After the interesting taste left in my mouth from Ultimate Fight Night 6, I was in much need of a refreshing bit of some real down home "controlled rage." This was of course in addition to my newfound need for Amp'd Mobile, Xenergy, Crank, The Protector, and
.I think you get me. Anyway, there's been a lot of buzz surrounding the new season of The Ultimate Fighter.
After the interesting taste left in my mouth from Ultimate Fight Night 6, I was in much need of a refreshing bit of some real down home "controlled rage." This was of course in addition to my newfound need for Ampd Mobile, Xenergy, Crank, The Protector, and
.I think you get me. Anyway, theres been a lot of buzz surrounding the new season of The Ultimate Fighter. Since every fighter has attempted to prove his meddle in the Octagon before, this season theres much less chance of a fighter not doing his job (i.e. not fighting). In addition to this, the lack of team coaches forces the fighters to really work like a team and motivate each other.
Right off the bat Matt Serra and Shonie Carter shine through as two bright personalities this season. The two having fought before adds an interesting dynamic to the politics of the house, and more so to the politics of the teams. Mickey Burnett was also formally introduced, and was a perfect example of this seasons theme of second chances. Having battled some serious opponents both in and out of the octagon, Burnett will certainly add a lot of character to this season.
The format is pretty much the same here, with the fighters training in their separate teams, and having to fight through the prelims, semis, and finals to get the contract. This season we have Randy Couture, George St. Pierre, Marc Laimon, and Mark Delagrotte acting as coaches. A big change this season is that the coaches are not competing against each other, but rather helping everyone mutually in their various areas of expertise. This brings us to the makeup of the actual teams.
The Grey team, or Team Mojo, features Welterweight fighters Matt Serra, Shonie Carter, Chris Lytle, and Din Thomas. Middleweights are comprised of Patrick Cote, Pete Sell, Edwin Dwees, and Scott Smith. Team No Love, or the men in blue, is stacked with Middleweights Charles Mccarthy, Gideon Rey, Jorge Rivera, and Travis Lutter. Their Welterweight category is comprised of Rich Clementi, Mickey Burnett, Jeremy Jackson, and Pete Spratt. Both teams are full of talent, and offer a nice mix of strikers and grapplers between the two.
At the first training session, leaders emerge from the two teams through the intense training. Matt Serra grabbed the reigns with Team Mojo, and Shonie Carter comments on how he is no longer "the lead horse." This roughly translates to Shonie having to work as hard as the rest of the fighters, which leads to Shonie puking after doing harness resistance drills. Shonie remarks that this was the "first time in my pugilistic career" that he has ever missed the bucket
er, puked after a training session. As for Team No Love, Rich Clementi seems to have left his mark on the team from the beginning, as they somewhat appropriately (for this seasons theme at least) chose his nickname as the team name.
We are almost immediately thrust into the decision of who will fight this week, and the Blue team chooses Rich Clementi to fight the Gray teams Shonie Carter. Rich is a slick fighter with well rounded abilities across the board. He put in some serious time overseas in the Japanese ZST promotion, getting to the finals of the first ZST Grand Prix, only to submit to a broken nose at the hands of the tough Marcus Aurelio. Shonie, on the other hand, is a journeyman with over 100 martial arts fights to his credit, and has fought in almost every fight organization in the world. He has a more traditional style of standup, combined with a more entertaining and comical style of MMA than most are accustomed to. He is always a serious force, however, but like any fighter sometimes has some bad luck.
Ive had the pleasure of covering Shonies wild antics in WEC, and he is one of the funniest people in the fight game. Whether hes giving out his hotel room number to the ladies or giving his patented pimp slap to his opponents, win or lose he always brings a good show. What the hell is up with his "shorts" at the weigh-ins though? Its as if someone said that a Speedo wasnt small enough and cut off like 75% of the fabric. He seriously should have just worn a tube sock. With those shorts and Shonies infamous victory dance combined, Shonie is a force to be reckoned with both in the cage and at Chippendales across America. Shonie, please dont kick my ass if youre reading this.
Before the fight, heads start to butt when Shonie decides to pimp out the giant metal UFC sign. Shonie chooses to utilize spray paint to change the design to something more colorful, and I have to admit, Dana White should strongly consider hiring Shonie as his new interior designer. Back in the gym, Matt Serra sucks up his pride and really acts as a great coach for Shonie. Among the tips, Serra really focuses on getting Shonie to "take away the angles" while inside the guard. Shonie already has some great submission defense, and this type of training only bolsters his abilities. The one thing I can really say about Clementi during his fight preparation is that he has those really super intense eyes. Were talkin the kind only possessed by the likes of serial killers, the Boogeyman, and Wanderlei Silva. Needless to say he has a pretty intimidating look.
Fight time rolls around and the bell sounds the beginning of the first fight of our new season. After a little feeling out, Shonie scores first with a nice lead leg body kick. Rich responds with a combination before planting Shonie on his keister against the fence. The fighters made their way back to their feet and into the clinch, before breaking away and trading some strikes. Both fighters landed some good shots, but Shonie landed a fierce combination of hooks which made Clementi snarl and grin like a madman. After absorbing a nice right kick to the head, Shonie managed to throw Rich to the canvas, only to find his left arm caught in an armbar. Shonie wasted no time in escaping and maneuvering to side control before standing up and finishing the round in the clinch.
Between rounds Rich Clementi made an interesting comment about Shonie being "slimy really bad," and told Travis Lutter to make sure that Shonies corner wipes him off. Sliminess aside, the second round starts off with the fight quickly hitting the mat, and Clementi securing an armbar. Shonie managed to slip out of the submission and deliver some nice ground and pound, and this process repeated itself several times throughout the round. Shonie escaped no fewer than four submission attempts, among them a guillotine and leg lock. Theres no doubt that "taking away the angles" really helped him keep down the number of submissions he got himself caught in. With under a minute left in the round, the fighters regained their footing. Shonie teed off with combinations, landing a crushing left hook to the jaw of Clementi. In the closing moments of the round, with both fighters looking very fatigued, they traded blows along the cage. A pretty impressive, UFC Pay-Per-View quality fight, all for free on Spike TV. Not a bad way to start off the new season.
After all is said and done, Shonie "Mr. International" Carter walks away with a unanimous decision victory, and Rich Clementi gets the van ride out. Although Clementi is an awesome fighter, I think this fight had the best possible outcome for Zuffa and Spike TV. Shonie is an incredibly unique individual, and although not everyone finds his antics humorous, he will no doubt put viewers in the seats and in front of the telly.
Although most fighters on the show seem absolutely dejected after a loss, Clementi kept his cool and was very professional about the loss. He seems to have an impressive hold over his emotions, and I wish him luck in the future. Dana White kept alluding to the possibility of him coming back, so maybe we will get to see him sooner than we think
On that note, have a great weekend and Ill see you guys next week with another episode of
THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER!