Episode 4: Game On
Finally, the fourth episode promises the start of the action and the beginning of a war between two the two clashing countries. The show begins with a recap of last week in which Lester beat (and I use the term loosely) Reid and Dent thankfully ousted Browning. The Americans won the first fight pick, which initiates some smack talk from Bisping.
Right off, we start by watching the Brits running in the Vegas heat (are they nuts?) followed by a training session on the mats. Bisping seems happy with the work ethic of his team, saying that none of them are slackers by any stretch. According to him, all the guys are well-known fighters on the British fight circuit and the “assistant” coaches he brought in are actually his coaches in the “real world.” The Brits claim to want to beat the Americans so bad that it drives their training. Bisping doesn’t know, nor care, how hard the Americans are training, but knows that it couldn’t possibly as hard as they are training. Um, a little cocky, are we?
An off-handed comment from Henderson about a guy’s jumper (which I assume is a reference to his basketball skills?) sparks whiny backtalk from Bisping, which annoys Demarques (what doesn’t annoy him?). Hendo tells the guys to use the mockery as motivation. As their coach, Hendo looks to get to know the guys to see what he needs to work on. He talks about the four (4!!!) assistant coaches he has brought in to help the guys improve in all areas. His one concession about the teams is that it’s tough for his guys right now because the Brits have had two weeks off since they last fought, while the Americans have had three or four days. He’s worried about them making weight again — not that they won’t, but that it isn’t healthy. They discuss who is closest to their weight and can handle a fight so they can determine their first fight pick.
The fight announcement day arrives and Henderson has chosen US’s Mark Miller to fight UK’s Nick Osipczak. Hendo chose Miller for his weight and his skills shown thus far. After the choice is made, Bisping makes a crack, which once again gets Demarques annoyed.
With the choices made, Bisping decides his best approach is to go over the tape of the American audition fights since he had missed them. He and his assistant coaches start analyzing and taking notes on Mark Miller — no knees thrown, no chin, when he drops his hands, etc. Not a single positive thing is said. He feels that Miller is damaged, so he is confident in Osipczak’s chances. Later, Bisping and Osipczak spar and work on his footwork to counteract Miller’s jabs. And in all honesty, the sparring looks good. He really looks like he’s improving. To me, he could be a sleeper.
Back at the house, Demarques discovers that Team UK left a t-shirt behind. Oh boy, I can just feel the antics coming. He decides to take a bleach pen and write USA-1, UK-0 on it. In their eyes, it was free game because it was left in a common area. They hang the shirt in plain sight and leave a “ransom note” hanging on the front door for the Brits to find when they come back. This joke is not even funny; it’s just sad.
At the official weigh-in, everyone discusses the upcoming fight. Of course each team is impressed with their own, but Dana is leaning toward Mark based on their audition fights. Can’t say I disagree.
Team UK arrives home and finds the note, but they refer to the prank as “gay”. It turns out to have been Dave Faulkner’s shirt, but they all get a chuckle. Like I said, not even funny.
At USA’s training session, Mark Miller discusses how he got his nickname of Meat Missile (it’s what he told his grandmother as a joke over breakfast). He claims that he doesn’t really have a game plan, as he’s a “go with the flow” kind of guy. He basically just wants to throw some big hands. It definitely seems as though all think Miller’s more explosive and more powerful, with Hendo claiming he’s going to “beat the **** of the guy.” I sure hope so!
Demarques (I seem to be saying his name a lot….hmmmm) finds that someone has left their wrestling shoes behind, oh my! Others seem to find this to be a touchy thing to be messing with. Demarques and Lester begin writing them in blue sharpie…USA 2, UK 0. (again, not funny). It turns out that that they were Ross Pearson’s, but they were loaned to Dave Faulkner who forgot them at the gym. When the news is broken to him, Pearson is not happy. He tries to get to the bottom of who wrote on the boots, but to no avail. Bisping refers to the whole thing as childish (for once, he and I agree!). He then advises his team not to retaliate and to ignore it, to instead focus on the fights and the training. This is beginning to feel like dÃ©jÃ vu!
