Posts tagged: Ross Pearson

Gomi continues decline, Nelson proves legitimacy at UFN 21

Once regarded by many as one of the top lightweights in the world, former Pride FC lightweight champion and Japanese MMA legend Takanori Gomi met his match Wednesday night as he squared off with TUF vet Kenny Florian in the main event of UFC Fight Night 21.

Florian vs. Gomi

The event, held at the Bojangles Coliseum, marked the first time that the UFC has visited Charlotte, N.C., since UFC 5 in 1995. The event also marked Gomi’s UFC debut and his first fight in America since 2003.

Gomi and Florian exchanged on the feet for the majority of the main event, and Florian controlled the action. He utilized his four-inch reach advantage throughout the fight, landing stiff jabs from a distance, which took a toll on Gomi. Gomi shot for the takedown on the BJJ black belt in the first round, but was unable to get the fight to the ground or stay close enough to trade blows effectively.

In the last round Florian successfully took the fight to the ground, landed ground-and-pound, and used an arm triangle to pass to full mount. Florian used his BJJ to lock in a rear-naked choke as Gomi turned, forcing the tap at 2:52 into the third round. Florian outstriked Gomi 80-41, according to compustrike.com, and won “Submission of the Night” honors. Florian is expected to face Gray Maynard next in August, when the UFC visits his hometown of Boston, Massa.

In the co-main event, heavyweight Roy Nelson proved that his TUF win was no fluke and that he is ready for the UFC’s toughest competition by running through Stefan Struve in the first round. After a brief power outage the fight commenced, and Nelson didn’t let the reach advantage of the 6-foot-11-inch Struve become a factor in the fight.

Rivera vs. Quarry

Nelson pressed his opponent in the opening exchanges, closed the distance and landed an overhand right, which clipped Struve. He quickly followed up with another overhand right that dropped Struve. Nelson jumped on his opponent, landing ground-and-pound until the fight was stopped at 0:39 into the first round. Nelson outstriked Struve 9-2 in the match and won “Knockout of the Night” honors.

TUF vet and 12-fight UFC vet Jorge Rivera put on an impressive performance in a standup battle with fellow TUF vet and former UFC middleweight title challenger Nate Quarry in the second fight of the night. Rivera dominated the first round, dropping Quarry three times with strong rights, and nearly finished him.

Quarry got rocked with a left at the start of the second round and Rivera followed up with ground-and-pound, putting an end to the fight at 0:29 into the second round. The fight marked Rivera’s third consecutive UFC victory.

The first fight of the night featured an explosive lightweight battle between TUF 9 winner Ross Pearson and 8-fight UFC veteran Dennis Siver. The fighters traded back and forth on the feet for most of the fight. Pearson rocked his opponent several times in the fight and showed good takedown defense.

Pearson vs. Siver

Pearson utilized his superior standup to earn a unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring the contest 30-27. The bout earned “Fight of the Night” honors. All fighters earning bonus honors earned $30,000.

A preliminary bout between Caol Uno and Gleison Tibau was also featured on the broadcast before the co-main event. Tibau overwhelmed Uno with punches in the contest, took his back, and pounded him out. The fight was stopped at 4:13 into the first round.

Overall, the Bojangles Coliseum had an attendance of 7,700 and a total gate of $590,685. The broadcast on Spike TV peaked at two million fans during the main event, according to mmapayout.com. The event was followed by the premier of the eleventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

The next UFC event, UFC 112, will feature a middleweight champion match between Anderson Silva and Demian Maia, and a lightweight championship match between B.J. Penn and Frankie Edgar. The event will mark the UFC’s first trip to Abu Dhabi, UAE. Live pay-per-view coverage of the event will begin at 1 p.m. EST on Saturday, April 10. The event will be re-aired at the UFC’s normal event time of 10 p.m. EST via delay.

