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‘The Ultimate Fighter’ 12.9 Recap: Special Moves

(Jonathan Brookins’s lateral drop even worked on Jose Aldo, back at WEC 36. No one is safe. Props: NHB USA)

We’ve officially entered the quarterfinals, and last night’s episode gave us two of ‘em: Sako Chivitchian vs. Jonathan Brookins, and Cody McKenzie vs. Nam Phan. But you already know what happens in the McKenzie/Phan fight, right?

At the house, Sevak Magakian explains to his bro Sako that he has to redeem the Armenian race and beat Brookins, who is representing the Fraggle race. "Sak you gotta do this bro," Sevak says. "You gotta beat him, whatever it takes. I couldn’t do it, now you have to do it…There’s not gonna be two Armenians gonna lose to the same guy…you’re gonna fuck him." Wow, that’s some threat. Magakian has clearly been studying at the Wanderlei Silva school of trash talk.

Coach GSP wants to train his quarterfinalists like he trains when he’s about to fight — one training session a day, no more hard sparring or hardcore workouts. The focus is tactical now. He wants to make the guys feel hungry, like they’re not training enough, and build up their aggression for the fight.

Coach Koscheck wants Sako to avoid giving up his back, because Brookins has been finishing his opponents with rear-naked chokes. They go over some dude-jumping-on-your-back-defense drills and ground escapes.

Marc Stevens, who has gone gay due to frustration, is doing his Party Boy routine for Michael Johnson and Dane Sayers. Brookins observes the madness from outside and tells Nam Phan there are much bigger questions to ponder in the universe. He hasn’t fought in the UFC yet, but he doesn’t want to lose touch with the Jonathan that just had a bicycle and a friend next to him, because that was the best Jonathan. "You’re trying out to be on the team, not a starter on the team," Brookins says. "There’s no shortage of cockiness in this house."

Before the fight, St. Pierre asks Brookins what his gameplan is. Brookins lays it out: One million jabs, go for the takedown and get it. He’s a visualizer, which appeals to GSP. Sako offers this final thought: "You better get ready to get down and dirty cuz I’m down to fight ’til round 30." Well, let’s see if you can make it to round 2 first, bro.

Round 1: Brookins jabs, as promised. Sako whiffs on a 1-2. Brookins shoots, Sako ties him up and slugs him in the ribs against the fence. Brookins nails the same lateral drop takedown that he got Sevak down with, then jumps on his back. Sako stands and grabs the fence to try to get his balance, but Jonathan still drags him down. Jonathan works to get his legs sunk, waiting for the right moment to wrap his arm around Sako’s neck. He’s patient, and he finally sneaks one in there. After some tweaking, he gets the arm fully locked under Sako’s chin and squeezes the RNC together. Sako taps, then sits up and pounds the ring post in frustration. Jonathan Brookins becomes the first fighter to reach the TUF 12 finals. Armenia goes 0-2 against Fraglandia. Sako’s never lost in his career, and he feels like an idiot for not following the gameplan.

"That kid is fucking nasty, every fight he’s had here has been like that," Dana White says about Brookins. "This guy’s the real deal." Seriously, Jonathan has made winning look as simple as following a script. Step 1: Lateral drop. Step 2: Jump on back. Step 3: RNC. Step 4: Profit.

Cody McKenzie has his own predictable script, and it has even less steps — he just needs to grab his patented guillotine choke, and it’s a wrap. St. Pierre marvels at Cody’s confidence. When Cody says he’ll walk through his opponents, "it’s like if I tell you the sun will rise tomorrow," Georges explains. But GSP also says Phan is better than Cody at jiu-jitsu and stand up — an interesting statement considering McKenzie has submitted ten of his eleven career opponents in the first round (plus two guys on TUF), and Phan’s standup didn’t look that hot in his last fight.

GSP says that everybody knows about Cody’s guillotine choke now, so he’s working on a different strategy that will have Cody put Phan against the fence, and then on his back. I don’t know about this, bro. Why screw with a good thing? There’s something about the McKenzitine that’s near-magical in its effectiveness.

For Koscheck, the Phan/McKenzie fight is very personal. Phan represents his best shot at getting a yellow shirt into the semis, and McKenzie continues to talk mad shit whenever he’s in the same room with Kos. "Nam, if you don’t fuck him up, you better not come through that gate," Koscheck warns. Phan tries to assure his coach that he’ll be the one doing the fucking.

