Last week, Damarques Johnson's cocky self became a finalist by winning his fight over Nick Osipczak, meaning the U.S. already has at least one finalist. (Say it with me: U-S-A! U-S-A! What, a manufactured hate between the US and the UK doesn't raise your patriotism?) This week, we'll have the semifinals for the lightweights, or as they will heretofore be called, the widdle guys.
Cameron Dollar will take on Andre Winner in the first fight, but Dollar hurt his ribs a bit in training. Dollar is concerned that his ribs will hold him back, but the always wise Cyril Diabbate reminds Dollar of the opportunity this fight presents. Henderson wants Dollar to go to the ground, Dollar wants to stand and bang. Let's see who Dollar will listen to. Hendo's plan is probably better, as Winner wants to stand and bang and isn't working as hard on the ground. Also, Winner sucks his thumb. He tries to deny it, but he does.
The beauty of having two fights in one show is that the fights begin right away. Huzzah!
Cameron Dollar vs. Andre Winner (lightweight)
Round 1: Both fighters are throwing beautiful punches to start out the fight. Unfortunately, not many are landing. Dollar goes in for a takedown, but Winner sprawls out of it. Dollar makes a few more attempts at takedowns before it finally works. Unfortunately, being on the ground is not a fool proof place for Dollar, as Winner secures a triangle choke, and finishes it well. Dollar taps, and Winner is a finalist.
Dollar is disappointed, but Henderson is sure that Dollar has a good career as a fighter. Onto the next fight, which is Jason Dent against Ross Pearson for the chance to meet Winner in the finals for the widdle guys.
In practice, Pearson rolls and dislocates his shoulder. He says that it happens all the time, and as soon as it pops back into place, it's fine. Now, I have a knee that dislocates easily, and yes, as soon as I get it back in, it's usually fine. But seeing Ross writhe and scream in pain brings back awful memories of just how much it hurts when my knee is out. I hope that Pearson doesn't have that sort of pain, because quite frankly, I don't wish that sort of pain on anyone. But I give credit to Ross, as he goes right back into practice after his shoulder is better.
Dana White comes on and says that Dent is pretty much a boring fighter. Dent is irked by this, and Hendo says that Dent didn't show what he is capable of. Dent says he plans on letting it all hang out because he won't have to worry about getting hurt, since they are going home soon.
Jason Dent vs. Ross Pearson (lightweight)
Pearson starts aggressively, throwing punches and kicks and driving Dent into the fence. They clinch for a bit, and Perason throws an awkward knee that makes him fall. They get back to the center of the cage, then return to the fence for more clinch and knees, and this cycle continues. Pearson lands a flurry of punches, then Dent returns the favor. Hendo is begging Dent to take Pearson down, or drive him into the cage. Dent does neither. At one point, Bisping yells back, "He can't take him down, Dan!" Dent ends the round with a series of punches that land.
In between rounds, Hendo tells Dent that he lost the round, and takedowns would have won the round.
Round 2: Pearson again starts out aggressively with immediate knees and punches. Dent again does not listen to Henderson, not even attempting to wrestle at any point. He's trying to outslug Pearson, and it doesn't work. In fact, Pearson takes down Dent about three minutes through the round. Dent tries to land some knees and punches. Hendo yells elbows, Dent throws jabs. To end the round, Hendo implores Dent to try a takedown. When he does, it's halfhearted, and he ends up on the ground with Pearson over top of Dent.
At this point, Dent needs a knockout or submission, as there is no way that he is winning on any judges' scorecards.
Round 3: At this point, Hendo is just yelling, "Finish him!" as if he is coaching Dent through a game of Mortal Kombat. It doesn't work. Pearson takes down Dent after a bit of standup, and Dent is barely able to defend himself. Dent tries for a single leg, but that doesn't happen. Pearson dominates Dent from the top for the rest of the fight as Dent continues to ignore Henderson's directions.
No shock here, unanimous decision to Pearson. He will face Winner in the finals, but Dana White says that he was impressed with Dent's performance.
I agree with Dana that Dent was more aggressive and put on a better show, but he seemed utterly uncoachable. He didn't listen to a thing Henderson said. Is there any fighter, on any season of "The Ultimate Fighter," who has benefited from not listening to his coach? For all you fledgling fighters, listen up. The coaches have longer, more successful careers than you. That's why they're the coaches, and you're not. Listen to them.