UFC Fight Night 21 Full

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U of Combat Exclusive: James Wilks Interview

paulsontufwinner

Wilks (L) with trainer Erik Paulson

Not many people, whether they be fighters or fans, picked James “Lightning” Wilks to defeat Demarques Johnson in the welterweight finale of The Ultimate Fighter 9: US vs.

UK. Johnson had rolled into the finals with an abundant showing of technique, grit, and verbal hyperbole; Wilks entered the finals with two victories against technique-challenged Frank Lester. Sherdog’s preview of the TUF 9 finale declared that Johnson would “go “…from journeyman to star by beating down Wilks in half the time it took England to win the Falklands War.”

Less than five minutes of combat later, there was no question about how wrong the experts were.

With a one-round demolition of Johnson and a TUF title in the rear-view mirror, Wilks still has his feet on the ground as he prepares for his future in the UFC while running Lightning MMA, his new gym located in Orange County, California.

Speaking to UofCombat’s Justin Eleazer, Wilks comments on his fight at the finale, training under MMA pioneer Erik Paulson, life in the TUF house, the benefits of catch wrestling, and more.

Lightning MMA, in Orange Country, CA

Lightning MMA, in Orange Country, CA

UofC: How long have you been training with CSW affiliated programs?

James Wilks: 10 years with Erik, first seminar in 99 in England. Bought the video tapes, and went to seminars.

UofC: What’s one of the areas of your game that CSW training has helped you improve?

JW: Everything, Erik is very well rounded. Great at looking at game plans, very complete submission game.

UofC: Does your proximity to Erik Paulson’s home gym excite you or scare you, I’ve heard he can be a tough coach.

JW: He’s definately a tough trainer. But he knows my game very well and it’s exciting to live near him.

UofC: You threw an uncommon leg compression lock against Johnson (at the TUF finale). How long has that been in your repertoire?

Wilks (bottom) dominted Johnson

Wilks (bottom) dominted Johnson

JW: Leg locks in general are a big part of my game from early on. It was a leg lock I learned later on, I’ve been practicing, been using that move for 4 years.

UofC: Your opponent Demarques Johnson had a lot of tough words before the fight, did he have a legitimate issue, or was he just getting himself worked up for a fight?

JW: I don’t think he cared for me too much legitimately, but I think he hyped it up because he needs to feel angry to fight somebody.

UofC: Styles make fights, given your style who would make an exciting fight for you?

JW: A good kickboxer, varied muay thai striker. I don’t know, I don’t like to pick any names.

UofC: Forrest Griffin, Anderson Silva?

JW: No, no, honestly I think those guys are too good for me, and too heavy. I don’t know I suppose a well rounded kick boxer that uses all of his skills, a real test.

Bisping - ...definately more technical than Id have thought

Bisping - "...definately more technical than I'd have thought"

UofC: What is Michael Bisping’s clinch game like?

JW: He’s got a good clinch game. He’s definately more technical than I’d have thought from watching him on TV.

UofC: They say you learn the most from your mistakes. What did you learn from your fights with Patrick Speight and Jimmy Smith?

JW: For Speight, cardo. Smith, don’t kick right off the bat, especially to the body… and how I should have or could have gotten out of the knee bar, cross face, which erik was shouting, generally you grapple to escape grappling and I was punching.

UofC: People say the house really tests your mental game. Did you find it challenging?

JW: It was challenging, I definately missed people from back home, my girlfriend and my parents and my brother. I had a great group of guys to on Team UK. Overall it was an enjoyable experience.

UofC: Who’s the UK fighter you are most likely to see in the UFC again, Pearson aside?

JW: I think Nick Osipczak. He’s given good performances, I think he’s exciting to watch, and he’s well rounded.

UofC: Which American impressed you the most?

Dent (left) impressed Wilks.

Jason Dent (left) impressed Wilks.

JW: Jason Dent, not in his first two fights, but in his other two. He was a lot better than I thought he would have been, very technical.

UofC: CSW employs a lot of catch wrestling, which doesn’t get nearly as much airtime as BJJ, what’s the biggest advantage of catch?

