Episode ten of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 8 is now underway and we get things rolling with a quick recap of Krzysztof Soszynski's submission win over Kyle Kingsbury. Despite the victory, no one on Team Blue seems overly impressed with the armbar.
Further downplaying his Polish power, apathetic teammate and drunken master Junie Browning is convinced that his sister could have submitted Kingsbury.
Team Blue now has four contestants in the semifinals compared to Team Red's three. Nog and Co. have a chance to even things up in the final preliminary bout when they send John Polakowski into battle against George Roop.
Most of the house is convinced that Polakowski is insane based on his rampant hugs and "Fire the cannons!" battle cry, but considering how many of them have been drinking Johnny Walker Yellow and doing shots of albino tadpoles, Polakowski to me seems downright normal.
Team Mir hits the gym with their attention focused on the training and preparation of George Roop. Shane Nelson shoots on him while sparring and inadvertently backs him into the cage - hand first.
Roop suffers pain and swelling in his right hand but vows to fight on no matter what the condition.
Polakowski wakes up the next morning and hits the kitchen dressed like Brad Hamilton when he worked at Captain Hook Fish and Chips.
Things are going smoothly until Professor Positive reaches for his cereal and finds that some ignorant bastard has removed all of the marshmallows from his Lucky Charms.
Now it's war.
Polakowski promises to avenge the fallen marshmallows by beating on George Roop inside the Octagon. We get a close-up of Stankie yelling at him during sparring. We also get a close-up of Stankie's earring, which looks like it's been there since the Battle of Hastings.
The weigh-ins go off without a hitch until Vinny Magalhaes calls out Polakowski for dying his hair bright red. As if Mags was one to talk. Didn't he roll out of the cage a few episodes back looking like Sisqo?
Coach Mir thinks the best game plan for Roop is to avoid striking and implement the ground game where Polakowski may be at a disadvantage. Conversely, Coach Nogueira gives Polakowski the edge in striking and will look to keep his pupil on his feet.
Later that night, Nogueira swings by the house for some grub and uses the opportunity to give Roop a light-hearted ribbing about his upcoming fight.
Not to be disrespectful, but every time they show a close-up of Nog it looks like he's aging faster than Walter Donovan after he drank from the false Grail.
It's fight day and in a bizarre display of singularity, both Roop and Polakowski agree to hug each other before and after trying to hurt each other.
Team Mir's George Roop (8-3) vs. Team Nogueira's John Polakowski (2-1)
Round 1: Roop opens with some high kicks. Polakowski stumbles forward with a combo that misses. Roop with a knee. Polakowski lands a right. Roop with a nice liver kick. Polakowski backs him up with a combo but Roop finds his mark with leg kicks. Polakowski throws an airball and Roop shoots in and takes him down. Roop landing nice punches and elbows from mount. Roop drags him to the cage and moves into side control where he lands some vicious knees to the ribs. Roop goes back to mount and drops a few more elbows. Polakowski rolls and Roop takes his back and works for the rear naked choke. Polakowski defends and twists into mount. Polakowski gets a few shots in but Roop is busy from the bottom with short elbows and upward strikes until time runs out. Round one was all (well mostly) Roop. Inexplicably, Coach Nogueira tells Polakowski he won the first frame.
Round 2: Roop opens with a stinging liver kick. Polakowski goes in hard and lands a combo on both sides of Roop's face. Roop wobbles and backpedals before eating another combo. Polakowski rushes in but Roop uses the cage to stabilize himself. Polakowski denies a shot and they exchange knees. Roop sucking wind. Roop sneaks in a knee and a straight left. Polakowski cracks him with a right. Roop dives in for a takedown and it scores. From mount, Roop lands a couple of big shots and cuts Polakowski on the nose. Roop drags him to the cage and lands a big elbow. Roop spins and once again gets his back. Polakowski defends well as Nogueira screams like RZA from the side of the cage "Protect ya neck!" Roop lands nice elbows to the ribs and the round ends with Polakowski trapped in a body triangle. Close round but I give it to Roop.
Both sides anticipate a possible third round but the judges have rendered their decision and the fight is over.
George Roop defeats John Polakowski via unanimous decision.
Dana and most of Team Red are appalled by the decision. Personally I won't go crazy over it. Round one was definitely all Roop. Polakowski had the first minute of round two and I think they were even for the next minute and then Roop controlled the last two minutes.
Either way, it was a pretty good fight.
Back in the locker room, Krzysztof brags about Team Blue winning the preliminary fights 5-3 and also has some very mean-spirited remarks about Coach Nogueira's training methods and the bonding between members of Team Red.
He also decides to round up a bunch of his cronies and throw food at some of the guys in the hot tub when they return home later that evening. Junie Browning gets hit in the face with a pork chop and goes berserk.
Hopefully what happened next was a case of someone being tongue-tied and not careless editing. Junie storms the castle to get revenge for being turned into an egghead and someone off camera tries to stop him by yelling "Junie! Junie! You're in the finals bro!"
Normally I would ignore it, but I think at this point its common knowledge that the sequences aren't always shown in chronological order.
Time will tell.
The next day Dana joins Coach Nogueira and Coach Mir for a roundtable about who gets matched up with whom in the semifinals.
Let's break it down:
Ryan Bader: Picks Eliot Marshall for calling him out after he won his preliminary fight.
Eliot Marshall: Picks Ryan Bader because he thinks it will be a good test for him.
Krzysztof Soszynski: Picks Ryan Bader because he thinks he can out jiu-jitsu him.
Vinny Magalhaes: Picks Krzysztof Soszynski for talking smack about him behind his back.
Phillipe Nover: Picks George Roop because he believes Roop is the weakest link.
George Roop: Picks Junie Browning because he thinks Junie has no cardio.
Junie Browning: Picks Efrain Escudero so that he can shut him up.
Efrain Escudero: Picks Junie Browning for exactly the same reason.
After interviewing the fighters and discussing it amongst themselves, Dana, Mir and Nog agree on the following semifinal matches (in order):
Ryan Bader vs. Eliot Marshall (LHW)
Phillipe Nover vs. George Roop (LW)
Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Vinny Magalhaes (LHW)
Junie Browning vs. Efrain Escudero (LW)
From a fan's perspective, the semifinals look to be very exciting fights. Aside from perhaps Nover vs. Roop, I can see all of the fights going in either direction.
Tune in on December 3 as playtime is finally over! The first two rounds of the semifinals get underway with Ryan Bader vs. Eliot Marshall and Phillipe Nover vs. George Roop.
See you in two weeks!