And so we bid ado to the feisty 155-pounders, a high strung, emotional bunch that nonetheless included some very talented young fighters who will surely go on to make their mark in MMA. I should also point out that while spoilers for these fights have been out there for months and months, I was able to avoid them very easily, so I enjoyed tonight’s action very much. The moral is…spoilers really do SPOIL!!!
BTW is you want to see what Gabe “Fatty” Ruediger is up to, this message board threadhas the run down. Warning, May contain drama.
EPISODE 11 starts with the post Manny/Brandon backstage action, where Manny’s cousin welterweight Karo Parisyan is suddenly going all Joe Pesci on Nate Diaz. It seemed that Karo defeated Nate’s brother Nick in a split decision, and perhaps there is some Stockton/Glendale animosity going on. Karo keeps poking Nate on the head, which comes off as PDD (pretty damn dickish.) Nate has been shown to have a very special fuse throughout the season, and to his credit, takes it pretty well but finally Karo just pushes him too far, and he quite wisely goes off to avoid Karo.
But Karo will not take it and FOLLOWS Nate asking to “talk.” Karo is really coming off as a clueless bully here. In the confessional Nate says he was sick of Karo’s attitude. “Get off my nuts, bro, you know! Don’t try to close the distance on me, because you know I’ll pop your ass.” Given Nate’s speech impediment this is worthy of a scene from REPO MAN.
While Jens explains that people do not “love up” on Nate because that’s how he is, Karo seals his dick cred by saying “Do you know who I am?”
The semis are set up Manny vs. Lauzon and Nate vs. Gray. Many and Lauzon are up first, and ONCE AGAIN DANA SAYS MANNY IS TOO SMALL! Oh no Manny is going to win again.
Dana invites himself over to the house for what he thinks of as a “normal” dinner, which is about as normal as anytime the man who holds your future in his paws invites you to dinner – and the banishings of four housemates is proof of that. Everyone looks like they’ve been glued to their seats with rectal broomsticks.
Going into the fight, cerebral Ferrenghi internerd Lauzon believes in a cerebral gameplan while Manny the singing Armenian has no need for a puny gameplan – he will do whatever it takes.
As the bout opens, Joe misses a spinning kick and Manny takes him down. After this Manny basically gets Joe in a bear hug on the ground, and Joe can’t escape. Joe looks shocked by Manny’s sheer combativeness. Joe is trying to get away, but Wolverine Manny just hangs on. After the first round, BJ says he’s got to get his head back in, the Ferrenghi looks stunned! Manny is the ultimate feisty little guy…he has none of the questions or mental hesitations that other fighters have been plagued with throughout TUF, he is just digging in with everything he’s got, and Joe is clearly confounded by it. Also, at his height he’s packed on the muscle, and his arms and shoulders are twice the size of anyone on the show. Despite his size, he is just overpowering Joe.
In round two, Lauzon has regrouped and isn’t letting Manny take him down, but instead he’s in equally ineffective standing holds. Manny’s judo training is really showing. Manny dominates for the rest of the second. Joe knows he has to do something now. But the start of the third round finds Joe back on the ground. BJ is yelling “Joe, do anything you can!” but there is nothing he can do! Joe starts bashing Manny with elbows, and suddenly gets on top of Manny’s back. Manny is covering up, and it looks like he’s hurt…is Joe going to pull of a last minute reversal? But no! Manny just pops back out and gets back on top for the win!
The internerds are saying this was a boring fight with Manny’s “Lay and pray” style, which also applies to Josh “The Blanket” Koscheck and Rashad Evans, but I was on the edge of my seat. Joe is clearly a skilled fighter, and a smart one, but his gameplan did not acknowledge how to deal with Manny’s sheer tenacity and technical ability. I say BOO to the anti-Manny faction!
Manny did a great job of staying safe and controlling. Like Wiman had said about his own fight, I didn’t feel like Manny did a lot of damage to me. I had a swollen lip, which I think might have been from a head butt, but I felt like I didn’t really absorb that much. Aside from my lip, I don’t think I had a mark on my face. I did a good job on bottom of staying safe and not taking damage, but I couldn’t get up or get anything going, so it wasn’t enough. Manny has short arms and no neck with a huge upper body, so I had a hell of a time trying to create any openings. Manny controlled the fight and did everything he needed in order to win the fight.
Dana now has a heaping normal dinner of crow. “Every season I underestimate some one and the two biggest were Rashad and now Manny. He is ten times the fighter that I thought he was and I humbly apologize to Manny for underestimating him.”
JOE DOES NOT CRY. He thinks but he DOES NOT CRY!!!!!
EPISODE 12 and the LAST.
