Living On a Dime: TUF’s Cody McKenzie Fighter Crib

Pro fighters Cody McKenzie and Mike Hanks show off their Gym/Crib and show fans what its like to be a struggling for success in mixed martial arts.

The Ultimate Fighter: Season 12 Episode 9: “Drawn and Quartered”

Previously on The Ultimate Fighter, Aaron Wilkinson and Marc Stevens faced off in the wildcard fight. While Stevens dominated the first round, he fell prey to yet another guillotine. Coming up tonight, the first two of the quarterfinal fights, in which Sako “Psycho” Chivitchian will take on the dark horse, Jonathan Brookins and Cody McKenzie will go toe to toe with Nam Phan.

At the house, Sako is feeling the pressure to beat Jonathan to avenge his friend Sevak’s loss.

GSP gathers his guys to talk about the changes that are going to be made to their training. The will be down to one training session a day that will be less hardcore. No more sparring, no more cardio. Instead they will be more tactical. He wants to make them hungry, like animals. Brookins also realizes that Sako is going to want to bring it in their fight because of what happened with Sevak. So he, too, is feeling the pressure. GSP is happy with the way Brookins is looking. His skillset is solid, and he is ready to put together a gameplan.

Kos talks to Sako about their gameplan: simply, avoid giving up his back. With Nam, he goes over how keep that from happening. Sako is happy with chances, knowing that he has the experience behind him. He and Kos acknowledge that it will be tough, but it is absolutely winnable. If he gets taken down, he has to get in the mindset to get up without leaving his back vulnerable. He truly does not see any reason why he should be beaten, as long as he keeps it standing.

While watching Stevens and a few others acting goofily inside, the ever-insightful Brookins talks to Nam about the effects the house can have on people. He has seen how the power, etc. has gone to peoples’ heads. This awareness is his reminder to fight it, to struggle not to be that guy. He just wants to ride his bike to the library and be able to pay his rent on time.

FIGHT DAY

Round 1
Both very tentative, but Sako begins with a series of jabs. Within seconds, Brookins shoots for the takedown, but Sako avoids it. Sako spins and pushes Brookins against the cage. As the clinch, Brookins spins around and slams Sako. Sako immediately tries to get up, and in a blink Brookins is on his back. Sako tries to shake him, but is unable. They fall back to the mat and Brookins’ back is against the cage with his legs wrapped wholly around Sako. He patiently waits for Sako to try to get out. Sako leaves his neck exposed and Brookins gets the hooks in. Sako quickly taps.

Winner: Jonathan Brookins via Submission (Rear Naked Choke)

It’s like Deja freakin’ Vu. Dana is simply blown away at how quickly Brookins subbed Sako. Obviously Sako is shaken by the loss, bemoaning the fact that he didn’t stick to the gameplan. Shoulda, coulda, woulda. Brookins is on to the semi-finals. Next up tonight is Cody and Nam.

On the way to training, Team GSP jokes about Cody’s impressive win record — basically all of his wins were by guillotine, except for one (a TKO). GSP’s gameplan for Cody is to neutralize Nam’s striking. Cody knows that his weakness is the fact that he doesn’t have the experience. His trouble is always with the more experienced fighters who have seen it all and who are able to diffuse it. He just hopes that Nam hasn’t seen his tricks.

Kos is really relying on Nam to win. It’s no secret that Kos can’t stand Cody, so he wants nothing more than to see Nam knock him out (or win by a decision). And more than anything, he does not want to see Nam lose by guillotine! (And if Nam does get caught, Kos will hit him over the head with a chair!). Kos posits that Nam is the true fighter on the team; he eats it, sleeps it, breathes it. If anyone has a chance, it’s Nam.

According to Dana, this is going to be an interesting fight. We haven’t really seen much from Cody, except for his guillotine, which obviously works for him. On the other hand, he considers Nam is a well-rounded fighter. We’ll just have to see if Nam can stay out of Cody’s guillotine.

FIGHT DAY

Round 1
Immediately Cody is the aggressor, coming at Nam with a leg kick that drives him back. Nam tries to counter, but Cody has him pinned against the cage. Cody alternates between elbows and knees as he looks for the takedown. He nearly gets Nam down, but they are quickly back up to standing. It is only a matter of time before he does get him down. In Nam’s guard, he is trying to pound him, but Nam does a good job and continually moving and defending. Nam rolls and maneuvers to get back on his feet. They have a brief exchange before Cody has him pinned again. Once again, Cody is down on his knees attempting a one-leg takedown, but he can’t get him. While clinching they exchange several uppercuts. Cody still looks for the takedown, but Nam’s sprawl prevents it. They return to the center of the cage. Cody tries a head kick that gets check. Nam swings big and lands a couple unanswered straight arms that leave Cody a bit unsteady. Cody shoots, but really just crumbles at Nam’s feet. Nam pounces and lands several hammer fists until Cody rolls over. Cody is looking gassed as he gets back. He attempts a weak spinning backfist. The round ends as Nam is charging at Cody. What a comeback from Nam!

Round 2
Big head kick from Nam gets checked. Nam is all offense, pushing Cody back with jabs and kicks. Now a headkick from Nam, but he misses. Cody is looking gassed and is getting out-struck. Finally Cody shoots and gets Nam against the cage. But they are quickly back to the center. Big body shots from Nam. Nam is landing twice as many shots as Cody is even attempting. Cody tries a knee, but Nam counters with a head kick. Huge shot to Cody’s liver. Nam gets a clean shot that rocks Cody backwards, and he lands several unanswered shots. Nam continues the onslaught, and finally catches Cody with another left hook to the liver. The brutal shot crumbles Cody, Nam jumps on him and the ref stops it.

