This season it appears that UK coach Michael Bisping is stepping
up and providing the verbal fuel in the ever popular TUF smack talk series, putting
his mouth on the line for the fans who seem to be drawn to verbal barbs as much
as the fisticuffs on the popular TV program.
Emotions are running high and it appears that Bisping is
getting on the nerves of the members of Team USA with his confidence and smack
talk. Demarques Johnson seems especially ticked off with his antics and Team
USA coach Dan Henderson goes as far as to say he is looking forward to shutting his mouth with his fist.
Episode 4 of season 9 begins with Bisping introducing his assistant
coaches Mario Sukatan - who is the wrestling and submission coach, and Dave
Jackson - the Thai boxing coach at the Wolfslair in England. Both are his
actually his coaches in reality so even he feels it is a little odd to have
them labeled as his assistants and he says as much in the intro.
Henderson also introduces his coaches and he has four to
Bispings two, which seems like it would be an advantage with eight fighters in
the house it gives each guy more time with one of the five coaches. His coaches
are Gustavo Pugliese (boxing), Ricardo Feliciano (Jiu Jitsu), Cyril Diabate (Muai
Thai), and 2000 Olympic team member Heath Sims. The coaches are forced to go to
work right away as Henderson who has the power to choose the first fight
has chosen Mark Miller to face Nick O in the first official Team US vs. Team UK
fight. With that the posturing begins anew with Bisping already counting it as
a victory for his team within earshot of Demarques Johnson who always seems to
be stewing everytime Bisping says anything.
Dan Henderson is also confident in his team, but appears
content to doing his talking in the cage without the smack talk that Bisping
always seems ready to churn out every time the camera is on him. There is one
thing that bothers Henderson however, and it is the fact some of his team has
to make weight for the third time in a week! In honesty it seems almost
dangerous, and on top of that Team UK will have had a couple weeks from their
last fights which puts them at an unfair physical advantage.
Bisping had visa issues and didnt have a chance to see
some of the Americans fight so he and his two assistant coaches Dave and Mario
set out to look at tape of Millers victory that put him in the house. Bisping
is not impressed saying that he is one-dimensional doesnt know what a knee
is, has no chin either, and looks like a psychopath who just got out of a
mental institute. Classy stuff.
It takes 4 episodes for the practical jokes to start and it
is not surprisingly Johnson who kicks it off when he finds that a Team UK
member has forgotten his shirt in the common area of the house. He takes it,
writes US 1, UK -0 on the shirt and hangs it up for Team UK to see when they
come back from training. Pretty tame compared to seasons past so I am
surprised they even show this unless it leads up to something spectacular later
on in the season
The Weigh ins
The weigh ins take place and both fighters weigh in at 170
lbs. on the dot and Dana White gives his thoughts on the fight picking Miller to win the fight based on what
happened in their qualification bouts. Osipczak didnt overly impress me on
his last fight, he basically fought a leprechaun, he says laughing.
Bisping on the other hand appears very serious about his
intentions to dominate the show saying Team UK are not here to get on TV, we
are here to win the God damn show.
Bispings team then returns to the house and sees what has
happed to Dave Faulkners shirt and arent overly impressed or bothered by the
gag. It happens a second time however when Ross leaves his wrestling shoes out
and they suffer the same fate as the shirt, this time being inscribed with US
-2, UK 0 to signify their second prank. Turns out the shoes belong to Ross,
and he doesnt seem very happy about it but nothing really comes of it yet.
The fight is about to start and Henderson tells Diabate he
thinks that Miller is going to Beat the F_ck out of the guy, while Bisping
tells Osipczak that he feels Miller doesnt have much of a ground game.
Fight 1 170 lbs. Mark Miller (Team USA) vs. Nick Osipczak
As expected Nick comes out orthodox contrary to his stance
in his qualifying match-up - and takes the fight to the ground with a nice
little hip toss before Miller is able to use a Kimura to get back to the top
Miller lands a nice knee-punch combination as the fight gets
back to the feet, but Nick is able to get it back to the ground. Against the cage both fighters go to work
with both fighters taking and landing solid shots in an absolute firefight.
Osipczaks takedowns dont look especially explosive but it is becoming readily
apparent that Millers takedown defense is suspect at best.
Miller actually drives for a takedown of his own and Nick
locks in a guillotine and it appears that Miller actually tapped Action
continued however and Miller pushed his head out and went to work on a
steadfast ground and pound attack for a minute until the round ends.
On a sidenote, Norifumi Kid Yamamoto is sitting next to
Dana White while the fight is going on.
Miller tries to throw hands again but Osipczak takes the
fight to the ground with Miller attempting to lock in a futile guillotine
attempt. Osipczak actually mounts Miller with his head locked in and after
about a minute of inactivity Miller is able to roll and get the top position
where neither fighter is able to mount any significant offense. Miller appears
completely gassed with his hands way down, and following a stand up, Osipczak looks
low, kicks high - and secures the knockout to give the first victory to Team UK in what may have been a poor choice
of fight by Team USA.
After only one loss, team US starts to fall apart, and Team
UK seems to be getting closer. Two fights will take place in episode 9.