JW: The varied number of attacks. Also, the fact that a lot of people don’t know those submissions because it’s not as common as jiu-jitsu.

UofC: Tell me about your new facility.

JW: Over 3,500 square feet. a full cage, sports massage, and full shower. Great atmosphere.

UofC: Is Paulson doing any seminars at your facility?

JW: Yea, he definately will, but the dates have not been set.

UofC: Having knocked out four teeth with it, are people at your gym afraid of your knee?

JW: (chuckles) No, not at my gym. we train in a safe manner, and we don’t throw full contact knees to the head during training.


Styles Make Fights – TUF 9 Finale: Johnson vs. Wilks (Freestyle vs. Freestyle)

In the welterweight finale for TUF 9, a bad-blood-barnburner turned into a ground clinc as James Wilks ran through Demarques Johnson to capture the welterweight contract and ensure a UK sweep of TUF 9.

James Wilks dominated Demarques Johnson and finished the UK sweep

James Wilks dominated Demarques Johnson and finished the UK sweep

Both men came out swinging early, and Wilks got the best of the early shots with a jab and a knee. Wilks continued to relentlessly pressure Johnson with knees to the body until the fight went to the ground, with Wilks on top. A heelhook attempt by Wilks is foiled by Johnson, who works his way to top position. Wilks, however, kept working on the leg with “leg compression lock” (see Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Tyson Griffin for a visual), but Johnson escaped. Wilks then failed to finish again with a triangle, but continued to throw Johnson around the cage. Wilks tried to finish with a rear nake choke, and after a long struggle, Johnson got one of his arms trapped and tapped with seconds left in the round.

Like Ross Pearson before him, Wilks executed the perfect gameplan, coming out aggressive and getting straight into Johnson’s face. Johnson never found his rhythm and could only react to what Wilks was doing, eventually leading to the submission finish.

Styles Make Fights – TUF 9 Finale: Winner vs. Pearson (Freestyle vs. Freestyle)

In the TUF 9 lightweight finale, Ross Pearson upset Andre Winner to win the all-UK lightweight final.

The first round was a tentative and somewhat tedious affair, as both fighters pawed at each other before clinching against the cage for most of the round. It seemed that both fighters respected each striking too much, and neither tried to throw until the final minute of the round, where a low blow time-out was followed by a brief flurry from both men, with Winner edging slightly ahead as the round ended.

Ross Pearson bested Andre Winner to capture the TUF 9 lightweight title

Ross Pearson bested Andre Winner to capture the TUF 9 lightweight title

Pearson turned up the aggression in round two, but the match then halted back into the clinch again, with Pearson still trying to push the pace. Winner, however, kept Pearson pinned against the cage until the final minute again, where Pearson was able to separate and throw some good strikes as the round ended.

The fight finally opened up in the third round, where Pearson again was able to break through Winner’s clinch and throw strikes. Winner was able to survive and throw some big hits of his own, but as the round wound down Pearson refused to stop, throwing punches and knees which had Winner on the back foot and taking the UD victory.

Pearson did exactly what he needed to take the fight away from the favorite Winner. He pushed the pace of the striking and shrugged off Winner’s attempts to control the tempo through clinching. Ultimately, Winner’s reluctance to strike with Pearson or go for a takedown led to his downfall, as the all-action Pearson outstruck him at every opportunity.

The Ultimate Fighter 9 Big Board: Episode 12 – Wilks vs. Lester II

In the last episode of The Ultimate Fighter 9: US vs. UK, foes-turned-friends James Wilks and Frank Lester once again faced off, this time with a spot in the welterweight finale on the line. In the end, Team UK’s Wilks once again put Team USA’s Lester away to advance to the finale and face Demarques Johnson for TUF 9′s welterweight title. In the country-versus-country tally, Team UK enters the finale with a 3 fighters as opposed to USA’s single one.

TUF: Season 9 UK vs USA

TUF: Season 9 UK vs USA

The first round was a slow and tentative affair where Wilks used his reach advantage to pick away at Lester. The clinches against the fence provided nothing of note, while Wilks seemed fine with dropping his hands and inviting Lester to try and take a swing at him.