They drill guillotine-defenses nonstop in practice. But are they drilling McKenzitines? Because that’s different. "There’s no way we’re getting fooled twice," Koscheck says. Again, you mean. Because Brookins just fooled your two Armenians with identical gameplans. Phan looks to keep the fight standing and light McKenzie up.

Phan tries to shoot the shit with Cody at the house before the fight, asking him about his past fights. Phan might be trying to get some insight into what Cody does, but McKenzie is too smart to bite.

Says Cody: "I got long hair, I’m not built like a fighter, I grew up in Alaska, so I like to drink a little more than these guys…but I always come out ahead."

Cody’s got a full six inches in height on Phan (6’0" vs. 5’6") and a five-inch reach advantage. He declines Phan’s offer of a pre-fight glove tap.

Round 1: McKenzie closes the distance quickly and fires a kick, some punches, then shoots. Phan defends against the fence. McKenzie nearly gets him down, then switches to knees to the legs and punches to the ribs. McKenzie drags Phan halfway to the mat again, but Phan gets back to his feet. More knees to Phan’s legs from McKenzie. Coach Koscheck is already yelling at the ref to separate them, but Cody is staying active. McKenzie scores the takedown. He throws down a punch and an elbow inside Phan’s guard. And more punches. McKenzie tries to pass guard, but botches it; Phan escapes, gets to his feet, and separates. Phan dashes forward with punches, and misses a kick. McKenzie shoots in again, clinches with Phan against the fence, and lands a knee to the gut. Cody drops for a leg but doesn’t get the takedown. Phan tries to roll out, but McKenzie hangs onto him. Dirty boxing from McKenzie. McKenzie drops for the legs again, and Phan fires a couple of elbows from the top. They break. McKenzie with a kick to the head. Phan with a head and body punch, and a hard right straight that seems to stagger Cody. Is McKenzie gassed? He shouldn’t have wasted all that energy not-guillotine-choking Phan. Phan goes in for the kill, but McKenzie fires back. McKenzie shoots low and Phan tees off with punches from above. McKenzie rolls to guard. Phan lets him up. McKenzie with a spinning backfist and low kick before shooting again. And there’s the bell. Phan definitely picked up momentum at the end, but it might not have been enough to steal the round. Of course, judges usually forget what happens in the first four minutes of any given round, so we’ll see.

Round 2: This is just the second fight of McKenzie’s career that has gone past the first round. GSP orders McKenzie to get off the stool and lean on him between rounds. He wants McKenzie to lean on Phan too; that’s where he’s vulnerable. Jesus, just let the boy do his fucking guillotine choke already. Phan is advised to throw combinations and keep it standing. Phan starts with a pair of high kicks. McKenzie misses a punch, and throws a kick of his own, followed by a punch that lands. High kicks from Phan, McKenzie returns low. Phan goes to the body. McKenzie shoots in to clinch against the fence, and lands a kick to Phan’s neck when they break. Phan returns his own high kick, with some punches right after it. Phan with a hook to the body, McKenzie with a kick to the body. McKenzie shoots to clinch. He throws a high kick. McKenzie shoots again but is stuffed. Phan with punches in bunches now, and a hard hook to the liver. McKenzie gets punched in the face throwing a kick. McKenzie goes to the body, and Phan returns hard, landing about five straight punches. Phan with a big 1-2 head/body combo that drops McKenzie dead. The extra shots on the ground don’t even matter. Nam Phan is in the semis. Phan’s patented liver shot, which he also used to stop Mike Budnik in the elimination round, has usurped the McKenzitine in the pantheon of TUF 12 Special Moves.

Speaking of special moves, Phan throws a hadouken in celebration. Koscheck jumps into the cage howling in victory, which doesn’t strike GSP as very sportsmanlike. Koscheck says that seeing Cody get his ass kicked and Phan getting into the semifinals was his best day on the show. McKenzie is really bummed, and feels like he let his friends and family down. "Life goes on…but it sucks." Chin up, bro. You shoulda just done you.

Next week: The quarterfinal round closes out with Kyle Watson vs. Aaron Wilkinson and Michael Johnson vs. Alex Caceres (who still hate each other).

