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Recap: The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 5 episode 8

Joe vs. Cole

Playtime's over.

It's time for the quarterfinals! That is of course if Jens and BJ can agree on which fighters match up the best.

Apparently they're having difficulty letting go of the whole team concept despite the fact they're in the UFC and not the IFL.

Dana, Jens and BJ write down their choices for fights and lo and behold Dana and BJ have the same picks. Jens cries conspiracy and then gets into a verbal war with BJ.

I guess the coaches aren't much different from the fighters in the drama department.

Dana announces the picks and we have:

  1. Joe vs. Cole
  2. Gray vs. Brandon
  3. Nate vs. Corey
  4. Matt vs. Manny

Team Pulver decides the picks are unfair, and are particularly vocal about the Nate/Corey match up. Team Penn on the other hand, is all smiles.

Back at the house booze reigns supreme and Marlon gets a little tipsy in an effort to forget about his loss to Matt. He makes a big deal about not tapping out and Noah takes it personally.

He laughs at Marlon for losing so quickly and man law states that any conversation that elicits "ooooh" from your peers (like this one did) must end in fisticuffs.

Marlon sticks out his chin and asks Noah to hit him and for some reason everyone looks surprised when he does.

Noah also shoots and takes him down and tries for the armbar to prove that he can make Marlon tap.

They stand up and Marlon slams him to the ground and Noah lands very awkwardly (I was expecting a Coleman/Rua type injury) but they keep it going. Noah keeps going for the armbar despite getting hit with some solid punches.

They stand back up and it appears over as a bewildered Noah shouts: "See you in the finals!"

I laughed just as hard as the rest of the guys considering both he and Marlon were easily dispatched in their respective fights and have been long since eliminated.

They go at it one more time and Noah goes for the armbar yet again. I admire his persistence but Marlon is wise to it by now and drops him headfirst onto the concrete. Noah yells at him for it and the fight is over.

I guess in Noah's book head slamming on cement is against the rules.

Marlon is proud of himself and the guys are laughing their asses off over the silliness of the entire situation.

Unfortunately Dana does not share their sense of humor.

He arrives at the house the next morning after watching the tape and I wouldn't say he was upset, but I think Ken Shamrock was happier about the stoppage in his second fight with Tito Ortiz than Dana was about this brawl.

Dana berates the cast for their behavior and actually sums things up quite eloquently by telling them that not only is this kind of thing not what MMA is about, but how it reinforces what most of the real world thinks about the fighters of the UFC: They are nothing more than a bunch of goons.

Well said Mr. White.

As expected, Noah and Marlon get their walking papers, as does Allan for egging them on (but in actuality I think Allan was booted for his piss-poor impersonation of Big John McCarthy).

On his way out of our lives Marlon has the audacity to remark: "I don't condone street fighting." Right. The guy with 300 alleged street fights is suddenly against it.

Hey Marlon, that whole "I only kill because I have to" attitude worked for Shane, and you're no Alan Ladd Jr. by any stretch of the imagination.

Back to reality as Cole and Joe prepare for their fight. Cole admits being the underdog but looks able to hang. Joe on the other hand says that he may not be the best fighter there, but he is definitely the smartest.

My advice to Joe? Don't sell yourself short; you probably are the best fighter there.

At the weigh-ins Cole puts his flaring nostrils against Joe's wiggling ears in a battle to see who has the deadlier facial features.

Compelling stuff.

They finally face off and round one is all action. Joe eats a leg in the opening seconds and gets caught in a rear-naked choke. As I sat there stunned, he maintained his composure and found a way out.

I always say the mark of a great fighter is how well they respond to adversity and Joe passed with flying colors.

Joe transitions to a leg lock and Cole escapes. Joe gets on top and pushes him to the cage. He lands some shots and Cole works for a triangle choke. Joe lands a few more and Cole starts to cover up and is working less as time expires.

I laugh at the commercial break for no other reason than people actually voted in this week's AMP'd mobile poll.

Back to the action and round two picks up right where round one left off. They do a quick exchange but end up on the mat. Joe's on top working for position.

Looking for an opening, Joe lands a shot to the back of the head and gets warned. He tries an elbow that lands flush on the rear of the skull and Cole lets out a groan and goes limp.

Mazz stops the action and penalizes Joe one point for an illegal strike. While I'm certain the blow was unintentional, I'm not sure Joe should have been trying to strike from such an awkward position.

Cole gets the old flashlight-in-the-eyes routine from the ringside Doc and asks to continue. Mazz starts them on their feet and Joe comes out swinging for the fences.

An obviously woozy Cole eats a few bombs and goes back to the mat. Joe mounts and starts firing away. Cole has no answer. Joe striking from all angles as Cole covers up and does not defend. Mazz has seen enough and stops the fight.

This was a great fight with a lot of action that was unfortunately marred with an unintentional foul. Joe was very apologetic but whether or not the foul cost Cole the fight is hard to say. He did end round one on the defensive.

What stinks about a foul like that is we'll never really know. What we do know however is that Cole has skills and deserves a second chance somewhere down the road.

For the first time all season I understood what a good corner man BJ Penn is. At first he just sounds like a sideshow barker, but after really listening to him I realized he is on top of the fight every step of the way.

Stay tuned next week as Brandon faces Gray inside the cage and Coach Pulver outside it. And did I mention a surprise visit from Randy "The Natural" Couture?

See you then!

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