The Ultimate Fighter: Season 12 Episode 11: “Victory’s All that Matters”

Previously on The Ultimate Fighter, Team GSP’s Jonathan Brookins and Kyle Watson dismantled their opponents, finishing all their fights by RNC. Michael Johnson defeated his nemesis Alex Caceres. Team Koscheck’s remaining guy Nam Phan KO’d Cody McKenzie in dominating fashion. Tonight, teammates Watson and Brookins go to war while Phan takes on Johnson hoping to put an end to Team GSP’s dominance. Which two LW’s will secure a fight in the finale?

GSP decides tactically to “f**k the team.” He cannot choose sides. They will avoid each other at training, but now it is time to be selfish. It’s each man for himself. Coach Danaher sagely talks of how this fight essentially should have been the final. Kyle talks about the process of coming up into MMA. While he was into MMA when it was younger, it was not a viable profession at the time (it wasn’t as popular as it is now). He worked a real full-time job and at one point was offered to move up within the company. At that same time, he was offered a spot as a trainer in Matt Hughes’ gym. With a tough decision to make, he left all he had and took Hughes up on his offer. He’s quite surprised to be matched up with Jonathan

On Team Koscheck’s side, training has slowed down. Since only Phan is left fighting, the rest of the team is more or less hanging out around the gym all week. They’ve got some of the best coaches in the world, and they can’t reap the benefits. They’re pissed that they’re not doing anything. What’s worse, GSP brought in so many world-class coaches…and they’re stuck listening to it while Kos does nothing for them. Back at the house, Marc lets it all out and does his impression of Koscheck. And just as he’s being mocked, he creeps up into the house to catch it all first hand. Chalking up to alcohol, Kos lets it go and rounds his boys up for shots.

Brookins finds that he’s happier hanging away from the chaos of the house, keeping to himself. He’d rather find his focus alone — no cell phone, no computer. He’s proud of himself that he’s taken full advantage of his time at the house: showing up for every training session, not disrespecting the process, etc. But at the same time, he also respects Kyle. They’ve been training with each other for six weeks, and he knows that will affect the tenor of the fight. His gameplan is to simply be the quicker, smarter fighter.

Supposedly, Nam has been getting on peoples’ nerves and acting shady. His teammates claim that he’s been sneaking over to the red team trying to get the scoop on Michael Johnson. They question his motives and accuse him of talking s**t about each of them behind their backs. Nam plays innocent and wonders if they just think he’s an easy target. Personally, I don’t remember Nam saying anything, but hey, that could be fancy editing.

Dana gives the advantage to Brookins standing, but to Watson on the ground. Both are extremely talented and most guys are calling this a toss-up.

FIGHT DAY

Round 1
Both tentative at first, but finally exchange a flurry of jabs. A lot of bobbing and weaving, but no one is really landing shots. They briefly exchange again, each landing a few glancing blows. Brookins charges and gets Watson half on his back against the cage. Watson works up to his feet, but Brookins still has him pinned against the cage, looking for better position. No progress though, and they return to the center. Uppercut from Watson misses. Watson fakes a combo and Brookins shoots. Watson is on his back, but Brookins can’t get in his guard or mount him. Brookins can’t seem to make progress, but Watson can’t fend him off either. Finally Brookins spins to try and take Watson’s back, but can’t complete the turn. He ends up in Watson’s guard and rains down several unanswered blows to the head as the round ends.

Round 2
A few weak exchanges lead to a takedown attempt from Brookins. They shuffle and Watson is on his back again with Brookins in his guard. Brookins tries to get in a few shots, but Watson does a good job and controlling Brookins. Brookins gets in the occasional jab and elbow. He tries pinning Watson down, but Watson tries to up-kick him off. Brookins loses his position, but looks for a better one on Watson’s back. Watson is half against the cage, but Brookins patiently waits for him to turn to fully mount his back. Watson turns into him instead, getting his back against the mat, elevating his hips to keep Brookins from mounting him. Brookins eventually works into Watson’s guard but it is short-lived. Watson tries to keep him back, but Brookins won’t let him up. The round ends as they scramble to their feet.

Round 3
The round starts the same way as the other 2, with short jabs and a lot of weaving. They clinch again with Brookins in control. Watson gets in a few good knees. They return to the center. Big left from Watson glances Brookins’ cheek. Brookins fakes a leg kick and shoots, taking Watson down into the corner. On his knees, Watson looks to get up. Brookins keeps his shoulders down, immobilizing Watson but only temporarily. On his feet, Watosn continues to defend the takedown. Watson lands a few head shots. Brookins finally gets Watson on his back and is in his guard. He lands an occasional shot, but so does Watson. Brookins gets Watson turned sideways and sneaks some good jabs in as the round ends.