Cagepotato Comments

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GSP_FAN- November 14, 2010 at 7:19 pm
Step 4. Profit... too funny.
WalksInTheDarkness- November 11, 2010 at 5:37 pm
The South Park reference was awesome. A little bit of wee came out. Just saying...
KarmaAteMyCat- November 11, 2010 at 2:32 pm
@ Agent

We went over this grinding out a very IMPORTANT FIGHT is not a shameful act. Nor is grinding out every fight fighters are not entertainers to the Extreme they do not care how you feel or if you like the game plan. People like Josh care even less about what you think so I mean whatever. Though I DO VERY MUCH AGREE with the whole Loling at Josh complaining about Cody playing the cage game. He was working a legit strategy ask Couture. So yes I agree with you but I also Disagree with you.
imabigfan- November 11, 2010 at 2:06 pm
Get off the shed, Nam. I just bought the new Mcguire three wood.

I will punch you in the face if you don't get off the shed. Now, get off shed. Get off the damn shed.

-what I was hearing the entire fight.

There's gonna be a meeting between my hand and your ass if you don't get off the shed. Get off the Shed!
agentsmith- November 11, 2010 at 1:53 pm
I LOL'd at Kos yelling at the ref to break them up when Cody had Nam pressed against the cage in the first round, when they were clearly working. This coming from the guy who got his last win (and a title shot) by dump-n-hump.
Elentius- November 11, 2010 at 1:08 pm
Kos was annoying but what else is new?! I heard him yelling something about putting someone in a bodybag. God damn I hope he gets destroyed. Anyway, Cody went for the g-choke a couple times, but it was expected so it didn't happen.
Charming Charlie- November 11, 2010 at 1:08 pm
You know what the ladies call Nam Phan? Hadouken. Cause he's down, right, fierce.
KarmaAteMyCat- November 11, 2010 at 11:14 am

Yea I smell The LoveFest going on in here. Thing is he already lost so he is mildly irrelevant. I love trying to punch someone in the liver I hope honestly that the Brit loses next week cant really say that I've ever liked a fighter from that country I just cant start now. All bullshit aside Brookins is a down to earth guy you cant help but respect that.
PortlandMMA- November 11, 2010 at 10:11 am
I don't see any way that Brookins loses. His record is damn impressive and most of his wins are against legitimately good competition. I think its going to be him and Johnson in the finals and Brookins will take it.
Tardjitsu- November 11, 2010 at 9:56 am
@karma: Yeah the dumb hick thing was a little off base, but you have to admit it's a Cody-love-fest just because people can't get enough of his hick mystique and not because he is a good fighter. The liver thing was a joke, so YOU can lay off the personal attacks.
darciesdaddy- November 11, 2010 at 9:41 am
After Sako' fight, he said "If only I could have..." and then kind of trailed off, so I mentally completed the sentence for him, "...held onto the fence a little harder."
cecils_pupils- November 11, 2010 at 9:41 am
Fraglandia FTW...
Diaz Cartel- November 11, 2010 at 9:41 am
I think Cody losing his fight with Nam Phan is a good thing. It exposed Cody's weakness. He needs to work on his striking and his wrestling. The Mckenzitine is nice but that's not gonna take you far for so long. You gotta evolve in the fight game, son. This is where a real training camp will be of use. Hopefully he moves to Albuquerque and trains with Greg Jackson after the show.
dranokills- November 11, 2010 at 9:25 am
First off the Armenian race sure took a hit being repped by these 2 losers this season. From the day el stupido or whatever his name is, threw a napkin at bruce leroy and "acted" like he was bad I knew they were destined for nothingness.
I wish they would do like they did the first season, you lose, you go home, no one has to see your loser face anymore. It woulda been alot better if party boy and the the 2 headed Armenian was gone.
Brookins keeps looking better and better, but I don't know if I buy into the whole "hes my pick to win the show" thing.
The worse case scenario here is that boring ass , big mouth Johnson could still wrestle his way into being this seasons jake..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....huh? what was I talking about.
Me personally, I hope It ends up being Bruce vs Brookins, that would be a very cool fight.

p.s. congrats to tardjitsu you actually make Karma look like a fucking genius thats how utterly ignorant you are. seriously you can say whatever babble you want , but you have earned your nick, you really are the master of tardjitsu.
KarmaAteMyCat- November 11, 2010 at 9:24 am

You seem a little butt hurt. Just because the guy has an accent and lives in Alaska doesn't mean he's a dumb hick. Secondly the kid choked two guys out on the same SHOW with the SAME move that shows some talent. I didn't by any means think he would win the show I wouldn't have minded seeing him go another Round without Gassing but thats what happens with some people Credit is owed were credit it owed don't be a dumbass. Oh and a Liver shot doesn't even need to be that hard all you really have to do is strike someone on Right under the arm bit and just shake the ribcage ever so slightly or even the floater which is easier, and they will drop like a bag of rocks. Now before you come at me with something Unoriginal and make some stupid personal attacks do me a favor and think about it for a bit be creative.

