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TUF 12.1 Recap: Welcome to the Ultimate Fighter. Now Get Lost.

(Nam Phan vs. Mike Budnik. Props: eze32101)

No need for a lengthy preamble — you’ve already seen the first five minutes of the Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck season premiere, and you know how these things generally go down. We’ve got 28 lightweights, battling for 14 spots. Dana White addresses the troops, Bruce Leroy giggles with anticipation. It’s the elimination round, where the RFFs (real fucking fighters) are separated from the pretenders. Let’s get it.

Marc Stevens vs. TJ O’Brien 
Stevens wrestled at the University of Buffalo when Josh Koscheck was the assistant wrestling coach there. Kos calls him an "okay wrestler." Stevens immediately lands a huge overhand right, then jackhammers O’Brien on the ground until the ref steps in. We later learn that the 13-second TKO is the fastest stoppage in TUF history. "Remember me now?" Stevens asks Koscheck.

Spencer Paige vs. Steve Magdaleno
Paige’s striking is as good as advertised, as he lands a mix of attacks in round 1. Magdaleno ends the round on top, working some ground-and-pound, but it might not be enough to steal the round. They start round 2 swinging for the fences before Paige starts blasting Magdaleno with knees. Magdaleno shoots on Paige and dumps him. Magdaleno looks for an arm triangle, then goes back to abusing Paige from the top. Magdaleno drops to guard when the action goes standing again, and possibly blows the fight, as Paige finishes strong with strikes from the top. Paige takes the unanimous decision.

Nam Phan vs. Mike Budnik
This is a Strikeforce Challengers-worthy fight. And we’re geting it on basic cable! Budnik with kicks to start, then a takedown. Budnik considers the heel hook. Phan looks for a sub, then gets up. Budnik shoots after some sloppy strikes, tries a judo toss, and drags Phan to the mat. Phan gets to his feet and eats an upkick. Budnik gets up and takes Phan down, but Phan escapes. They trade strikes. Phan lands a liver shot that crumples Budnik, and finishes him on the ground. Phan by TKO.

Lightning round montage #1…

Andy Main def. Jason Brenton via triangle choke
Jonathan Brookins def. Ran Weathers via decision, in a fight spent primarily on the mat.
Sako Chivitchian def. Toby Grear via decision. Sako uses his judo to control the fight and get the judges’ nod, then barfs his guts out in the parking lot.
Jeffrey Lentz def. Daniel Head via rear-naked choke. GSP had already crossed Lentz’s face out for some reason, but Lentz proved that he belonged there by smashing Head with vicious GnP and getting the tap in round 2. Total domination. Koscheck blows up GSP’s spot, telling Lentz that St. Pierre already counted him out. "I ain’t worried," Lentz says.

Paul "The Wheel" Barrow vs. Alex "Bruce Leroy" Caceres
Caceres comes out in a yellow-and-black bodysuit, in an obvious homage to Uma Thurman. Caceres starts with a kick and knee, then drops to a guillotine but can’t get it. He lands a clean head kick, but falls throwing a teep. Barrow clinches with him against the fence. Caceres reverses him and takes his back. Barrow escapes the first choke attempt, but Caceres jumps on his back and sinks it. Barrow goes out standing, falls backwards and taps. Dana loves the kid. ("He smiled the whole fight.") Caceres even convinces Josh Rosenthal to announce his name as "Bruce Leroy." You know, Josh, the word "gullible" doesn’t appear in the dictionary…

Lightning round montage #2…

Michael Johnson def. Pablo Garza via decision, using his fierce ground-and-pound to rack up points. Kos calls him a contender.
Aaron Wilkinson def. Michael Richman via decision. For a U.K. fighter, Wilkinson’s ground-game was impressive.
Kyle Watson def. Joseph Duffy via rear-naked choke. Watson promises shenanigans in the house.
Sevak Magakian def. JJ Ambrose via decision, after surviving a nasty kimura attempt. Two Armenians in the house? That could be trouble, bro.

Cody McKenzie vs. Amir Khillah
McKenzie is the world’s #2 guillotine choker. GSP goes out on a limb and tells Dana he’ll win by guillotine. Amir Killah wants to be the Michael Bisping of the Middle East. Cody works to lock up his signature submission, puts Killah to sleep, releases the hold, and explains to dumb-ass Mazzagatti that Killah is out. After the fight, McKenzie reveals the trick to his guillotine variation. If done correctly, no can defend.

Dane Sayers vs. Ariel Sexton
Sayers signals that he doesn’t want to touch gloves. There’s a reason for that. He starts the fight by throwing the most high-velocity flying knee since Bullock/Fulton. He tries a guillotine before settling into a brawling exchange with Sexton. "Somebody’s going to sleep," Dana predicts. Sayers is getting the worst of it. He works the fight to the ground and tries a rear-naked choke, but runs out of time. In round 2, Sexton slugs Sayers to the ground. Sayers looks shot out there, but he gets up and keeps fighting. It’s a great display of heart, and Dana and Kos cheer him on. He wraps up a guillotine, but loses it. Sayers jumps on Sexton’s back and locks up the rear-naked, tapping Sexton standing. Sayers collapses in exhaustion. Kos and Dana are geeked about him. Between Sayers, Caceres, and Charles Oliveira on the Fight Night show, that’s three standing rear-naked-choke submissions in one night. Jumping on dudes’ backs is so hot right now.

