Posts tagged: TUF 9

U of Combat Exclusive: James Wilks Interview

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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: Sanchez vs. Guida (Freestyle vs. Freestyle)

In the main event of the TUF 9 finale, the matchup between Diego Sanchez and Clay Guida turned into a fantastic battle of wills, with Sanchez coming out on top by a hair and moving on to a potential title shot at 155.

Diego Sanchez won a great split over Clay Guida

Diego Sanchez won a great split over Clay Guida

Both men exploded out of the gate with punches, with Sanchez rocking Guida and throwing furious strikes until Guida finally stopped the punishment with a takedown. Sanchez switches to rubber guard and Guida stood up, but Sanchez throws a huge headkick that drops Guida. A flying knee by Sanchez connects but Guida incredibly does not go down. A short clinch leads to Sanchez getting the trip takedown, but Guida amazingly gets up as the round ends.

Guida executes a takedown at the start of round two, and Sanchez responds with elbows from bottom. A kimura attempt from bottom fails, and the crowd chants his name. Sanchez uses elbows from bottom to set up rubber guard again, but then continues to throw big elbows from guard. Guida, however, is relentless and grinds Sanchez into the ground as round two ends.

With all to fight for in round three, Guida continued to push forward and both men land punches on each other. A failed takedown by Guida leads to back control by Sanchez, but he slips off while trying to lock in an arm triangle. Guida lands on top and defends a Sanchez kimura attempt. Sanchez transitions to armbar but loses it as the round ends. At the end of the fight, the score is truly too close to call, but a split decision victory is awarded to Diego Sanchez.

Guida showed once again that he had a chin of steel, but skill-wise, Sanchez just outclassed him on this night, using his reach advantage to club Guida with strikes while delivering as much punishment with elbows from bottom as Guida did to him from top. Guida’s standup never really threatened Sanchez, however, and with Sanchez’s berserker elbows from bottom, that made all the difference.

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: Burns vs. Lytle (BJJ vs. Freestyle)

Vetern Chris Lytle once again proved to be no pushover, defeating Kevin Burns via an entertaining UD at the TUF 9 Finale.

Despite being a submission specialist who was knocked out by a head kick in his last fight, Burns showed no fear against Lytle and stood right in front of his opponent to strike, with Lytle throwing to KO with every swing. Burns used his size advantage to get the better of Lytle on the feet, and at the end of the round, Burns opened things up with an uppercut which felled Lytle. Burns laid it on with big strikes, but Lytle clinched against his opponent to survive the onslaught as the round ended.

Lytle threw nonstop punches against Burns

Lytle threw nonstop punches against Burns

Lytle sufficiently recovered by the time round two started and rocked Burns with a punch of his own, finally coaxing a takedown out of Burns. Lytle, no BJJ slouch in his own right, stood up again and resumed the stand-up war, forcing Burns to backpedal around the cage with relentless striking. Burns tried to low kick, but caught Lytle with groin shots more than once.

Lytle started round three by cutting Burns open with a punch, but Burns was game and continued to trade strikes with Lytle. Lytle continued to throw punches that would occasionally stagger Burns, but Burns refused to go down, and left Lytle unable to finish the fight by picking up the victory via UD.

Stylistically, Burns seemed to be suffering from “Jorge Gurgel” syndrome, where a BJJ black belt shuns both logic and submissions in favor to strike for the entire fight. Burns never tried to go to his bread-and-butter BJJ, and even though he was able to hang with Lytle, the iron-chinned striker sent Burns to his second consecutive loss.

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.

Styles Make Fights – TUF 9 Finale: Diaz vs. Stevenson (BJJ vs. Submission Wrestling)

In a matchup of former TUF lightweight winners and submission specialists, season two winner Joe Stevenson neutralized the submission threat of season five winner Nate Diaz to take a UD victory at the TUF 9 Finale.

Diaz almost clamped on a guillotine choke without guard right out of the gate, but Stevenson survived and turns the first round into a grappling clinic with Diaz. Stevenson had a tight guillotine of his own in the middle of the round, but Diaz rolled over and survived the choke.

Joe Stevenson avoided a third straight loss by UDing Nate Diaz

Joe Stevenson avoided a third straight loss by UD'ing Nate Diaz

Stevenson shot out of his corner in the second round and started to dominate on the ground, pressing Diaz against the fence and looking to ground-and-pound Diaz. Diaz was left to look for half-opportunities at submissions while Steveson continued to smother Diaz with superior wrestling.

Needing a stoppage of some sort to win the fight, Diaz still could not stop Stevenson’s takedowns in the final round, with Steveson using a rolling fireman’s carry to take Diaz down. Diaz scored a takedown of his own, but Stevenson scrambled quickly and put himself in dominant position again. With a minute left Diaz finally broke free of Stevenson and threw wild punches, but Stevenson latched onto Diaz’s leg and hung on to take the decision victory.

It was the perfect gameplan by Stevenson, who used his strength advantage to bully Diaz around the cage. Diaz, lacking the stand-up game of his older brother Nick, was unable to catch Stevenson in anything dangerous after the first round; like in his previous loss to Clay Guida, Diaz once again found the power advantage of his opponent too much to overcome.

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 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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