@Everyone Else

Cody really never had any serious chance of winning when you think of the rest of the talent on the show. Brookins has become that sleeper that nobody saw and I think, well I hope Bruce Leroy can beat Micheal Johnson but the chances of that happening are fairly improbable. Nam Phan and Brookins are both Solid players in this I think either or both could beat the Once Favored Micheal Johnson.

Don't be scared homies.
Tardjitsu- November 11, 2010 at 8:22 am
I can't believe how much credit you guys are giving Cody. He's just a dumb hick with one threat. GSP gave him a better game plan than what he usually does, which is to swing wildly, hope his opponent shoots, and then attack the neck. Nam had the right gameplan. Attack the liver. It must be weak since Cody is a drunk. Tito-esque logic finally prevails!
RSparrow- November 11, 2010 at 8:10 am
Kos is such a hypocritical douche. Runnin' around screaming like he just got the belt... you didn't even fight, you idiot.

Also, guys, as much as it's hard not to like Cody, you had to see this shit coming. He tries hard, but it was only a matter of time. Guy had the "fuck this, I'm going straight for the neck" mentality. That's not gonna fly for long...

I want St. Pierre to make Kos pay for all his bullshit, but it's hard not to think it's starting to get in his head a little bit. I don't want to see a St. Pierre vs Hughes 1. I want to see Koschecks yellow hair, turn completely red. Is that fucked up? Am I normal? Bueler...?
rngeorgeh- November 11, 2010 at 8:06 am
I hope Brookins wins it all. He's a very humble, well-spoken guy; so unlike most of the other fighters. I think I saw him on a show on the fit tv years ago. His dad was trying to get back in shape to play 2 on 2 basketball against some old high school opponents and they showed a little family background. I'm sure one of the kids was Jonathan. Anyway, excellent fighter, grounded guy, hope he wins!
Shifty-Eyed Dog- November 11, 2010 at 7:51 am
My top picks for finals/winner at the start of the season were McKenzie, Phan, and Brookins.

I'm bummed Cody is out, but I am almost positive he'll get a fight at the finale, and quite likely more fights in the UFC.

At this point I gotta agree that brookins looks like he could take this thing. He's a great fighter, a humble guy, and a class act.

Personally I think that Nam Phan T-shirt he wore might be a clue that it is Brookins/Phan in the finale.
fACE7biter- November 11, 2010 at 7:50 am
You know what the ladies call Nam Phan? Hadouken. Cause he's down, right, fierce.

danomite- November 11, 2010 at 7:49 am
I kinda just skimmed the play by play for the McKenzie fight above but I didn't see anything about McKenzie attempting the guillotine. I think I saw him attempt to put it on from the clinch a few times during the fight. I mean, it's a guillotine, it's kinda hard to put it on someone unless they shoot in and i didn't see Phan going for many takedowns.

Could Kockcheck be more of a hypocritical douche? What did he say to murse Cee-lo? it was something like "don't mess with these kids" and here he is in the ring rubbing the loss in McKenzie's face like he just won the Championship belt. Maybe by "these kids" he means just the yellow team kids. The red team kids can go fuck themselves as far as he's concerned. It's a good thing he sucks as a coach, because if I had to tune in and watch this cock celebrate like that every week I would've stopped watching a long time ago.
Fried Taco- November 11, 2010 at 7:49 am
Yay, my first time being a pretend editor for CP! ;-)
NomadRip- November 11, 2010 at 7:42 am
I have got to agree with you, C-Bus. I like that Brookins kid more each time I see him. He's definitely got his head in different places than most fighters.
agentsmith- November 11, 2010 at 7:39 am
Brookins isn't a Fraggle, he's Blonde Slash. And McKenzie's sub move is the "Hickotine".

I didn't know he was the same guy with the crazy hair who fought Aldo. I picked him to win the show last night, and now he's DEFINITELY my #1 pick.

Fun fact: of Aldo's 8 fights in the WEC, Brookins is the only opponent besides Faber to make it to the 3rd round.
agentsmith- November 11, 2010 at 7:38 am
@ C-Bus Allstar:

No kidding, both Brookins and Phan seem like genuinely cool guys, very down to earth. No wonder we see them hanging out together on the show.