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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 12 - April 4

"And now, we have come almost to the end..." -Angela Lansbury, The Manchurian Candidate

 Week Twelve is upon us, and the last two fights before the April 9th finale are here.  They're both light heavyweight bouts, and you've got the one "Game Show Man" Joe Van Ginkel here to break it down.  We've come through controversy, adversity, hatred, monotony, and lots and lots of fighting to this last regular season show before the live finale.  Let's rock…

As before we bear witness to the aftermath of last week's war between Diego Sanchez and Josh Koscheck.  Many are pleased with the split decision victory for Sanchez, but many including Bobby Southworth are not.  But the picture in the locker room tells the tale: Koscheck is on oxygen after being exhausted from the fight.  Sanchez beat the man within an inch of his life, and it's clear that he won.  UFC president orders Koscheck to the hospital to be checked out.  (One can only picture the delight in Chris Leben's face upon witnessing the outcome of this fight.) 

But we have little time for commiseration…the light heavyweights are up to fight.  We see the remaining light heavies for Team Liddell working to cut weight to be ready for their bout.  The question still remains whether Forrest Griffin's cut will be healed to the satisfaction of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.  Either Griffin or Bobby Southworth will be fighting Sam Hogar for the Team Liddell half of the light heavyweight finals.  Who will actually fight Hogar depends on the decision of the Commission. 

The next day, the doctor from the Commission, Dr. Margaret Goodman, is present at the UFC Training Center to examine Griffin's eye.  UFC president Dana White takes them into his office where Goodman examines his cut.  She gives it the once over, and says…he's okay to fight.  She reminds him that she's looking out for him and the other fighters, but that he's got the green light.  And so Griffin will do battle with the traitorous Sam Hogar. 

Later that day, the two men weigh in.  Hogar is first, and weighs in at 205 pounds - the light heavyweight limit.  Griffin is next and he clocks in at 206 pounds.  Everything is in order and the fight is on. 

The next day the two men arrive at the UFC Training Center for the fight.  The final preparations are made: warm-ups, hand wrappings, application of Vaseline and the like.  The two men walk to the ring for their confrontation and White reminds them of the rules.  Then legendary UFC referee "Big John" McCarthy asks them if they're ready.  They signal affirmative, and then McCarthy says those famous words…"LET'S GET IT ON!" 

Semifinal Bout #3: Light Heavyweight - Forrest Griffin vs. Sam Hogar 

It doesn't last long.  The two men circle each other looking for an opening.  They trade strikes for two rounds, with Griffin stalking Hogar much of the time, and the two men firing when they have a chance, but eventually at Griffin finds his opening and lands a barrage of knee strikes, driving Hogar to the mat and against the fence.  Griffin starts landing a non-stop barrage of punches and McCarthy sees that Hogar cannot defend himself.  He stops the fight at 1:05 into the second round and Hogar gets his just desserts.  Forrest Griffin is in the finals on April 9th.  But who will his opponent be? 

Now the Team Couture light heavyweights are up to fight: Stephan Bonnar who beatdown the obnoxious Southworth earlier in the series, and Mike Swick, who has been chomping at the bit to get into the Octagon.  They weigh in for their fight: Bonnar at 204.5 pounds and Swick at 192 pounds. 

The two men work with Randy Couture for their confrontation: Swick wants to use his ground game to defeat Bonnar while Bonnar decides to go with a stand-up attack.  Couture tells the two men that he is honored to work with these men, and that he is proud to see them go this far. 

Fight day comes all too quickly, and they too undergo the final preparations. The two men walk to the ring for their confrontation and White reminds them of the rules.  Then legendary UFC referee "Big John" McCarthy asks them if they're ready.  They signal affirmative, and then McCarthy once again says those famous words…"LET'S GET IT ON!" 

Semifinal Bout #4: Light Heavyweights - Mike Swick vs. Stephan Bonnar 

The two men stalk each other.  Swick clinches up with Bonnar, but Bonnar pins him to the fence and trades kness with him.  Suddenly, Swick locks on a submission hold…and nearly makes Bonnar tap out, but Bonnar somehow manages to escape and reverses control.  They grapple with one another for control, and Swick is in control for much of the time, landing strikes when he can, but Bonnar gets to his feet and takes Swick down.  The two men trade control on the ground for a while, but Swick lands some elbow strikes.  Eventually Bonnar locks in a triangle choke, and Swick tries to defend against by standing up, but Bonnar locks him in a armbar, and Swick taps out at 4:54 in round one.  Stephan Bonnar has come back from nearly being choked out by Mike Swick to win the Team Couture side of the light heavyweight finals on April 9th. Swick embraces his friend and tells him that he will be in his corner on April 9th

And so we have our principals for the finals: 

In the middleweight division: Diego "The Nightmare" Sanchez vs. Kenny Florian 

And in the light heavyweight division: Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar

And in an added bonus… 

Light heavyweight prospect Rich Franklin will fight no less than the legendary KEN SHAMROCK! 

It's all LIVE on The Ultimate Fighter Ultimate Finale, live on SpikeTV, Saturday, April 9 at 9PM EDT. 

Until then, for GSNN, this is the "Game Show Man" Joe Van Ginkel, saying Godspeed and spread the love.

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