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!

In his Blog, Joe explains more.

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.


  1. PING PONG ~!

    You also have the wonderful backstory heat for the TUF finale with Karo and Nick Diaz as background characters.

  2. Three questions:

    1. Where is Mr. Kanayan’s commentary?

    2. Will you be covering the finale?

    3. What message boards are you going to anyway? WHY are you going to MMA message boards?

    Oh wait, that’s four questions.

  3. Why is this on a comics blog???

    Like me and mary above, I’m sure the rest of your readers come here for the express purpose of not having to read about/see pictures of sports. (if you can call grown men rolling around in their underwear beating the shit out of each other a “sport” — didn’t this used to be called an afterschool fight?)

  4. I wouldn’t presume to answer for Heidi, but here’s a couple things to think about.

    1. It’s a wide-ranging blog from my experience. Attend any comic book convention and you experience diversified fare.

    2. As I would guess Mary and Alex know, US comics are fairly well-focused on superhero stories. Often featuring two fellows knocking the crap out of one another. When boxing was the closest thing we had to superhuman combat Muhammad Ali fought Superman.

    3. Against your protestations and weak commentary, mixed martial arts is a sport. It is the beginning of sport in all cultures, everywhere. We have placed pads and helmets on combatants and we have put balls and bats in their hands but we are still simulating combat in everything you already deem a sport. There is no more athletic act than what two trained martial artists are doing when they are in combat. Boxers have extraordinary stamina but their art is constrained on one level and in doing so allows them greater time spent in the ring with a (make no mistake) deadly opponent. A kickboxer opens the field but he is prevented from throwing certain blows. A Muay Thai fighter will have an even greater degree of ability, knowledge, strength, and stamina. Mixed martial arts bouts as presented by organizations like the UFC are state-sanctioned, medically supervised events between highly-trained competitors in a rule-specific, referee controlled environement – in other words, sport.

    4. Because I know MMA is a sport I have an issue with the show in question because it introduces game show elements into an environment which is already fraught with public relations problems. I would welcome a change in show from this point forward that removes the friction-creating elements that are so editor and producer friendly, but I completely understand why the show producers do what they do. The show works, this was the best season yet, and the fights were great.

    What you see on the screen is not a schoolyard fight. The pressures and tactics being utilized by these fighters are absolutely amazing when you begin to come to a basic understanding of what is happening. I totally understand not giving a rip about a sport, but saying MMA isn’t a sport is like saying comics can’t be literature.

  5. As a comic fan and a budding MMA fan, I’ve enjoyed reading these TUF episode recaps. So thanks to Heidi and Co. for cranking these out.

    Also, is it too much to hope for something similar for the season finale? Assuming you manage to tape or Tivo it or something that is.

  6. I am TOTALLY with you on Manny for the win. I think training with his larger cousin for years has really prepared him to deal with bigger opponents. His ability to launch strikes whenever possible, especially coming out of clinches, almost has him at an advantage.

    Seriously, Heidi, my boyfriend and I have enjoyed your commentary so much this season (he still laughs about Ferenghi vs. Vulcan).

  7. I must agree with the comments about this being a comics blog (isn’t it?) – or at least publishing and related. Seeing real bloody faces is not what I expected when surfing in (and by the way, I have been a martial arts teacher for several years). Would it be more at home on a personal blog by Heidi? Just a personal view :-)

  8. I cannot believe people actually have the gall to complain about a piece of content that doesn’t inconvenience them in any way other than that it makes them scroll for a quarter of a second more up or down to get to the next story.

  9. Number one: loved the TUF coverage, don’t stop that for nuthin!

    Two: Cole proved everything I thought about him from the first episode by drinking Mike’s Hard Lemonade and responding to the question about ‘what do you miss most while living in the house?’ by saying ‘my cell phone and MySpace.’

  10. Hi AERose – it’s not a big problem. It’s totally up to Heidi how she uses the blog, but I do come here for comics news. If that’s watered down, I’m less interested. I thought it might be useful for The Beat’s readers’ to put their views forward in the comments – that’s all I’m doing. All the best.