Winner: Jonathan Brookins via Decision (Unanimous)

For a fight that was so hyped, it was awfully boring. Yes, Brookins scored several takedowns, but he couldn’t do anything with the control. Even GSP says that it looked more like he was fighting not to lose, than fighting to win. He controlled the fight entirely though, enough for the win. And I will give him one thing — the guy is probably the most respectful and humble to have ever been on the show.

Back at the house, Nam is the topic of discussion yet again. Rumor has it that he takes hour long showers at night, so of course, the guys’ imaginations run rampant as to what he’s doing in there. For whatever reason, they decide to try and catch him in the act. They crack open the door and of course Nam’s in the shower. Like little girls they run off squealing with laughter. So, they’re um, laughing at Nam for doing what they’re all probably doing. Yeah, guys, thanks for wasting 5-minutes of my life that I’ll never get back.

As for Nam’s fighting, GSP believes Mike to be the better MMA fighter. He’s the best athlete on Team GSP, explosive with good transitions. He’s motivated and according to GSP, more well-prepared.

Nam pleads to the guys to just let him focus on his fighting. As the only yellow team fighter left, he needs to have a stronger mind. Even Brookins points out how wrong it is for his own teammates to not only alienate him, but to distract him the way they’ve been. The next morning, Nam goes to train — solo. The coaches are MIA, his teammates are sleeping off a late night, so he’s all alone at the gym. But at least he can keep focused.

When the team is finally assembled for training, they continue to rib on Nam. But as Kos points out…he’s the one that’s winning! They can talk all the ish they want, but guess who’s not fighting anymore — them!

As to his fighting style, Nam compares himself to a Honda Civic — not the fastest, flashiest car on the lot, but efficient on gas and reliable. The longer the fight goes, the better shot he’s got. At least he didn’t call himself the Little Engine that Could.

FIGHT DAY

Going into this fight, Dana gives the edge to Nam — he’s more well-rounded and he’s got more experience than Mike. Mike thinks the abuse that Nam’s been getting from his own teammates will also be to his advantage, as it may have kept Nam distracted from training. But judging by the Nam’s fully focused appearance, he seems just fine.

Round 1
Both look aggressive and Phan is the first to connect with a body kick. But Johnson gets a quick takedown. Phan rolls off his back and the return to standing. A matter of seconds before Johnson gets him back down. A few short jabs and they’re back on their feet. Kick from Johnson gets caught and he falls backwards, but is back up quick. Johnson shoots again, but Phan fends him off. Some solid exchanges from both. A head kick from Phan is checked. Johnson shoots and drives Phan back and down against the cage. Phan tries to get up, but Johnson yanks his left to keep him down. Back to standing, and Johnson shoots yet again driving into a clinch. Phan keeps backing up and Johnson peppers him. Johnson shoots, but Phan defends. They clinch and exchange a few knees. A big knee from Johnson. A huge left lands to Phan’s face and he’s bleeding, but he takes it. They clinch with Johnson in control. Nice head kick from Phan gets checked. Both are swinging big and hard. Phan tries a kick, but gets caught. Johnson keeps throwing that left and Phan just eats it. The round ends on their feet.

Round 2
Fast start to the round with Phan on the offensive. Both are still swinging big. Johnson shoots but can’t get Phan down — he keeps swerving to avoid the shots. Pins him against the cage, but Phan is quick to move. Phan nails him and Johnson is rattled. But Johnson tags him with a left and gets Phan against the cage. Johnson is looking tired, just holding Phan up. They separate and exchange again, followed by a takedown attempt from Johnson that fails. Johnson ends up on his knees and Phan pounces on him landing several unanswered shots. They continue to exchange, but Phan is now landing twice as many shots as Johnson. Big uppercut from Phan lands. They seem to alternate between a resting clinch and short exchanges. Nice right jab from Johnson. Big exchange keeps Phan backpedaling, and the round ends in the clinch.

