie Whitson – Team USA (Previous rank: 1) 
      The red-haired Alaskan, already nicknamed “Carrot Top” by internet fans, defeated Paul Bird via first round submission to earn the right to represent the USA. The Team Quest prospect showed good takedown defense and quick hands in his victory, making him the top standout so far from 155.
    2. Ross Pearson – Team UK (Previous rank: 2) Pearson looked quick and spry in his slugfest victory over AJ Wenn, battering Wenn with knees and punches until picking up a 2nd round TKO. On this week’s episode, Pearson was showing taking exception to Team USA members drawing on his wrestling shoes. 
    3. Jason Dent – Team USA (Previous rank: 3) Dent’s win over Robert Browning was expected, yet not exactly impressive; faced with an undersized opponent whose best move was the Chuck Liddel-style hand-wave distraction, Dent came off as tentative to engage before stuffing a Browning takedown attempt and then teeing off with punches and knees until he got the TKO. However, Dent is the most experienced fighter on the show, and with two previous UFC fights on his resume, his experience in the big time against big opponents shouldn’t be overlooked.  

    Welterweight 

    1. Demarques Johnson –Team USA (Previous rank: 1) So far, the lightweights on the show look much more promising than most of the welterweights, but for now Johnson stands out with his quick G’n’P win over Ray Elbe in the prelims. An interesting dynamic on the show is that Johnson is shown to be the only American so far who seems to be actually affected by Bisping’s trash-talk.
    2. David Faulkner – Team UK (Previous rank: 2) When your own coach says that you’re “mentally weak”, it’s a red flag on your credentials that’s hard to ignore. Faulkner quickly finished James Bateman with a heel hook, but we won’t be able to see what the Wolfslair prospect is really made of until he’s put into some kind of peril inside the cage. An interesting note: his only professional MMA loss came against his current Team UK teammate Dean Amasinger via DQ in 2007.
    3. Nick Osipczak – Team UK (Previous rank: n/a) The first winner on the main show didn’t look overly impressive in doing so, but he showed a good chin in dealing with Mark Miller’s punches in the first round. Osipczak so far has not shown much technique, and instead seems to be coasting on his physical talents alone. Now at least, his KO win should make the other welterweights respect him a little more. 

    Dropped out: Frank Lester – Team USA 
     
    Notes: 

    • Besides Diabaté, the other notable coach is Team UK’s BJJ coach Mario “Sukata” Neto, whos 10-5 MMA record includes fights with Gary Goodridge, Dan Severn, Kevin Randleman, and a win over Kimbo-conquerer Seth Petruzelli. 
    • He was only briefly caught on camera, but the man in the black cap and leather jacket sitting next to Dana White during the fight between Osipczak and Miller was Japanese MMA star Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto. White has said many times in the past that he hopes to bring Yamamoto stateside, most likely into the WEC and its featherweight division. Kid is scheduled to face Joe Warren at DREAM 9 in May.

    The Ultimate Fighter 9 Big Board: Episode 3

    The Ultimate Fighter: Season 9 USA vs U.K.

    The Ultimate Fighter: Season 9 USA vs U.K.

    After the latest episode of TUF, the field of 16 fighters was finally complete, with Jason Dent and Frank Lester claiming the final two spots on Team USA at the expense of Robert Browning and Kiel Reid respectively.

    While most of the episode before the two fights was devoted to watching Robert Browning continue the fine Browning family tradition of acting like an ignorant redneck, viewers also got a brief look-in on the team training. Team USA coach Dan Henderson explains that he will be looking to train his team hard on wrestling; since wrestling isn’t a school sport in the UK, Henderson believes that Team USA will thoroughly outclass Team UK on the ground.

    Team UK coach Michael Bisping, on the other hand, goes straight for the hard sparring, trying to put his fighters through the same routine he would go through if preparing for a fight. 

    Going into next weeks episode, Team USA will have first selection of who fights who.  

    TUF Top 3 

    Which of the fighters are the front-runners to winning it all? Early days for sure, but it’s never too early to be keeping tabs on the early standouts.  

    Lightweight

    1. Richie Whitson – Team USA (Previous rank: n/a)

    The red-haired Alaskan, already nicknamed “Carrot Top” by internet fans, defeated Paul Bird via first round submission to earn the right to represent the USA. The Team Quest prospect showed good takedown defense and quick hands in his victory, making him the top standout so far from 155.

    1. Ross Pearson – Team UK (Previous rank: n/a)

    Pearson looked quick and spry in his slugfest victory over AJ Wenn, battering Wenn with knees and punches until picking up a 2nd round TKO. The pre-show buzz from the UK was with fellow lightweight Andre Winner, but Winner’s win was anything but dominant, so for now Pearson edges ahead as Team UK’s cream of the crop.

    1. Jason Dent – Team USA (Previous rank: n/a)

    Dent’s win over Robert Browning was expected, yet not exactly impressive; faced with an undersized opponent whose best move was the Chuck Liddel-style hand-wave distraction, Dent came off as tentative to engage before stuffing a Browning takedown attempt and then teeing off with punches and knees until he got the TKO. However, Dent is the most experienced fighter on the show, and with two previous UFC fights on his resume, his experience in the big time against big opponents shouldn’t be overlooked. 

