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‘TUF 10′ Armchair Coach: Can Rashad Really Sweep the Round-of-16?

TEAM RASHAD’s remaining fighters:

Justin Wren (Rashad’s #3 pick), Darrill Schoonover (#6), Matt Mitrione (#7), Mike Wessel (#8)

TEAM RAMPAGE’s remaining fighters:

Wes Sims (Rampage’s #4 pick), Scott Junk (#5), Marcus Jones (#7), Zak Jensen (#8)

Thanks to a couple of boneheaded fight picks by Quinton Jackson, followed by a couple of spot-on matchups by Rashad Evans, Team Rashad has gone up 4-0 on this season of The Ultimate Fighter. We’ve seen this kind of thing happen before on TUF, where one side takes an early lead and has the other team playing catchup. But this feels different. Rampage started off as an inept coach, and last night’s episode showed that he’s basically stopped trying. His team is absolutely rudderless. The psychological advantages that Rashad’s guys have over Rampage’s are profound. Could Team Rashad actually sweep the first round of fights, 8-0?

Strictly based on talent, it’ll be a close race from here on out. Obviously, the order in which the fighters were picked by their coaches isn’t a direct correlation to their talent levels — otherwise Roy Nelson would have been picked second overall and Kimbo Slice would have been picked ninth, not the other way around — but for the last four preliminary fights, each team is now left with one top-eight pick, and three bottom-eight picks. If Rashad is smart (and he absolutely is), he’ll do the following…

— Realize that Darrill Schoonover, despite his soft-spoken manner and man-boobs, is just as dangerous and well-rounded as Justin Wren. Since Wren backed out of the fight with his homeboy Scott Junk, Team Rashad will need someone else to take on the big, tough Hawaiian. With a pro record of 10-0 (all wins by stoppage), Titties is a dark horse candidate to win the entire show, and his chances against Junk are solid.

— Don’t put Matt Mitrione up against Marcus Jones, since he’s clearly intimidated by the Big Baby. If Rashad wanted to teach Matt a lesson for his snitchin’, he might let that match go on as planned. But if the goal is to shut out Team Rampage, the weak-willed Mitrione should be thrown at Rampage’s last pick, Zak Jensen. We haven’t seen enough of Jensen to completely pass judgment yet, but he didn’t seem to impress anybody during the workouts in the first episode, and that should tell you something.

— Match Wren up with the next toughest guy on Team Rampage, which is probably half-crazy veteran Wes Sims. Sims is damn near seven feet tall, and has had more pro fights than any other contestant on the show. Does that make him unbeatable? Not even close. Someone with strong wrestling fundamentals and heavy hands like Wren could give an excitable fighter like Sims big trouble. MMA math time: Wren’s last fight before coming on the show was a TKO victory over Chris Guillen; in 2007, Guillen beat Sims twice.

— By default, send in the very capable Mike Wessel against Marcus Jones, and hope that Jones’s questionable gas tank, boiling emotions, and shaky form conspire to give the Big Baby a loss. Being a monster in practice doesn’t mean you’ll be a monster in an actual fight, and Jones could easily go out wheezing like Wes Shivers.

Cagepotato Comments

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MoonBelly- October 14, 2009 at 11:57 pm
1 for 1 so far spud. Sims didn't look very impressive. Let's see if Titties gets to fight next after going agro on 'Page in the preview.
LargeMidget- October 9, 2009 at 9:27 am
Rashad should make use of "The Art of War" when making his matches.

I don't know how it goes eactly, but it's something like this: Two generals each have 3 armies, a strong army, a medium army, and a weak army.

The master general, to win the war, sends his weakest army out against the other general's strongest.

The master general then sends his medium army to destroy the other general's weakest army.

Finally, the master general uses his strongest army to defeat the other general's medium army.

In the end, the master general is left with his best army and his medium army, outnumbering and defeating the other general.

- Art of War, Sun Tsu
danomite- October 8, 2009 at 4:19 pm
I don't see why you think Marcus has shaky form. I mean, other than the fact that he keeps his hands down and his chin up, that he was getting out jabbed by a guy who probably has a huge reach disadvantage, and that he seems to almost exclusively use his lead hand I'd say he looked pretty good. I'd even go so far as to call his form "Machida-esque"
Ascerendant- October 8, 2009 at 3:26 pm
strength alone won't take Marcus anywhere. I predict that Sims is going to sccrew up Rashad's dream of going 8-0. If he can do it though, I fully expect a deep voice from above saying "Flawless Victory". Then Rashad proceeds to rip Rampage's brains out, spits on them and kicks him in the nuts. When Page comes back to, he thinks he's B.A. Baracus. The End. Roll credits.
Jarekov The Great- October 8, 2009 at 3:21 pm
i cant see rashad going 8-0 for one reason. and thats marcus jones, this guy is just way too strong for any of these guys to take out. Also wes sims and scott junk are both solid fighters, sims has had a shaky career but he is a true veteran.
Douchey McDoucherton- October 8, 2009 at 3:13 pm
What if one of the guys on Rashad's team goes down to an injury? Would they bring Kimbo to fight for their team?
reddog- October 8, 2009 at 2:47 pm
Why is Rampage driving an Audi R8? Does the world need him behind that much horsepower and speed again?

The odds of Team Rashad taking it all and having to all fight each other for the semis and finals is decent. I think that Junk and Sims are big obstacles to that. And, yes, Kimbo will replace someone before the end, but we cant pretend coach based on that...yet.

Sims isnt necessarily great, but he has had plenty of good fights before that were wins, and he is experienced, which is invaluable. I agree to put a well rounded person against him. He has had problems with those in the past.

Junk is the single biggest threat left on Team Rampage. He is a tough striker. He definitely has that crazy brawlers chance. But I still think at least two of the guys left can take him. I agree with schoonover against him.
TimReaper87- October 8, 2009 at 2:41 pm
I like the way Merlin thinks this is why he is bailing on the UFC because of the dominance Rashad's team will do this season....He is afraid that he will fall to Rashad.....
Ascerendant- October 8, 2009 at 2:29 pm
No wonder Rampage is ducking the Rashad fight. A performance as embarassing as his stint on TUF 10 must have destroyed any confidence. And we haven't even seen the episode yet when his entire troupe, fed up by his "it's everybody's fault but mine"-attitude gives him a blanket party. "It was only a bad dream, Rampage".
youngblood- October 8, 2009 at 2:21 pm
If Rashad really wants to go for the 8-0, he should just ask Rampage to pick the rest of the fights. Easiest way to get to 8 wins
Grimmy- October 8, 2009 at 2:12 pm
For some strange reason, when I looked at the "info" description of the show last night, it listed Markos Jones and Zak Jensen.

Does this mean that they will make it to the finals????

most likely it means that people may remember the name Marcus Jones, and may also tune in just to see what the hell a "Zak Jensen" is. Fans of the muppet show may be disappointed that he is not the bastard child of Jim Henson and Miss Piggy, but there are more shows to go!

disturbed to think of what those guys in the house may do with sock puppets...(shudder)
Merlin- October 8, 2009 at 2:03 pm
I think I figured out what happened with Rampage.
Being the emotional person he is & how much he allows losses to effect him, my bet is that as the season progresses he continues loosing fight after fight to Team Rashad & becomes even more asinine with each episode (the GIF of him physically abusing a door comes to mind) finally telling Dana that he wants to quit the show.

Dana refuses to let him leave & tells him to suck it up & to do his *****ing job. To which Rampage threatens to quit the UFC if he doesn't get his way. Which may well explain the situation today.

Anyone else got any good theories ?

Team Rashad 8
Team Rampage 0