The Ultimate Fighter Episode 4 Recap:
Michael Bisping made it clear from the very beginning: Team UK is going to outwork Team USA. In Episode 4 we see much of that intense training Bisping boasted of, going for long runs and non-stop groundwork.
In contrast to team UK’s extreme training and intense no-nonsense attitude, Dan Henderson is real laid back. He doesn’t show much concern about having to choose the upcoming fight, and almost has a naïve impression of Team USA’s strength. Team USA is coming off a shorter break from the preliminary fights, having to fight on a weeks rest compared to team UK’s two weeks.
Mark Miller is eventually chosen to be the first fighter to represent Team USA in the upcoming fight. He is the closest to weight and feels confident about his preparation for the fight. His opponent is later revealed to be Nick Osipczak, a tall, lanky welterweight from Team UK.
As mentioned in previous recaps, Mark Miller is a mediocre fighter whose only real strength is his potential knockout power. Bisping, having missed the USA preliminary fights due to visa issues, also notes this as he watches film of Miller’s fight against Kevin Knabjian. He also points out how Miller likes to throw multiple jabs to set up his right hand, and tends to drop his hands after throwing a punch or kick. He quickly creates a game-plan for Osipczak to win the fight.
Bisping works with Osipczak on his footwork, making sure he circles instead of simply backing up when Miller throws his jab combinations, to avoid the right hand. He also helps Osipczak on throwing combinations to counter Miller’s punches.
A small pre-fight war breaks out between Team USA and Team UK with the US guys writing on a couple of the UK guy’s clothes. Ross Pearson, whose wrestling boots got written on, quickly takes offense. Bisping, however, is a TUF veteran and knows it’s key for the fighters to keep cool and focus on their training.
Mark Miller vs. Nick Osipczak
As the fight between Miller and Osipczak begins, the height difference between the fighters is immediately made obvious. Osipczak stands four inches taller than Miller and has a longer reach as well.
Miller comes out very aggressive and goes straight for the clinch. Osipczak shows competent judo skills and easily throws Miller to the mat with a leg sweep. On the ground, Mark works Nick’s arm going for the Kimura, preventing Nick from throwing very many punches, and eventually allows him to reverse Osipczak and wind up on top. Osipczak quickly holds on to the back of Miller’s head though, and Miller is never able to posture up and throw the big right hand.
Eventually the two fighters get back on their feet and throw heavy punches and knees. Miller is quickly gassed from all of the groundwork and as the round continues his punches have little power behind them. Osipczak is easily able to take Miller down.
Towards the end of the first round, Osipczak is able to get a hold of Miller’s neck and goes for the guillotine. After a few seconds it looks as though Miller taps, but the referee, Herb Dean, doesn’t see the tap. This allows Miller to wind up on top of Osipczak once again, but for a second time he is unable to do much work on the ground.
Nick Osipczak caps the round off with yet another takedown, and it is even more obvious how tired and poorly conditioned Miller is.
As Round 2 starts, both fighters come out swinging. Osipczak soon takes Miller down a fourth time, and gets reversed once again. After a minute or two of inactivity from the ground, Herb Dean stands the fighters up and the fight continues. Shortly after, Osipczak ends the fight with a roundhouse kick to Millers head.
Winner: Nick Osipczak (KO, Roundhouse Kick)
Nick Osipczak looked impressive standing up in his fight with Mark Miller, and also showed some judo skills, taking Miller down on several occasions. One thing he needs work on is his ground control, as he is easily reversed. He dominated the fight and was better conditioned than his opponent. This fight was a much better display of his overall skills compared to his preliminary fight against Tommy Maguire, as he fought a slightly more competent opponent.
Mark Miller was no more impressive than he was in his first fight. He threw hard in the beginning but couldn’t keep up the intensity through the whole fight. His awkward boxing and poor technique also didn’t serve him well. He was unable to take advantage of his ability to reverse Osipczak on the ground, and lost the fight because of it. Miller definitely deserved to go home.
Bisping makes sure Team USA knows they just lost the first fight. He is confident in his team and the ability of all his fighters, and he should be. They definitely look the stronger of the two teams.
Next week we’ll see not one, but two fights, with Team UK in control. If Bisping plays his cards right, Team UK should have an easy ride in these next two episodes.
Special recap contribution by Kevin Leong