    On the bubble: Andre Winner – Team UK 

    Welterweight 

    1. Demarques Johnson –Team USA (Previous rank: n/a)

    So far, the lightweights on the show look much more promising than most of the welterweights, but for now Johnson stands out with his quick G’n’P win over Ray Elbe in the prelims. Watching Michael Bisping get into his head with relative ease on this week’s episode was an added bonus.

    1. David Faulkner – Team UK (Previous rank: n/a)

    When your own coach says that you’re “mentally weak”, it’s a red flag on your credentials that’s hard to ignore. Faulkner quickly finished James Bateman with a heel hook, but we won’t be able to see what the Wolfslair prospect is really made of until he’s put into some kind of peril inside the cage. An interesting note: his only professional MMA loss came against his current Team UK teammate Dean Amasinger via DQ in 2007.

    1. Frank Lester – Team USA (Previous rank: n/a)

    Lester, a late replacement to face Kiel Reid for a spot on Team USA, was neither classy in victory nor overly impressive in his fight, but at the very least he was able to shrug off the takedowns of the Militech wrestler Reid. He showed good striking and looks huge for a welterweight, but the Mark Coleman-esque victory means Lester will have much more to prove.

     

    On the bubble: Santino Defranco – Team USA

    For The Insomniac MMA Fan, Quality Fights From Across the Pacific

    As the MMA world recovers from Strikeforce: Shamrock versus Diaz and gears up for UFC 97, fight fans can be pleased with the fact that they are now spoilt for choice in terms of MMA options. In the post-EliteXC world, the UFC, Strikeforce, Affliction, and the WEC can all put out quality fight cards with quality fighters.

    But from the ashes of Pride FC, two newer Japanese promotions are finally bringing the heat back to the Asian MMA scene. Both DREAM and World Victory Road had struggles at the beginning; Japanese MMA isn’t as popular as it was during the Pride heyday, and many of the cards had a “circus freak” feel to them in an effort to garner attention and TV deals. But now both promotions have started to right the ship, and for fans who either have HDNet or don’t mind staying up way into the morning, there’s a treasure trove of significant fights coming up from the Land of The Rising Sun.

    Some of the highlights include:

    Hatsu Hioki vs Ronnie Mann (World Victory Road Presents: Sengoku 8 – May 2)

    With both DREAM and Sengoku currently holding featherweight tournaments, Hioki is the torchbearer for Sengoku’s tourney, as well as the hot favorite. The big and flashy names may most be on DREAM’s side, but Hioki is the man which most MMA publications rank as one of the top five featherweights in the world. With wins over WEC veterans Jeff Curran and Chris Manuel on his resume, Hioki will look to continue his tournament journey with a win over English-Japanese fighter Mann, who brings a 16-1 record with him to Sengoku’s tournament quarterfinals.

    Tatsuya Kawajiri vs Gesais Calvancante (DREAM 9 – May 26)

    Before the second coming of BJ Penn and the rise of fighters such as Shinya Aoki or Eddie Alvarez, the consensus top lightweight in the world was American Top Team fighter Gesais “JZ” Calvancante. As a middleweight, Calvancante won back-to-back K1 tournaments, and big things were expected from him when he moved to DREAM’s lightweight division. A series of nagging injuries and a decision loss to Aoki halted the JZ hype, and Calvancante will look to get back in the lightweight title picture with a win against Tatsuya “Crusher” Kawajiri.

    Former Pride standout Kawajiri, who was denied his desired matchup with Caol Uno when Uno re-signed with the UFC, will look to take out his frustrations on Calvancante and position himself as the next contender to Joachim Hansen’s DREAM lightweight title, as former number one contender Alvarez has signed exclusively with Bellator Fighting Championships.

    Jason Miller vs Ronaldo Souza (DREAM 9 – May 26)

    Most American fans will now recognize Jason “Mayhem” Miller from his MTV show “Bully Beatdown”, where Miller offers alleged-teenaged bullies money to let professional MMA fighters rough them up on national TV. Miller will have slightly loftier ambitions at DREAM 9, when he faces Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza for DREAM’s newly vacated middleweight title.

    Souza, one of the MMA’s finest Jiu-Jitsu fighters, already has a victory over Miller from DREAM’s earlier tournament, but when tourney winner Gegard Mousasi decided to immediately jump to light heavyweight, the door was opened for Miller and Souza to fight a second time, this time with a title on the line.

    Best of the Rest:

    Former Japanese MMA golden boy Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto will face Greco-Roman wrestling champ Joe Warren at DREAM 9as part of DREAM’s featherweight tourney. Yamamoto received a bye into the quarterfinals.

    Also slated for DREAM 9 is a matchup between former DREAM middleweight champ Gegard Mousasi, who will fight former Pride and UFC fighter Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou at light heavyweight.

    At Sengoku 8, reigning Abu Dhabi champion and grappler extraordinaire Alexandre Ribeiro will have his second MMA fight against Team Grabaka fighter Kei Yamamiya. Ribeiro’s first MMA fight was a submission victory over pro wrestler Takashi Sugiura at Sengoku 5.

    Richie Whitson: Old Footage from AFC 33

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    We dug up some footage of Richie Whitson from before his run on The Ultimate Fighter Season 9: USA vs U.K. Richie shows and impressive one round submission.

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