Round 3
Phan first with the body kick, but Johnson returns it and gets caught. Johnson shoots for a leg and gets the slam. Johnson is in Phan’s guard, but Phan lands several good elbows to Johnson’s head. Johnson looks to mount, but Phan manages to get back up. They exchange several jabs before Johnson holds Phan in the clinch. Back to the center of the cage, Phan lands a nice shot to the ribs. Johnson pushes up on Phan again where the both alternate between knees and elbows. Johnson slips in through the legs for the throw. But Phan is quick up again. Both are dragging now throwing weaker shots. Clinching, both land a couple knees, but posture for control. Big jab exchange. Both still keep swinging big. Johnson throws in a flying knee but Phan avoids it. Straight leg from Phan is checked. The round ends with both trying to throw bombs.

Wow. What a dog fight. Crazily enough I could’ve seen this being called a draw. Dana gave the first round to Johnson. But Nam turned the second round around. But by the third round, both were equal on their feet. Johnson got the takedown, but Phan defended it. It all came down to that third round.

Winner: Michael Johnson via Decision (Split)

Hate to say it, but the cliché is right. Don’t let it go to the judges. Both guys should be proud of their performances.

Again, I am a fan of Koscheck’s…but why is he making this all about him? PHAN lost the fight, why is Koscheck singing the blues because his “team” lost? Boo-freakin-hoo, Kos.

So, there it is. On Saturday we’ll see Jonathan Brookins take on Michael Johnson in the finale — LIVE on Spike!

The Ultimate Fighter: Season 12 Episode 10: “Personal”

Previously on The Ultimate Fighter, Michael Johnson got fed up with teammate Alex Caceres’ antics. In the first quarterfinal fight, Jonathan Brookins quickly took out Sako Chivitchian while underdog Nam Phan gave Team Kos a needed win when he shut out Cody McKenzie. Coming up tonight are the two remaining quarterfinal fights. Veteran Kyle Watson steps into the ring with wildcard winner Aaron Wilkinson and Michael Johnson and Alex Caceres finally get to settle their score.

At the house, Sako plays a prank, putting a rubber band on the kitchen sink sprayer. He immediately blamed Alex (who had done it previously), but alas, it wasn’t him this time.

Kyle Watson will be taking on Aaron Wilkinson in his quarterfinal fight. Aaron’s strength is his striking, but Team GSP is not particularly worried about the power behind his punches. Kyle’s game plan is not necessarily to take Aaron down, but to tie him up and keep him from striking.

Kos wants Aaron to keep the fight standing. Knowing this is his second (and probably last) chance, Aaron is motivated and feeling the pressure of representing the UK.

FIGHT DAY

Round 1
Watson starts the fight with a leg kick. He keeps faking the shoot and follows up with another leg kick. Wilkinson has yet to respond. Finally Watson shoots and gets the takedown. He has an awkward side control. He gets into half mount and begins peppering Wilkinson with body and head shots. Wilkinson is also landing a good number of shots to Watson’s head. While Watson is looking for a better position, Wilkinson is looking to get out. They manage to stand but it doesn’t last and Watson gets Wilkinson mounted. Wilkinson keeps turning and eventually turns enough to give Watson his back. Wilkinson holds onto one of Watson’s arm and his barely managing to fend off the choke. Watson gets the right arm in and under, getting the choke locked with the left arm. But Wilkinson is not giving in very easily. It’s a good solid minute and Wilkinson is desperately looking to free himself. But the choke is too far sunk and Wilkinson taps.

Winner: Kyle Watson via Submission (Rear Naked Choke)

Pretty much no surprises there.

In talking about Bruce Leroy, GSP is promising an exciting fight. Dana can’t even call this one.

GSP brings in Freddie Roach (boxing guru) to train the guys. As Pacqiao’s trainer, this guy’s got some serious boxing cred. The guys are in AWE. Roach seems to like Caceres, predicting that he will do well.

This is definitely an emotional fight — meaning that it is fueled by their hatred for each other. But Alex thinks that this hatred will be Michael’s downfall. He claims that all the pressure is on Michael, as he doesn’t want to lose to someone who he feels doesn’t belong there. Michael plans on keeping it standing, at least to start. And then he’ll just wear him down.

Before the weigh-ins, Kos starts ribbing Michael, predicting a win for Alex (also calling him the “black Georges”). Kos thinks that GSP’s theory is that Michael is their strongest, so he can sacrifice Alex to him to move him on. However, GSP comments that he really doesn’t know how the fight will go — either could potentially win. Either way, this is going to be a helluva fight. Great way to end the quarterfinals.

