Charles Bennett emerged last week from wherever he’s been hiding since being choked out by Drew Fickett during the Shine Fights lightweight tournament just long enough to film himself sipping on a Mountain Dew and puffing on a Black & Mild while calling out a handful of fighters he has beefs with.
(Above: "Remember, remember, the fourth of December, the Gunpowder Treason and plot. I know of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot, brah." Below: You know what to do, honey. / Photos courtesy of UFC.com)
Welcome, fight fans, to the first leg of a liveblog double-header on CagePotato.com. The TUF 12 Finale gets rolling on Spike at 9 p.m. ET, with Team GSP lightweight finalists Jonathan Brookins and Michael Johnson battling for the highly coveted glassware, Stephan Bonnar trying to build a winning streak against Igor Pokrajac, and Demian Maia tangling with rangy TUF 3 winner Kendall Grove. Plus, five other TUF 12 vets will do their best to hang on to their UFC contracts, including Nam Phan, who clashes with hardy slugger Leonard Garcia in the UFC’s first-ever televised 145-pound feature. (Yes, the UFC has featherweights now!)
Note: In addition to the the lightweight finals, three more matches featuring TUF 12 cast-members have been added to Saturday’s finale show. Details are at the end of this post…
"Now, fuck the team," George St. Pierre says to Jonathan Brookins and Kyle Watson to kick off last night’s episode. "There’s no more team." GSP won’t be giving strategic advice to Brookins and Watson for their red-on-red semifinal match; it’s time for them to sink or swim as individuals. John Danaher says this is the fight that should have been the final, as they’re the two most talented athletes.
Watson has seen enough of Brookins to know that he loves to shoot at his opponent’s lead leg for takedowns. In practice, Watson goes over how he’ll make Brookins pay for that, with uppercuts and lead knees. Meanwhile on Team Koscheck, training has ground to a halt. Only Nam Phan is left in the semis, and everybody else is just sitting there with their teeth in their mouth, bitching about their lots in life. Marc Stevens feels like he didn’t learn much from the TUF experience, and the yellow team in general feels envious of all the great guest-coaches that GSP brought in for his guys. Sevak sort-of comes to Koscheck’s defense: "I got a lot of positive things from Josh. I expected less."
After taking a week off for the Thanksgiving holiday, The Ultimate Fighter is playing catchup tonight with a two-hour episode that kicks off at 9 p.m. The four remaining lightweight hopefuls will be whittled down to two, as Jonathan Brookins takes on Kyle Watson, and Nam Phan rumbles with Michael Johnson. There will be a lot of time to kill in between, so hopefully Georges St. Pierre brings another celebrity guest-coach into the mix. (Kanye?) Tune in, and be sure to read our recap tomorrow morning…
(Kyle Watson, Michael Johnson, and John Danaher join host Stephan Bonnar to run down last night’s fights on the latest episode of "The Aftermath." Warning: Danaher drops a "retard" joke within the first 30 seconds of the interview. Anybody else getting a Lanny Poffo vibe from this guy?)
Michael Johnson is one of those dudes who can’t appreciate the sheer hilarity of being sprayed with water. When Sako (or was it Sevak? one of those guys) rigs the sink to blast the next person who uses it, MJ is on the losing end and freaks out. So immature, you guys! Michael is convinced that Alex Caceres is to blame, I guess because he saw Alex pull the same prank the day before. Their quarterfinal fight can’t come soon enough.
But first, Kyle Watson and Aaron Wilkinson will have to face off. GSP says Aaron is a better striker than Kyle, so Kyle needs to get the fight to the ground. Kyle’s plan is to take Aaron down from the clinch, rather than shooting in. Logically, Coach Koscheck advises "English" to keep the fight standing. After three fights in the house, Aaron’s right eye is looking rough. And it’s go-time already…
(The beginning of the Johnson/Wilkinson battle from last night. You can watch the rest here. Props: SignofBelief)
Alex "Bruce Leroy" Caceres may have impressed us in last week’s fight, but he’s making no friends in the house by bragging about his victory non-stop. While hanging out with the defeated Jeff Lentz, he says that Jeff may have been "underesterating my talents and skills," and claims that every head kick bounced off his afro. Lentz manages to avoid strangling the bastard, but the other TUF guys are quickly losing patience.
GSP brings in wrestling world champion Guivi "Gia" Sissaouri, to work with his squad. Homeboy is sick on the mat. It’s a great little master-class for the guys, but Georges has another visitor coming in later that will make Gia look like small potatoes. (Hint: Face tattoos, tigers.)
Down 0-1, Koscheck is playing catch-up. His fighters already seem to be breaking down, physically and emotionally, so Kos makes it clear that they need to toughen up and quit ass-dragging in practice. Training seems to improve after that.
It’s fight announcement time, and since Team GSP won last week, they retain control of the picks. St. Pierre selects Michael Johnson (his craftily-obtained #1 draft pick) against Aaron Wilkinson (Koscheck’s #6 pick??). GSP is obviously looking to take Koscheck’s heart with a brutal victory, but is it a wise strategy to waste your ace on the other team’s weakest link? (Keep in mind that Jeff Lentz was Team Koscheck’s #7 pick.) Still, a badass wrestler vs. a British guy. This seems gift-wrapped for the red team.