After sitting through a TUF Finale card that felt longer than Moses’ trek across the desert, I can’t imagine that many of you stuck around to catch the premiere episode of a TUF season headlined by the most nonsensical coaching matchup since Jones vs. Sonnen. You would have missed some stellar action if you had checked out early, however, as last night’s premiere episode of The Ultimate Fighter 19 featured some thrilling wars and even more spectacular knockouts. Knockouts like the one above, which went down in a light heavyweight contest between Daniel Spohn and Tyler King.
In the first fight of the night, Spohn started things off with a body kick that sounded worse than it probably was, prompting King to rush in with his hands down, arms out, and chin up (Marcus Jones style!). Remaining calm, Spohn managed to evade King’s mummy-esque attack, then proceeded to truly mummify him with a blistering right hook. As if the punch that shut King’s lights off wasn’t bad enough, his momentum sent him crashing head first into the mat with a sickening thud. Why Spohn felt the need to add an additional pair of punches to his clearly unconscious opponent is beyond me, but hey, sometimes these things happen in MMA.
The fight’s aftermath was a harrowing moment to say the least, made all the more difficult to watch after we were informed that King’s mother was in the audience. But it’s like Penn said, “This is a rough sport…and maybe sometimes you shouldn’t bring your mom.” Unless you’re Manny Pacquiao, of course.
After the jump: An equally brutal almost-kneebar from the war that was Mike King vs. Nordine Taleb.
I don’t mean to speak in hyperbole, but the middleweight battle between Mike King and Nordine Taleb* (which served as the final fight of the episode) might have been the greatest elimination fight in the history of the The Ultimate Fighter. It had everything; knockdowns from both sides, some great grappling exchanges, and an amazing amount of heart on display. Although King appeared to be down and out at the start of the decisive third round, he managed to grit out a tough win and nearly pulled off this absolutely insane kneebar in doing so:
If that isn’t one of the greatest MMA reaction gifs of all time, I’ll eat my hat.
So yeah, this season of The Ultimate Fighter is off to a promising start. Maybe get excited for it? I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore. Anyways, your TUF 19 teams are as follows:
Matt Van Buren
*By the way, if Taleb looked familiar, it’s because he had just picked up a win over Vik Grujic at the TUF Nations Finale.