An accidental low blow started off the second round, but after that, Wilk’s straight jab continued to hurt Lester. Lester’s hands couldn’t match Wilk’s reach, and Wilks’ strikes continued to get through Lester’s defense. Lester managed to keep the fight standing and defended the takedown well enough, but Wilks was content to initiate and let the jabs add up on Lester as the round ended.

Lester came out swinging in round three, but Wilks caught him early and once again pushed Lester up against the fence. In a case of deja vu, Wilks made Lester feel his knees once again, until Lester could take no more punishment and was saved by the ref.

It was a well-executed game plan by Team UK and Wilks, who exploited Lester’s obvious lack of technique and fatigue from his previous fights. Wilks never tried too hard for the takedown, but was instead confident enough in his striking to finish Lester without taking much damage.

TUF Finale – With both finale matchups now set, who will walk out with the UFC contracts?

Lightweight

The Favorite – Andre Winner

The Underdog – Ross Pearson

Winner will enter the TUF 9 ligthweight finale as the slight favorite due to his size and experience advantage. In a battle between two strikers who can also finish with submissions, Winner will need to impose his will on the smaller man both standing and on the ground. For Pearson, the key will be to once again push the pace and try to harass Winner into losing his composure.

Welterweight

The Favorite – Demarques Johnson

The Underdog – James Wilks

Johnson will enter the finale as a slight favorite against Wilks. Johnson seems to have a complete game, but as his semi-final fight showed, he can be rattled by strikes that come fast and early. Wilks will have to bring some ruthless aggression and not let Johnson settle into any kind of game plan. Both men are good on the ground, so stand-up prowess might make all the difference in this matchup.

The Ultimate Fighter 9 Big Board: Episode 11 – Winner vs. Dollar, Pearson vs. Dent

Andre Winner submitted Cameron Dollar

Andre Winner submitted Cameron Dollar

The lightweight finale for TUF was set this week as Andre Winner and Ross Pearson punched in their tickets to an all-UK affair at the expense of Cameron Dollar and Jason Dent respectively.

In the first fight of today’s episode, Winner disposed to Dollar in quick and unexpected fashion with a triangle choke in the first round.

It was a sloppy fight initially, with Dollar swinging for the fences from the start while Winner responded with precision counter strikes. The decisive factor was Dollar’s inability to suck Winner into the ground game, as Winner muscled off Dollar’s takedowns and was unnerved by Dollar’s looping go-for-broke punches. Winner then took advantage of a desperate lunging takedown by Dollar to sweep into full mount. The mount was high, so the striker Winner switched to a triangle choke which hung dangerously loose for awhile. However, Dollar didn’t muster the strength to pull out of the hold, and Winner eventually locked it up and coaxed the tap from Dollar.

In the second fight, the veteren Dent finally turned up the heat against British slugger Pearson, fighting Pearson at his own game of non-stop striking in the first round. Pearson was up to the test and refused to back up, throwing strikes of his own which found their mark. Overall in the round Pearson landed more clean shots, but Dent ended the round with a strong flurry, making it a round nearly too close to call.

It was more of the same at the start of the second round, with both men exchanging punches and kicks. Pearson scored the first takedown of the match to escape a Dent flurry, but Dent made it back to his feet and continued to apply the pressure from strikes. However, a takedown attempt by Dent went wrong and Pearson ended the round by raining down blows from guard, taking away all the momentum that Dent had built up.

Ross Pearson won a decision over Jason Dent

Ross Pearson won a UD over Jason Dent

Convinced that Dent was behind on the scorecards, USA coach Dan Henderson implored Dent to finish the fight in the third and final round. However, Pearson came out of his corner full of confidence and brought the fight right up to Dent, hitting him with punches before taking him down once more. Pearson went on to punish the tired Dent from guard before grabbing side-back control when Dent tried to squirm back to his feet. From there it was all Pearson, who showed enough awareness to avoid all of Dent’s last-ditch submission attempts while still actively delivering strikes on the ground.  The fight ended with Pearson in dominant position, and while Dent finally showed what he could do, it was indeed Ross Pearson who took the unanimous decision.