Teams will be picked on the next episode, and there’s a lot of talent to choose from. Later in the season, one of the Armenians goes after Bruce Leroy, Mike Tyson stops by, and Josh Koscheck puts his hand around the throat of a large team GSP associate. Interestingly, we never see Koscheck and GSP go at it, and they didn’t say much to each other on the first episode. It’s cool that St. Pierre is "above" the trash talk and macho posturing — but that doesn’t exactly make for good TV… 

Cagepotato Comments

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2DaDeath- September 16, 2010 at 11:18 pm
@ drano
I see Bruce Leroy going the way of Phillipe Nover. An overly-hyped fighter that ends up not being UFC caliber.
rlh61- September 16, 2010 at 7:08 pm
Kind of off topic...but did anyone watch the Gracie deal after TUF? I forgot about a lot of those fights, but I thought it was a pretty well done. The Hughes fight does no justice for what his career was really like. Except for not tapping when his arm damn near snapped.
dranokills- September 16, 2010 at 5:38 pm
I really like this "bruce leroy" kid, I can't see him winning but I see him being a fucking ball of entertainment this season. The rest of these guys? hmmmmmm we will see , seems a few are uptight asshats already...I guess we will see.
2DaDeath- September 16, 2010 at 1:37 pm
Homage to Bruce Lee? I thought it was an homage to Wolverine. Snickty snickty snoine!
Nealio- September 16, 2010 at 1:36 pm
I thought Alex "Bruce Leroy" Caceres was wearing his old Hotdog On a Stick uniform...?
logdog52- September 16, 2010 at 12:50 pm
Watson and Johnson are gonna go far. just you watch!
netterbog- September 16, 2010 at 10:54 am
Two Travis Fullton references in one article? The Guillotine shall rise again!
SnallTrippin- September 16, 2010 at 10:29 am
Spencer Paige is apparently from around where I live, Watertown, and actually it was advertised he would be at this sports bar here to watch this episode I think...I saw the fliers and was like, "Who the fuck is that?"

Anyway, glad two guys from Northern NY got in..also some pretty ok fights and the adverts for coming shows look me some in house throwing down...reality TV, lol.
The Fresh One- September 16, 2010 at 9:23 am
Which was good. The guy looked good.
The Fresh One- September 16, 2010 at 9:22 am
Why is my comment flagged? Because I think Brookins is going to win? Is there anti-Brookins sediment here??? As stated on my original post, which was flagged, I think Brookins wins the show based on how he looked against Jose Aldo.
RwilsonR- September 16, 2010 at 9:11 am
Everyone knows the yellow suit is an homage to an alternate costume for Marshall Law from Tekken. Idiots!
Derekrva- September 16, 2010 at 9:02 am
Why was Koshcheck choking out a milk dud at the end of the show?
ScarTissue- September 16, 2010 at 9:01 am
@Mexican Avalanche

Middle Easy has a clip where she walks by a "Team Liddell" logo on the def recycled footage.
Mexican Avalanche- September 16, 2010 at 8:57 am
Quick question though, anyone else notice the editing that made it look like Arianny was actually there?

They recycled the same 4 shots of her over and over, shot at low angles or extreme close ups of t&a.
The rare occasion you could catch a glimpse of the actual ring girl it was definitely not Arianny, more like somebody's broke girlfriend or sister. Or hell, maybe she's from Kentucky and she's both.

My detective work's done for the day. Now I feel better having exposed the illicit underbelly of Zuffa.
ScarTissue- September 16, 2010 at 8:50 am
@Crap Factory "I wonder who will get kicked out and when?"

Fo'real? I usually Tivo this show and watch only the fights. I got fed up with the reality drama back in the Kimbo season.

Anyone notice I think it was Marc Stevens gave Herb Dean a 'five' when he was announcing him as the winner and Herb just rolls his eyes. I lol'd. Should be a animated .gif.
KarmaAteMyCat- September 16, 2010 at 8:46 am
Bad Article, Michael Johnson is seriously a beast if he can avoid injury and stupid mistakes he is a contender the wit and sarcastic comments fall on deaf ears. I wanna see Michael Johnson vs Jeffrey Lentz. Oh well.
the glza- September 16, 2010 at 8:38 am
lol @ "jumping on dudes' backs is so hot right now."

what a great start, i think, to TUF 12. this fight night was a lot of fun, and the episode was full of good action.

bruce leroy is already annoying the hell out of me.
Crap Factory- September 16, 2010 at 8:31 am
That's one of the things I'm looking forward to J-Dog. Looks like the house is going to have some action this season. I wonder who will get kicked out and when?

topdog- September 16, 2010 at 8:26 am
Yo CP post some of Nam Pham's fights like you did Bruce Lee Roy the other day. If you didn't know he has fought for Sengoku Raiden Championship before. He is pretty good I see him making it to the semis at least.
Stak40- September 16, 2010 at 8:12 am
@Ben, Agent and Boo

You are all wrong! I believe the "fake Bruce Leroy" was paying homage to "Bruce Leroy", who was paying homage to Bruce Lee. KISS MY CONVERSE!
J-Dog- September 16, 2010 at 8:12 am
Looks like someone is gonna get KTFO in the house, too. During the "here's what's coming this season" preview, it showed two guys arguing, then one of them calmly puts down his drink, and then punches the dude who is up in his face square in the jaw. Had to be a KO shot.

Almost North- September 16, 2010 at 8:05 am
I'm pulling for McKenzie this season, Alaskan commercial fisherman are a small group and we stick together. He lives in Spokane now though so I wouldn't rule out him making meth in the bathtub during the show.
agentsmith- September 16, 2010 at 7:50 am
@ Boo:

No shit, and what do you think the Uma Thurman outfit was an homage to?
ben- September 16, 2010 at 7:49 am
 @Boo  WTF are you talking about? Everybody knows "Game of Death" came out years after "Kill Bill."
agentsmith- September 16, 2010 at 7:48 am
I predict Sayers won't get far, he was eating a LOT of punches.