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

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