Though the non-fight segments of the episode were kept short, listening to the Team UK fighters talk about what Jason Pierce had told them about Cameron Dollar’s striking tendencies was a nice reminder that trustworthiness is a factor when deciding which fighters you want in your camp.

TUF Finale Big Board

With only one episode remaining before the finale, both final fights look to be highly entertaining matchups.

Lightweight

The Favorite – Andre Winner

The Underdog – Ross Pearson

Winner will enter the TUF 9 ligthweight finale as the slight favorite due to his size and experience advantage. In a battle between two strikers who can also finish with submissions, Winner will need to impose his will on the smaller man both standing and on the ground. For Pearson, the key will be to once again push the pace and try to harass Winner into losing his composure.

Welterweight

The Favorite – Demarques Johnson

The Underdog – James Wilks/Frank Lester

No matter whoever wins the final fight next week, Johnson will enter the finale as a slight favorite against Wilks or a clear favorite against Lester. Johnson seems to have a complete game, but as his semi-final fight showed, he can be rattled by strikes that come fast and early. Lester, although tough as nails, lacks the technique to compete with Johnson, and Wilks will have to bring some ruthless aggression and not let Johnson settle into any kind of game plan.

Quote of the Show:

“I never suck my thumb in the house… only at nights… and sometimes in the van.”

Andre Winner, on his tendency to sometimes suck on his own thumb.

The Ultimate Fighter 9 Big Board: Episode 10 – Johnson vs. Osipczak

TUF: Season 9 UK vs USA

TUF: Season 9 UK vs USA

In the first welterweight semi-final, Team USA’s Demarques Johnson grabbed the first spot in the finale by winning a slugfest against Team UK’s Nick Osipczak.

At the start of the show, the semi-final matchups were set by the head coaches and UFC President Dana White. The lightweight matchups were Andre Winner against Cameron Dollar while Jason Dent would face Ross Pearson. The welterweight matchups were a rematch between Frank Lester and James Wilks, while Osipczak was paired with Johnson.

The fight this week was an absolute gem, where the underdog Osipczak gave the welterweight favorite Johnson all he could handle. In the first round, Johnson started strong, peppering Osipczak with punches while scoring takedowns. However, Osipczak was game, landing hard elbows from bottom position while fighting off multiple attempts by Johnson to take mount. At the end of the round, Osipczak caught Johnson with a big uppercut while getting up from the ground, and the round ended with a flurry of punches from both men, with both connecting more than once with shots to their opponent’s face, with Osipczak getting the better of the late exchange.

Despite Johnson still showing the effects of the brawl from round one, stand-up fighter Osipczak foolishly went for a takedown at the start of round two, a takedown which was easily turned into top position by Johnson. Johnson tried to both ground-and-pound and then lock a kimura, but Osipczak again avoided taking major punishment on the ground until giving up back mount. Johnson, for some reason, didn’t go for a choke, but rode out the round raining punches down on Osipczak, who did little more than cover up.

In the decisive round three, Osipczak (after answering the bell defiantly) was again on the receiving end of jabs and punches from Johnson. With both men gassed, Johnson secured another takedown, but was rolled over after trying to take mount again. Unfortunately, Osipczak had no strength left to deliver any more effective strikes, leaving Johnson to win the well-earned decision.

The next episode will feature both lightweight semi-finals, and hopefully those future bouts will be able to match the excitement of the fight from this week.

TUF Top 3

Demarques Johnson claims the first spot in the finale, while both lightweight spots will be filled by next week.

Lightweight

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

The illegal knee to Ritchie Whitson will surely be up for much debate among TUF fans, but Pearson was already winning the stand-up exchange even before the knee. Pearson picked up right where he left off in the prelims, outslugging and overpowering his opponent while roaring back to the top of the lightweight heap. He will face Jason Dent next week for a spot in the finale.

