It was a big night for MMA fans with the “UFC Fight Night 18: Condit vs. Kampmann” card being broadcast for free on Spike TV, followed by the first episode of the latest The Ultimate Fighter installment.
This time around the UFC has switched things up a bit with season 9 featuring a U.S.A. vs UK format. Led by coaches Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping, each representing and coaching their respective nations, the UFC is looking to inject new life into the 9th season of the popular reality fighting show.
Episode 1 begins with Dana White arriving at the Wolfslair gym being greeted outside by Michael Bisping. Dana next meets the guys that will be fighting to be one of the 8 UK fighters to make the flight to the states. We are then treated to a classic line by Dana: “Welcome to The Ultimate Fighter Mother [expletive].”
The show wastes no time getting to the elimination bouts with Gary Kelly facing Andre Winner for the first bed in The Ultimate Fighter house:
Round 1: Both fighters exchange early, and then go to the clinch. Both fighters are throwing nice knees in the clinch, and Kelly lands a nice elbow while locked up with Winner. Winner really working the body from the clinch, and when he sees a little daylight, he delivers a huge knee that takes Kelly out.
Andre Winner over Gary Kelly by KO
Elimination bout #2: Jeff Lawson vs. James Bryan
Round 1: Lawson comes out quickly and takes the fight to the ground. Bryan tries to secure an arm bar from the bottom, but Lawson quickly escapes. Lawson postures and lands some good shots before working to pass Bryan’s guard. Lawson works to a north-south position and then gets stuck briefly in half guard. Lawson quickly transitions and isolates an arm and eventually secures it earning the submission victory via arm bar.
Jeff Lawson defeats James Bryan by arm bar
Elimination bout #3: Che Mills vs. James Wilks
Round 1: Both fighters exchange and Wilks falls to his back eating some punches for his trouble. Mills leaves a leg exposed while landing shots, and Wilks transitions to the heel hook and quickly ends the fight.
James Wilks over Che Mills by submission (heel hook)
Elimination bout #4: Martin Stapleton vs. Dan James
Round 1: After a couple of exchanges, Stapleton shoots and scores the take down pressing James against the cage. Stapleton locks in the RNC but loses it, and transitions to full mount and drops some bombs before getting James’s back again. This time he flattens James out and secures a tight rear naked choke prompting a tap out from Dan James.
Martin Stapleton defeats Dan James by submission (rear naked choke)
Elimination bout #5: AJ Wenn (7-2) vs. Ross Pearson (9-3)
Round 1: Pearson lands a couple of shots, with Wenn countering with knees. They clinch against the cage and Wenn is still trying to fire some knees. Pearson briefly sweeps Wenn, but he is quickly back to his feet, followed by more clinching. Wenn changes levels for the take down but Pearson defends nicely, before getting a powerful take down of his own. Both fighters are back on their feet quickly and back to the clinch game, with Wenn trying to utilize his knees. Pearson lands 3 consecutive knees from the clinch before securing another slam. Wenn works back to his feet but Pearson is dictating where and how the fight is going. Wenn goes for a single and briefly works Pearson to the ground, but Ross quickly kicks Wenn away and lands a huge knee at the bell.
Round 2: Wenn still looks stunned but manages to land a nice low kick. Pearson counters and lands a huge right hand, then stands over Wenn dropping bombs until “Big Mirg” intervenes and stops the fight.
Ross Pearson over AJ Wenn by TKO
Elimination bout #6: Tommy Maguire vs. Nick Osipczak
Round 1: Both fighters exchange and Maguire works and earns a take down and drops some shots before receiving a couple of good up kicks to keep him lively. The height difference is huge, but Maguire is game and secures a standing guillotine and pulls guard to try to end the fight. Osipczak works himself free and is now on top. He stands up and backs away and connects with a stiff jab. Maguire lands a looping overhand left, but Osipczak fires off a flurry of combos with punches and knees forcing some much needed referee intervention.
Nick Osipczak defeats Tommy Maguire by TKO
Elimination bout #7: Alex Reid vs. Dean Amasinger
Highlights of bout: Reid comes in looking very confident prior to the bout, while Amasinger shows us a weak ass Mr. T impersonation. We only get bits and pieces from each of the first three rounds, but get to see a pretty sweet slam by Amasinger, and some grunting as Dean fights off a nasty triangle attempt. 2 rounds are not enough as this one is going to “Sudden Victory”.
Dean Amasinger over Alex Reid by decision
Elimination bout #8: James Bateman vs. David Faulkner
Highlights of bout: Bisping predicts a win for his fellow Wolfslair teammate via heel hook, and proves prophetic as Faulkner does indeed secure and finish the fight by heel hook.
David Faulkner defeats James Bateman by submission (heel hook)
After the elimination bouts we get the obligatory Dana speech, and learn that Bisping is ready to blow away his American opposition.
Stay tuned as next week the American fighters get their crack at earning a spot in the TUF house.