(The end of Dustin Neace vs. Akira Corassani…OR WAS IT?? Gif props: IronForgesIron)
After Dustin Pague’s victory last week — which brought Team Mayhem up 4-0 on the scorecard, FYI — Dustin asks his team if they could do a quick “Glory to God” cheer, which Jason Miller actually participates in, even though he’s a die-hard atheist who usually loves to mess with religious people. That just shows what kind of coach Miller is. He let his fighter have his moment, and he didn’t even make Pague participate in a “Glory to Science” cheer afterwards.
As the fighters return to their prep-rooms, Diego Brandao is in Murderous Brazilian Mode (what else is new), and starts to yell at Steve Siler for some reason. “I’m gonna take you head off, bidge!”, etc. Michael Bisping explains that he’s unstable and just wants to fight. Fortunately, he’s in a welcoming environment for that sort of thing.
Mayhem gives Dustin Neace a cowboy hat with a B on it, which stands for “Beast,” his nickname. Josh Ferguson — previously known as “the dude in the cowboy hat” — lays down accusations of swagger-jackin’. (“Come on man, I got one thing going for me here, and you gotta rip it off?”) Oddly enough, Ferguson’s hat also has a ‘B’ on it, even though his nickname doesn’t start with that letter. Unless one of you knows its actual significance, I’m just going to assume it stands for “bumpkin.”
Siler tells Mayhem that John Dodson has been the mole on their team, feeding the fight selections in advance to Team Bisping. Mayhem decides to use it to his advantage. The plan is to make Team Bisping think that he’s picking Siler vs. Brandao next, when he’ll really be picking another house-rivalry, Neace vs. Akira Corassani. “Akira’s gonna be fat, Dustin’s gonna be in shape, and Diego’s gonna be really pissed,” Miller explains.
Dodson takes the bait when he sees Siler act like he’s trying to cut weight for a fight. Meanwhile, Neace is cutting in secret, like a teenaged daughter of divorcing parents. Wow. I kind of feel bad for that one. Anyway, the plan works, and Team Bisping starts getting Diego ready for war.
Under the cover of darkness, Team Blue steals Neace’s cowboy hat in retaliation for his swagger-jackin’. Neace can’t find it later, assumes Akira is fucking with him again — even though it wasn’t Akira’s idea — and he’s like a race car in the red. He loads up a garbage bag full of garbage, and…I’m not sure what he intends to do with it. But back at the gym, he scatters Team Bisping’s gear all over their room, so there.
When he discovers the mess, Bisping thinks it was a team prank that Mayhem put his guys up to, and starts making wild, derogatory assumptions about the cleanliness of Miller’s house. Neace and Akira shout at each other for a while. Akira wants to fight him right then, bare-knuckle, in the garden (?). Neace responds in his usual style: “We’re going to fight soon. We’re going to fight soon. We’re going to fight soon. We’re going to fight soon. We’re going to fight soon. We’re going to fight soon. We’re going to fight soon.”
And yeah, they’re still running that Tiger Schulmann’s MMA commercial where Louis Gaudinot claims to be ranked #11 in the world. I think he meant “on this particular reality show.”
The fight selections are chaotic. Neace and Akira are at DEFCON 1, jawing at each other during the lineup. They’re so angry that they start ripping off famous Mike Tyson quotes. Dustin Neace (Miller’s #3 featherweight) vs. Akira Corassani (Bisping’s #2 featherweight) is made official for the next match. Akira immediately walks up on Neace and gives him some forehead to forehead contact. Neace reacts by shooting on him. The coaches have to jump in to separate the fighters, which leads to some shoving and shouting between Miller and Bisping.
John Dodson: “All this happened ‘cuz of me. Hey, shit happens.”
After the melee, the teams compose themselves and Miller announces next week’s fight, even though he hasn’t won this week’s fight yet. Maybe Bisping is just too pissed to care. But really, no matter who wins, it’s pretty much assumed that Steve Siler (Miller’s #4 featherweight) would be fighting Diego Brandao (Bisping’s #1 featherweight) anyway. And now it’s official. Brandao does wind up getting screwed a bit by Mayhem’s trickery; he already cut to 151 pounds, and now he has to wait a week to fight.
Mayhem confronts Dodson and explains that he caused a lot of issues with the team. And that’s pretty much it. There really aren’t any consequences, though you wonder how the rest of the team is going to treat him after this. And I mean his actual team, not Team Death Leprechaun.
Akira’s takedown offense is a little bit off, so Tiki Ghosn works with him on getting up off the mat. Good screen-time, Tiki!
Bisping no-shows the weigh-ins, just like he no-showed the fight-selections in last week’s episode. His fighters look pretty bummed about it. But hey, at least he hasn’t missed one of their fights yet. He finally shows up, lifting a big paper bag as explanation. It is never explained what’s inside the paper bag.
After the weigh-ins, the big ‘M’ that denotes Mayhem’s parking space is placed in the handicapped spot of the gym’s parking lot. Just wait, that will become very important later.
Neace says he won’t tap to a submission, but he might hold a choke a little longer. Akira wasn’t impressed with Neace’s double-leg at the fight-announcement. And here we go…
Round 1: Akira lands first with a leg kick, a hook, and a body kick. A spinning back kick misses, and Bisping scolds Akira for trying the fancy stuff. Neace scores with a leg kick, and another, but Akira returns some punches. Neace stalking. He whiffs a backfist and some follow-up punches, but lands a counter when Akira swings on an overhand right. Neace’s reverse kick is caught, and Akira dumps him on the mat. Akira enters his guard and throws down a big elbow. Neace tries to lock him down, but Akira sneaks in another nice punch. Neace looking for an arm. More punches from Akira. Neace grabs a heel hook and cranks it. Akira taps — I mean, very clearly, he taps — but Herb Dean doesn’t see it. So when Neace eases up, thinking the fight is over, Akira keeps fighting, and escapes to his feet. Team Miller shouts “HE TAPPED” in unison, but it’s too late now. Neace scores a takedown. Akira gets to his feet and lands a hook at the end.
Round 2: They trade hooks. Akira is on the move, attacking forward with punches, then clinching against fence. A short elbow from Akira, followed by some knees to Dustin’s legs. They separate. Both guys miss backfists. (Seriously guys, it’s enough already with that shit.) Neace goes to the body with a punch and a kick. Akira drops Neace with a punch, and throws down big shots at Neace against the fence. Akira stays on top, punching down, smothering Neace. Neace looks for a triangle, but can’t get it. He desperately tries to make something happen from his back in the round’s closing seconds, but Akira stays out of danger, keeps busy, and keeps his position.
Before the decision is even read, Akira goes over to Neace’s stool and basically does this to him. There’s another near-scuffle, and Miller (I think?) shoots water at Bisping. Keith Kizer has to step in and be an adult, telling Akira to get his shit together unless he wants to be suspended and kicked off the show. Akira Corassani def. Dustin Neace via majority decision, which implies that one judge gave the first round to Dustin on the basis of, you know, ending the fight.
And so, Akira scores the first win for Team Bisping, in the most bullshit way possible. But that’s life. Sometimes you win, sometimes a tow truck comes to drag your Mustang out of the handicapped spot.