By Jesse Holland
The twelfth and final episode kicks off with a quick look at the matches that got us to the semifinals. Scheduled to fight are:
- Mac Danzig vs. Matt Arroyo
- Tommy Speer vs. George Sotiropoulos
That is of course until the nimble and fluid Richie Hightower does a faceplant into Matt Arroyo's ribs during training.
Since we already know that someone bows out early this episode, it's no surprise that Matt's X-Rays reveal a cracked rib.
He gamely confronts Dana about the possibility of continuing and almost looks surprised when Dana doesn't throw his arm around him and exclaim: "Safety first!"
Matt throws in the towel (almost a little too easily) and now it's up to Dana and Coach Serra to recruit his replacement.
Since Serra's first choice (Ben Saunders) is unable to compete due to injury, he runs down his list of sloppy seconds.
Just like season three, not everyone is up for the job. Jon Koppenhaver plans to just swing for the fences until he gasses while Troy Mandaloniz and Richie Hightower are afraid that making weight will be too hard for them on just three days notice.
That leaves John Kolosci, who in an unintentional Ross Pointon impersonation storms in and demands a fight with Mac Danzig. Dana likes what he hears and lines up Kolosci/Danzig II.
I wanted to share Dana's enthusiasm, but in the back of my mind I knew there was a reason their first fight ended the way it did: John and Mac are fighters on two very different levels.
Mac, who is starting to sound more and more like Roy Batty with each passing episode, complains that fighting John for a second time puts him at a disadvantage. I didn't agree but I guess it wouldn't be a Mac segment if he wasn't complaining about something.
A confident John Kolosci starts round one with a low kick. He charges in but Mac spins him like a dradle. John goes back to the low kick. He tries a high kick and lands on his keister ala Shamrock/Franklin.
John kicks again but this time Mac kicks back. Mac backs him up with a combo. Mac with a low kick but John catches it and they tie-up. Mac works him over and gets the takedown.
Mac keeps him immobilized and lands a few questionable shots to the back of the head prompting a Mazzagatti warning. More strikes that get Serra and Hughes yelling at each other from across the cage.
John postures up and Mac sinks in the rear naked choke. John taps and sends Mac to the finals. Serra, rarely at a loss for words, calls it a moral victory for John.
The show quickly shifts gears to prepare for Speer/Sotiropoulos. Hughes reveals that Tommy has a secret weapon: His heavy right hand. Knowing that someone gets KTFO in this episode, I feel a bit cheated with Hughes' revelation.
George clomps around oozing confidence. He tries to give one of those foreboding predictions but comes off sounding a little like Jim Hellwig: "I don't know what round it's going to end, but I know it's going to end." Hughes is not impressed and calls George weak.
Round one opens with some fancy footwork as they try and size each other up. Tommy rushes but George simply sidesteps. Tommy charges again, this time throwing hands and gets a warning about his fingers.
Another Speer bumrush and George gets a thumb to the eye.
McCarthy halts the action and a quick OK from the Doc gets George right back into action (despite Serra's advice to take more recovery time). The fight resumes and George looks like he has trouble with his vision.
Tommy takes advantage of a flatfooted George and lands a right. Then another. George goes down. Tommy mounts and pounds him out. Tommy Speer is heading to the finals to face Mac Danzig.
Team Hughes goes bananas. George wakes up and is obviously devastated but handles it with class.
The matches weren't terrible, but they also weren't spectacular. I think that kind of sums up the season for me.
Dana closes out the show with props for the coaches and a look ahead to the finale. The announcer gets perhaps the biggest laugh of the season when he asks: "Will the farmboy devour the vegan?"
Looks like we'll find out this Saturday.