Leading up to tonight, Roy Nelson won a controversial decision over Justin Wren. Dana visited the house to check up on Matt Mitrione, causing people to wonder who might take Matt’s place versus James McSweeney. Tonight, Brendan Schaub takes on Jon Madsen.
The show begins with Team Rashad arriving at the gym for training. Rashad discusses the good energy and camaraderie the team has. But Matt breaks the happy mood by telling Rashad that he now has a migraine, has been throwing up, etc. There is serious concern over whether or not he will fight. He wants to, but it might not be wise. The words “concussion,” “swelling of the brain,” etc. are thrown around, but the doctors have not told him that he can’t fight. The coach even calls him out on it — if he really had swelling of the brain, the doctor would’ve told him he couldn’t fight. He’s clearly making it up, and the coaches question his desire to fight.
Even back at the house, the guys discuss it. James puts it perfectly, “If you can’t swim, stay out of the water.” He’s not brain-damaged, he’s not concussed. He clearly doesn’t want to fight. Scott reiterates the idea, and throws himself out as a possible replacement.
Matt is even the topic of discussion at Team Rampage training. Rampage believes that if Kimbo ends up fighting James, he can win. But…apparently he was rolling around with Damico and his weight did damage to his knee. Rampage knows that James will kick at his knees if they fight; James is more experienced at kicking legs than Kimbo is at not getting kicked (it’s scary, but even in Rampage-speak, that makes sense).
The next day, Brendan is preparing for his fight with James. Brendan sees stand-up as his advantage, being that Jon’s strength is wrestling. His only fear then is the takedown. As they are working out, they call Rashad in for practice, but he says he can’t help (he said previously that he wouldn’t specifically work with anyone as it’s not fair). Instead, Roy gets in and helps him out. After the workout, Brendan complains a little about who he drew to fight, but he just wants to win.
Kimbo is being seen by a doctor who tells him that he is missing cartilage that coats the bones, called a “kissing lesion”. He equates it walking around on hard pebbles without a shoe on. He has worn out the cartilage and it was replaced with fluid that needs to be drained. Kimbo seems more afraid of the needle than fighting!
And then the moment I’ve been waiting for: the coaches’ challenge, beach volleyball between two coaches who’ve never played! I love it! Teams will be Ramapge and Tiki vs. Rashad and Mike Van Arsdale. They will be playing for $10K in cash with each fighter winning $1500. Wow…where do I sign up???
The game begins and actually looks good. Team Rampage is winning to start and the guys are all pretty hyped up. Rampage is just happy that Rashad is pissed and has no smart-ass comments. No sooner does he say that that Rashad and Mike start winning Game 2. Now they are tied 1 game apiece with one more to go. Rashad and Mike take the first point, and like Dana says, Mike starts looking/acting like a pro. Game 3 is continually tied right to the end, but Team Rashad pulls it together for the win. Rampage is seriously pissed, but with pain in his face he shakes the hands of Rashad and every player. However, the peace is shortlived as Rashad “rubs” the money in Rampage’s face and it gets him all sorts of riled up.
A sad looking Kimbo discusses how disappointed he is with his knee. James offers a solution — a tub of ice-freakin-cold water. The look on Kimbo’s face as he sits in the tub is absolutely priceless. Even as he struggles to get out, James pushes him right back in. Come on, if Wanderlei Silva can do it, the Uber-Macho Kimbo can do it, no? And then jumps right into the hot tub!
Later, Jon is training, and with Rashad no less. This irks Brendan, as Rashad really didn’t do much for him. He understands that both Jon and Rashad are wrestlers, but it’s really not fair. Jon’s gameplan is to change his level frequently so that Brendan doesn’t know when he’s going to shoot. He knows that Brendan will want to keep it standing, but that’s not where he’s comfortable.
The following day, Matt strolls into the gym looking as sluggish as ever. Rashad questions him as to whether or not he wants to fight, which Matt claims he does. Rashad tells him that he doesn’t want him to do it for the wrong reasons and wonders if he thinks they’re forcing. Matt stutters a bit but finally admits that he does feel that way a little — which couldn’t be further from the truth. What it comes down to is that Matt better be 100% into it or else he could get hurt. And for Matt, he just wants to end the show and go back home….then why sign up in the first place?
Dana then decides to speak to the guys, trying to getting them to realize that their hearts need to be in this 100%. Dana will never force someone to fight if they don’t want to. If they don’t want to fight, they’re in the wrong place. He puts it well: to a real fighter, they’re invincible. There’s no question as whether or not they will fight. And Matt Mitrione is not that guy, and at the end of the day it’s up to Matt to decide whether or not he wants it, because if he doesn’t, someone does. My question is, isn’t there some sort of screening process to this show? There seems to be one of these guys EVERY season. There’s always someone who doesn’t really want to be there. Can’t they weed these guys out from the get-go?
At the weigh-in, Dana discusses each fighters’ chance at winning. Schaub is a stand up guy out of Greg Jackson’s camp while Madsen is a wrestler out of Matt Hughes’ camp. Basically, whoever can impose their will can win this fight.
No glove-touch, and Madsen almost immediately goes for a takedown which is fended off. The two dance around each other for a while (while I yawn). Finally, Madsen shoots, picks Schaub up and slams him. In Schaub’s half guard, Madsen alternates between knees and body shots. Madsen jockeys for position and Schaub tries to push him off. Schaub pushes off the cage with his feet to move them away. They are warned to advance position, but Madsen isn’t doing a whole lot. Finally they are stood back up. Schaub throws a weak jab and Madsen shoots. They clinch against the cage, where Schaub gets in a knee or two. Again, in the clinch not much happens. Schaub reverses and controls the clinch with knees and body shots. As Madsen backs up a little, Schaub lands a short jab that drops Madsen to his knees. Schaub tries to get Madsen in a guillotine, but Madsen picks up and slams Schaub. Back in half guard, Madsen lays on top while Schaub lands some body shots. Even with ground control Madsen has landed fewer shots than Schaub from his back. And the round ends dully.
They start with a weak jab exchange and more dancing. Madsen fakes a shoot, but Schaub strikes and tries to go for his neck. They clinch and jockey for position. Madsen tries to get Schaub down, but is unsuccessful. Back to their feet, neither wants to be aggressive. Schaub keeps backing Madsen up and finally inches up on him. He catches him off guard and lands a big left-right, knocking Madsen out.
Winner: Brendan Schaub via KO
Post fight, Rashad admits that Brendan was using the fence a lot and probably should’ve been penalized. He actually wondered if Brendan would be able to pull off the win, but he did it. Not the most exciting fight, but at least it was a good ending. Dana was even impressed that Brendan could overcome Jon’s wrestling.
Next week: A two-hour special with the final four fights of the season. The quarterfinals are left: Who will fight James McSweeney: Kimbo or Matt? Will Big Baby pull off a win? Then the semi-finals — who will win to fight in the finale at the Palms?
(and according to a commercial after the end of the show, there will be a Kimbo twist that no one sees coming….yeah, like we haven’t heard that one before)