The Ultimate Fighter 9 Episode 6 by Kevin Leong
TUF has never seen a coach miss a fight…until last week, that is. Michael Bisping missed Dean Amasinger’s elimination fight against Damarques Johnson, and no one was more hurt by it than Dean. Amasinger came out weak out of the gates, and was easily put away by Johnson with a triangle choke.
At the fight announcements, Michael Bisping decides that Martin Stapleton will fight Cameron Dollar. Nothing is said about his absence. The fighters later go out and speculate about how the fight will end; naturally the UK fighters think Stapleton will dominate and the US fighters encourage Dollar will win.
Later we see Bisping pull Amasinger aside and apologize for missing his fight. His reason for missing it? Jetlag. Apparently Bisping knocked out and when he woke up, he realized he had missed the fight. Amasinger brushes the incident off, but it is entirely possible Bisping cost him his chance to stay in the house.
Cameron Dollar looks pathetic in training. His balance is off, causing him to miss on his punches. How much he actually knows about fighting can also be questioned, with Pierce claiming earlier in the episode that Dollar had just learned how to escape a triangle a couple days ago. Dollar looked unimpressive in his preliminary fight, and was lucky the fight wasn’t ended in the first round.
Stapleton by far is the more confident of the two fighters. Dollar continually tells people how scared he is, and always is, before an upcoming fight. His coaches tell him its good to fight afraid, but Dollar looks as though he doesn’t want to fight, at all. His mental shortcomings are something he’ll have to overcome.
Martin Stapleton vs. Cameron Dollar
The fight quickly starts with the two exchanging punches. Stapleton gains a slight advantage when a punch opens the door for him to take Dollar down. Dollar quickly gets back to his feet, however, and uses a beautiful leg sweep to take Stapleton down. He winds up in the mount and begins to throw heavy punches. Stapleton quickly gives up his back. After a brief struggle, Dollar chokes out Stapleton for the win.
Winner: Cameron Dollar (Rear-Naked Choke)
Dan Henderson selects the next fight, which will be James Wilks vs. Frank Lester. The score is now 2-2, and Michael Bisping is noticeably quiet.
Lester sees Wilks as strictly a ground fighter, too afraid to keep things on his feet. His plan is to stand and trade punches with him. Lester isn’t afraid to let his hate for Wilks show. Lester calls Wilks a traitor to his country, living in Orange County for the past few years instead of the UK.
Wilks intends to surprise Lester with his ability to strike. He knows Team USA only thinks of him as a ground fighter/submission artist, so he plans to surprise him with his ability to trade punches. If Lester tries to take him down to the ground, he is also ready to use his strong ground-game to put Lester away.
Lester can’t help himself. He hates James Wilks. During training he is non-stop, even after the coaches have had enough and take a break. Henderson tries to set his mind straight and keep him calm before his next fight.
James Wilks vs. Frank Lester
Just as he promised, Wilks comes out to strike. Unfortunately for him, Lester is smart, constantly circling around him to take away his angles. Popping back in and out, Lester is able to land some solid strikes while minimizing the damage he also takes.
After knocking Wilks down with a punch, Wilks covers up for a bit before grabbing onto one of Lester’s legs. He goes for the heel-hook but Lester kicks out. This allows Wilks to get on top, however, and he works Lester effectively from the top. After yet another failed heel-hook, Lester finally escapes Wilks grasp and the fight is back standing.
Both fighters land some clean strikes before going to the clinch. Wilks has the upper hand in the situation, being slightly taller and able to land a few knees. He soon picks Lester up and slams him onto his back, where the first round is ended.
Some in-between round controversy ensues as Lester doesn’t immediately come out of his corner to begin the second round. His pain is obvious and whether or not he wants to continue is unclear. Apparently Lester’s tooth is stuck in his mouth-guard and is unable to get it back in his mouth. After a brief delay, and with Bisping shouting for the fight to be ended, the second round begins.
Once again the fight begins standing. Lester has lost a lot of the bounce he had in his step early in the first round, and absorbs more of Wilks’ punches. His hands are down and seems to have lost much of his will to fight. Henderson yells constantly for Lester to circle and sprawl, but no circling or sprawling comes from Lester.
Wilks takes Lester down and gets the mount. After a few moments, he grabs a hold of Lester’s arm and submits him with an armbar.
Winner: James Wilks (Armbar)
Wilks was obviously better conditioned and came out both rounds intense and ready to fight. It’s a tough loss for Lester, who let his pre-fight anxiety get a hold of him. He took too long to throw his punches and absorbed a lot of damage because of it.
This season we’re seeing a lot more fight preparation and a lot less house-antics. This is great to see for any MMA fan as we get deeper into the mind of a fighter without the need for vandalism and drunken mischief. After seasons with guys like Junie Browning, a season with some calm and quiet is surely welcome.
Special recap thanks to Kevin Leong