Bisping helps Stephan Bass prepare for a fight by pounding on him all day, like you do. GIFProps: ZombieProphet/IFI
It’s double-header week, and there’s no time wasted with extraneous detail — we’re right into discussion of the second featherweight fight picks. Jon Dodson is still insider trading with his boys on Team Death
Leperkon Lepracon Leapercorn Lucky Charms Mascots, and Louis Gaudinot passes along the scoop: Miller will announce Dennis Bermudez (Miller’s #1) versus Stephan Bass (Bisping’s #4). Bisping celebrates this intelligence coup by assigning Bass triple practice time. Most of this practice time consists of beating up Bass, blacking his eye in the process.
For the actual fight announcement, Bisping is so confident in his coaching to this point that he feels no need to actually attend the meeting. Miller puts a jersey on a sparring dummy and does an Australian accent, which is kinda close if you don’t really think about it. He goes on to confirm the fight we all already knew was coming.
Bermudez will be looking to overpower and out-wrestle Bass, who vows not to let that happen. They circle and paw at the air, looking for range. Bermudez is on the offensive from the jump, and Bass tries to counter and hold him at bay. Bermudez shoots, Bass defends, and they clinch against the cage. Bermudez muscles Bass to the mat and starts the ground assault from inside full guard. Bisping, the master tactician, begins screaming at Bass: “get the fuck UP, get the FUCK up, GET the fuck up, GET THE FUCK UP”. Strangely, this sage wisdom does little to help Bass, who’s busy taking a pounding. Meanwhile, Miller calmly relays specific instructions to Bermudez, who establishes his posture over Bass and rains down an assortment of short strikes. Bass rolls onto his belly and turtles up while Bisping barks monosyllables of wisdom and encouragement. (Sample: “Ay!” and “Oy!” and “Are you going to get up or just fucking lay there?”) With Bermudez in full control from back mount, Referee Josh Rosenthal is close and warns Bass that the fight will be stopped — but not quite yet. The horn sounds, and Bass survives the first.
Round two, and Bermudez isn’t totally gassed from the four billion strikes he threw in the first. I love the lighter weight classes. Bermudez wades in, landing a right and a crushing knee to the face, and Bass crumbles to the floor. Bermudez rains down punishment, until Bass laces up a leglock. Bass wants to try to combine a kneebar and a heel hook into one devastating submission, but he’s been hit a great deal, and he can’t cinch anything. Bisping commands Bass to use the submission to stand up; it’s unclear exactly how Bass is supposed to go about this. He releases the hold and scrambles to his feet, but he’s whupped. Bermudez wades in again, and they go back to the mat. Bermudez scores the back mount again, and resumes punishing Bass for being picked by Team Bisping. Miller asks Rosenthal if he’s going to let Bass get beaten to death. Bermudez flattens Bass out in back mount, but he can’t sink a choke and so continues to swing at his head. Props to Bass for not giving up and tapping, but he’s unable to do anything but hunker down and ride out the beating. Finally, Rosenthal decides that Bass has suffered enough, and calls the fight, a TKO victory for Bermudez and Team Miller.
Back in the locker room, Bisping explains to Bass that he sucks, he doesn’t listen, and his mother dresses him funny. He finishes with “We’re really proud of you, you did good.” Bisping is a lock to be inducted into the Quinton Jackson Coaching Hall of Fame.
No time wasted in this episode, as we’re right back for another fight announcement. Miller puts up Dustin Pague, his third pick at 135, and selects Louis Gaudinot, he of the emerald mane and Bisping’s first pick, to face him in the cage. Pague sports a green Afro wig for the staredown. Team Bisping again gets word about the matchup beforehand, and they don’t understand why Miller thinks the matchup favors his own team. Miller explains that Pague has an absurd reach advantage and can use it, and he suspects that someone is passing information on to the other team. He’s less than concerned, though, believing his team will continue to win.
There’s a short “Better Know a Fighter” break in there, where we learn that Dustin Pague likes Jesus and fighting. I’m not sure how you square the whole “turn the other cheek” thing with the whole “punch him in the face” thing, but whatever. Miller calls “The Disciple” a great kick boxer with a promising future.
Before practice, Stephan Bass asks to talk to Bisping one on one, which Bisping expects to be a combination of sorrow for Bass’ failure in the cage, and appreciation for all the hard work Bisping did in coaching him. Seriously, Bisping says all this on camera, with a straight face and everything. When Bass instead suggests that Bisping beat him up and overworked him before his fight, Bisping disagrees. To help motivate his team, Bisping relays this conversation to his team in the locker room and berates Bass. Gaudinot agrees with Bisping, saying a fighter can only blame himself for losing in the cage.
The tale of the tape is an interesting one: Pague has eleven and a half inches of reach on Gaudinot. Ho. Lee. Shit.
The fight starts with both fighters moving quickly to establish offense. Gaudinot moves in and out, using his quickness to land punches, while Pague looks to use kicks and straight punches to land first. They trade standing, and Pague lands a standing knee that shakes Gaudinot. Gaudinot is fluid in stringing together combos, mixing in some fun stuff like a spinning kick, but Pague bobs and nothing connects. Pague hits an outside trip, but Gaudinot works back to standing. They continue to trade, but Pague seems to be getting the better of the exchanges. Pague works Gaudinot back to the fence with low kicks and punches, and delivering knees and elbows to the shorter fighter. Gaudinot shoots, but Pague sprawls and works his clinch game, landing some good knees and punches against the cage. Gaudinot breaks off and lands a few, but Pague answers quickly. The first round ends, and the fighters touch gloves before heading to their respective corners.
Bisping tells Gaudinot that he lost the first, and tells him to win the second or finish. Miller tells Pague that his opponent is tired, “You’re breaking him,” he says.
Starting the second, Gaudinot doesn’t look broken. Pague knocks him down with a hook behind the ear, but Gaudinot is back to his feet quickly. He tries again for a takedown, but Pague defends and looks for a takedown of his own. Gaudinot defends the takedown, but gets smoked with a Knee for Jesus and goes down again. Pague jumps on his back, working on a choke, while Gaudinot works on bloodying up the canvas — that last knee has busted him up pretty good. Pague gets a gable grip on the rear naked choke (Miller calls it the “Captain America”), and Gaudinot is forced to tap. Pague thanks Jesus and the Father, but totally disses the Holy Ghost.
Afterwards, Gaudinot is upset about the loss. Amazingly, Bisping apologizes for not coaching and preparing him better. After four straight losses, does Bisping need to relook his coaching strategy? And just what does Tiki coach, anyway?
Next week: these fighters really don’t seem to like one another, and shit gets real for Bisping and Miller.