Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns with episode 12 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19, coached by Frankie Edgar and BJ Penn, and most of the guys are counting down the minutes until they get the heck outta there. Some are homesick, others miss their girlfriends, and just a few more have to worry about one last fight.
That includes Roger Zapata, who plans to knockout Dhiego Lima in their middleweight elimination fight.
Assistant coach for Team Edgar and renowned boxing coach Mark Henry doesn't plan on letting that happen, and gets some extra time with Lima to show him a few tricks of the trade. Lima -- who Frankie calls a "stud" -- is comfortable wherever the fight goes.
He plans to "break" Zapata, who doesn't like to get out of bed until the last possible second on fight day.
We shall see.
Middleweight semifinal fight #2: Dhiego Lima (Team Penn) vs. Roger Zapata (Team Edgar):
Round 1: Touch of gloves and Zapata eats a low kick. Then another. Lima tries to kick again but it gets caught and Zapata sends him to the floor with a punch. Unfortunately, he's a bit too hasty in his offense and gets trapped in a fight-ending armbar. Fight over. Wow.
Final result: Lima def. Zapata via submission (armbar)
After the fight, everyone shift gears for the final bout and Team Penn brings Chuck Liddell into the gym to help motivate Daniel Spohn. "The Prodigy" calls "The Iceman" his favorite fighter of all time and Spohn is lucky enough to get to mix it up with the hall of famer.
Van Buren says his fight against Spohn is "all business" and he won't be overly-aggressive like he was in his last bout against Chris Fields. He also expects to outlast his foe and if he can't score the quick finish, plans to grind out a three-round decision.
Man, I'm glad this is the last episode.
Light heavyweight semifinal #2: Matt Van Buren (Team Edgar) vs. Daniel Spohn (Team Penn):
Round 1: Gloves won't be touched and Van Buren with the powerful low kicks. Spohn throwing heavy leather and tries for the clinch but gets denied. Van Buren uncorks a lazy leg kick and it gets caught. Spohn uses it to secure the takedown and works from half guard against the fence. Spohn tries to reposition and Van Buren gives up his back, but is able to ride out the storm and escape. Van Buren lands a low kick but gets rocked with a few punches and hops on his bicycle. Spohn gets another takedown and Van Buren pops back up. Van Buren tries for an arm drag WWE style and it doesn't work. They clinch and go to the fence and trade knees. They separate and Spohn tags him but looks severely gassed. Van Buren lands a knee at the buzzer. I have it 10-9 Spohn.
Round 2: Van Buren rushes in and gets rocked with a combination. Spohn breathing heavy and gets clipped. He stumbles in reverse and Van Buren lights him up against the fence. Spohn in all kinds of trouble and a bloody mess after Van Buren Travis Browne's him with elbows. Holy shit Spohn survives and fires back! Unfortunately, he's still loopy and Van Buren lands clean -- and hard. Spohn collapses in an unconscious heap. Fight over.
Final result: Matt Van Buren def. Daniel Spohn via knockout
After the fight, Spohn calls it an early stoppage.
All four contestants line up for the staredowns to prep for this weekend and UFC President Dana White bags on BJ Penn for not being able to get a single fighter from his team into the live finale. Ouch. But Frankie is all smiles and says he's happy for his guys.
TUF 19 Finale match ups:
185 lbs.: Eddie Gordon vs. Dhiego Lima
205 lbs.: Corey Anderson vs. Matt Van Buren