Episode two of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 7 is underway and tonight's episode begins where last week's left off: With a boatload of beatdowns. Dana, Rampage and Forrest will evaluate the remaining 16 fighters and so far Rampage's method of evaluation is to flip through the fighter profiles and remark "There are some ugly-ass guys here."
Middleweight Elimination Fight #9: Dan Simmler (1-0) vs. Matthew Riddle (1-0)
Simmler comes from Serra's camp and admits his stand-up is limited at best. Apparently so is his personal grooming as Simmler rolls with a Leonidas-style beard that prompts a Gerard Butler comparison from Rampage.
Riddle declares that he's not a pussy and considers TUF 7 the Olympics of fighting.
Round 1: High kick by Riddle who then clinches and throws a knee. Riddle drops down and flips Simmler to the mat. Simmler escapes and Riddle lands a front kick. Low kick by Riddle. Simmler goes for a flying armbar and lands on his ass. They clinch and fall into the cage. Both guys look winded but Riddle is smiling and throwing upward knees. More cage resting and Simmler lands a knee of his own. Riddle ducks a shoot. In the tradition of Coach Serra and Coach Penn, Simmler's cornerman is shouting "Good job! Good job!" ad nauseam. Simmler looking for a single leg and gets dropped on his back. Simmler busy from the bottom but Riddle escapes and goes for an illegal stomp. Referee Herb Dean doesn't even bat an eyelash. The round ends with Riddle on top doing minor damage.
Round 2: Simmler walks straight into a brutal right and folds up like an aluminum beach chair. He hits the mat with a sickening thud and takes a few more shots from Riddle until Herb Dean can save him.
Matthew Riddle defeats Dan Simmler via knockout.
Riddle celebrates while Simmler begins moaning like a wounded animal causing the gym to fall silent. This very uncomfortable moment is followed by Simmler unclear of his surroundings. Rampage calls it the knockout of the century. Simmler takes a ride in the ambulance. Scary stuff.
Middleweight Elimination Fight #10: Luke Zachrich (7-1) vs. Patrick Schultz (7-1-1)
Zachrich doesn't like Schultz's haircut. Fortunately for him he lives in Ohio and not California. Shultz considers TUF the Ivy league of fighting. Olympics? Ivy League? There's gotta be a teleprompter somewhere in that gym.
Round 1: Schultz jabs and Zachrich throws a lazy front kick. Schultz catches it and drops him with a punch. Schultz scrambles to the top and lands a few shots. Zachrich escapes and gets to his feet. They clinch and Shultz takes himself down. Before he can regret it he reverses and escapes. They tie up and Zachrich flips a reversal of his own. Schultz on the bottom is starting to take punishment. Nasty elbows on top force Schultz to give up his back. Zachrich sinks in the rear naked choke and after a shift in positioning Schultz can do nothing but tap.
Luke Zachrich defeats Patrick Schultz via submission (rear naked choke)
Rampage complains that his assigned cornermen are jinxed since each contestant that gets any advice from them ends up going home.
Middleweight Elimination Fight #11: Erik Charles (10-5) vs. Tim Credeur (10-2)
Charles lets it be known that he wants to fight everyone in the house because he is one of the fastest guys there - if not THE fastest. Since Simmler predicted a first round triangle and got knocked into next season, I silently fear for the safety of Erik Charles.
Round 1: Credeur shoots and they go to the cage. Single leg gets Charles to the mat. Credeur on top and transitions into side control. Credeur spins into a textbook armbar and Charles taps. Charles was right - he was the fastest. Fastest at tapping out.
Tim Credeur defeats Erik Charles via submission (armbar)
Prior to the remaining televised fights, we get highlights (and lowlights) of four fights that took place during the second wave of the middleweight elimination tournament.
Brandon Sene (2-0) defeats Aaron Meisner (2-0) via submission (armbar)
Gerald Harris (6-2) defeats Mike Marello (7-1-1) via unanimous decision
Daniel Cramer (0-0) defeats Jeremiah Riggs (1-0) via unanimous decision
During the Cramer/Riggs fight, Riggs landed four illegal upkicks. Rampage asked aloud: "Were those illegal?" Dana responds: "They're not fighting in PRIDE."
Unfortunately for some fans, neither is anyone else.
Middleweight Elimination Fight #15: Nick Rossborough (8-3) vs Jesse Taylor (6-2)
Rossborough gets an unflattering comparison to Eminem which of course means we'll get treated to at least a dozen 8 Mile jokes during the fight.
Round 1: Rossborough swings, misses and gets taken down. Taylor smothers him against the cage. Rossborough escapes but Taylor is on him and takes him right back down. Taylor landing elbows and punches. Rossborough in trouble. Rossborough tries to roll out of danger and gets choked out for his efforts.
Jesse Taylor defeats Nick Rossborough via submission (rear naked choke)
Middleweight Elimination Fight #16: Josh Hall (3-2) vs. Matt Brown (9-6)
Brown is very upfront about his approach to the fight: No strategy except kill or die. Hopefully Brown never pursues a career in law enforcement.
Round 1: Hall shoots and backs him to the cage. Hall with a knee. Again. Brown returns the favor. Punches start flying. Hall eats a jab and then a low kick. Hall has seen enough and dumps Brown to the mat. Hall with strikes from the top. Brown trying to fight him off. Hall with shoulder strikes. Brown goes for a triangle and Hall gives him half a slam. Rinse and repeat. Brown gets it deeper. Hall rolls him over and forces his way out. Brown gets to his feet first and lands a couple of shots that daze the grounded Hall. Brown pouring it on with seconds to go. Hall gets a warning and can't recover. Brown finishes him off.
Matt Brown defeats Josh Hall via TKO (strikes)
Afterwards Dana commends the entire cast for proving him wrong. There were no pussies or posers in this group. The guys who didn't make it say goodbye and take the walk. We have our 16 contestants.
The announcer gets us ready for the remainder of the season by referring to it as a "baptism of blood". I thought that was the highlight of the night until I see Coach Griffin submit Coach Jackson via flying Spiderman web.
Stay tuned next week for more blood, backstabbing and bitchslapping. Ain't life (as a TUF contestant) grand?
See you then!