Episode 7 - February 28
Week Seven of The
Ultimate Fighter is upon us, and the "Game Show Man"
Joe Van Ginkel (that's me, folks) is back with the
recap. Can Team Couture come back from their losses
this week and foil Team Liddell's "flawless victory?"
Will Nate Quarry be able to continue after his ankle
injury? Will host Willa Ford do anything but stand
around and look pretty while UFC president Dana White
does the real hosting work? Let's find out
aftermath of the bitter middleweight fight between Chris
Leben of Team Couture and Josh Koscheck of Team Liddell
opens this week. We see the reactions of numerous
fighters to Leben's split decision loss, intercut with
footage from the fight. Much criticism is leveled at
Koscheck for his tactics of taking down Leben and not
doing anything to finish him off.
at the house, Sam Hogar's teammates on Team Liddell
voice their dislike for him, signaling the start of what
may turn out to be an interesting storyline. They
perceive him to be aloof, obnoxious, greedy and phoney.
Bobby Southworth makes fun of the fact that even though
he is going to graduate school, he can't even light a
grill. Hogar voices his own criticisms of his team,
whom he feels has not fully embraced him. (Can you say
teams go back to the gym, and assemble for the
rebalance: one middleweight from Team Liddell must go to
Team Couture. Chuck Liddell is not happy about it, but
he sends Josh Rafferty. Team Liddell is not happy about
it, and Rafferty is even less thrilled. He believes
that Team Couture has no chance to win the contest and
that he will have to fight one of his friends.
Liddell is supremely confident after winning most of the
competition. Hogar is critical of them ("I think my
team has severely started to rest on their
achievements."), but the others think it will come down
to them having to fight each other. Meanwhile, Team
Couture refuses to give up. They train even harder at
the UFC Training Center so that they will not lose the
at the house, Rafferty continues to complain about being
forced to Team Couture. The other members of Team
Couture try to embrace him, but Rafferty will have none
of it. (Rafferty: "Ultimate Fighting is not a team
sport.") He even refuses to bond with them over a game
of Texas Hold 'Em, regarding cards as stupid and a waste
of time. (Did I mention that Team Couture light
heavyweight Mike Swick is a poker player with dreams of
playing in the World Series of Poker? I wonder if we
can convince him to sit in with us on WLTI? Hmm
The next day, the two teams converge in the desert
for the light heavyweight challenge: a bizarre
tug-of-war game where the six light heavyweights strap
themselves to a giant metal hexagon and try to grab a
series of six flags color coded to their teams and
placed in a circle around them.
time, it's Team Couture (consisting of Swick, Stephan
Bonnar and Alex Schoenauer) who gets out to an early
lead, while Team Liddell (made up of Southworth, Hogar
and Forest Griffin) flounders. Team Couture eventually
wins the challenge, 6-2. At last Team Couture has
gained a victory, and it is they who will make the match
at the end of the show. It is a gigantic shot in the
arm for them.
Liddell is dumbstruck by their first loss, and, like
many complacent parties throughout history, are quick to
start pointing fingers and they all point towards Hogar,
thinking that he may have thrown the challenge.
Couture goes back to the gym to decide who will fight.
The light heavyweights toss names back and forth,
considering Southworth and Hogar as their main targets,
although Swick says that it may be better to leave Hogar
on Team Liddell, since they don't like him at all.
Eventually, Bonnar says that he wants to fight
Southworth, believing that he can take him out, even
though the fight is only two rounds.
again, the fighters assemble at the house for the
announcement. UFC president Dana White (who was present
at Team Couture's meeting) makes the announcement:
Stephan Bonnar will indeed fight Bobby Southworth. The
two men shake hands, and as in weeks past, prepare for
fighters go back to the YMCA to cut weight. This time
Southworth has much less trouble cutting weight, but
when Bonnar arrives, he sees something he doesnt like:
besides the Team Couture members, Hogar has also come
with them, confirming his distrust of Hogar.
next day, the fighters weigh-in. Southworth weighs in
at exactly 205, the light heavyweight limit. Bonnar
weighs in at 206, one pound heavier than Southworth.
Will it make the difference?
it's fight day. All the usual preparations are made:
warm-ups, wrapping hands, application of Vaseline, and
the like. The two men walk to the Octagon to do
battle. White reminds Bonnar and Southworth of the
rules, and then UFC referee Steve Mazzayatti asks them
if they're ready. They signal affirmative, and the war
Elimination Bout #4: Light Heavyweights - Bobby
Southworth vs. Stephan Bonnar
previous bouts, this one is a slugfest. Bonnar is in
control early, maintaining pressure on Southworth,
moving forward and looking for openings. Southworth
lands some hard shots, but Bonnar keeps coming and lands
shots of his own. Bonnar clinches up with Southworth
who spins him around and pins him to the fence. The two
men trade strikes and control. Eventually Bonnar takes
Southworth down, but Southworth reverses control, and
tries to "ground and pound" his man. But Bonnar manages
to work his way out of the hold and stands back up,
sending the fight back to a standing position and more
trading of strikes. Bonnar pins his opponent to the
fence several times and lands strikes while inside, but
each time Southworth works his way out. A final
exchange ends the round.
Between rounds, the two men rest and receive advice from
their coaches: Liddell advises Southworth to use his
comibination, but Couture reminds Bonnar to be mindful
of the combo, and to use his jab.
fight resumes, and it seems to be a repeat of round
one. Again Bonnar puts on the pressure, and takes down
Southworth early, going for the "ground-and-pound"
tactic or a submission, but Southworth manages to
reverse the hold and try for a submission, but Bonnar
reverses it again, and eventually Mazzayatti breaks them
up, and again the two men stand up to fight. Bonnar
continues to back Southworth down, but Southworth makes
him pay with big strikes. Bonnar pins his man to the
fence, but Southworth works his way out, and again the
two men trade big leather and feet. Southworth manages
to land some monster shots, and the rest of Team Liddell
scream for Southworth to finish him off, but Bonnar
shakes them off and continues to stalk his man. Bonnar
takes him down again, and pounds him from the mount, but
Southworth reverses the take down. But he can't put
Bonnar away, and he escapes as the fight ends.
fight seems to close to call. The two coaches prepare
their fighters for "Sudden Victory," but the judges have
their winner. It's another split decision, and this
time, it's for
Stephan Bonnar. His constant pressure won over the
judges, and he has won Team Couture it's first fighting
victory, in the process gaining revenge for his teammate
Chris Leben, who was forced to fight last week due to
Southworth is livid.
Couture has earned its first duke in the contest, albeit
a controversial one. Will this be the tide-turner, or
will Team Liddell get back on top? And what of Nate
Quarry's ankle? Will it heal in time, or will he be
forced to forfeit his spot in the contest? Find out
next week. For GSNN, this is the "Game Show Man" Joe
Van Ginkel, saying Godspeed and spread the love.