This season just gets crazier and crazier. After last weeks pool party almost evolved into a tickle-fest, I was wondering just how far down the rabbit hole TUF Season 5 was willing to go. Thankfully the homo-eroticism has left the building this week, but weve got a new beast on our hands: schizophrenia. Before I crack open that chestnut lets get a little recap.
This season just gets crazier and crazier. After last weeks pool party almost evolved into a tickle-fest, I was wondering just how far down the rabbit hole TUF Season 5 was willing to go. Thankfully the homo-eroticism has left the building this week, but weve got a new beast on our hands: schizophrenia. Before I crack open that chestnut lets get a little recap. The first two quarterfinal match-ups have been completed, with Joe Lauzon and Gray Maynard moving on to the semis. That leaves us with two more fights, both of which are being presented in a single episode. This week we get to see team mates Corey Hill and Nate Diaz throw down, and in addition we get to see an upset in the making with Matt Wiman vs. Manny Gamburyan. Hopefully the premise of two fights in one show equals two spectacular finishes, or a couple good fights and less household drama.
Is it just me or is Team Pulver getting the short end of the stick lately? After cleaning house nearly all season the boys in Gold are now subject to fighting each other. The first sacrificial lamb is Corey Hill, who is being thrown to the wolves after his gift of a decision against Rob Emmerson. Hill has the unfortunate task of fighting his team mate, Nate Diaz, who has the ground wizardry and size necessary to give Hill fits on the mat. The big question is if Diaz can get it there, as Corey has some great takedown defense from his years as a collegiate wrestler. In order for the two team mates to adequately prepare mentally, the two friends elect to stay away from each other around the house. The bigger problem is how to adequately prepare physically, as the two fighters are on the same team. Things are pretty easy for Corey, whom decides to just keep on doing what hes doin and train with Team Pulver. This is where things begin to get a little weird, as were shown a new side to the giant that is Corey Hill, and his name is Buddy Ro Carter.
Taking a page from the infamous Jack (ala Fight Club), Corey has devised a second personality to get him through the tough parts in life. A motivator, if you will. A Ninja Ninja to his Afro Samurai. I probably lost you on that one, but moving along
Buddy Ro Carter is, as Corey puts it, a guy who has had to work three times as hard to get to where he is now. Buddy Ro Carter puts a little swagger in Corey Hills step. Hes simultaneously the guy who got picked last for dodge ball, and the short guy for basketball. Correct me if Im wrong but hes pretty much the exact opposite of Corey Hill. I mean seriously, who the hell wouldnt pick 64 Corey first in a basketball game? Anyway, Corey is sitting in the sauna pumping himself up, or excuse me, Buddy is pumping Corey up about his upcoming fight. While a lot of people will probably think this is pretty strange, Im not one to judge. Whatever floats your boat and finds your lost remote, ya know? You have to have a couple of screws loose to fight in a cage for a living.
Nate Diaz isnt having as easy of a time with his training. Being in the same gym as the guy youre going to fight is a difficult thing, so Diaz decides to roll to practice with the Blue team. Upon arrival, Desouza is a bit shocked, showing his surprise with a joking, dont jump me. BJ remarks that maybe Nate came to train with him because Pulver wasnt teaching him anything. BJ also waxes about how he wanted Diaz on his team from the beginning. During practice BJ shows Diaz some sneaky little variations on the straight Achilles and heel hook leg locks. After the Blue team concludes their practice, the Gold team arrives and is less than happy to see Diaz cooling down. Manny gives him the finger, Melendez talks some shit, and Jens especially looks a little peeved. Nate and Jens talk it out, and Pulver realizes the severity of the situation. They shake hands and everything is cool for now.
Once fight day rolls around Pulver reveals that hes gonna sit this one out in terms of coaching. Instead some of Corey and Nates team mates will act as corner men. Round one starts and Corey comes out aggressive. The two exchange strikes and Corey drives Diaz back. Diaz shoots, Corey sprawls and whizzers, ending up in Nates guard on top. They stand up and resume the fight on the feet. Corey nails Diaz with a straight left, but misses with a follow up right hand. Diaz uses this opportunity to attempt another takedown. Corey stuffs him and ends up on top in guard again. He chops downwards with several hammer fists, and Diaz looks in trouble for a moment. Diaz rolls for a leg lock but cant get it, and the fighters end up back on their feet. Corey wings in more looping punches while stuffing takedown attempts from Diaz. Diaz lands a good knee from the Thai clinch but slips to the ground, and after regaining his footing slams a hard counter punch into Coreys jaw. Two and a half minutes left and Corey gets a good double leg takedown into Diazs guard, but Diaz locks up a sneaky guillotine. He uses the guillotine and a slick transition from his lanky guard to cinch a tight triangle choke, forcing Corey to tap out with two minutes left in the first round.
