In last week’s episode, Dana White pulled the plug and informed Jason Pierce that he is out. His buddy, David Faulkner, has gag-reflex issues when it comes to his mouthpiece. All drama aside, American Jason Dent defeats Jeff Lawson. With one preliminary fight left, who will replace Jason Pierce to take on Brit favorite David Faulkner?
Team USA is pumped about Dent’s win, until Henderson breaks the news to the team about Pierce. Now the task is to figure out who is going to replace him. Having lost their initial fights, Mark Miller and Frank Lester are the only two available. Miller has a broken nose, but tells Dana that he is willing to take the fight as long as he can train. A very excited Lester is also willing and able — even toothless. Even with losses behind them, they have a helluva lot more heart than Pierce. With all the news, the ride home is quiet until Defranco asks Pierce about how it went down with Dana. In his defense, Pierce says he told Dana he wants to fight (liar, liar, pants on fire!).
Back at the house in the “Bash Room”, no one is buying Pierce’s BS. They know he didn’t want the fight. But Lester and Miller aren’t complaining. Lester is all about getting a second chance again considering how he got into the house in the first place. Same goes for Miller.
So it comes down to the doctors. Lester is cleared to fight, but Miller is not because of his nose. Now, Lester needs to be ready to go. Though I don’t particularly like Lester, I do agree with Dana in that Lester’s sheer will and determination to fight (eh, they’re just teeth) is impressive. If anyone should have the opportunity to go at it again, it’s him.
Hendo discusses game plan with Lester, but Lester looks nervous — and rightfully so. It’s only been a few days since his last fight and he knows he’s not 100% ready physically. Even with his beat up face, Hendo is sure that he will give it his all. The kid has heart, that’s for sure. Mr. Cheerful himself, Demarques points out that the odds are not in their favor and goes so far as to compare Lester to a pit bull with his teeth filed down.
As Team USA is finishing up their training, they discuss swapping training times with the Brits. The plan is to switch and give the Brits the early gym time. However, when it is brought up to Bisping, he gives Hendo a hard time about it, claiming he can’t just up and change it with no notice. Instead, he suggests that whoever wins the next fight can choose training time, which Hendo turns down. Not one to just “roll over and take it up the a$$” he must talk it over his team first. Holy pissing contest Batman!
After discussing it with his team, the Brits say no and Bisping really thinks it’s fair to let the fight decide it. Letting it slide for the moment, they line up for the fight announcement. While the Brits are walking in, Bisping, in all his maturity, squirts Demarques with his water bottle. In response, Demarques throws his hat at him in a hissy fit. Bisping claims it was because of his “racist” comment from the tennis match (the joke about Bisping being as white as a bandaid), which he is now told was made by (the white) Dollar. Wisely, Demarques storms out as Bisping apologizes for his actions. What an ass. Eventually, Demarques reappears and the announcement is made.
The next morning, the Brits are up early and are at the gym. Apparently, the “powers that be” overruled him and the times were switched. Faulkner is very confident about his game and his ability to win, but he’s preoccupied with his gag reflex. They decide to bring in a hypnotist. Hey, if Faulkner believes in it, go for it. He goes to see her, and her goal is to “reprogram” him. She tries to convince him that his mouthpiece is for protection and safety. Faulkner claims he wasn’t actually hypnotized. His limbs felt heavy, and he felt relaxed, but nothing else. I hope for his sake it works!
Sadly, Faulkner is not the only one have psychological issues. Lester is having trouble getting to the fight mentally. He wants to give it everything he’s got, just to prove it to himself. In his eyes, he feels like if he can get through this he can get through anything.
Lester is keeping back at first, looking nervous. Finally, a good leg kick from Faulkner followed by another. Lester also lands one. Faulkner goes in on Lester and gets jabbed. Lester keeps throwing jabs at the air. Finally they really exchange and clinch. Lester is against the cage but neither do much. Faulkner lands a couple weak body shots. He tries to get Lester down but can’t. They separate and Faulkner lands a leg kick. A nice overhand from Lester. Some good head shots from Faulkner, but a good shot from Lester knocks Faulkner off balance. He shoots on Lester and they clinch. Not much action going on and they separate. Faulkner goes on the offensive and lands some good head shots. They exchange some nice clean shots. Faulkner comes in and Lester lands a great jab on Faulkner’s jaw. Faulkner moves in and they clinch. The round ends with zero action, though I’d give the round to the more aggressive Faulkner.
The round begins the same as the first. Ho hum until Faulkner spits his mouthpiece out! He gets it back and they resume. A good overhand from Lester is followed up with a good leg kick from Faulkner. A good head kick from Lester and he’s on the offensive. They clinch and Lester lands a solid knee to the ribs. They separate and Lester is throwing punches that land. They clinch in the center and Lester is landing knees all over the place. Faulkner pulls back for an uppercut, but doesn’t do much. More knees from Lester. Faulkner tries for an overhand but misses. They’re back to clinching against the cage, but both are visibly tired. Faulkner lands a good knee, but so does Lester. Faulkner backs up and Lester lands a good punch. They are both just swinging wild and tired. A nice jab from Lester followed by two more. There is more clinching with nothing. A brief exchange and the round ends. This round was all Lester.
A third round is anticipated by all…
And a third round there will be. In their corners, Lester is being pumped up, while Faulkner is just shaking his head in denial. He says he just can’t do it. No matter how much he’s told he can do it and that he’ll regret it, Faulkner just won’t get up. The fight is called and Lester wins.
Frank Freakin Lester. The guy loses his fight to get in the house, but is then brought back in as an alternate. He wins that fight (barely) in controversial fashion only to lose his first real fight in the house while getting his teeth literally knocked out. He gets yet another chance and manages to “out heart” quite possibly the toughest guy on Team UK. This kid is unbelievable. If some the guys had half his heart….wow.
Bisping is PISSED about the Americans gloating, so he storms off. He rounds up his guys and nearly breaks the door down in anger. Bisping feels like Faulkner threw the lead away. Faulkner, however, feels relieved and doesn’t regret it. He even goes so far as to joke about pursuing movies or pro-wrestling. A frustrated Bisping can’t listen to it anymore and calls out his four semifinal guys. They are told not to give up, to give it all they’ve got. They seem pumped, or maybe they just don’t want to be lumped in with Faulkner.
Team USA is proud of Lester, who is just overwhelmed and shocked. Hendo says he has a mental toughness you just can’t teach. Agreed.
Richie goes off on Pierce. Semifinal picks are decided — will teammate fight teammate? Two welterweights battle to secure their spot in the finale. If next week is anything like tonight, it’ll be interesting to say the least!
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- ultimate fighter season 9