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The Ultimate Fighter 9 Episode 12 Recap

The long-awaited Frank Lester vs. James Wilks rematch is soon approaching. Henderson stops by the house to check on his fighters and in particular, Lester. This will be Lester’s third fight in three weeks, and needs to prove himself against the man who almost elminated him once from the show.

Bisping wants Wilks to work on taking Lester down and finishing the fight on the ground. The standing game last fight was pretty close between the two fighters, but once the fight went to the ground, Wilks had the upper-hand.

Lester’s ground game has improved over the course of his time on the show. Henderson would like to see Lester keep the game standing, throwing nice quick, straight punches.

James Wilks and Frank Lester are getting closer as friends as the fight nears. There certainly is no animosity between the two fighters, though they may have treated each other like enemies in the beginning. As they get to know each other better, however, they quickly realize that they are both good guys.

Bisping’s time to visit the house has come, and Dean Amasinger cooks his “famous” curry. As they share dinner together, Bisping encourages the guys and Team UK engages in a little horseplay. Andre Winner throws some curry at Dean, who chases Winner down and throws him in the pool. As he climbs out, David Faulkner then comes and throws a bag of flour on Winner. Anything to break the tension of the house helps both teams.

Frank Lester vs. James Wilks

As the fighters touch gloves, Lester looks to circle around his opponent and throw quick strikes. Wilks stays calm, picking his moments to engage very carefully.

Both fighters are cautious, neither committing to anything too quickly. Lester does a good job of countering Wilks’ advances and combinations, and stuffs one of Wilks’ takedown attempts.

The two fighters clinch for a bit, throwing knees while fighting for position. Though they work hard, neither gains too much ground.

With twenty seconds left in the first round, the two fighters separate and throw punches to end the round. In their corners, both coaches tell their fighters that they won the round, so it is unclear who really did win the round.

The two stand and strike to begin the second round, with Lester throwing a couple nice punches and Wilks throwing a couple of nice leg kicks. Lester looks like the better striker in this second round, while Wilks looked better in the first.

Henderson calls from his corner for Lester to “go first,” wanting his fighter to press the action and to be the first to initiate action. Henderson wants Lester to be the first to act, forcing Wilks to respond and hopefully make a mistake.

Lester shows his improved ground game, preventing another one of WIlks’ takedown attempts. Henderson continues to call for Frank to press the action.

Wilks connects with a strong kick to Lester’s head and follows with a couple of punches, forcing Lester to shoot for a single-leg. With his head down, Wilks takes advantage of the situation, and with a strong Muay-Thai clinch, throws knees on Lester’s head. Lester pulls out soon after, and the second round comes to an end.

Wilks looks a little tired and confused, dropping his hands repeatedly in the beginning of the third round. However, he connects once again with a right hand that sends Lester shooting for a single-leg. Unable to get it, the two fighters clinch once again for a minute before finally separating.

WIlks’ repeated knees are doing heavy damage. He’s got the advantage in the clinch, able to control Lester’s movements and throws his knees lightning fast.

Getting in the clinch once again, Wilks finishes the fight with those strong knees. Lester gets hit several times before collapsing, causing Herb Dean to end the fight 2:39 into the third round.

Winner: James Wilks (TKO: Knee strikes)

Demarques Johnson is immediately offended by Wilks’ in-fight antics, mocking Lester’s fight approach and showboating throughout the fight. His anger fuels his desire to fight Wilks, which will happen in The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale.

Henderson tries to counsel Lester and the rest of the team, and though they are down, he is extremely proud of their performances. Both coaches are looking forward to their fight in the finale, and this season has come to show them their differences. The final battle should be epic.

This concludes season 9 of The Ultimate Fighter, one of the best-produced seasons the UFC has had. There was little house-destruction, having been replaced with good, clean horseplay. The fighters were controlled throughout the show and released their anger in the cage, not on the house.

This season, TUF focused on the training and development of its fighters, and not the house-antics fighters would get themselves into. Dana White has changed the focus of the show to be about fighting, and not mindless entertainment. Kudos to you, Dana White, for listening to the criticism of devout fans, and giving us what we want.

Here’s to the finale and Season 10, Jackson vs. Evans. May they both be this good.

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