You watched a lot of reality TV and sat through the lame TUF theme song countless times just to get to this point. Now we finally get to discover who is The Ultimate Fighter…by watching the rematch of a fight from the tournament semifinals.
Okay, so that part may be anti-climactic, but there’s a whole lot of other action on tonight’s fight card, including the always fun loser-gets-fired match between Kendall Grove and Evan Tanner. The Cage Potato liveblog starts at 9 pm EST. Remember to hit refresh so you can get the most updated acerbic wit possible.
9:00: And we’re off…
9:01: And we get as far as the post-gladiator montage interviews before CB Dollaway refers to himself in the third person again. Oh, those tricky editors.
9:04: The phrase “make or break” gets thrown around liberally by Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan. I can’t help but wonder how many of Rogan’s stories start with, “When I was on ‘News Radio…’” Not that I wouldn’t want to hear those stories.
9:11: Riddle boasts that he is “actually at a real camp” these days. Judging by his haircut, that camp is Vidal Sassoon. Hi-yo! Keep coming back for clever quips like that all night long.
9:16: Goldberg notes: “Nobody smiled more on this season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ than Matt Riddle.” In all fairness, they only started keeping that statistic after season three.
9:24: A solid back-and-forth battle between Matt Riddle and Dante Rivera takes a turn as Riddle secures the mount. And then gives it up. Riddle attempts a nice little triangle, but Rivera isn’t having it. On to round three.
9:28: Riddle takes Rivera down right on the Keystone Light logo. Ouch. Rivera’s attempts at rubber guard do not escape Rogan’s notice, but Riddle works through it before getting back to his feet.
9:31: More mount from Riddle. Looks like he’s starting to take over, especially now that Rogan is already referring to this as a big victory for him. Presumptuous? Little bit. Accurate? Probably.
9:37: Riddle wins a unanimous decision. He smiles as if someone has told him they’re taking him for ice cream later.
9:43: Now we’re pausing so Dana White can promote his July 19 Anti-Affliction show. Don’t forget to pump up James Irvin. Done.
10:00: More of the same in round two. Fisher in total control, with the exception of a takedown from Stephens at the end of the round. I’m pretty sure I can hear Cecil Peoples marking it 10-9 for Stephens after that.
10:03: Referee Steve Mazagatti warns Fisher to “pick those shots wisely”. Are referees dispensing life guidance now? I’m not saying that’s a bad idea. Herb Dean could really sort some of these guys out.
10:07: Spencer Fisher toughs out the guillotine at the end and smiles from the effort. Well done.
10:12: Unanimous decision for Fisher. He responds with a Ric Flair ‘woo!’ We’d expect nothing less.
10:20: Joe Rogan sits down with Forrest Griffin and “Rampage” Jackson for an interview no one seems too excited about. “Rampage” salvages it by making fun of Griffin’s ears.
10:31: Diego Sanchez has got himself a good angry sneer going. Let’s see how it works out.
10:35: Who would have thought that Sanchez-Fioravanti would turn into a stand-up battle? Deal with it. That seems to be where this is going.
10:46: Entering round three, this is a surprisingly competitive and exciting fight. Despite having Fioravanti in trouble, Sanchez has been unable to finish him.
10:48: And right on cue Diego Sanchez delivers a big head kick, followed by a knee and then some punches that are mostly academic. Impressive finish from “The Nightmare”.
11:01: Big Nog and Frank Mir mug for the TUF 8 promo. Apparently we’re still calling Nogueira the “interim heavyweight champion”. That’s kind of like a girl you broke up with eight months ago saying that the two of you are ‘on a break.’
11:05: It’s time for extended packages on CB Dollaway and Amir Sadollah. You know, because we haven’t learned enough about their backgrounds.
11:12: CB and Amir smile at one another in the staredown. If my mom watched MMA, she would have both loved and misinterpreted that moment.
11:13: Dollaway wastes no time in getting Amir to the mat this time around. But Sadollah is wily off his back.
11:16: Sadollah locks up a very similar armbar to the one he finished Dollaway with on the show, and CB taps once. He apparently feels that this shouldn’t count as real tapout for some reason. CB, you tapped. Because you were locked up. Now let’s move on.
11:22: Amir Sadollah seems as surprised as anyone now that he’s the season seven winner. Somehow that only makes him more likable.
11:27: Here I thought we were going to get through a full Spike TV broadcast of the UFC without a stilted interview/advertisement for some other idiotic Spike TV show. What a fool I’ve been. At least we get a quick look at some show about a factory that seems to be based on an idea that took twenty seconds to think up.
11:34: Rogan refers to Evan Tanner as “a great writer”. If Jim Shepard were watching this, he’d be very sad right now. Rogan then goes on to refer to the “web log” that Tanner writes. If only there were a more succinct word for that.
11:41: Near the end of the first, we’ve already seen a hell of fight. Grove attempts to take Tanner’s back and fails. Both these guys are such unknown quantities, anything could happen.
11:44: Replays confirm that Grove’s knee was, as the kids say, totally sick.
11:45: Grove is using his range well early in the second. If only he could keep out of the clinch.
11:46: There’s that knee from Grove again. But it leads to a takedown. Grove gets back to his feet and punishes Tanner some. Tanner starting to remind us all of his gutsy/bloody performance against Rich Franklin, only with a beard this time.
11:49: Grove ends the round with some kicks that make me feel like vomiting. Or maybe that’s the Chinese food and vodka.
11:55: Both guys look tired and a little desperate here in the final moments. Great effort from both men. It’s a shame someone probably has to get fired behind this.
11:59: Split decision for Kendall Grove. It’s not a finish, but it will keep him employed.
12:02: Eastman-McFedries is up next. Turns out Marvin Eastman is 38. And still holding on to the dream. Is that encouraging, or a cautionary tale? Guess we’ll see.
12:05: Cautionary tale. McFedries just put a hurting on “The Beastman”. Guess who’s going to be selling Lady Kenmore’s at Sears before the month is out.
Results of the rest of the undercard:
Dustin Hazelett def. Josh Burkman via submission (armbar) round two
Dean Lister def. Jeremy Horn via submission (guillotine choke) round one
Rob Kimmons def. Rob Yundt via submission (guillotine choke) round one
Matt Brown def. Matt Arroyo via TKO (punches) round two
The Tim Credeur-Cale Yarbrough fight was cancelled because Credeur tested positive for the prescription drug Adderall.
And on that note, we’re done. Have a good night, Potato Nation.