(Kyle Watson, Michael Johnson, and John Danaher join host Stephan Bonnar to run down last night’s fights on the latest episode of "The Aftermath." Warning: Danaher drops a "retard" joke within the first 30 seconds of the interview. Anybody else getting a Lanny Poffo vibe from this guy?)
Michael Johnson is one of those dudes who can’t appreciate the sheer hilarity of being sprayed with water. When Sako (or was it Sevak? one of those guys) rigs the sink to blast the next person who uses it, MJ is on the losing end and freaks out. So immature, you guys! Michael is convinced that Alex Caceres is to blame, I guess because he saw Alex pull the same prank the day before. Their quarterfinal fight can’t come soon enough.
But first, Kyle Watson and Aaron Wilkinson will have to face off. GSP says Aaron is a better striker than Kyle, so Kyle needs to get the fight to the ground. Kyle’s plan is to take Aaron down from the clinch, rather than shooting in. Logically, Coach Koscheck advises "English" to keep the fight standing. After three fights in the house, Aaron’s right eye is looking rough. And it’s go-time already…
Round 1: Kyle starts with a fast leg kick, then lands two more, one to the outside and one to the inside. Kyle clinches up and takes Aaron down, just like he said he would, and gets into side control. Aaron establishes half-guard. Kyle throws a couple punches down to Aaron’s head. Kyle locks up, looking for an arm-triangle. Aaron rolls and escapes to his feet. He’s warned for holding the fence as Kyle takes him down again and gets into mount. Kyle slams Aaron down with his body, GSP/Galbraith-style. Kyle works his way around to Aaron’s back, and starts softening him up with punches as he looks for the rear-naked choke. Aaron keeping his chin tucked, doing his best to defend. Kyle has the body-triangle locked. It looks bad for Aaron. English finally succumbs to the RNC and taps.
Aaron is embarrassed about his performance, and Koscheck is stunned that another one of his guys has lost by rear-naked choke. But enough about those losers. Kyle Watson becomes the next TUF 12 semi-finalist, and doesn’t have a single mark on his face.
Coach St. Pierre has one more special-guest trick up his sleeve: Boxing guru Freddie Roach, who led Manny Pacquiao to a tenth world title in his eighth weight-division last weekend. Roach holds pads for Brookins, Johnson, and Caceres, giving them pointers here and there. Roach actually says that Johnson reminds him a little of Pacquaio. Huh. He also calls Buce Leroy clumsy and awkward, but effective. That makes a little more sense.
GSP is not going to corner Michael or Alex during their match. Alex says that Michael choosing to fight him due to emotional reasons was an error on his part. He stuffs MJ’s takedowns in practice, and it’ll be the same thing during the fight. He’s gonna make Michael chase air.
As we already saw, Koscheck feels that Alex is being sacrificed by GSP to get Michael into the semi-finals. So, he’s rooting for Alex, and talking trash to Michael. "I can’t wait ’til Bruce kicks your ass," he says. "You’re a black version of Georges." (A black version of Georges St. Pierre? My God, the levels of athleticism and explosiveness would be unmeasurable.) Kos needles GSP for throwing Alex under the bus. Georges keeps quiet, but the way he sort-of-nervously chomps on his water bottle reveals that maybe Kos’s analysis has some truth to it.
"A little black on black crime," somebody says during the face-off at the weigh-ins. "He’s not black," MJ deadpans.
Koscheck offers to corner Alex in the fight, but Alex already picked Jeff Lentz to support him. An odd selection since Lentz doesn’t particularly like Alex, but it seems that nobody else wanted to do it. (Kyle will be cornering Michael.) As Alex warms up with his beloved hurricane kicks and Lee-esque footwork, Lentz keeps saying "don’t do that." Maybe Alex should have accepted Koscheck’s offer after all. Grudge match time…
Round 1: Alex lands first with a leg kick. Alex gets in a push kick as Michael charges forward. Michael shoots and slams Alex, then gets into half guard. Alex kicks Michael off and escapes. He tries a high kick. Michael with a punch and low kick. Alex returns with a body kick. Michael punches Alex’s mouthpiece out and Herb Dean immediately pauses the action to get it back in. Michael stalks forward throwing bombs before clinching. He drags Alex to the ground and gets in guard. Alex tries to scramble out, but Michael stays on. Alex gets some distance, stands up and throws some punches. They trade strikes. Alex attacks with punches, Michael clinches. Alex gets in a knee to the dome. Michael throws leather, and puts Alex’s back against the fence. A knee from Alex and they separate. Michael whiffs on some haymakers. Alex falls while landing a body kick and Michael is on him. Alex kicks him off again. Michael moves forward punching until they’re clinching again against the fence. Alex separates but eats some shots in the escape. Alex throws some knees in a final clinch, including one that Michael complains was low. MJ had the slight edge in the round, but it was competitive, and Alex might be the fresher fighter going into round 2.
Round 2: Alex starts with a body kick. He gets caught in midair throwing a superman punch, and Michael slams him down. Short elbows from Michael, in side control. Alex trying to work to a better position, but Michael is tenacious on top of him. Michael blasts some hard punches from the top. Alex is trapped against the cage momentarily, but finally gets up and they start brawling. A knee from Alex. Michael shoots in and takes Alex’s back, but he falls off and Alex gets on top briefly. He’s been smiling the entire fight, the crazy bastard. Michael gets up and takes Alex down, throwing down some shots here and there, but his pace has slowed. Alex tries to get up, but Michael drags him down. Alex gets up and nails Michael with a straight left. He gets clinched up again while tryin a knee. Michael with one more slam, and sneaks in an elbow from the top as the round ends.
Alex was a game opponent, but Michael Johnson’s takedowns ruled the day, and he wins the unanimous decision. GSP says it was a great fight, Kos says it sucked. MJ says he gained a lot of respect for Alex in the fight.
Dana White and the head coaches meet to figure out the semi-final matchups. Koscheck says he wants Nam Phan vs. Michael Johnson. Picking with his emotions maybe? He’d love to see his only semi-finalist smash MJ. At any rate, GSP says the matchup works for him, and the bracket is set with zero arguments. On the way to the gym to make the matchups official, Koscheck threatens to de-pants GSP, just like he did to Nurse Tate. He should totally try to do that during their fight next month!
Semifinal #1 will be Jonathan Brookins vs. Kyle Watson. Semifinal #2 will be Michael Johnson vs. Nam Phan. MJ gets up in Phan’s face, sort of playfully, sort of not. Phan cowers in fear, sort of playfully, sort of not. They grin and shove each other. It’s not exactly a grudge match, but let’s be honest, each man stands in the way of the other putting food on their families. GSP says that Brookins/Watson could go either way, but Johnson will beat Phan. Not that he’s biased or anything.
In two weeks: The two-hour semifinal extravaganza that will change everything. Your predictions, please…