Hello once more fans and friends and welcome to the latest edition of “TUF Talks”, the weekly series where I recap and give my opinion on the latest episode of the popular UFC reality TV show “The Ultimate Fighter”. Season 12 officially enters the double digits this week, as Episode 10 sees the final two quarterfinal fights take place, including a teammate vs. teammate encounter that has been building up since the beginning of the season. So let’s dive right into the latest edition of “TUF Talks”.
The episode immediately begins with a focus on the increasing hostility between Team GSP teammates Alex “Bruce Leroy” Caceres and Michael Johnson. Johnson quickly accuses Caceres of pranking him, when in fact the culprit was a member of Team Koscheck. We then immediately segue into the first fight of the night, Team Koscheck’s Aaron Wilkinson taking on Team GSP’s Kyle Watson.
Watson immediately shoots for a takedown after a few seconds of light stand-up, and the striking-based Wilkinson is forced on the defensive for much of the round. The two exchange positions several times, but in the end, Watson is able to secure Back Mount. One Rear Naked Choke later, and Nam Phan officially becomes the only hope Team Koscheck has of seeing one of its fighters advance to the finals. Post-fight Koscheck marvels at how many of his fighters have succumbed to the Rear Naked Choke.
We then get a guest appearance by Freddie Roach, the famed boxing instructor that coaches GSP as well as several boxing legends of the past as well as the present. The TUF hopefuls marvel at Roach’s track record and reflect on what an interesting experience it was to train with him. After that we get some more trash-talking and shenanigans to hype up the Johnson/Caceres fight, and immediately after that, the fight gets underway.
The bulk of the fight, which goes to a decision, follows an interesting pattern: Caceres gets in some decent shots, but Johnson more than holds his own. Despite that, whenever Caceres lands anything other than grazing blows Johnson immediately shoots for the takedown. Johnson does some good work and scores the takedown several times, but Caceres always seems to find a way to get back up. It’s a close fight for the most part, but Johnson clearly dominated with his wrestling and Ground and Pound. The judges agree, and Johnson takes a Unanimous Decision. Post-fight it becomes apparent that both fighters have gained a new-found respect for one another and have decided to squash their beef.
UFC President Dana White is shocked at how quickly Josh Koscheck and Georges St. Pierre come to an agreement regarding who fights who in the semifinal fights. It’ll be Michael Johnson vs. Nam Pham and Kyle Watson vs. Jonathan Brookins. TUF 12 takes a vacation next week, but in two week’s time they’ll hold a special two-hour “semifinals extravaganza” that’s sure to impress.
I really enjoyed this episode for several reasons. First and foremost, the fights were very entertaining. We had a quick finish and a very good brawl; it was a fun night of fights. The drama hit the backburner for the most part in this episode, but I’m not complaining. Better yet, I find myself really looking forward to the special double-sized episode that’s coming up. TUF 12 has been a great season so far, and the “extravaganza” should be a fantastic way to end what I think has been one of the better seasons of TUF.
And what about you, fans and friends? With the semifinals set, what’s your opinion on “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 in general and Episode 10 in particular?