The Ultimate Fighter 16: The final recap

The final episode of TUF Smashes, the UK-vs.-Australia season, also concluded a few days ago. The last episode featured good-natured toasts between two teams who have come to respect each other, then a stellar submission by Colin Fletcher. Maybe Fletcher’s fight against the far smaller Richie Vaculik looked like a giraffe fighting a gnat, but give actor/surfer Vaculik some credit for taking the fight to him.

We also saw Valentino Petrescu showcasing his juggling skills from his circus days. And a lot of laughter. If you saw any of these guys on a fight card, you’d be likely to root for them.

Back to the USA. Yes, we have to.

Team Nelson seems unhappy. Joey Rivera says he feels “jaded” by Roy’s practices.

The word “jaded” can mean “worn out or worried, as by overwork or overuse,” but the team has griped all season over a lack of practice time, so that can’t be it. Another meaning: “dulled or satiated by overindulgence.” Is that some sort of crack about Roy’s belly?

Rivera also complains that there was no synergy. OK, now we’re in a Dilbert cartoon. Maybe Roy should’ve proactively enabled his team to feel empowered to streamline operations into a client-based operation. Bingo!

Of course, we don’t get much of a discussion of Nelson’s assistant coaches, one of whom is fighting for the UFC lightweight championship Saturday night. Well, maybe a passing reference to the Skrap Pack.

Then we go straight to the fights. Colton Smith fights in the second-tightest shorts ever seen in the Octagon without losing a bet (tightest: Mike Easton) and wears down Jon Manley in the 12th fight out of 13 this season to go the distance. And just as the Knockout of the Season bonus is about to go unclaimed, Mike Ricci knocks Neil Magny cold with an elbow. Magny awakes and starts grappling with referee Steve Mazzagatti, thinking he’s still in a fight.

Ricci says he choked up a bit afterward because he hurt a friend of his. Somewhere in Canada, Michael Hill is throwing a shoe at a TV screen, remembering the days when HE was Ricci’s BFF.

So the final features the ultrasmug Ricci, who threw fellow Canadian Hill under the bus, against Smith, who won his prelim after he faked the traditional touch of gloves at the beginning. In fairness, Smith seemed to be a good guy in the house, but the “liberal tree-huggers” among my neighbors would like a word with him.

The top talent of the season is clearly Danny Downes. No, he wasn’t on the show, but the fighter is a terrific episode recapper.

Someone might surprise us. Smith and Ricci could mature. Magny is one to watch, even if Dana White has followed through on his threat to keep all these guys off the finale. Manley and Sam Alvey have a bit of potential.

But this fall’s TUF experience raises a big question: If the UFC is running a good solid version of The Ultimate Fighter somewhere else on the planet, why do an inferior version at “home”?

The Ultimate Fighter 16, Episode 6: Again, the dubious 10-8 round

General impressions here:

– This is not a bad season at all.

– Still not buying Higher Ground as the theme song.

– They’re going out of their way to make Roy Nelson look bad. Have we even met his assistant coaches?

There’s allegedly a guy named Jon on this show. Anyone remember him? Just saw him in the opening credits.

Show starts with Dana White coming in to tell Nic Herron-Webb that he won the second round and got (bleep) out of a third round.

Roy Nelson, though, goes off on things Nic could’ve done better. He enlists jiu-jitsu wizard Cameron Diffley to explain one of the finer points. Diffley keeps silent and looks for a hole in the floor in which he can crawl.

Oh, THERE’S Jon Manley. The Team Nelson fighter asks people on the other team how they’re treated when they lose. Seems Carwin is all caring and nice, while Nelson is indifferent. Or maybe Matt Secor’s just lying to mess with them. Team Carwin has only lost one fight so far. That’s not a statistically significant sample.

Are the editors making you look bad, Roy? Well, I can’t seem to embed his Tweets, so read them here and here.

