Episode 11 - March 28
Two episodes left before
The Ultimate Fighter finale, folks, and this week
promises to be a doozy
middleweight phenom Diego Sanchez
must fight his teammate Josh Koscheck to find out who
will face Kenny Florian in the finals. Who will win?
Well, that's what you have the "Game Show Man" Joe Van
aftermath of his loss to Florian, Chris Leben is
despondent. He is not happy to have lost because of a
cut. But he has no choice in the matter, and he is out.
He mopes outside, but Couture and the rest of the team
go to console him. He goes back inside and
congratulates Florian on his victory. (Leben: "In my
book, I owe him a beer.")
Meanwhile, Josh Koscheck is ecstatic that Leben, whom he
has despised throughout the competition, is once again
out. But this week, it may be Koscheck going home, as
he must face Diego Sanchez, who to this point has proven
himself a dangerous opponent.
at the house, Sanchez steels himself for this fight. He
realizes that Koscheck has a better ground game than he
does, so he decides to work on his striking techniques.
Koscheck, coincidentally, decides to do exactly the same
thing: Sanchez is a submission master, and so he decides
to stay on his feet.
both men, this fight is a different animal than what
they've experienced previously: much like Leben and
Florian, these two men like and respect one another, and
now they must fight. (Florian has perspective for
Sanchez: "If you can train with the guys you're gonna
fight, then fight them and be successful, you can do
anything, ya know?")
next day, light heavyweight Forrest Griffin goes to the
doctor's office to get the stitches in the cut over his
eye taken out. The doctor says that his cut looks good,
but it's not his decision, it's that of the Nevada State
Athletic Commission. As a result, the recently returned
Bobby Southworth is training with Team Liddell in case
Griffin will not be able to fight Sam Hogar, the other
remaining light heavyweight on Team Liddell. (If that
happens, it would be what professional wrestling fans
might call a "heel vs. heel" match; Southworth has
proven himself a hypocrite and a whiner, while Hogar is
a thief, a liar and a turncoat.)
weigh-ins, Sanchez weighs in at 183.5 pounds, while
Koscheck tips the scales at 185.5 pounds. Everything is
in order, and the war is on.
Meanwhile, UFC president Dana White (who's been the real
host of this show, as opposed to Willa Ford, the
"official" host, who's just been looking pretty at the
team challenges) goes to the Hard Rock Hotel to survey
the scene for the weigh-ins for the finale. He takes a
moment to hype the final show (which I will do too:
Saturday, April 9, live at 9PM EST on Spike TV. It will
be the first live UFC card to be aired on basic cable
instead of pay-per-view. A perfect dessert for after
the TPIR Million Dollar Spectacular, eh?).
day comes. The two men arrive at the gym and the final
preparations begin: warm-ups, hand wrapping, application
of Vaseline, and the like. The two men walk to the
Octagon for their confrontation, and Dana White reminds
them of the rules: three five-minute rounds instead of
the two in the preliminaries. Then, UFC referee Herb
Dean asks the two men if they're ready. They signal
affirmative, and the war is on.
this one really is a war.
Semifinal Bout #2: Middleweights - Diego "The Nightmare"
Sanchez vs. Josh Koscheck
first round starts as a dance recital, but it doesn't
stay that way for long, as the two men trade strikes.
Koscheck tries to stay away, but Sanchez comes in and
lands some big right hands, and Koscheck answers with a
big kick. Koscheck tries to take Sanchez down, but
Sanchez sprawls and stops him. The two men circle each
other looking for an opening, but neither man seems to
be able to land a big shot. Suddenly Koscheck takes
Sanchez down, but his man escapes and strikes back.
They continue to circle each other looking for an
opportunity and probing one another's defenses.
Koscheck tries another take down, and slams Sanchez to
the fence, but Sanchez tries to lock a guillotine hold
on Koscheck, but he escapes, and the two men trade
shots. Sanchez manages to escape and tries to lock in a
submission, but Koscheck breaks free, and the two men
trade strikes. Koscheck tries another takedown, but
Sanchez goes for another guillotine hold, and brings him
down, but he cannot make his man tap out, as the horn
blows to end the round.
second round starts much as the first did, with the two
men jockeying for a good position. Koscheck tries a
takedown, but Sanchez lands a knee strike to stop him.
The two men circle one another for a good minute or so
before Sanchez tries to land a boxing combo. Koscheck
lands a leg kick, and then tries to take him down
unsuccessfully. Sanchez comes in with a boxing combo,
then tries to lock on a submission, but Koscheck breaks
free. The two men trade strikes and again Sanchez tries
the guillotine hold, kneeing Koscheck in the head when
it doesn't work, but eventually locking it on again.
But Koscheck breaks free and reverses control and to get
into the mount, but Sanchez tries to lock in another
submission hold. But Koscheck escapes it and stands
back up, and gets kicked by Sanchez. He takes Sanchez
back down, and trades strikes with him on the ground.
Eventually, Dean breaks them up, but forgets to move
between them, and while Sanchez drops his guard,
Koscheck lands a cheap shot. The two men clinch up
again as the horn blows.
Koscheck will pay for his cheap shot.
third round, the two men again circle one another
looking for an opportunity to strike. Suddenly, Sanchez
lands a huge left hand, and follows in with more
strikes, which Koscheck tries to counter with a
takedown, only to get nearly locked into another
guillotine hold and then eats several knee strikes and a
right hand. Koscheck tries to come in with a standing
take down but he gets blasted by punches and knee
strikes for his trouble. Koscheck finally takes Sanchez
down, and but fails to strike decisively and Sanchez
tries to lock in submission holds, and each time
Koscheck manages to escape. Koscheck stands up and
holds Sanchez down, and eventually comes back down to
strike, but Sanchez returns fire with heavy shots of his
own. Finally, Dean breaks them up. Sanchez loses his
mouthpiece, and has to have it washed before the round
continues. Koscheck tries to take him down, but Sanchez
takes the upper hand and escapes. The two men trade
strikes, and again Koscheck tries a takedown, but
Sanchez locks in a submission. Koscheck escapes the
hold, only to get locked into another hold. Sanchez
pounds Koscheck with elbow strikes up to the final
Sanchez has a bloody nose, but stands up, arms in the
air. Koscheck on the other hand is exhausted, his face
bruised and battered. The two men brought their A-game
here, and the fight is in the hand of the judges.
two warriors embrace in the center of the ring, and Dana
White reveals the results: a split decision for
Nightmare is in the finals for the middleweight
division, and he'll do battle with Kenny Florian at the
finale on April 9th. Who will join them from
the light heavyweights? Find out next week. Two big
fights coming at you then and we'll be there for it.
For GSNN, this is the "Game Show Man" Joe Van Ginkel,
saying godspeed and spread the love.