  1. Andre Winner – Team UK (Previous rank: 2)

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 Cameron Dollar next week.

  1. Cameron Dollar – Team USA (Previous rank: 3)

For all of the trash talk, antagonizing his own teammates, and then pre-fight crisis of confidence, Dollar still managed to put on a solid ground showing versus Martin Stapleton. He will have his hands full with Andre Winner in next week’s episode.

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 and decision victory over Nick Osipczak. Johnson might have to work a little on his cardio, but is still the clear favorite to claim the welterweight TUF 9 title.

  1. James Wilks – Team UK (Previous rank: 2)

Wilks, who submitted the notable Che Mills in his prelim fight, handled Team USA’s Frank Lester in brutal fashion, showing a hard Thai clinch and knees before finishing things up on the ground. While Lester wasn’t exactly the most seasoned welterweight on the show, Wilks proved that he is no slouch on his feet in addition to being a definite danger on the ground. A rematch with Frank Lester for a spot in the finale beckons next.

  1. Frank Lester – Team USA (Previous rank: 3)

Heart is usually the vaguest thing to measure in a person, but whatever that toughness “X Factor” is, Lester has it in spades. Lester gave Team UK favorite David Faulkner all he could handle, outlasting him and grabbing the final spot in the semifinals, where he will once again meet James Wilks.

Quote of the Show:

“Yeah I want to fight Dent…. He’s a fucking crybaby.”

- Cameron Dollar, on why he would rather fight Jason Dent in the semi-finals than either of Team UK’s fighters.

The Ultimate Fighter 9 Big Board: Episode 9 – Faulkner vs. Lester

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

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

In the final first round fight of the season, Team USA’s Frank Lester was chosen to replace Jason Pierce and fight against Team UK’s David Faulkner in a welterweight showdown. Lester then disposed of tournament favorite Faulker when Faulkner declined to get out of his corner in the third round

Lester, still suffering from the bruises and wounds of his previous loss to James Wilks, was battered by strikes from Faulkner in the first round, but was able to muscle out of takedown attempts and clinches before things got too dangerous. Faulkner won round one, but was visibly gassing already by the round’s end.

On the advice of his corner, Lester swarmed Faulkner with punches and knees of his own in round two, and while Faulkner was gassed, he was able to both survive and also throw enough strikes of his own to keep things competitive. Both men were tired and swung for the fences at the end of the round, but an extra round would be needed to decide a winnerFree Shipping.

Faulkner however, proved himself to not much more of a real fighter than Jason Pierce when he declined to continue the fight, presumably because he was too tired. In a battle of wills, Lester, despite being bruised and battered from his last fight, proved that he wanted to be a UFC fighter much more than Faulkner did.

In the non-fighting portion of the show, Michael Bisping decided to squirt a water bottle in the face of Demarques Johnson in retaliation to something that was said during the coach’s tennis match. Except it was Cameron Dollar who actually uttered the taunt in question. Bisping’s douchebag-like behavior should add some spice to the season finale and the Bisping-Henderson fight at UFC 100.

For the first time in TUF history, a hypnotist was brought onto the show, to help Faulkner try to mentally overcome a gag reflex issue that made him constantly spit out his mouthpiece. It didn’t work, as Faulkner ended up spitting out his mouthpiece once at the start of round two. Perhaps next time Faulkner can get the hypnotist to correct his tendency to give up when things really matter.

Spike TV’s teaser of the next show advertised a welterweight slugfest for a casino online spot in the finale.

TUF Top 3

Lightweight

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

The illegal knee to Ritchie Whitson will surely be up for much debate among TUF fans, but Pearson was already winning the stand-up exchange even before the knee. Pearson picked up right where he left off in the prelims, outslugging and overpowering his opponent while roaring back to the top of the lightweight heap.

  1. Andre Winner – Team UK (Previous rank: 2)

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.

