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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Quote of the Show:
“I’m not trying to go rape or pillage anybody.”
- Demarques Johnson, on his gameplan against Dean Amasinger.