Once again, this week Mark Dennison brings us his unique and light look at The Ultimate Fighter show in a segment we call “Dennisons TUF Corner”.
These fights are really starting to count. The Ultimate Fighter is now down to the semi-final matches to determine who fights for the title and that lucrative UFC contract. This week’s episode featured the four remaining Lightweight fighters and we were treated to one great fight and one…well, I’ll just say that the guy who sucks his thumb won that one.
That’s right, it was revealed that Team UK’s Andre Winner is a thumb sucker. While his teammates chided him for this unusual habit, Winner laughed and said “he’s cut down” on the frequency, as though that is somehow more acceptable. His opponent, American Cameron Dollar laughed and said “I can’t lose to a guy who sucks his thumb”.
Dollar’s coaches urged him to take the fight to the ground and try to avoid Winner’s impressive kicks and punches (and who wants to get hit by swollen, wet thumbs?). While the young American followed the advice, he was unable to execute his takedowns in Round 1 and the fight remained standing until late in the round. Unfortunately for Dollar, when the fight finally went to the ground he was quickly caught in a triangle choke and tapped out.
The other semi featured Team UK’s Ross Pearson and American Jason Dent. After Dent’s last fight, UFC President Dana White called Dent “unimpressive”. Dent claimed that he has been fighting “an intelligent fight”, but was aware that he had to bring more to the ring in this fight if he ever hopes to change White’s opinion and fight in the UFC.
Pearson looked to be in great shape, but we saw a painful moment when his shoulder popped out during training. He screamed for someone to pull his arm and allow the shoulder to go back in the socket. Coach Michael Bisping may have thought this was a ruse in line with “pull my finger” as he stood over his fighter for a very long time, doing nothing. Eventually, Pearson’s shoulder was back in place and he was once again the bulldog we’ve seen in all of his fights.
On the other hand, Dent did not appear to be in top shape. While both Dent and Pearson were in the kitchen, someone asked Pearson what he had eaten for breakfast (protein shake, some tea, and some fruit). No one asked Dent, but I suspect his answer may have been a Sausage McMuffin with Egg combo.
Both fighters seemed intent on out striking their opponent in Round 1 and it made for an entertaining round. Coach Dan Henderson was heard screaming repeatedly for Dent to “take him down” and Dent seemed to ignore him completely. The American was behind after one round and seemed to come out stronger and more actively in Round 2. Henderson yelled for “elbows” and again was ignored. Again, the round went to the Brit. The third and final round was another active affair with Pearson taking control when the fight went to the ground. Although the decision went to Team UK on all the judges’ scorecards, White seemed most impressed with Dent’s ability to bounce back and put on a better show in this fight. He noted the irony of being more impressed by a Dent loss than he had been in a Dent victory.
The Lightweight final will be an all UK affair. One more week and one final fight to go to see who makes it to the finals.