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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 10 - March 21

Week TEN!?!?  Inconceivable!  Where has the time gone?  Doesn't matter, because the "Game Show Man" Joe Van Ginkel has returned with YOUR recap of The Ultimate Fighter.  When we last left our heroes (and villains, as the case may be), Team Couture light heavyweight Alex Schoenauer surprised the devil out of Team Liddell fighter Forrest Griffin, cutting his eyebrow before Griffin could rub him out of the contest.  Can Griffin's cut heal in time for the next fight?  Let's find out…

The aftermath of last week's slugfest opens this week's episode.  Confessionals of the other fighters (who are clearly impressed with the performance of both men) are intercut with footage of last week's bout.  Griffin paid dearly for his win last week, and he may have to drop out of the contest. He's taken to the doctor to get stitches and liquid bandages in his eyebrow. 

Meanwhile, back at the house, the teams again decompress, discussing Griffin's cut.  They are worried about whether Griffins will be able to be in the semis.  Griffin returns and hangs out with the remaining fighters, are reveals that his elbow (damaged in a previous fight) is hurt too.  But it's not a severe as the cut, so it probably won't be an issue. 

Back at the gym, the fighters assemble for a meeting with UFC president Dana White.  There are only eight fighters remaining, so it's time for the semi-finals.  But White suddenly drops a bombshell: the team challenges are over, teammates will fight teammates.  In addition, the rounds are going up to three rounds instead of two.  The fighters are not happy about it. 

Team Couture is going first, and that means this week's fight is between Chris Leben and Kenny Florian.  They actually have a sparring session before their fight.  Florian even helps Leben perform his prefight ritual of dying his hair blood red. 

At practice, Florian reveals his newfound respect for Leben; since the alcohol was removed from the equation (due to the bizarre water spray incident earlier in the series), Leben has toned down his act, and Florian has gotten to know and like him.  But both men know that they want to win this thing, and so they prepare for a war. 

Meanwhile, Forrest has to pick an alternate in case he can't fight, and he brings back no less than…Bobby Southworth.  Oh brother.  Koscheck is happy to see him, but Bonnar, Hogar and Leben is not. 

Training for the fight continues.  Leben works to try and stay on his feet to counter Florian's ground skills.  Florian works on his own techniques to deal with Leben's overwhelming striking power. 

Later, Leben goes to the YMCA to sit in the sauna to cut weight for the fight.  He discusses his past in Oregon: his father left his family when he was young, but he claims to have had the "best childhood, because of the freedom my mother gave me."  Meanwhile, Florian discusses his own motivation to fight.  He is a competitive person, and is big on the fight game. 

The next day is the weigh-in.  Leben goes first and tips the scales at 186 pounds.  Florian is next and weighs in at 182 pounds.  Everything is in order, and the fight is on for the next day. 

It comes all too quickly.  The two men are packed and ready to go, and arrive at the gym for the semifinal bout.  The final preparations take place: warm-ups, wrapping of hands, application of Vaseline and the like.  Leben and Florian walk to the Octagon, and White reminds them that this fight is three rounds instead of two.  Legendary UFC referee "Big John" McCarthy is back to officiate, and after the fighter signal ready, he says those famous words…"LET'S GET IT ON!" 

Semifinal Bout #1: Middleweights - Chris "The CatSmasher" Leben vs. Kenny Florian

The fight is exactly as advertised: a war.  Florian tries to take Leben down early, but Leben stops him.  Leben pins Florian to the fence and trades strikes with him, but eventually Florian works his way out.  But Leben pins him to the fence again and blasts him in the clinch.  Florian still manages to get free and the two men go at it again. Leben tries to pin him again, but this time he can't.  The leather flies fast and furious throughout the fight.  Leben hurts his man at point, but Florian hangs on.  Leben again pins him to the fence and drops bombs on Florian, and again Florian eventually escapes, only to have Leben trap him again and pummel him.  But at the end of the round, Florian escapes, and the two men trade blows as the horn blows. 

The two men rest between rounds, and get instructions from their coaches, Liddell for Florian and Couture for Leben.  But their rest is all too short, and again McCarthy beckons them to battle. 

The second round starts with Florian staying out of Leben's range, but coming back in to trade blows with Leben.  He dances around trying to find an opening, and eventually comes in with a clinch only to pinned against the fence, but Florian fights his way out, and stays out of Leben's range.  He gets caught on the way in, but eventually gets pinned on the fence again, and gets blasted by Leben.  But suddenly, Florian lands a huge punch to Leben's face, cutting him over his right eye.  McCarthy stops the action at 3:11 and brings in the fight doctor.  He examines Leben… and promptly stops the fight.  Florian has won by TKO.  He is in the finals.

Chris Leben is out of the contest, but he has proven himself a worthy competitor.  It is likely that he will soon be part of the UFC, but not today.  Who will Florian face in the final bout on April 9?  Find out next week as Diego Sanchez tangles with Josh Koscheck.  For GSNN, this is the "Game Show Man" Joe Van Ginkel, saying Godspeed and spread the love.

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