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Sixteen men from across the Americas travel to Las Vegas with one dream, one goal – to become The Ultimate Fighter.

Determination. Discipline. Excellence.

Recaps by Joe Van Ginkel, GSNN


Willa Ford
Coaches: Randy "The Natural" Couture and Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell
Packager: Zuffa, LLC; Spike TV
Airs: Mondays at 11:05pm ET on Spike TV

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Episode 6 - February 21

It's week six on The Ultimate Fighter, and you've got the one "Game Show Man" Joe Van Ginkel with this week's recap.  And this week's show is a doozy, friends.  When we last left the TUF crew, it had been decided that Team Couture middleweight Chris Leben and Team Liddell middleweight Josh Koscheck would fight an elimination bout in the wake of the disastrous aftermath of the fighters' night out. 

The formal announcement is made to the assembled fighters in the UFC training center.  White also announces that all the alcohol would taken out of the house to prevent any more instance like this, and that Leben, Koscheck and light heavyweight Bobby Southworth would be paying for the damage caused. 

There is much controversy about the decision.  Much of Team Liddell believes (as I personally did at the start of the series) that Leben should've been kicked off the show, and the only reason he was not was because of Randy Couture's influence. (This is not entirely true: UFC president Dana White and even Chuck Liddell have been able to see Leben's potential. [Liddell, from last week: "Chris is not that bad a kid."])  Meanwhile, Leben tries to keep sooth the pain of his left hand which was damaged in last week's rampage (I reported that it was his right hand; it was not), and after running it under a spigot of cold water, explodes into a barrage of foul language. 

The next day, Team Couture takes training.  Leben works with Couture to try and prepare for Koscheck's wrestling game.  He works on stopping takedowns and applying submissions to beat Koscheck from underneath should Koscheck manage to take him down.  Leben makes a prediction that if Koscheck wins, it will be because he laid on top of him and squeaked out a victory, and that if he wins, it will because he "knocked his (Koscheck's) jaw clear over to the practice mat, and the paramedics are in the cage, scraping him off the canvas." 

Later, Team Liddell trains; Koscheck trains exactly as Leben suspects…to keep him on the ground to prevent him from using his striking power.  Kenny Florian and Diego Sanchez come at him from a southpaw stance to simulate Leben's southpaw stance.  After the training session, Koscheck is severely exhausted (perhaps foreshadowing things to come?). 

Back at the house, Forest Griffin and the others are getting into mischief. (Griffin: "…the important s--- is that the monotony…is unbearable.")  He starts climbing the rock fountain in the house, and makes a monkey of himself…literally. 

The next day is the weigh-in.  Koscheck goes to the sauna with Liddell and Southworth to cut some weight (and makes fun of his teammate Southworth, who had a lot of trouble doing the same thing on an earlier show).  Later, Leben also goes into the sauna to cut weight himself. 

At the appointed time, the two men weigh-in.  Leben is first and he tips the scales at 186.  Koscheck weighs in at 185.  Both men flex their arms at the announcement of their weight. 

Meanwhile, Nate Quarry goes to a local doctor to get his injured ankle checked out.  The surgeon examines his ankle and the x-ray, and then sets up an MRI to see whether he needs surgery on his ankle. 

The next day is fight day.  As for the two fights before them, Koscheck and Leben pack their things should they be eliminated and then go to the gym to prepare for the fight.  The two men then walk to the ring, and after White reminds them of the rules, referee Herb Dean asks them if they're ready.  They signal affirmative, and the war is on. 

Or is it? 

Elimination Bout #3: Middleweights - Josh Koscheck vs. Chris Leben

Early in the first round, it's mostly a dance recital.  Leben tries to feint his way inside, but he just can't land any shots.  Eventually Koscheck manages to take him down.  But even as he holds Leben down, he can't make any progress.  Leben tries to slap on a submission, but he can't.  Most of the first round is as Leben predicted it might be: with Koscheck lying on top of him.  Koscheck tries to land some punches but Leben keeps him clinched up and eventually Dean orders a clean break.  They resume the fight and while Leben stops one takedown, eventually Koscheck slams him to the ground, but the round ends before he can do any lasting damage. 

Between rounds, Couture tries to coach Leben: "you can't afford to let him spend time on top of you." 

The second round is much like the first.  Koscheck tries several couple of takedowns, which Leben stops, but eventually Koscheck manages to take Leben down, and again, he lays on top of Leben without making much progress. Dean breaks them up again, but Koscheck takes him down again, and again, they lay in a clinch and although Leben tries to make him submit, he cannot, and the fight ends. 

The fight goes to the judges, and the decision comes back a split one… 

…for Koscheck.  The two men shake hands, and go back to trash talking.  Leben's prediction was right: Koscheck won by laying on top his of man.  Leben goes off and mopes due to losing in such a pathetic way. 

Who can blame him? 

Leben didn't get his revenge, friends, but there's still lots of The Ultimate Fighter left to watch.  The light heavyweights are up next week.  Who will fight in the Octagon next week?  Find out in my next recap.  For GSNN, this is the "Game Show Man" Joe Van Ginkel saying godspeed, and spread the love.

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