Winner: Nam Phan via TKO (Strikes)

Pretty much everyone agrees that Cody was dominating Nam the first few minutes (although GSP thought Cody won the whole round), but as soon as Nam was able to get back up, it was really the beginning of the end for Cody. Going into the second round, Cody was entirely exhausted and Nam took total advantage. By the end of the round, it was Cody who?

Awesome, awesome win for Nam. It couldn’t have happened for a nicer, more deserving guy. Cody is handed his first loss and is pride seems to be mortally wounded. He admits that life goes on, but yeah, it sucks.

Next week: Two more quarterfinal fights. Wild-card winner Aaron Wilkinson takes on Kyle Watson. Tensions flare between Michael Johnson and Alex Caceres, who will finally settle the score. Plus, Dana sets the semifinal matchups.

The Ultimate Fighter: Season 12 Episode 6: “Win or Die”

Previously on TUF, Cody proved he was not afraid to trade barbs with Koscheck. Team Koscheck finally gets a win when Nam Phan takes out Spencer Paige. But did their post-fight antics go too far?

To start, Kos is already pushing buttons. This time his victim is Michael Johnson, who he claims is looking a little fat. But yet again, his jokes fall short.

Team Kos is happy to finally get fight control, and is happy with the potential of his three remaining fighters. The coaches assemble the team to talk about the strategy of picking fights. They’re stressin’ either way.

Back at the house, Mike complains about Team Kos and their premature celebration. He points out that they could end up going 6-1, and to celebrate the way they are is obnoxious. To amp it up even more, Kos shows up to hang with his team and decides to rub it in either further. He gets out on the balcony and Mike is just unhappy with his presence — he wants to know why he’s pickin’ on him and being a dick. He is right about one thing — they are going to bump head a lot more.

Finally, Koscheck makes his fight pick and chooses Marc Stevens to fight Cody McKenzie. As they’re enjoying the stare-down, Marc tries to no avail to get Cody to laugh. Instead, Cody turns out and gently taps the top of his hand under Kos’s chin (which annoys Sevak). After some thought, Kos realizes how much it annoys him…and wants even more for Marc to win so he can repay the favor.

In the locker room, GSP is trying to talk some sense into his guys about the Kos situation. He is no coward, and has faced adverse situations, but he tells them that the best way to deal with Kos is just walk away. If you don’t let him get to you, he cannot get any pleasure out of seeing you squirm.

At training, Cody talks about his background and goals. He is an unorthodox fighter, who just sees Marc as someone in the way of his paycheck. A decision is not even an option; the goal is a knockout.

Marc, AKA Mini-Koscheck, sees Cody as a scrapper, but also as just another fight under his belt. Experience is definitely on Marc’s side.

At the weigh-ins, Dana discusses the fight choice: Kos’s first pick vs. GSP’s sixth pick. While Cody has an impressive record, Marc won his first fight at TUF via KO. He gives the edge to Marc Stevens.

FIGHT DAY

ROUND 1
McKenzie comes out swinging wildly immediately. McKenzie then goes to kick but Stevens catches it and drives him backwards and down to the ground. But right away McKenzie latches his arms around for the choke and sinks the guillotine. Stevens is asleep quickly.

Winner: Cody McKenzie via Submission (Guillotine)

I hope you didn’t blink and miss that. Kos is horrified. Marc was caught and put to sleep in no time flat.

However, GSP warns the guys not to behave the way Team Kos acted. Do not act cocky, do not brag. Be the nice guy and you will not be expected to be aggressive in the cage.

The mood in Team Kos’s locker room is s.i.l.e.n.t. So much for their fight-pick gameplan. Now Team GSP gets the next pick and no one knows who’s fighting whom.

But the wait is short, and Team GSP chooses Jonathan Brookins to fight Sevak Magakian. Kos had not planned for this, but even Jonathan thinks that Sevak is one of the toughtest fighters in the house. It will be a challenge.

After the next fight is announced, Jonathan is doing his yoga and meditation. He believes that not only does it prepare him for fights, but a little soul-searching never hurt anybody. As such a mellow person, many wonder how he could enjoy fighting so much. But it’s really the competition he enjoys. GSP is rolling with him, talking about what a sponge he is…but suddenly GSP is bleeding. They went head to head and GSP ended up with a lovely cut on his eyebrow. Yup, stitches!

According to Kos, Sevak is a wild man. He’s the alpha male, outspoken and outgoing, which is why they get along so well. Sako, who has trained with Sevak for 8 years, says he will not quit unless you knock his head off. Power in his punches, good Jiu Jitsu, good strength and a big heart — all things he has. Will it be enough?

FIGHT DAY

ROUND 1
Both tentative at first, but Magakian gets the first solid punch in. After feeling each other out, Brookins easily gets Magakian down and has side control. He’s looking for a submission, as Magakian tries to maneuver out. Magakian manages to stand, but Brookins gets on his back and wraps his legs around tight. Neither advances the position, but Brookins does get a few uppercuts through. Finally, Brookins manages to work his right arm under Magakian’s chin. He continues to tighten harder and harder. Magakian’s knees buckle him to the ground; he taps.

Winner: Jonathan Brookins via Submission (Rear Naked Choke)

Dana: That was some sick Jiu Jitsu. Amen.

It must suck to be yellow today. Once again, they are pretty much silent.

Next week: The final preliminary fight. Can Dane overcome the stigma of being the last pick? Or will Sako unleash his inner psycho? GSP and Koscheck hit the diamond for the coaches’ challenge. Dana and the coaches make their picks for the wildcard.