Kitchen problem. Team Carwin apparently took Team Nelson’s chicken and started marinating it, Julian Lane says. So Lane and someone else eat a bit of the food and toss the rest. Team Carwin returns and starts looking all over for it.

Lane raises a good point: “Why are you looking for chicken in a drawer, man?”

And THEN we hear Team Carwin did this to Team Nelson earlier. Michael Hill’s food was gone. So Matt Secor accuses Hill of taking the chicken. Hill flips out.

Remarkably, after an exchange of bleeps, Secor loudly announces that Hill did not take the chicken, and he apologizes. Hill thanks him.

But in confessional, Hill offers a classic call-out to Secor: “I’m going to put you to sleep, and you can dream about me taking your chicken from the fridge.”

At the fight announcement, Hill offers more conventional trash-talk: “I’m going to knock you out, then I’m going to fart in your face.”

But alas, Carwin chooses Team Nelson’s Colton Smith to go against Carwin’s old guy, Eddy Ellis. By draft placement, this would be a bad matchup for Carwin. Then again, Dana really liked Eddy’s prelim fight. Then again again, as we saw with Sam Alvey, prelim fights mean squat.

Eddy gives a bit of his backstory. He took a lot of tough fights early in his career to get experience. Then he left the party scene and met his wife. Seems like something’s missing.

Carwin brings Eliot Marshall once again to encourage Eddy to ground-and-pound rather than lay-and-pray. Or something like that. Marshall tells everyone that fighting is about what? Damage. What? Damage. Remember? Damage. The word that was specifically left out of many explanations of judging criteria when the UFC was trying to get the sport regulated in more states. What? Damage.

Another Carwin assistant, Trevor Wittman, reminds Eddy that Colton was the dirtbag who faked touching gloves and then went straight for the takedown in his prelim fight.

We meet Colton, who was raised by a single mom in Iowa and did a lot of wrestling. He was kind of a troubled kid, so she put him in every sport. He joined the Army and enjoyed learning combatives. He’s now a combatives teacher.

We get a peek at Nelson’s training, and we see that an unnamed assistant coach — oh, wait, he’s “James” — is telling Colton to use a lot of front kicks. He doesn’t want to. He and sparring partner Julian Lane agree.

We’ve yet to see any assistant coaches or guests on Nelson’s side, something he addresses on his site.

The Diaz brothers were on this show, and no one thought to include them? Was the crew unable to come up with enough subtitles?

The remainder of the pre-fight stuff is roughly 20% Eddy’s experience, 80% Colton’s military background.

Colton gets the early takedown, stands, tags Eddy with a left hook, takes him down again, gets up, tags him again. In what phase was Eddy supposed to be better?

Oops – spoke too soon. With 2 minutes and change left, Eddy lands a solid right that wobbles Colton. Eddy gets on top and takes Colton’s back, then works for the armbar. Colton fights out of it and gets up with some blood trickling. Eddy lands another good combo, then lands in side control. Colton gets up and pushes Eddy into the cage.

Nelson tells Colton it was a close round, so he needs to win the second.

Round 2: Colton takes Eddy down, gets side control and turns Eddy’s face into a bloody mess. He slowly moves into a mounted crucifix like his coach used to beat Kimbo Slice, but after four minutes, referee Herb Dean has seen enough. Colton is surprised: “Oh, come on, ref!” Dean calmly explains that he needs to be trying to finish the fight. Colton shoots again, rocks him and then presses Eddy to the cage as the round ends.

We’re all expecting another round. But it’s 10:53. Dubious decision time? Or did Colton get a 10-8 in the second, like some sort of makeup call for Nic Herron-Webb?

Majority decision for Colton. Yep. Another 10-8 round. Just like last week. In this case, though, at least the guy with the momentum got the decision. And Colton comes over to tell Eddy he deserved a third round.

Colton talks again about men and women overseas while blood runs down his face. And neck. And chest.

This is entertaining stuff. And fight fans aren’t watching?