FIGHT DAY

Round 1
Johnson doesn’t even touch gloves. Caceres lands a solid leg kick followed by a straight leg. Johnson responds by going after Caceres and gets him down with an authoritative slam. Caceres is on his side and Johnson is trying at least get into his guard. Johnson backs off a bit and Caceres springs up. Caceres tries a head kick but it is checked. Johnson lands a big jab that sends Caceres’s mouthpiece flying. When they resume Johnson backs Caceres against the cage and slams him down hard again. Johnson gets right into Caceres’s guard. Caceres tries to get up, but Johnson pushes him right back down. Johnson backs off, but Caceres keeps his feet up to fend him off. Back to standing and Caceres gets in a good combo. Johnson responds with a straight jab followed by a painful leg kick. Caceres charges, peppering him with jabs. Johnson turns it around, and gets Caceres with his back at the fence. They clinch briefly before they return to the middle. With a minute to go, Johnson gets Caceres on his back again. Before he can do any damage Caceres kicks him back off. On their feet, Johnson goes offensive with a few jabs before they clinch. A big head kick attempt from Caceres is checked. Clinching again, Caceres has the control as the round ends.

(All Johnson there…but can he keep up that pace??)

Round 2
Both are looking antsy. A good jab exchange. Caceres misses a superman punch. Johnson shoots and gets Caceres down. In side control, he alternates between elbows and jabs. He looks to spin into north-south but maintains side control. He scrambles and ends up in Caceres’s guard, pushing him into the corner. With him pinned back, he lands several unanswered big shots. AC leans forward and it looks like Johnson goes for a choke, but they get back up. Johnson lands a good combo, but Caceres counters. Caceres ducks a shot from Johnson and Johnson shoots immediately. As they scramble down, Caceres reverses and is on top for a change. It is short-lived. They are back up in the clinch. Johnson gets Caceres around the waist and slams him again. In full guard, Johnson tries to keep one fist on his throat while punching with the other. He gets a few nice hammerfists through. Caceres tries to scramble up, and eventually does. Caceres attempts a head kick that Johnson catches, using his leg to drive him back. Still holding on the leg, Johnson sweeps and slams Caceres. In side control again, he doesn’t do much and the round ends.

Winner: Michael Johnson via Unanimous Decision

No matter how many times Michael threw punch, Alex was able to keep moving enough to dodge it. No matter how many times Michael took him down, Alex was able to pop back up. Definitely a huge battle.

Ok. I have been a BIG defender of Kos this ENTIRE season. But for Kos to say that he didn’t know what fight GSP was watching because it sucked?? What fight was HE watching?!?! Sour grapes, Koscheck, sour grapes.

And so the feud between Michael and Alex comes to an end.

Dana and the coaches get together to discuss the semi-final fight matchups. Amazingly, they agree right away. Whoa…has hell frozen over?

So the semi-final fights will be:

1. Jonathan Brookins vs. Kyle Watson
2. Michael Johnson vs. Nam Phan

Next week: Two hour semi-final extravaganza! Four men will enter the cage, but only two will go on to the live finale!

The Ultimate Fighter: Season 12 Episode 4: “Love to Hate”


Previously on TUF, Alex Caceres scores the first victory of the season, but let it go to his head. Team Koscheck pulls the first prank of the season, but fails to get a rise out of GSP. Mike Tyson visits to see Aaron Wilkinson get submitted by Michael Johnson. Who will be the next in line?

Johnson and Wilkinson was a sick fight. Aaron was grossly underestimated, and definitely had Michael up against the ropes at times. But the third round found a new Mike who came out like a shotgun for the win. Back in the locker room, GSP comments that if all the fights go this way, they’re gonna give him a heart attack! Tyson is also with them in the locker room, playing guru. “Success breeds confidence.” The more they win, the more confident they will be. However, they also need to watch how they conduct themselves both in and out of the ring (oh, the irony!).

At Koscheck’s training camp, Kos is definitely feeling the heat of a 0-2 start. He deems that they must get busy living or get busy dying. Well, they have some business to catch up on. Sevak and his teammates seem to be pumped up and motivated to overcome their losses. Kos promises them that they harder they work now, the bigger the payoff (hmmm…I think I need to borrow that line).

Back at the house, several guys are having a bitch-session about the disrespect shown by Alex during Mike and Aaron’s fight (his yelling, “F**k him up” and whatnot). Alex overhears this and comes over to defend himself. First it starts out as a lot of yelling between Alex and Jeff, but then Sevak gets heated to the point where he’s out of his seat and ready to go toe-to-toe with him. Thankfully, Nam grabs Sevak by the waist and gets him into the house. After the chaos, Alex makes light of the whole situation, acting like he can do no wrong.

