Cagewriter - Mixed Martial Arts

After watching the latest episode of "The Ultimate Fighter," I can't help but notice that the show has improved about 1,000 percent. They've made some changes in the format, they've refocused on training and the coaches, and they're even shoehorning two fights into one episode. It's fantastic to see Spike and Zuffa adapt to reactions from fans. Read on to see just how the show has continued to adapt, and of course, that no one on Team USA is here to make friends.

On the previous episode, Nick Osipczak and Mark Miller had a good back-and-forth fight, until Nick's foot met up with Mark's head. Tonight, the U.S. is looking for redemption.

After Mark's loss, the team is headed back to the house, and our own Jason Dent tries a pep talk. He tells the guys to go back to the house, and avoid the smack talk. Considering one of their most experienced fighters had just been knocked out, that seems fair enough. Cameron Dollar does not agree. He will do whatever he wants. He says that he is soooooo cool, that he humped like 70 or 80 girls, even his friend's wife. Goodness, Dollar is like school on Saturday.

Dent is pretty disgusted with Dollar but pulls out the old reliable of all reality TV, "I'm not here to make friends." Jason Pierce admits that he likes hanging out with Team UK more than Team USA because they are nerds, just like him. Ahh, team unity.

Bisping calls the match-up for the first fight of the night -- yes, two fights in one night! -- Andre Winner vs. Santino DeFranco. Henderson says he thinks that DeFranco could win the fight, but he doesn't sound very confident.

Bisping is impressed with Winner's all-around game and speed on his feet. In training, he takes down Bisping, which brings on cheers from Team UK. DeFranco tells the tale of his brain aneurysm, and how fought back to fight. Hendo works with Santino on the clinch, and then says he feels good about this one.

Andre Winner vs. Santino DeFranco (Lightweight)

After about a minute of stand-up, DeFranco attempts a takedown, which Winner stifles. They get back to their feet, DeFranco heads in for another single leg, but again, it's stuffed. About three minutes in, DeFranco again tries for a takedown, but ends up with Winner on top of him. DeFranco tries for an omoplata but can't do it, and Winner commences in ground and pound. Winner is your winner with a TKO stoppage. Bisping yells, "It wasn't supposed to be that easy!" Bisping is also school on Saturday.

Reviewing the fight, Hendo points out that these guys are not sticking to their game plans, and so they are losing. He wants to make these guys mentally tough, but there is only so much he can do.

Why can't we be friends?

Back at the house, Dent annoys his teammates by asking questions and being a bit of a hermit. More jawing happens, but a Dan Henderson training session shuts them up. He has the team training outside, running up stairs, and shadow boxing outside. Hendo wants Damarques to fight Dean, and when he brings up Jason Pierce's potential matchup with Faulkner, Pierce turns into a petulant little boy. "I don't think I'm strong enough to win over him ... He's my friend ... Well, whatever. I'll fight whoever." Pierce, do you not remember that the No. 1 rule of all reality television is I'm not here to make friends?

Team USA can't even complete the simple task of getting into a van. Dollar smacks Miller on the tush, which angers Miller, Damarques is telling everyone what to do, and Dent tells him to shut up and stop mugging for the cameras. Damarques is rather busted because he is, in fact, mugging for the cameras. This kerfuffle requires Dan Henderson to come in and remind the guys that they are fighting for the USA, they need to try to get along. This is a good time to point out that as an Olympian, Hendo was on the wrestling team with some pretty insufferable SOBs. If he could put up with those guys, then Dent and Dollar need to get along.

Henderson announces the next fight, which Dean Amasinger vs. Damarques Johnson. This is Hendo realizing that they need a win, so he's putting out his best fighter. Bisping reviews the tapes of Damarques and tells Dean that he needs to avoid the triangle choke, a specialty of Damarques.' Dean also prepares for the fight by getting his back shaved. Fantastic. Damarques says that cooks don't think about what they're going to cook, they just get in the kitchen and do it. Really? Is that why there are culinary institutes all over the world?

"Where the [expletive] is Bisping?"

As fight time nears, Bisping is not there to help Dean get ready. You can tell that Dean is trying not to focus on the fact that Bisping isn't there, but he has the look of the little boy, checking the stands to see if his father has shown up for his little league game. I felt for the guy, as Bisping is clearly the heart and soul of the team. It's a bit of a slap in the face for him not to show up for Dean's fight. Dana White says that it's the first time a coach has ever done this.

Dean Amasinger vs. Damarques Johnson (Welterweight)

About thirty seconds into the fight, Dean takes Damarques down, and Damarques tries to work a kimura. That doesn't work, so he switches to a triangle choke. That does work, and Dean taps out in the first round. Damarques is happy that he gets the $5,000 that comes with ending a fight, because he can pay child support.

This win boosts Team USA's mood, while Team UK is not a happy bunch. They still don't know where Bisping is. Next week, Bisping comes back, and we find out where he was. Also, it's another episode with two fights. Yippee!

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