Last week, we saw one of the bloodiest fights in TUF history. This week brought us one of the ugliest, as James McSweeney and Wes Shivers proved that they’re not quite ready for primetime. Plus, Roy Nelson lands on Team Rashad’s shitlist and Kimbo Slice gets picked to fight.
The episode opens with Justin Wren and Roy Nelson talking about how they both want to take out Kimbo. Says Big Country: "I’ve been trying to get that one for years." Foreshadowing!
In practice, Rampage "got specialness" for Kimbo, and his coaches give the Miami Pound Machine a crash course on ground-fighting, while Kimbo tries to sponge it up. Meanwhile, Rashad Evans is feeling good about his team and wants to make sure his guys are mentally strong and moldable, but Roy spends most of his practice time joking around and pushing back against his coaches. Team Rashad assistant coach Trevor Wittman gives him a firm dressing-down in the locker room: "To me, you’re uncoachable…instead of listening, you always have a rebuttal…you got knocked out by Arlovski, do you want that to happen again? If you don’t want to keep it serious, I’m gonna ask Rampage if he needs another guy."
Roy Nelson calls his experience with Team Rashad a "clash of masters," and feels like he deserves some say in the way he’s trained.
For the second fight, Quinton Jackson chooses his sixth pick, Wes Shivers, to go up against Rashad’s #1 draft, James McSweeney — another odd choice. Rashad interprets it as a personal attack, but trusts that McSweeney will "walk all over this guy" due to his superior standup.
Team Rashad’s practice goes long due to a late start, and ‘Page walks in while they’re finishing up their "mental training"; Mike Van Arsdale is having the guys do some visualization while they’re sitting in a circle on the mats. Rampage considers crop-dusting them. "Get the hell upatta here," Rampage chants to Rashad. "Don’t say nothin’ tuhme," Rashad chants to Rampage, quoting one of Jackson’s own lines. As Rashad explains: "We joke around, we joke around, and the next thing you know, it’s an underlying ‘I want to punch you in the face’ kind of joking around."
Wes Shivers was drafted by the Tennessee Titans, was transferred to Atlanta, then washed out of football altogether. He has a titanium shoulder. Hearing his doctor say that he couldn’t be involved in athletics anymore due to his injuries was the challenge that inspired him to get into MMA. Rampage wants Wes to take James down and submit him. "Rampage obviously has confidence enough in me to rattle their team up," Wes says. "I’m not saying I’m gonna go out there to hurt James, but…shit happens."
Rashad gives his team a pep talk, and James is fired up. "Oh God I’m gonna fuckin’ kill him today," he says.
Wes Shivers has a three-inch height advantage and about six more inches in reach. But that shouldn’t be an issue for James, who compiled a 136-9 record as a kickboxer, right? Are you guys ready to see a terrible fight?
Round 1: As per Rampage’s instructions, Wes doesn’t touch gloves to start the match. James throws a leg kick and Wes makes him pay for it, rushing forward and throwing a barrage of punches with his frighteningly long arms. He clinches with James against the fence, then takes him down, winding up in half-guard. With his corner screaming at him to pass guard, Wes instead isolates James’s arm and tries for a kimura, but James escapes and gets up. They both pause to take a breath. Could it be that they’re already gassed? No…that would be impossible. James tries a high kick, and Wes low-kicks him in the nuts. After a brief rest, they restart; James tries to touch gloves, and is rejected again. Wes swarms with punches, and James tries a ridiculous jumping kick against the fence. Wes clinches, and James escapes. James is having major trouble getting inside Wes’s range, and is being chased off by his shots. James lands a jab and a leg kick. Wes leans his arm over the cage to take a rest. James works the jab, and Wes lands a straight right on James, who runs away with his back turned, not for the first time. James lands a leg kick to end the round.
In the commercial break, we learn that Kimbo Slice and Abe Wagner have both been shot before.
Round 2: Rashad wants James to keep it simple and fundamental. (i.e., no more jumping kicks, and try not to run away so much.) James starts with a jab and leg kick. His hands are down. A leg kick from Wes wobbbles him. Another wild kick from James, and Wes almost scores another takedown. James with a hard leg kick; Wes seems too tired to move out of the way or check them. Wes catches a kick and falls on top of James, moving to half guard. He tries for an armlock, then scores the mount, firing punches down. James gives up his back, and Wes tries for the rear-naked. James escapes, reverses, and winds up on top, but decides to get to his feet. Wes is beyond gassed, and Rashad shouts for James to go in for the kill. Instead, they just kind of stare at each other. Wes puts his hands on his knees and sucks air for a while, and James takes a breather of his own. Rashad is screaming himself hoarse. ("DON’T WAIT! DON’T WAIT!") A leg kick seems to hurt Wes, who rests on the fence. He honestly just stands there for a while with his hands on his hips, with James about 10 feet away from him. James comes in with a nice overhand right and a kick, but Wes takes him down. James tries for a guillotine choke, but doesn’t get it. Wes ends the round on top.
It’s a close fight, and looks like it might go to a third round, but Wes doesn’t want to get up. His eyes tell the story: No matter what happens, he’s done fighting that day.
The judges have made a decision: 19-19, and 20-18 x 2 for James McSweeney. Not that Wes Shivers deserves to advance after that performance, but two judges gave James both rounds? Seriously? The alleged kickboxing expert looked like a fish out of water.
Rampage claims responsibility for the loss, because he chose the matchup. "We’re in a pretty bad situation right now," he says.
With control of the fight-picks out of Rampage’s hands for the first time, Rashad picks Roy Nelson vs. "the big black buck with the greasy beard." It seems like a win-win pick for Rashad. If Nelson wins, his team goes up 3-0. If Kimbo scores the upset, maybe Roy will learn some humility and not be such a pain in the ass anymore. Anyway, Roy Nelson vs. Kimbo Slice, next week on Spike. Total insanity.
(TUF 10 episode 3 preview, courtesy of Spike.com)