  1. Cameron Dollar – Team USA (Previous rank: 3)

For all of the trash talk, antagonizing his own teammates, and then pre-fight crisis of confidence, Dollar still managed to put on a solid ground showing versus Martin Stapleton. Despite Jason Dent’s lack of aggression, Dollar is still probably the matchup both Winner and Pearson would favor.
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 Amasinger wasn’t one of the top welterweights, Johnson’s finish was still convincing enough for him to keep the top spot.

  1. James Wilks – Team UK (Previous rank: 2)

Wilks, who submitted the notable Che Mills in his prelim fight, handled Team USA’s Frank Lester in brutal fashion, showing a hard Thai clinch and knees before finishing things up on the ground. While Lester wasn’t exactly the most seasoned welterweight on the show, Wilks proved that he is no slouch on his feet in addition to being a definite danger on the ground.

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

Heart is usually the vaguest thing to measure in a person, but whatever that toughness “X Factor” is, Lester has it in spades. Lester gave Team UK favorite David Faulkner all he could handle, outlasting him and grabbing the final spot in the semifinals.

Quote of the Show:

“If you’re not willing to sacrifice for your dream, it’s not really your dream, and you’re not meant to have it.”

- Frank Lester, on taking on David Faulkner despite losing some teeth in his last fight

The Ultimate Fighter 9 Big Board: Episode 8 – Dent vs. Lawson, Pierce drops out

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

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

 

The final first-round matchup at lightweight pitted Team USA’s UFC vet Jason Dent against Team UK’s Jeff Lawson. In one of the strangest fights of the season, Dent prevailed via an anaconda choke in round two. With the first round of lightweight fights complete, Team UK still holds a 4-3 lead overall.
In other noteworthy news, Jason Pierce’s negativity was finally killed off by Dana White, who declared Pierce unfit to fight after Pierce failed to convince White that he was physically or mentally prepared to fight. A staph infection, coupled with Pierce’s seeming lack of will to tough out the circumstances, led White to pull the plug on Pierce, mercifully ending his sad-sack moping and any chance that Pierce would be labeled “The Ultimate Fighter”.
In this week’s fight, Lawson convincingly won the opening round, despite frequently dropping his hands in favor of trying high-impact strikes and slams. Dent never tried to capitalize, however, and Lawson turned a sloppy clinch into a sutemi waza-like takedown and kept top position for the rest of the round.

 

Lawson gassed badly in the second round however, making no effort to hold up his hands and lacking any kind of power in his strikes. Dent inexplicably failed to press, instead keeping up his methodical pacing and an occasional leg kick. Despite having no energy (a case of bronchitis earlier in the show was offered as an explanation by Michael Bisping), Lawson almost turned a leg-scissors into a heel hook before lunging into the arms of Dent, who gator-rolled Lawson and applied an anaconda choke for the win.

 

Needless to say, the sight of Lawson bent over gasping for air in the second round while Dent just stood there slowly circling made for a poor-quality TUF viewing experience. With Dent basically labeled borderline-uncoachable by Dan Henderson, one can see why Dent didn’t stick in the UFC during his two-fight tenure with the company in 2006-07.

Spike TV’s teaser of the next show promised a firecracker of a show, as Team USA selects another welterweight to fight David Faulkner, Demarques Johnson flips out on Bisping, and the Faulkner vs. ????? fight is revealed to go into a sudden-victory roundInflatable Arch.

TUF Top 3

The final four lightweights have been decided, but after two unconvincing performances, Jason Dent fails to break into the top three LWs.

Lightweight

  1. Ross Pearson – Team UK (Previous rank: 1)
    The illegal knee to Ritchie Whitson will surely be up for much debate among TUF fans, but Pearson was already winning the stand-up exchange even before the knee. Pearson picked up right where he left off in the prelims, outslugging and overpowering his opponent while roaring back to the top of the lightweight heap.
  2. Andre Winner – Team UK (Previous rank: 2)
    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.
  3. Cameron Dollar – Team USA (Previous rank: 3)
    For all of the trash talk, antagonizing his own teammates, and then pre-fight crisis of confidence, Dollar still managed to put on a solid ground showing versus Martin Stapleton. Despite Jason Dent’s lack of aggression, Dollar is still probably the matchup both Winner and Pearson would favor.