With the win, Diaz dodges a 64 bullet and moves on to the semi finals. Diaz explains that he would have liked to have landed more strikes, but hey a wins a win. Corey looked like a completely different fighter from his first experience in the cage. He was much more aggressive, more confident, and showed great takedown defense. He really has nothing to be ashamed of with the loss. Pulver modestly laments, When [Corey] actually gets with a coach who knows how to coach, watch him. I agree; when Corey gets with a good team he will be an extreme force at 155, as long as he works on his jujitsu. Out of anybody whos lost on the show Corey looks the happiest walking out, and he definitely doesnt cry. Anywho one fight is done with one more to go, and boy oh boy is it a whopper: Matt Wiman vs. Manny Gamburyan. This is a tough fight to call. On paper, Wimans size, striking, and competition activity should be more than a match for Manny. In reality, Mannys ferociousness and power could be more than Wiman can handle. I smell an upset.
Dana White gets his opinion up in the mix, and states that Manny is just too small for the majority of 155ers out there. I dont necessarily agree, but I do think that there are some intriguing match-ups for Manny at 145 if he can make the cut. How does Gamburyan vs. Faber sound? Speaking of cutting, Manny gets a surprise visit from his cousin Karo The Heat Parysian while running on the treadmill. Later on they roll a bit and it is pretty explosive, to say the least. Manny is one powerful little mofo. While being interviewed for the fight, Wiman expresses his thankfulness to the Almighty, stating, I feel like I was put here for a reason, and it wasnt to lose. Especially not to this guy. What the hell is that supposed to mean? I think Wiman feels that this fight will be the Crusades all over again. Manny prepares mentally by chilling out and singing the songs of his people. The next day the fighters look absolutely pumped as they make their way to the Octagon. It is obvious that theres a lot more on the line than a contract for these two.
Round one begins and Wimans 3 reach advantage doesnt help him. Manny slams a couple hard hooks into Wimans forearms before clinching up. Wiman knees, Manny pushes off, and they trade bombs. Manny gets the better of the exchanges and Wiman shoots, driving Manny to the fence. Manny defends nicely, but Wiman picks a single and takes Manny down to guard. Wiman attempts some ground and pound, but Manny is doing more damage from the bottom. After a scramble which sees Manny reverse positions the fighter get back to their feet and Manny continues to bomb out Wiman. The fight is stopped momentarily when it becomes apparent that there is a cut alongside Wimans right eye. After the restart, Manny gets a takedown into guard, and begins working the cut with both his head and ground and pound. The remainder of the round is dominated by Manny, and it looks as though Matt Wimans spirit may be broken from the tenacity of Gamburyans attack. The second round was even more in favor of Gamburyan, whom scored several takedowns and did a fair amount of damage with ground and pound. Wiman managed to land a few good shots, and took Mannys back for a bit without being able to capitalize on the position. Wiman looked a little gun shy in the second round, and protected his face a few times when he probably should have been firing back with strikes of his own. BJ comments that Wiman wanted to protect his handsome face, but then again BJ wasnt in there taking punches from the powerful Gamburyan. Wiman fought with his heart, but in the end Manny walked away with a unanimous decision victory.
After the fight BJ discusses Wimans loss, and makes the previous remarks about protecting his face. He also says that Wiman wasnt keeping his eyes on his opponent. You cant see what you cant hit, so that played a big part in the missed punches and opportunities. Wiman is pretty bummed back stage, sulking on the floor and on the verge of tears. Wiman feels as though he is a much better fighter, and that his head just wasnt in the game during the match. He finishes by saying that people wont even remember this loss after he smashes a few peoples faces. Manny Gamburyan on the other hand gains some well deserved respect, and showed everyone that he has the skills to compete at a high level. Wiman is no stepping stone, and Gamburyan pretty much dominated him for the full 10 minutes. With a little more training, as well as Karo Parysian in his corner, Manny will give a lot of people problems at 155. Id like to see him fight a superior striker before making any judgments on his title chances. With that weve just about wrapped it up for this weeks episode. Next week we have a lot to look forward to, including Karo and Nate Diaz almost getting into a backstage brawl. We also get to see the semi finals, with the big surprise being that it will be team mate versus team mate. Turmoil in the house, the office, and the octagon on the next