The Ultimate Fighter: US vs UK - Episode Two Recap
CAUTION: SPOILERS INCLUDED – There was no rest for Dan Henderson after his UFC 93 win over Rich Franklin in Dublin, Ireland, as he had to catch a plane back to Las Vegas to see the eight men who he would have the opportunity to coach on The Ultimate Fighter: US vs UK.
“My goals are just to beat the hell out of the UK guys,” said Henderson on arriving back in the States. But after last week’s elimination bouts in Liverpool, England, it was clear that the UK team coached by Michael Bisping was going to be a formidable one, so the 16 US fighters were going to have their work cut out for them as they reduced themselves to eight.
Unfortunately, some of the 16 looked like they were going to eliminate themselves before the fights even started, as welterweight Jason Pierce fainted from cutting too much weight, welterweight Christian Fulgium was also fading from his weight cut, and lightweight John David Shackleford was found to have a herpes lesion on his forehead.
Needless to say, Shackleford was immediately eliminated from the competition, and when Fulgium weighed in at 173 and was unable to take off the final two pounds, he was ousted from the competition as well. Luckily, Pierce made weight, but UFC President Dana White still wasn’t happy.
“This is the worst start to a season in the history of the show,” said White.
Thankfully, the opening fight got the competition off to a better beginning, as training partners and friends Mark Miller (10-4) and Kevin Knabjian (10-3-1) squared off in a welterweight bout. After a competitive first round, the action kicked into gear in the second when Knabjian dropped Miller to the mat and went for a submission. Miller escaped, and moments later, he tagged Knabjian and hurt him. Miller didn’t let his friend off the hook, and referee Steve Mazzagatti halted the bout in the second round.
Another action-packed fight saw Temecula’s Richie Whitson (4-0) show off a well-rounded game before submitting gutsy Iowan Paul Bird (4-1) with a rear naked choke in the first round.
Also in lightweight action, Santino DeFranco (13-4) took a frightening beating on the mat for much of the first round from Waylon Lowe (5-2), but in the second round, DeFranco roared back, landing a hard knee to the head before following up with a takedown and a quick rear naked choke that force Lowe to tap out.
Welterweight Steve Berger, a UFC veteran was brought in to face Pierce in the next bout, and Pierce showed few ill effects from the weight cut as he pounded out a decision win in a fight forced to use the third sudden victory round.
The third lightweight to earn his way into the house for Team US was Cameron Dollar, who survived some ferocious ground and pound from Tommy Hayden before submitting his foe with a rear naked choke in the second stanza. And in the final match of the week, Damarques Johnson (13-6) showed an impressive ground attack in scoring a first round TKO of veteran Ray Elbe (13-6).
There are two spots to fill for the team though, and the pre-fight eliminations of Fulgium and Shackleford have left welterweight Kiel Reid and lightweight Jason Dent without anyone to fight. To compensate, White brought in Frankie Lester and Rob Browning, the brother of season eight sparkplug Junie Browning to compete against Reid and Dent, respectively, next week.
After two weeks, the following fighters have earned a spot in the Ultimate Fighter house for this season:
For weekly recaps of The Ultimate Fighter, as well as fighter profiles and a blog from UK coach Michael Bisping, stay tuned to UFC.com.