The Saturday November 5th season finale of the ultimate fighter on Spike TV was a tremendous show.
All three predictions I posted on Friday were correct.
However I did not expect this card to be anywhere near as good as it
Kenny Florian vs Kit Cop
I didn't make a prediction for this fight because I had not seen Cope. Cope
is an accomplished muay thai kick boxer. Florian is a submission grappling wizard.
Florian has shown a willingness to stand and trade in previous fights. That was not in his best interest in this fight as he was definently outclassed while standing. Florian wasted no time closing the distance and forcing a clinch. Florian was trying for a take down but cope was defending well. Florian persisted and eventually got the take down. Cope was able to hold and stall for a while. Then florian got free improved his position and applied an arm bar. Cope tapped out but the bell sounded a split second before the tap.
Florian did not waste any time in the second round taking Cope down and securing back control
he then worked for and attained a rear choke hold forcing Cope to submit early in the second round.
Joe Stephenson vs Luke Cumo
There was a funny moment after ref John Mcarthy finished with the pre fight instructions. Stephenson looked at Cumo and said "LUKE I AM YOUR FATHER". I got the feeling Joe was expecting to have an easy night. When I think of Luke Cumo it reminds me of the scene from the first Rocky movie where Apollo's going over all his personal appearances with his staff while his trainer is watching a news report on Rocky "champ you might wanta take a look at the guy you're gona be fighting.. he means business" and Apollo blows him off and says" I mean business too" as he continues to talk about the Non fight related topics with his staff . While Rocky Baboa was a fictional character you do sometimes see examples of athletes who seem to overacheive
in a almost unbelivable fashion. Luke cumo is one of those guys. Cumo was portrayed on the reality show as a unathletic nerd who was the last of 18 fighters picked when teams were chosen. Luke (using some stiff muay thai kickboxing and solid defense on the ground)willed himself through two very tough fights on the reality show. Despite Lukes success on the show It was expected that Jow Stephenson would easily outclass Cumo. While Stephenson quickly took luke down he could not break the will of the stubborn cumo who demonstated very nice defensive ju jitsu. Throughout the first two five minute rounds stephenson spent alot of time in the top position unloading hard punches and elbows on cumo while at the same time constantly trying to improve his position and finish the fight with submission locks. Cumo showed tremendous heart, toughness, conditioning, and some nice technique as he was constanly blocking and slipping strikes at the same time avoiding and escaping numerous submssion attempts continually working his way out of bad positions. Cumo was even able to scramble up to his feet on a couple of occasions which is almost unheard of against a grappler of stephensons caliber. Cumo had expended a tremendous amount of energy staying in the fight yet at the begining of third round he looked to be the fresher fighter. Sure enough as stephenson went for a take down early in the third round Cumo stuffed the attempt and put stephenson on his back. At this point the crowd was going nuts as the underdog had the highly decorated grapler on his back. Cumo went to town throwing everything but the kitchen sink at an exhausted stephenson. To stephensens credit he absorbed the punishment got a second wind and finished out the round in the top position.
Joe Stephenson went on to win a unanimous decision as well as the three year the six figure UFC contract that went along with winning the 170 lb weight division on the reality show. while Luke Cumo lost a tough fight he was able to captured the hearts and imaginations of the fans.
Rashad Evans VS Brad Imes
This was the heavyweight final for the reality show. Nice visual as they are both getting instruction from the referee you get a sense of the size difference between the two. Imes is 6'7"
260 while Rashad is 5'10" 220. This fight could have been considered either a sloppy kick boxing match or a stand up war. Even though these two didn't have the greatest striking ability in the world I really enjoyed this bout. My prediction for the final outcome for this fight was correct but this fight was way better then I expected. I thought Rashad a former all confrence wrestler at Michigan st would take the taller Imes (a former offensive lineman at the university of Missouri) down to the ground and just do enough to win.I was very wrong. Their was very little in the way of grappling or take down attempts in this fight. At times Imes was able to use his sizeable reach advantage to land stiff jabs and right hands other times rashad was able to use his supperior quickness and handspeed to land explosive left right combinations.
(I find as I get older I am more appreciative of a good game/ bout/match and less of a rah rah fan). A Great game or match occurs when two teams or individuals have styles that match up well and truly want to win and in the prosess the two sides bring out the best in each other. On this evening Brad Imes and Rashad Evans pushed each other to limits of their skills and endurance. Both of these guys at different time in the bout looked like they were moments away from being knockout and everytime this happened weather it was Rashad or brad they were able to reach down deep and get themselves back in the fight. In the end Rashad Evans one a narrow split decision winning himself a three year six figure contract with the UFC. Brad Imes lost but their really wasn't a looser in this fight.
Diego Sanchez VS Nick Diaz
Diego Sanchez was the 185lb winner on the first season of the ultimate fighter reality show. After the show he dropped down to the 170 lb division. Nick Diaz is a Mixed martial arts veteran. Despite the fact that Daiz is only 23 he has several impressive victories on his record (more impressive then Sanchez). Due to the fact that Sanchez won the reality show he has a far more lucrative contract then Diaz. This has caused Diaz to be more then a little bit bitter.
Both of thesse guys had something to prove.
This fight featured some truly beautiful submission grappling with all sorts of twists, turns, submision attempts, escapes, sweeps, counter and reversals.
In a way this fight was simmilar to the Cumo Stephensen fight I described earlier but at a much higher skill level. Sanchez was able to use his superior take down skills to put diaz on his back. Once the fight hit the ground Diego through visicious strikes at Diaz and was doing everyting in his power to end the fight. Diaz a slick ju jitsu practitioner skillfully defended himself blocking and slipping punches constantly scrambling to get a better defensive position. On several occasion Diaz was able to use is excelent ju jitsu technique to reverse Sanches and get the top position. Unfortunatly for Diaz he was never able to stay on top for long as diego was always able to grapple his way out from underneath diaz. In the end Sanchez one a very exciting unanimous decision. This figh gave an example of how exciting ground grappling can be.
All in all this was a very exciting nigh of fights and it made for great TV. UFC and Spike TV should be very happy.