Hello once more fans and friends and welcome to another edition of “TUF Talks”, my weekly recap of the popular UFC reality TV show “The Ultimate Fighter”. Last week’s episode saw not just one but two fights, with Team GSP coming out in dominating fashion both times and sending the hopes of the cocky and bragging Team Koscheck crashing back down to earth after the team scored their first win in Episode 5. What, if anything, can Team Koscheck do to rebound as the final preliminary fights get underway? Let’s find out.
We immediately start out with the announcement of the final preliminary bout before the wild card: Dane Sayers of Team GSP versus Sako Chivitchian of Team Koscheck. It seems as if the odds are stacked against Sayers, as even coach Georges St. Pierre is willing to admit that Dane was protected and held back from fighting until the very end in order to give him the most time possible to improve. Back at the TUF house, talks immediately turn to the impending wild card bout, with virtually everyone that’s lost gunning for another shot at TUF glory. Spencer Paige is taken out of the running, however, since a broken hand will keep him out of action for at least three months.
Back at the TUF gym, we’re finally clued in on who Josh Koscheck gets into a brawl this season with, as the unknown man seen in the previews since the first episode is identified as Brad Tate, who is labeled as a “Medic”. Koscheck repeatedly pulls the “male nurse” card, and it seems to be working. Tate leaves to fight another day.
It’s now time for the coaches challenge, and it seems my guess last week was right on the money: we’ve got a home run derby on our hands. Georges St. Pierre looks utterly dismayed while Koscheck looks ecstatic. GSP is able to put together ten points despite never holding a bat in his life, while Koscheck practically obliterates him by scoring thirty-four points. Team Koscheck is all smiles since the coach is $10,000 richer while everyone on the team is $1,500 richer. GSP jokes that next time they’ll play ice hockey.
It’s now fight time, and both Dane and Sako set a brisk pace the moment the first bell rings. Sako, who is repeatedly referred to as “Psycho” throughout this episode, finds a lot of trouble in an early guillotine attempt, but manages to escape it and ultimately he controls a close, if not a little boring, first round. Round 2 sees a return of the “Wall and Stall” tactics of Sako while Dane catches both his opponent and everyone else off-guard with just how much he’s improved. Ultimately it’s not enough, as Sako grinds his way towards a Unanimous Decision win.
And now we get our wild card pick, and surprisingly enough, it goes to two members of Team Koscheck. Next week sees Aaron Wilkinson taking on Marc Stevens, the TUF house reacting to the wild card pick, and a shoving match break out between Koscheck and Tate.
Compared to episode 5 and especially episode 6, I found episode 7 to be a rather weak one. It was about as formulaic as a TUF episode can get, and the episode’s fight honestly wasn’t all that entertaining. Still, I wouldn’t call it a bad episode, especially when you factor in the very fun coaches challenge. At the end of the day, a standard episode of a good season still qualifies as good. And I’m definitely looking forward to next week’s episode, since Stevens/Wilkinson is loaded with potential and I can’t wait to see what happens between Koscheck and “Mr. Male Nurse”.
So what do you think, fans and friends? What’s your reaction to the wild card pick, and now that the final preliminary fight is upon us, who do you see as the early favorite to win this season of TUF?