Once all is settled, Bisping pulls Osipczak aside to discuss their fight plan. They think Miller will be easy for him. The plan is to start off by giving him a false sense of security with some striking, but then to take him down because Miller has nothing on the ground. A solid strategy if you ask me.
Nick Osipczak vs. Mark Miller
Miller wants to come out and set the pace, letting the UK know that they mean business. Osipczak wants to give his team a boost, knowing that they need him to win. He feels the pressure, whereas Miller says he doesn’t. Osipczak doesn’t care whether he wins by submission or knock-out; he just wants to finish off Miller.
Miller looks far calmer than Osipczak. They touch gloves and Miller immediately starts striking, but Osipczak goes for and gets the takedown. In full guard, Miller wraps himself around Osipczak and Osipczak tries to get him a position where he can do some damage. Miller won’t let him. He manages to get himself up and around Osipczak getting himself in Osipczak’s guard. Miller lands some shots to Osipczak’s body and tries to posture for full mount, but they end up back on their feet. They clinch and Miller lands some damaging jabs, one of which rattles Osipczak and they’re back on the ground. After an attempt at a guillotine from Miller, they get back and exchange several jabs. They clinch and exchange more — most damage from Miller. Osipczak goes for and gets the takedown. Miller lands some good shots from his back, while Osipczak lands some body shots. Miller looks like he goes for a triangle. Osipczak backs off allowing Miller to get up a bit, but Osipczak pulls him back down into a guillotine. It’s thought that Miller taps, but he gets out it. Miller is in Osipczak’s guard and is landing some good head and body shots. Miller backs off and Osipczak gets up. The round ends as Osipczak takes Miller down.
Definitely a crazy round.
A big combo to start from Miller, but Osipczak counters. Another huge combo from Miller and Osipczak takes him down. Miller tries to get him in a guillotine, but can’t sink it. Osipczak lands some good elbows and Miller lets go. Osipczak has side control. Good knees from Osipczak. Osipczak is being told to posture up, but he’s just lying on Miller. Finally Osipczak mounts Miller. Miller has a good grip on Osipczak’s neck and is being told to roll up to sink it. Finally he does and manages to roll up and over into Osipczak’s full guard. He drops a good straight arm and a few good hammer fists. But Osipczak also lands some good elbows. Miller backs up a little and Osipczak tries to take advantage with a triangle, but Miller gets loose and just stays in his guard. More elbows from Osipczak, but no progress so they are stood up. A weak exchange and a HUGE head kick from Osipczak drops Miller like a sack of potatoes and he is out cold.
Winner: Nick Osipczak via KO
What a brutal fight. Even Miller calls it a straight-up rumble. Very back and forth, a lot of ground-n-pound, a lot of submission attempts. Hendo is disappointed because Miller didn’t really stick to the game plan (did Miller know they had one?). Bisping thought that with all the heavy punches someone would get knocked out. Osipczak says his usage of “look low, kick high” is the oldest trick in the book. Bisping is happy because Osipczak followed the plan of getting Miller on his back. Bisping realizes that he’s being dick by running his mouth, but he’s doing it for a reason — to get the Americans to lose before they even get in the cage. And apparently, it worked. Miller realizes that he has no one to blame but himself — he slipped up, got lazy and got caught. We can only hope that the rest of Team USA learns from Miller’s mistakes.
However, this does not seem so in the previews from the next episode — after only one (seriously disappointing) loss, Team USA starts to splinter while the bond between the Brits grows even stronger (are there really no egos on their team?). Are the Brits for real? Are the Americans just posers? In episode five, we’ll be treated to two fights in one episode which should provide the answer. Truthfully, I’m just happy that the previews haven’t shown drunken douche-baggery – yet!