(Chris Haseman would be proud.)
In last night’s episode of Coaches Who Won’t Fight Each Other 11, Team Punishment suffers another setback when Dana "Angel of Death" White comes in and tells Chris Camozzi that he has to leave the competition because of a fractured jaw. Bummer, brah. And so, Tito has to replace his last pick with a guy who got beaten in the preliminary round. After weighing his options, he calls back Seth Baczynski, who lost to Court McGee but showed heart in the process.
Team Liddell’s Charles Blanchard has an advanced degree in giving back-rubs to other dudes. A rub-down given to Team Ortiz’s Nick Ring at 2 a.m. opens up the ridicule floodgates from Jamie Yager, who busts Ring’s balls about the massage and the fruity way he leans against a bathroom door. Yager simply won’t be happy until all his teammates hate him. Later, an altercation in practice leads to Yager calling Ring a "bitch." Ring is ready to throw down, but Tito cools everybody out and explains that they’ll all have to help each other if one of them hopes to win this thing. By contrast, Team Liddell is "Happy Camp," according to John Hackleman.
Chuck Liddell chooses Brad Tavares (his 5th pick) vs. James Hammortree (Tito’s 5th pick) in the next fight. Tavares is a Hilo native who fights because it’s fun. Hackleman sees him as a raw talent; Davis wants him to throw his jab more. Hammortree is from Florida — where he holds the record for fastest knockout, at five seconds — and specializes in ground and pound. "Guys in the gym call me ‘The Sledge’ because I got a sledge hammer built into my right hand," he says. Both guys weigh in at 185.5. Tito calls this fight "a mandatory, we need to win."
It’s already time to fight, which means get comfy because this sumbitch is going the distance.
Round 1: They trade kicks. Tavares sticks the jab. Hammortree shoots, and works for a takedown. Tavares defends, and reverses with a hip toss, taking Hammortree’s back on the ground. He tries to set up a choke, but Hammortree escapes and gets on top. He drops an elbow. Tavares muscles his way up. Hammortree drags him down, but Tavares gets up again and takes Hammortree’s back. Hammortree gets up and Tavares falls off, but pops back up and takes Hammortee’s back in a scramble. Hammortree reverses and gets in Tavares’s guard, dropping a short elbow. Tavares escapes. Hammortree looks for a choke, but Tavares defends and grabs onto Hammortree’s leg. Hammortree works some body shots from the top to finish the round. It’s a close grappling match, but the Sledge probably stole it.
Round 2: Hammortree gets tagged shooting in and clinches with Tavares against the fence. He can’t get Tavares to the ground. Tavares reverses him and gets on top. Hammortree shrimps out and gets to his feets but eats a knee. Tavares slips as it connects, and Hammortree dives on, taking his back. He throws punches to side of Tavares’s head. Tavares clamps onto Hammortree’s arm and gets to his feet. Hammortree drives in a knee from a clinch, and takes Tavares down again. Again, Tavares clamps onto Hammortree’s arm, looking for a kimura. Tavares lets it go, but tries again and puts Hammortree in trouble with it. Hammortree looks like he’s in pain, but Tavares loses it and Hammortree dives into his guard. Tavares attempts a very illegal chin-in-eye submission, but Mazzagatti is somewhere sleeping. Tavares locks Hammortree down until the end of the round. I give the slight advantage to Hammortree…but the judges see it differently. We go to Sudden Victory.
Round 3: With both guys gassed, there’s not much action to start out with, other than some whiffed strikes. Tavares jabs twice. Hammortree misses a superman punch, shoots, and drags Tavares down. He lands a couple of nice elbows from half-guard, then jumps to mount. Tavares pushes him off and starts throwing punches from top. Hammortree tries to struggle to his feet as they scramble against the fence. Hammortree gets warned for yanking on Tavares’s shorts, but of course its something that has to be brought to Mazzagatti’s attention by the spectators. Tavares is basically sitting on the mat with Hammortree latched onto his leg. Tavares gets up, Hammortree briefly drags him down. Tavares works for that kimura again. Hammortree is kind of stuck in position as Tavares holds onto his arm for dear life. They both get up and jockey for position on the cage. Tavares slugs Hammortree’s head as the round ends. Not a bad fight if you appreciate grappling, but no real damage was done from either side.
Brad Tavares wins the last round unanimously, thereby winning the fight. Tito is very frustrated at the decision; he doesn’t know what the judges were looking at. (Insert Douglas Crosby joke here.) Meanwhile, Chuck retains control of the fight selections and is starting to look a lot smarter than he sounds.