Yes it’s the traditional last episode let’s go crazy. 12 dudes and alcohol it doesn’t go well. People don’t think Gray has much chance against the submissions expert Nate.
BJ is not very confident in his fighter. “Gray has to let us help him. Gray needs to learn how to work in striking and jiu jitsu.” BJ looks sad. He knows he will be 0-2 in the finals.
In the battle of the coaches, Jens clearly beat BJ, and the reason was something a Dean Jones movie could make clear: Jens may not have the technical skills of BJ but he was a great motivator and believed in his fighters. BJ, despite his great coaching staff didn’t believe in his guys, and his coaches mocked them. And everyone lived up to expectations: Jens’ fighters lived up to their abilities and BJ’s did NOT. End of story.
Plus, despite looking like a demented gravedigger who tries to get young boys to come visit his “model kits”, Jens turns out to be an okay guy who actually cares about his fighters and treats them with respect. I know who I am rooting for on the 23rd.
We have some time to kill before the fight, so there are a few interludes. Back at the house people are crazy and start throwing fruit at the house. Later on BJ and Jens meet Dana at the house. Dana throws a brick of money on the table which makes everyone pee their pants. It’s a ping pong match between Jens and BJ and the winner gets $10K, while every guy on the winning team gets $1000. This is one of the best segments of the season, as BJ goes berserk wanting to beat Jens, but Jens’ southpaw slice shot allows him to hold his own. In the end Jen’s ekes out a victory and BJ is forced to be philosophical and threaten to beat him once again.
BTW my favoriote supporting character this season was Tony “Unibomber” DeSouza. Every shot he was in was golden!
They throw in some funny footage of Weems showing everyone some wrestling moves. (Weems had some pro wrestling in his background.) BTW in the ping pong segment you can see Weems sitting there with the biggest black eye in the world – I would love to have seen a close-up of that mess!
AAAAAnd it’s one last night of bacchanal in the house. Andy “Asian man” Wang shows everyone how to make…SAKE BOMBS????? He also eats everything with chopsticks. HE IS ASIAN MAN! Everyone gets cute and drunk, there is a nice montage of Emerson breaking things. Cole passes out from drinking too much “Mike’s Hard Lemonade” which is bar none the wimpiest thing ever on this show. Don’t let Karo or Matt Hughes catch you doing that. Cole also “frolics” when he’s drunk and you can make of that what you will! He passes out on the toilet and gets his head shaved as punishment. THIS IS THE BEST SEASON EVER, sniff sniff.
More priceless Nate-isms leading into the fight. “‘Gray’s a good guy — I conversated [sic] with him but for now he’s in my way.”
It’s a pretty technical match to begin. Nate goes for a takedown, but Gray ends up on top. Nate is a slippery flexible eel who is able to flip out of holds, and uses his crazy jiu jitsu to put his foot up by his ear. However Gray stays on top and opens a cut over Nate’s eye. It’s a total holdfest as a bloody Nate gets Gray’s arm but can’t sink the lock. Nate is fighting back from the bottom and pounding away on Gray. He is not losing his composure despite the blood.
As the second round starts it’s a stand up battle but Gray takes Nate against the fence. Gray seems to lose a little heart here and after even more mad holds and submission attempts, Gray just slips up a little teensy bit and Nate sinks in a guillotine which Gray taps to immediately.
Nate is emotionless “Fuck emotion!” He’ll have a perfect scar exactly on his eyebrow as a souvenir of this fight. Gray almost cries. BUT HE DOESNT!
BJ is sad. Team Penn is sad. Dana is creaming over Nate, knowing he has a star.
NATE VS MANNY!!!! Two technical experts – judo vs. jiu jitsu. Mad ass Mexican vs. Crazy Armenian! This will be good.
“These kids came in and gave everything they had and fought their asses off. I’m proud,” says Dana. Indeed this was one of the best TUF seasons ever, with just enough drama and lots of very skilled hungry fighters who put on good matches.
The final is June 23rd, and the lines up is as follows:
Main Card (Televised)
* B.J. Penn vs. Jens Pulver
* Nate Diaz (Finalist #1) vs. Manny Gamburyan (Finalist #2)
* Roger Huerta vs. Doug Evans
* Thales Leites vs. Floyd Sword
Undercard (May Not Be Broadcast)
* Joe Lauzon vs. Brandon Melendez
* Cole Miller vs. Andy Wang
* Rob Emerson Vs. Gray Maynard
* Allen Berube vs. Leonard Garcia
* Brian Geraghty vs. Matt Wiman
Corey is out of the card supposedly due to an injury. This will be a good card! I will be at MoCCA alas, but will try to avoid spoilers to watch it via home replay.
My prediction? Manny. The internet hates Rashad and Koscheck but look at their records. I predict Manny will be in the same mold.