GSP and Kos are at the gym, and Kos tries to get under GSP’s skin…unsuccessfully…again.

Up 2 to nothing on Kos, GSP makes the next fight pick, which will be Kyle Watson vs. Andrew Main. Dana thinks this will be interesting, as they are both Jiu Jitsu guys. This’ll be the oldest guy in the house versus the youngest guy in the house. Watson has the experience, while Main has the youth. Kos isn’t looking past Watson, but he sees a team win.

Watson spars with GSP, discussing his approach. He is very analytical, playing out scenarios and strategies. According to Coach Danaher, this could go a number of ways — played out on the ground, or even a win standing up. Watson agrees, asserting that he doesn’t see Main submitting him.

Once again, Kos tries to push GSP’s buttons by coming in wearing GSP-style Speedos. He gets nothin’ out of him. When will Kos just realize that he won’t win this, and give up?

At training, Kos is pumped for this fight. Coach Camarillo watches some video of Watson to assess him, finding that he is slow, methodical and technical. Main works with Teddy Lucio to work on his weakness — striking. His game plan is to use his speed and power to his advantage to get Watson down. Each team has their guy winning…duh.

Main talks about how important it is for them to get control — going down 0-3 would put them in a serious hole. They need the control to start picking more advantageous fights. Kos sits them down for a pep talk, and gets Main alone to make sure he understands the gravity. “Go out there and lay it on the alone. Believe in yourself.” Game plan? Get on top. Nice and simple.

Danaher points out that this is the first fight where psychological pressure may come into play. Main has the pressure of getting a much-needed win for Team Koscheck. As the oldest, Watson is the unofficial team captain, and therefore has more to prove. It will all come down to how they each handle the stress of it all. To help overcome this, GSP has Watson go through “dress rehearsals,” going through the motions of entering the ring, hearing instructions, etc. to get him prepared for those very intense moments. Definitely an interesting tactic.

FIGHT DAY

(Gotta pull for my Jersey boy in this one! Thankfully Main doesn’t look like he belongs on Jersey Shore!)

ROUND 1
They both feel each other out initially, but keep it standing with a few exchanges. Main seems to get the better of the shots. Finally, one of the exchanges ends up in the clinch with Watson in control. It’s not long before Main reverses it and tries to take Watson down. He starts out looking for a choke. As Watson tries to work a better position, Main swings around jumping on his back. While still standing, Main is on Watson’s back facing and leaning on the cage. Main rains down several punches, while also looking for the choke. Watson keeps his chin down, not allowing his hooks under. Main starts to slide off Watson’s back, and as they fall, Main gets a hold of an arm. In a tough position, Watson tries to get out of the near armbar and does. Main is on his back with Watson hovering above with the occasional downward jab. Finally, Watson is on top of Main nearly in full guard. He tries to go for side control, but Main fends him off pretty well. Watson gets in a few nice elbows, alternating some hammers. The round ends with Watson finally getting side control.

ROUND 2
Main strikes first with a body kick, but both are tentative. Finally Main gets aggressive and is chasing Watson around the ring and clipping him a few times. Watson counters by taking Main down. However, all he does is lay on him. Main starts to look for a triangle, but Watson uses this to get side control. Main rolls over and tries to stand, but Watson keeps him down and has half-mount. Watson is pretty much doing zero with his position. He finally sets up and gets in a nice head shot. Main tries to up-kick and is warned. Main rolls, giving up his back. Watson mounts his back, getting his legs wrapped well, but unable to get the underhooks in. He lands several unanswered punches, and manages to wedge the forearm under. He gets the hooks in tight and squeezes. Soon enough, Main is out.

Winner: Kyle Watson via Submission (Rear Naked Choke)

Team Koscheck is now down 0-3 and Kos is far from happy. GSP was happy to see that Watson could come back from being in such a tough spot, though Watson felt that it was not his best performance.

Main is disappointed that he didn’t completely follow the game plan; Kos is heartbroken, but realizes that getting mad will solve nothing.

Next week: A careless prank by Alex backfires. Team GSP gets schooled by a guest coach, while Jon Fitch helps out Team Koscheck. Chuck Liddell also visits his buddy Kos, ending with another lightweight clash.