This episode brings the show back to the United States, where the preliminary fights will choose which American fighters will make it onto the show. Last week, the fights were at Wolfslair in England, but this week they will be on "The Ultimate Fighter" set in Las Vegas.
To start out the show, we see Dana White driving in his Range Rover. Hmmm, that's a British car company, so maybe Dana favors the Brits, but, it was bought by Ford, so maybe Dana is cheering for the U.S. Oh wait, it was then sold by Ford to an Indian carmaker, so maybe I shouldn't read anything into Dana White's car of choice.
Dan Henderson says that he is comfortable with the country vs. country theme, as he did represent the U.S. in the Olympics. (At that time, he was also comfortable representing a SWEET mullet.) White claims that Henderson is one of the toughest motherf***ers he's ever met. In the middle of Dana's profanity laced tirade, a guy faints. Is this going to become a theme for this show? Then again, Faintin' Phillipe Nover made it to the finals of last season, so maybe fainting is a harbinger of good things. (Warning: spoilers after the jump.)
Turns out it was Jason Pierce, who was hot and light-headed, and found himself on the floor. White sees it as Pierce having trouble cutting weight, which is always a big problem. John David-Shackelford was then found to have herpes gladiatorum legion on his head, so he is sent home. Christian Fulgium had trouble cutting weight. He passes out on the treadmill.
Dana voices the frustration that I think most viewers are probably having. "It's ridiculous that these guys aren't showing up on weight. IT'S SEASON NINE! If you don't know what goes on in the show by now, I don't know what to tell you." White calls this the worst start to a season, ever, and Team UK seems hungry, while Team USA does not. Yep, that sounds about right.
Mark Miller vs. Kevin Knabjian, welterweight: Chi-town represent! These two gentlemen are training partners in Chicago, so they're not happy to be fighting one another in the prelims, as it means only one of them will make the show.The two engage in a brutal stand-up brawl with Miller as the aggressor. Miller wins by TKO in the second round, which is not great for their friendship.
Richie Whitson vs. Paul Bird, lightweight: Whitson is a ginger who trains with Hendo at Team Quest, and Bird seems to have some anger issues. White compares Whitson to snowboarder Shaun White, and when Whitson rear naked chokes Bird, White says, "Shaun White can fight!"
Santino DeFranco vs. Waylon Lowe, lightweight: You may have already learned a bit about DeFranco and needless to say, he's already pretty tough. Lowe has a tattoo around his belly button, "just like chicks do," as Dana points out. Lowe dominates the first round, and for the last 30 seconds of it, Lowe is on delivering blows to DeFranco, who is in a fetal position. Nonetheless, DeFranco comes out with a huge knee to start the second round, and rear naked chokes Lowe. WOW. That was a turnaround.
Lightining round! Now we only get to see fight highlights instead of watching the entire fights. You know why we didn't have a lightning round last week? Because we didn't have any weight-cutting, funk-having, fainting nonsense last week.
Jason Pierce vs. Steve Berger, welterweight: White knows Berger and is excited about his opportunity to make it in the UFC, but Pierce -- yes, the fainter -- spoils those plans with a decision win.
Cameron Dollar vs. Tom Hayden, lightweights: This fight is dominated by Hayden, for most of the two rounds, until Dollar slips out from under Hayden, and puts Hayden to sleep with a rear-naked choke.
Damarques Johnson vs. Ray Elbe, welterweights: Before the fight begins, Johnson says, "It's time to do the man-dance." If the man-dance involves some sick ground and pound, and winning by TKO, then yes, Damarques Johnson, you did the man-dance.
At this point, Hendo has six members on his team. (Six, not eight, because of the two gentlemen who left due to weight-cutting and funk-having issues.) Dana promises that this is going to be a life-changing experience. Two fighters were brought in to face the two guys lost their opponents. Those two new fighters are Frank Lester and Rob Browning. Browning. Browning. That name is familiar. I can't seem to place -- oh right! The guy who caused all the trouble last year and lost to Cole Miller last week. Rob Browning is Junie's brother. Those fights will happen next week.