[poll id=”4″]Dane Sayers, the last draft pick, reminds us that he’s part Native American. GSP and his fellow coaches have embraced his desire to show some Native American pride. GSP often calls him “Red Horse,” which Sayers says is his Indian name. Jean Charles Skarbowsky says Sayers is the real American, not Koscheck. “Koscheck didn’t ask his permission to come here.”
But Red Horse is clearly the underdog against Sako “Psycho” Chivitchian, and Dana White knows it.
“He knows Dane isn’t at the same level as most of these guys,” Dana says. GSP says they wanted Sayers to go last so they’d have more time to work with him.
But first, we see the jockeying for the “wild card” slot that demonstrates a couple of the problems with the format. Spencer Paige is the only GSP fighter to lose so far, and he’ll be in a cast for three months. Jeff Lentz says Aaron “English” Wilkinson, the only Koscheck fighter to suffer a controversial loss, is also injured.
The producers don’t follow up on that, but we see a tiff between Lentz and Wilkinson. The Englishman scoffs at Lentz’s drinking and tobacco-chewing: “I don’t think he fits the criteria,” Wilkinson says.
First ad break is a sneak peek at the video game “Rock Band 3,” featuring … Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again”? Yeah! Crank those air keyboards!
Koscheck bumps into GSP’s “medic,” Brad Tate. Then Tate shoves back. Koscheck says he didn’t see Tate, which seems implausible given that Tate is somewhere in the 320-pound range.
Unfortunately, Tate can’t hang with Koscheck in the trash-talking department. And Koscheck, who apparently isn’t down with Frank Shamrock’s anti-bullying campaign, is thrilled to have a “male nurse” he can taunt.
Sako says he fought in judo world championships in 2002. The U.S. Judo 2005 media guide says world championships of that era were fought in odd-numbered years, but maybe he miscounted.
Coach’s challenge time, and Dana has decided to have Koscheck take on a French-Canadian in … baseball. Is Dana tired of seeing Koscheck lose?
The most interesting part of the challenge — Dana is wearing a Korean Zombie T-shirt. WEC plug!
Koscheck says he hasn’t played baseball since he was 13, and GSP surprisingly keeps it close through two “innings.” Koscheck finally figures it out and pulls away.
Fight time: Sayers-Sako. They touch gloves. Sayers manages to stand up after a takedown and fends off a couple of Sako’s attempts at a judo throw. The bad news is that Sayers is far too tentative in the stand-up, hardly throwing a fist or foot. Round 1 is a clear 10-9 for Sako, though Koscheck rightly warns him not to count on it.
Sayers shows his heart again in Round 2, fighting back after a Sako takedown and showing some effective grappling of his own. Sako incurs ref Josh Rosenthal’s wrath with a couple of fence grabs. But if I’m judging, it’s 20-18 Sako, and we don’t need a third round. Both coaches prep their fighters for a third round, and Kos seems surprised that the judges disagree.
Sako is indeed the winner. But Sayers impressed a lot of people, including Koscheck. Seems only fair to have one fighter from each team in the wild-card bout, and Sayers is the only possibility from GSP’s side.
Dana huddles with the coaches and says they don’t need to have one from each team. Koscheck immediately puts forward Wilkinson’s name, and Dana and GSP agree. Kos also backs Marc Stevens, which surprises Dana a bit. GSP pushes Sayers. Dana tells him to take out the whole “team” thing.
They leave us in suspense until going back to the gym. The wild cards are: Wilkinson … and Stevens.
Let’s give several reasons why this was a questionable decision:
1. Sayers wound up stuck against one of the top guys on Koscheck’s team and turned in a solid performance.
2. Stevens’ loss wasn’t a fluke. It was the direct result of an atrocious decision on his part to leave himself exposed to his opponent’s chief weapon.
3. Dana already handed Koscheck the coach’s challenge by picking a sport GSP had never attempted. Now Koscheck gets his wild-card guy, too?
Next week, we’ll apparently see the melee sparked by Koscheck and Tate.
The bouts so far:
– Alex Caceres (GSP) def. Jeff Lentz (Kos), submission (triangle choke), second round. Lentz looked better than expected, or maybe Caceres looked worse.
– Michael Johnson (GSP) def. Aaron Wilkinson (Kos), submission (rear naked choke), third round. Koscheck thinks Wilkinson deserved the win after two rounds. Johnson only came to life in the third, and Wilkinson showed a much better ground game than anyone expected.
– Kyle Watson (GSP) def. Andy Main (Kos), submission (rear naked choke), second round. Experience gap showed.
– Nam Phan (Kos) def. Spencer Paige (GSP), unanimous decision. Maybe the best fight of the tournament so far, though Paige’s broken hand surely made Phan’s win a little easier.
– Cody McKenzie (GSP) def. Marc Stevens (Kos), choked out (guillotine), first round. Stevens’ strategy was the equivalent of facing the Patriots and saying, “Hey, let’s stop the running game and make that Brady guy beat us.”
– Jonathan Brookins (GSP) def. Sevak Magakian (Kos), submission (rear naked choke), first round. Brookins’ performance was the best so far.
– Sako Chivitchian (Kos) def. Dane Sayers (GSP), unanimous decision. Decent fight, but a solid win for Sako.