We’re heading into the home stretch of TUF 14: Team Asshole vs. Team Goofball, and the bloom is definitely off the rose. At this point, I just want to see the coaches settle their beef at the finale show next month. I’d also like to see Diego Brandao whip some more ass. Other than that, I’m only watching/writing this out of habit. How many dumb pranks can grown men can play on each other? Even when they involve Mariachi bands, it’s just…I don’t know. There are more important things happening in our country right now.
The TUF house has reached a Heathers-level of cliquey-ness. You got the Bible thumpers, the card players, and the dudes with anger issues/crazy hair/dark skin. And hey, you know who Akira Corassani doesn’t like? That bitch-ass Bryan Caraway. “He’s like a little girl,” Akira says. “He wakes up in the morning, he takes like 25 minutes to make his hair.”
So, Akira sneaks into Bryan’s bedroom in the middle of the night and shaves off a piece of his hair. Caraway chases him to an upstairs balcony, where Akira is giggling with his bros. Instead of brawling with the whole gang, Bryan threatens non-specific vengeance sometime in the future. “Y’know, what we do in life echoes in eternity, and this right here I’m going to laugh about my whole life,” Akira says, COMPLETELY MISSING THE POINT OF GLADIATOR. Look, spoiler alert, Akira gets choked out at the end of this episode and it’s awesome. Sorry guys, I had to.
Back at the gym, the fighters who have been eliminated from the competition are losing their focus, while the remaining eight semi-finalists are turning up the intensity. Mayhem rides a tiny bike to practice to avoid getting his car messed with, but Team Bisping has something else in store for him. As Tiki explains, ”We don’t want them to focus on training the guys, we want to them to focus on, ‘oh, what prank are they gonna play next?’”
Tiki and Bisping create a diversion, acting like assholes in Team Miller’s prep-room. When the orange team finally tries to exit the room, Bisping blasts ‘em with a fire extinguisher. Out of the haze comes a Mariachi band. Watching at home, Cain Velasquez sheds a single tear. The fighters evacuate, hacking their lungs out. Miller gives props to Bisping for the prank, but the gym is destroyed, and Johnny Bedford has a fight coming up, so not everybody can laugh it off so easily.
Dennis Bermudez ain’t the brightest bulb in the box. (He’s a “fufessional,” you guys.) Akira draws pictures of him as a wise owl, quoting his malapropisms and barely coherent catchphrases, which he posts on the refrigerator door.
Akira and Dennis will be kicking off the featherweight semis, and Team Bisping is drilling Akira on ground escapes to help him prepare for his wrestling disadvantage. ”Dennis wants to hold me down for 15 minutes,” Akira says. “Congratulations. First of all, you’re a big pussy.”
Akira tells us he was born in raised in Sweden, where violence is a way of life.
Bisping’s love of pranks has infected his whole team, who are now focused on pranking him. First, Akira ambushes Bisping with a squirt of water from the bathroom. Bisping responds by kicking the bathroom door open. He thought it was a Team Mayhem member, so…false alarm. Later, Marcus Brimage jumps on Bisping’s back, rubs his wet jock strap in the Count’s face, and runs away. Bisping retaliates by slamming Akira on the ground, wrapping the jock strap around his head, then slapping him around. Again, this is the guy who has to fight next for Bisping’s team. But Akira’s a good sport about it: “I think me and Darkness are blood brothers now because I actually had to taste his salty balls.” There’s a silly string incident later, but I don’t have the energy to get into it.
Bermudez doesn’t like Akira’s series of owl portraits. “Let me draw you a picture…with my fists,” he tells us. He never intends to hurt his opponents in fights — he just tries to win — but that might change. Raising the tension, Akira sings Dennis an improvised song about their fight which is as insulting as it is soulful.
Mayhem lets his wiener dog on the mats, completely disregarding the possible zombie apocalypse risk.
Okay, final pre-fight thoughts: Dana White thinks Akira is cocky, and maybe a little crazy to call out Dennis. “I think Akira might have bit off more than he can chew,” he says. Jason Miller says he respects Michael Bisping: “He’s a seasoned fighter. That being said, I really respect my father, and it never stopped me from whipping his ass.” Akira visualizes the fight the night before, in his own werid, cocky way. “I’m a black belt in fucking people up, you know what I’m sayin’?” he says. “I’m gonna show that European fighters have it all.”
It’s go time…
Round 1: Akira lands first and stumbles Dennis. Dennis tries to respond with a takedown but Akira sees it coming and punches him off. Akira catches a leg kick and lands a counter-punch. Akira sprawls and brawls. It turns into a dog fight. Akira lands two hockey-punches. They clinch up and trade knees. Leg kick and clinch from Dennis. Akira separates and opens fire with punches. Bermudez gives one back. They slug at the center of the cage. Akira scores with a right straight and hook. Dennis shoots and fails. Dennis misses another takedown and pays for it. Akira coming forward and landing. He drops Dennis with a big left. Dennis shoots for Akira’s legs, lifts him, and slams him. He sets up a guillotine. Call me crazy, but it seems that Akira taps and Herb Dean misses it…again. But Dennis stays on it, re-adjusts the hold, and gets Akira to tap, and this time it’s unmistakable. Dennis Bermudez is going to the featherweight finals.
Akira is confused and very emotional after the loss. He brushes off the doctor who needs to check him out, and everybody else who tries to console him. He just wants to be held by Michael Bisping, and hear that it’s going to be okay. But it’s not. On the bright side, a performance like that probably punched his ticket to the TUF 14 Finale prelims.
Dennis says that a fortune cookie predicted his victory. Akira says that he’s going to go home and crack a beer, but as we all know, ”the loser’s beer doesn’t taste as good as the winner’s beer.” Especially if the loser is drinking Kaliber, which tastes like straight dogshit, as I found out by accident last summer. Long story.
On the next episode: Air hockey, bug eating, and the first bantamweight semifinal between Dustin Pague and TJ Dillashaw.