The Ultimate Fighter 9 Episode 5 Recap by Kevin Leong
Team USA is coming off a loss in the very first fight of the season, with UK’s Nick Osipczak taking out Mark Miller. Unable to take advantage of winning the coin toss, Team USA has a tough road ahead of them, with TUF veteran Michael Bisping deciding the next fight.
Team UK is reenergized with their victory. Their confidence had been high even before the season started, and now they can rightfully feel invincible. In contrast, Team USA is more frustrated than ever.
In the car ride back, Team USA tries to make it a point to man-up and not whine about the loss back at the house. Everyone agrees except for Cameron Dollar. When they get to the house, lines are drawn within the team, with many guys uncomfortable associating themselves with their own teammates.
Bisping selects the next fight which will be Andre Winner vs. Santino Defranco.
Bisping and Winner work hard in his ability to take his opponent down during their training session. Bisping believes strongly that if he can take down Defranco, he will eliminate Santino’s ability to throw his punches. In his last fight, Andre Winner showed he is a big, strong fighter with powerful striking ability.
Henderson and Defranco also work a bit on grappling. Very little is shown of their training session and it is unclear if Henderson has truly developed some sort of strategy for his fighter. His inexperience at coaching may, in time, wind up hurt his team.
In his last fight, Defranco was unimpressive. He got pounded in the first round before coming out in the second strong with a knee that took his opponent down, and a rear-naked choke to finish him off. He’ll have to be exceptionally lucky for the same to happen against a talented, determined fighter in Winner.
Andre Winner vs. Santino Defranco
The fight starts off a bit slow, with each fighter sizing up their opponent. A few jabs and kicks are thrown before Defranco makes a takedown attempt, which is easily avoided by Winner. Winner’s takedown defense is shown again when he avoids another takedown middle-way through the first round.
Winner’s game-plan is to be patient and set up combinations. He keeps circling while Defranco pushes the tempo. Defranco’s strategy is to keep his fist in Winner’s face and to continue to soften him up with the jab.
Late in the first round Santino allows himself to be taken down, pulling guard in order to set up the submission. He shows a good rubber guard, but Winner powers his way out of Santino’s attempts to keep him down. He eventually postures up, getting onto his feet, and starts pounding down Defranco. Just like his preliminary fight, Defranco curls up and covers his face. This time, however, the referee stops the fight appropriately, and Winner wins the fight with ease.
Winner: Andre Winner (Referee Stoppage)
Team UK is now up 2-0 against Team USA. Dan Henderson is extremely disappointed and makes it a point to make sure his next fighter will be adequately prepared to do battle. While the team is working in their training session Henderson tries to figure out his ideal fight situations. Shortly afterwards, Team USA breaks down and the internal fighting escalates. Arguing in the van, and showing their obvious disgust for their fellow US fighters in their interviews, it’ll only be a matter of time before all hell breaks lose.
Henderson makes it clear, if Team USA is going to be successful, the team’s got to stick together. They can’t train by themselves, the team can’t get better on their own, and it is vital they work together to spur each other on. The problem is simple: there are too many personalities and too many egos on Team USA, and they still have yet to prove themselves as fighters.
Team USA gets the next pick, and Henderson chooses Damarques Johnson vs. Dean Amasinger. Apparently teams will be switching off this season in choosing the next fight.
Bisping takes note of the fact that Johnson is Team USA’s strongest fighter, and ends many of his fights with a triangle. He will be working with Amasinger to make sure he doesn’t get caught in a submission.
Dean Amasinger is obviously bothered by the absence of his coach before the fight. In fact, he is almost insulted by the fact that Bisping doesn’t show up. Team UK really relies on Bisping to be the team leader and values his presence before their fights. His absence is almost a disservice to the team.
Damarques Johnson vs. Dean Amasinger
Johnson’s height difference is apparent as soon as the fight starts. He also has a reach advantage which he uses to his advantage during the brief striking exchange.
Johnson gets the first takedown but lets Amasinger back onto his feet. Quickly after a bit more striking, Amasinger takes one of Demarques’ legs, but before he goes down, Johnson grabs hold of Amasinger’s arm. As soon as they hit the mat, Johnson maneuvers for a kimura. Amasinger’s strong, however, and powers out of the kimura, only to get caught in a triangle, exactly what he was trying to avoid.
After lifting Johnson in the air and slamming him down, Amasinger is unable to power out of the triangle. Johnson’s grip tightens and Dean quickly taps out.
Winner: Damarques Johnson (Triangle Choke)
Like I said before, Andre Winner is a very talented fighter. I projected him to go far this season and he looked exceptionally prepared in his first team fight. He put Santino on the ground and his punches were quick and powerful. That guy is made of nails.
I was also high on Demarques Johnson after his preliminary victory, and he didn’t let me down in today’s episode. Johnson showed confidence in his fight and put Amasinger away easily. I didn’t think much of Amasinger as anything more than a wrestler, and he didn’t do much other than take Johnson down. Things are shaping up as expected.
Two more fights next week and Bisping’s excuse for not showing up for Dean Amasinger’s fight. It should be a very interesting episode.
Special recap thanks to Kevin Leong