It’s clear that at least two fighters really want to meet up in the semi’s, and that is Damarques Johnson and James Wilks. When asked why he wants to fight Wilks, Damarques simply replies, “because I want to hurt his feelings.”
Cameron Dollar gives Dana an idea when asked who he wants to fight, expressing the desire to fight his own teammate Jason Dent. Dana then approaches both coaches with an idea to pair up teammates in the semis to assure one team U.S. fighter and one team U.K. fighter in the finals. Neither coach is excited at the prospect of their guys fighting teammates, and eventually Dana decides to keep the format as planned.
The fighters are brought in for the announcement of the semi final brackets:
DaMarques Johnson vs. Nick Osipczak
Frank Lester vs. James Wilks
Cameron Dollar vs. Andre Winner
Jason Dent vs. Ross Pearson
It’s BBQ time at the house with all the fighters from both teams discussing the matchups. Pierce is once again the center of attention complaining about the American team to team U.K. member David Faulkner, as Whitson walks in and hears the discussion. Whitson decides to question Pierce’s heart and patriotism, and Pierce finally decides he’s ready to fight for the first time since being allowed in the house, urging Whitson to “jump weight” to fight him, right then and there…
Back at the training center, with Coach Dan Henderson going through a workout session with his favorite to win the show, Damarques Johnson. He explains that Johnson has been sick, but seems to be over it right now, and will be ready for Osipczak.
Henderson decides to confront Jason Pierce about the incident at the house and gets a standard Pierce response of, “Everyday closer to leaving is a good day.”
It’s now time for a team U.K. workout, as Osipczak readies himself to face Damarques Johnson. Nick has some inside information on what Johnson has been up to, and is busy analyzing what he needs to do to earn a spot in the finals. Osipczak realizes that defending the take down will be important against Johnson, and Bisping explains just how all of this hard training will pay off, and how it has made him the fighter he is today.
Osipczak calls his semifinal bout, “His toughest fight”, and both fighters express their desire to take the other’s will to fight away. Johnson is shown in the Octagon on his knees praying prior to the match.
First Semifinal Bout: Damarques Johnson vs. Nick Osipczak
It’s time to get it on…
Round 1 – A tap of the gloves starts the battle. Johnson lands an early jab. Johnson comes with another jab that is countered with a nice stiff leg kick. Osipczak lands another kick, but Johnson comes back with a nice 1-2 combo. A brief exchange ensues, and Osipczak lands another kick. Johnson goes to the clinch, and throws a knee. Damarques uses the clinch for a nice throw, and is now on top, but only briefly.
Osipczak scrambles, and both fighters are back on their feet. Another kick by Osipczak, but Johnson is getting the better of the stand up. Osipczak misses hight and Johnson lands a two punch combo, followed by a knee to the head. Johnson drops and lands a punch to the body, and is connecting consistantly with his jab. Johnson gets another take down, and Osipczak goes for an arm bar, but Damarques recognizes it early and is in no danger.
Johnson in Osipczak’s half guard, and working on controlling the head. Johnson briefly passes guard, but Osipczak is able to retain full guard. Action packed first round, with Johnson landing body shots and punches from half guard.
One minute to go, and Johnson gets free long enough to land a flush elbow to the head. Johnson stands, and Osipczak uses the space to go for a take down of his own. Johnson grabs for a guillotine, but both fighters separate and Osipczak begins to move forward. Osipczak lands an eight punch combo that stuns Johnson, and he is looking to finish!!! He lands a few more big shots, and Johnson recovers to throw a few counter punches at the end of the round. Strong finish to the round by Osipczak.
Round 2 – Johnson starts the round with a jab again, and misses with his right. Osipczak goes for the clinch, but Johnson separates. Osipczak lands another kick, and Johnson counters with body shots. Osipczak drops for a take down, but Johnson sprawls nicely, and quickly transitions to side mount. Johnson drops some short elbows, and then finds himself in a triangle attempt. Johnson works free, and passes to side control again. He is working to isolate an arm and going for a kimura. Osipczak defends, and retains half guard. Johnson is working to pass to mount, but Osipczak is defending nicely on the ground. Bisping calls for Osipczak to do something from the bottom. Osipczak spins for a loose arm bar attempt, but Johnson defends, and transitions to side control again, then passes to full mount. Johnson lands a few shots, and Osipczak rolls giving up his back.
Johnson locks in the body triangle and is landing punches from the back. Herb Dean warns Johnson for hitting the back of the head, as Johnson continues to rain down shots. Bisping is now screaming that the punches are hitting the back of the head. With 10 seconds to go, Damarques is looking to finish, and Dean calls for Osipczak to defend himself or he’ll stop the fight.
Back from commercial, we return to chants of “USA, USA” from Johnson’s teammates.
Third and final round – Mutual respect from both fighters to start. Johnson looking immediately to establish his jab, and drops to the body. Osipczak throws and just misses with an overhand right, and goes to the body as well with a nice shot. Johnson misses with the uppercut, but comes back to his jab. Nice lead right by Johnson, and Osipczak counters with a kick. Johnson still dominating the stand up battle, and throws in a flying knee for good measure. Osipczak looks like he’s gassing and is now telegraphing his kicks, and dropping his hands.
Another lead right, and Johnson is picking Osipczak apart, and after Osipczak goes for a kick, Johnson takes him down to the ground. Osipczak nearly gets a sweep, but Johnson maintains top position near the cage. Johnson is back in Osipczak’s half guard and looking to advance back to full mount again. He is now landing nice crisp short elbows from the top. Johnson gains full mount, and within seconds, Osipczak rolls again. Osipczak works some two on one and turns into Johnson, reversing position with a minute to go.
Osipczak now on top and looking to drop some punishment on Johnson. 30 seconds to go, and Osipczak is not landing anything significant to finish the fight. Both fighters looking to land in the last five seconds of the fight as the bell sounds.
Dana White expresses his admiration for the fight between the two warriors saying the end of round one “is what fighting is all about,” as both fighters left it all out in the Octagon.
To the cards… all three score the bout for Damarques Johnson. Johnson is the first to make it to the live finale. Bisping is one of the first to congratulate Damarques and tell him it was a great performance.
Stay tuned here at PRO MMA (promma.info) for continuing coverage of The Ultimate Fighter.
By Denny Hodge