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January 17, 2018

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Marathon season finale


Spike TV

The cast of The Ultimate Fighter No. 10 poses for a shot for the popular reality show that debuts on Sept. 16 on Spike TV.

Marathon finale time fight fans. Two hours of 'The Ultimate Fighter' and that includes a total of four fights with two quarterfinals as well as the two semifinals.

And somewhere in the middle of it all there's a promised 'twist' with Kimbo Slice.

Sounds good.

The Episode

Show opens with Dana White looking for a replacement for Matt Mitrione, who is still complaining about the messed up head he's had since winning his first round fight.

The obvious choice is of course our man, Kimbo Slice!, but Kimbo is still hampered by the knee injury that popped up in the previous episode and says he can't fight. Boo. That sucks.

But turns out none of that matters because Mitrione is now cleared to fight James McSweeney as scheduled. Mitrione takes it one step further by admitting he knew he would feel fine and played sick for awhile just to get in McSweeney's head. Although I don't think McSweeney is the best fighter this season, I also don't think Mitrione acting like he's got a messed-up head is going to stop McSweeney from dominating their fight.

Back at the house, Scott Junk reveals that he's had laser surgery on an eye injury he sustained in his fight with Mitrione — two small tears in his retina to be exact. Doctors have told him that his fighting career is over, although Junk says he'll refuse to accept that and will seek second and third opinions until he's cleared to fight again.

In the fan, Marcus Jones hears from his teammates about Junk's injury. The news really gets to Jones, who explodes on Mitrione at the gym. Explodes. He blames Mitrione for Junk's eye injury and claims he wants to kill Mitrione for the accident. This is a surprising reaction from Jones, who has so far been a nice, reasonable guy, and now he's going crazy on a guy for an accident that happened during a fight? Come on Marcus.

Weigh-ins for the McSweeney vs. Mitrione fight. The two make weight and then make the traditional stare where McSweeney gets in Mitrione's face and shoves him back at the end of it. White says he believes Mitrione can win the fight if he performs like he did against Junk. I'm not a believer. I pick McSweeney in this one.

First round starts with both fighters willing to stand and trade. McSweeney's trying to mix it up with kicks and punches, Mitrione wants to come straight forward and let his hands loose. McSweeney is landing some good overhand rights but then Mitrione catches a kick and unloads a good combination that had McSweeney's legs wobbling a bit. McSweeney clinches and lands a takedown. Mitrione tries to work to his feet, but McSweeney catches him in a guillotine choke and that's how it ends — McSweeney wins by submission in first round.

Next quarterfinal fight: Marcus Jones vs. Darril Schoonover. No bad blood here, just mutual respect from both. I'm going with Jones on this one, man: huge former first-round NFL draft pick against Rampage's favorite fighter to pick on.

Jones gets the immediate takedown, less than five seconds in. He moves to side control and shows good ground game again, trapping Schoonover's arm multiple times in a modified crucifix and knocking him around with his ground-and-pound. Schoonover puts Jones in his guard but Jones postures up and delivers some terribly wicked blows that no man should ever get hit by. Fight is over, with Schoonover asleep on the canvas.

White says he's very impressed with Jones, as I think we all are. He has absolutely dominated both his fights.

Quarterfinals are done and White announces the semis. McSweeney is matched against Roy Nelson, and Brendan Schaub gets Jones.

After the semis are announced we are treated to a little Rashad-Rampage banter. Highlights include Rampage telling Rashad he doesn't know if he'll be able to wake up after they fight and later saying he'll remember everything Rashad said and he can't wait for the fight. Is Thiago Silva watching this? Maybe he can find some kind of inspiration from this since Rampage no longer needs it.

Moving along with the marathon finale, Rampage is taken outside of the gym by assistant coach Tiki Ghosn who reveals an assortment of large, pink stuffed animals he's stashed in the van. Team Rampage uses the animals to redecorate Team Rashad's locker room. But it doesn't stop with stuffed animals. The team paints the walls pink and hangs a disco ball from the ceiling.

Haha, great reaction by Rashad. At the 'camera confession' he just smiles with his eyes closed for a few silent moments and then says, 'Okay.'

Back at the house McSweeney decides to screw with Zak Jensen by trapping him in the bathroom, blocking the door with a bathroom drawer. Jensen, who apparently is claustrophobic, comes out swinging for McSweeney. McSweeney puts him in a guillotine and holds him there until he settles down. A dismayed Jensen can only hope that Nelson will get McSweeney back for him in the semis.

Fight time, Nelson vs. McSweeney. I just think Nelson is too well-rounded and has more ways to win. I'm predicting Nelson.

Both fighters look to get their shots in to start the first round. After a few even exchanges Nelson shoots for a takedown, but it's a fairly weak attempt, and McSweeney defends and looks for the guillotine. Nelson squirms out and it's a standup war again. Nelson lands a big right hand, and it looks like that just took McSweeney a bit out of his game. Nelson shoots the takedown, and this time is successful in taking McSweeney to the ground. Nelson moves to the crucifix position he put Kimbo in early in the season and unloads that string of left hands to the defenseless McSweeney. That's it, Nelson wins by first-round TKO.

Focus turns to Schaub and Jones. Schaub has shown good standup throughout the show, especially that knockout win he had over John Madsen in the quarters. It's going to come down to if Jones can get him to the ground where he'll have the advantage. I haven't seen anybody defend it yet, so I'm going to go with Jones. We've got to have that Team Rashad vs. Team Rampage final right?

Bam, just like that Jones takes Schaub to the ground when Schaub looks to punch. Jones goes to side control and it's already looking not so good for Schaub. Now it looks even worse and Jones moves to the mount. Schaub forces him off and then moves to his feet and starts unloading on Jones. Jones responds with a knee, but Schaub catches him again with an overhand right that puts Jones on the canvas, and Schaub finishes him off there. Great win for Schaub who was in a very dangerous spot but fought his way to his feet and gets the win.

Man, Jones says after the fight that it could be his last time in the Octagon because he doesn't want to put his wife through it anymore. I hope that's just emotions after losing the fight, Jones could definitely be a competitor in the UFC from what I saw on the show.

White sums it up by saying, "We saw a guy with maybe the worst physique in sports (Nelson) make it to the finals. The thing about The Ultimate Fighter is anything can happen."

Best Moment

Rashad describing Jones's strength in the Schoonover fight: "Awesome force of gorillaness, with the strength of 100 men."

Kimbo Watch

So nothing much from Kimbo in this finale, but he's heading to the finale at The Pearl at The Palms on Saturday and he says he's taking his fists with him to a fight with Houston Alexander.

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