In the battle of personal property defacement, Team U.S. is routing the Brits by a score of 2-0 — if only they could be that dominant in the Octagon. Last night’s episode of TUF 9 featured the show’s first quarterfinal match, with well-rounded beanpole Nick Osipczak drawing first blood for Team U.K., thanks to a highlight-reel knockout of the much scarier-looking Mark Miller.
The episode opened with the coaches introducing us to their assistants. Michael Bisping has flown in his own trainers at Wolfslair — Mario "Sucata" Neto (wrestling/submissions) and Dave Jackson (striking) — who will now be acting as his helpers. Dan Henderson is rolling a little deeper with Heath Sims (wrestling), Cyrille Diabate (Muay Thai), Ricardo Feliciano (jiu-jitsu), and Gustavo Pugliese (boxing).
Team U.S. is at a disadvantage because they just had to go through their elimination fights; Team U.K.’s took place two weeks prior. Hendo chooses the relatively unscathed welterweight Mark Miller to represent the Americans first against Nick Osipczak, who didn’t look like much in his elimination match against Tommy Maguire. "One to us," Bisping says of the pick.
Bisping and his coaches watch tape of Miller’s fight with Kevin Knabjian and pick apart the American’s weaknesses: He predictably throws sets of three jabs, drops his hands when he kicks, backs off when pressured, has a suspect chin, never throws knees, and generally seems like a one-dimensional striker. Bisping tries to mimic Miller’s style in a sparring session with Nick. We learn that Nick. was one of Bisping’s southpaw training partners for his fight against Chris Leben. But Nick is ambidextrous and decides he’ll switch to orthodox stance for the Miller fight, because he fought lefty against Maguire.
By contrast, Miller doesn’t formulate much of a game-plan. (In a moment that will haunt all of them later, Diabate tells Miller that Osipczak isn’t much of a kicker.) Still, Dana White predicts that Miller will win the match, and Jason Pierce calls Miller "the toughest guy on our team by far." Another thing about Miller: His nickname is "Meat Missle." Basically, he was having breakfast with his grandmother, she asked what his fight nickname was, and he told her "the meat missile" as a joke. (Ed. note: You’re gonna say that shit to your grandma, bro? Gross.) The name stuck.
So, the pranks begin. Items left in common areas are fair game, though the guys are still sticking to the "no bodily fluids" rule. Demarques Johnson finds Dave Faulkner’s Team UK shirt, writes a tally on it ("Team USA: 1, Team UK: 0") and leaves a ransom note on the front door. Haw haw, big laffs. Later, Ross Pearson‘s wrestling shoes are nicked, and an updated tally is written on them, along with limey-specific taunts like "cheerio, bitches."
Ross is pissed, demanding to know "who wrote on me boots." The prank aggravates Bisping, who advises his team to rise above the childish bullshit. "Too much spotted dick for Bisping," Frank Lester says, in the most annoying fake British accent ever.
But wait: There’s a late change to Nick’s gameplan. After doing further research on YouTube, Bisping and Jackson say that Nick’s best bet is to take Miller down because he’s got no ground game.
It’s fight time. In an eerie, kind of depressing moment, we see Charles "Mask" Lewis finding a seat in the background.
Round 1: Osipczak goes for the takedown right away after a clinch, and gets on top, in Miller’s guard. Miller goes for armlock, but loses it. Osipczak moves to half-guard, but Miller slips out when Osipczak tries to trainsition to mount. Miller gets up, then scrambles back into Osipczak’s guard. Osipczak reverses, they get up and exchange knees in a clinch. Miller lands some punches, and throws Osipczak to the mat, but Osipczak finds his way on top. Miller gets up and Osipczak lands some punches, then a knee in the clinch. Then it’s Miller’s turn to land some heavy blows, and Osipczak shoots to stop the abuse, taking Miller to the ground. After some weak GNP, Miller kicks him off and Osipczak grabs a guillotine and falls backward with it. Miller goes to tap, Herb Dean doesn’t see it, Miller thinks better of it. Miller lands an elbow and some punches from the top. Osipczak slips out, upkicks Miller, and scores a takedown at bell.
Round 2: Both fighters look worn out. Bisping yells at Osipczak to keep his hands up, as Miller lands punches and a knee. Osipczak gets a takedown, but Miller has his neck in a guillotine attempts. Osipczak slips out and fires some knees into Miller’s ribs. Miller tries the choke again, Osipczak slips out again and gets mount, but Miller tenaciously pursues the guillotine. Osipczak lands some punches to Miller’s body. Miller rolls him, losing the choke, and spends some time laying on top. Miller sneaks in elbows from the bottom and tries for a triangle choke. After a few more elbows from Osipczak, Herb stands ‘em up for the last minute of the fight. And Osipczak immediately shuts down Miller with a head-kick knockout.
"Look low, kick high, oldest trick in the book," Osipczak says afterwards. Miller barfs into a bucket. Solid episode.