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 Amasinger wasn’t one of the top welterweights, Johnson’s finish was still convincing enough for him to keep the top spot.
  2. James Wilks – Team UK (Previous rank: 2)
    Wilks, who submitted the notable Che Mills in his prelim fight, handled Team USA’s Frank Lester in brutal fashion, showing a hard Thai clinch and knees before finishing things up on the ground. While Lester wasn’t exactly the most seasoned welterweight on the show, Wilks proved that he is no slouch on his feet in addition to being a definite danger on the ground.
  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.

Quote of the Show:
“Physically I’m nothing to look at…I’m a ginger, for god’s sake.”

- Jeff Lawson on why some fighters might underestimate him.

The Ultimate Fighter 9 Big Board: Episode 7 – Pearson vs. Whitson

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

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

Two of TUF 9’s early lightweight favorites were paired against each other in the latest round of lightweight fights, with Team UK’s Ross Pearson scoring a quick yet somewhat controversial victory over Team USA’s Ritchie Whitson. Team UK now has a commanding 4-2 lead over the USA.

 

In a matchup of two high-energy fighters, both fighters let fly with strikes before an illegal knee by Pearson temporarily stopped the fight. After the restart, Pearson muscled his way into Whitson’s clinch and executed multiple slams, before an armbar from back control finished off Whitson in the first round.

It was an unfortunate turn of events for Whitson, who wasn’t able to follow up his impressive showing in the prelims with another victory. Not only did he take a knee to the face while grounded, but a contagious rash had kept him out of most of his training the week prior to his fight. In hindsight, Team UK’s matchup choice of Pearson to take on Whitson came at the perfect time.

Neither Pearson nor Whitson had gotten much “face time” on the show prior to this week, and before the fight announcement, the strange rash on Whitson’s face had almost gotten more coverage time than both fighter put together.

In a somewhat more bizarre occurrence, David Faulkner spoiled Team UK’s original matchup choice by injuring himself with a sledgehammer, which was present due to a Team UK exercise which involved taking a sledgehammer and hitting a truck tire with it. According to Michael Bisping, the exercise helps build core strength, but watching some of the UK fighters clumsily handle the hammer seemed to suggest that the exercise isn’t worth the potential mishaps usually associated with swinging hammers around.

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. Ross Pearson – Team UK (Previous rank: dropped out)
    The illegal knee to Ritchie Whitson will surely be up for much debate among TUF fans, but Pearson was already winning the stand-up exchange even before the knee. Pearson picked up right where he left off in the prelims, outslugging and overpowering his opponent while roaring back to the top of the lightweight heap.
  2. Andre Winner – Team UK (Previous rank: 3)
    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.
  3. Cameron Dollar – Team USA (Previous rank: n/a)
    For all of the trash talk, antagonizing his own teammates, and then pre-fight crisis of confidence, Dollar still managed to put on a solid ground showing versus Martin Stapleton. This week’s episode saw Dollar have a mini-emotional-breakdown, bringing up more questions about his mental makeup heading into the next round.

Dropped out: Ritchie Whitson – 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 Amasinger wasn’t one of the top welterweights, Johnson’s finish was still convincing enough for him to keep the top spot.
  2. James Wilks – Team UK (Previous rank: 2)
    Wilks, who submitted the notable Che Mills in his prelim fight, handled Team USA’s Frank Lester in brutal fashion, showing a hard Thai clinch and knees before finishing things up on the ground. While Lester wasn’t exactly the most seasoned welterweight on the show, Wilks proved that he is no slouch on his feet in addition to being a definite danger on the ground.
  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.

Quote of the Show:
“This is going to be a good fight, Ross Pearson versus Shaun White…”

- Dana White, on the Pearson/Whitson matchup.

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