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MMA: The Ultimate Fighter Episode 8 Recap
Last week we saw Chuck O'Neil win the wildcard fight to advance to the next round, and we also saw Brock Lesnar somehow lose a football
style obstacle course to a man who's never played a down of football in his life for $10,000. Fun stuff.
The episode started off with Shamar Bailey telling a teammate of his that he hurt his back in training, but that it won't be a problem for
his upcoming fight. Just at the right time his opponent Chris Cope happened to walk by, prompting Bailey to question whether Cope's
timing is more than just coincidence. Either way, those two guys clearly don't get along and that will make their fight so much more fun
to watch. Neither man looked all that great in their first fight, but Bailey looks like the superior athlete and is probably the favorite in that
The first fight of this round was Ramsey Nijem from Team Dos Santos against Clay Harvison from Team Lesnar. Nijem absolutely ran through
Charlie Rader in his first fight, and without a doubt has looked like the best fighter in the house at this point. He's relentless and has good
wrestling; both those things have proven to be ingredients for success on past seasons.
Harvison is a tough dude too though; he dislocated his pinky finger in his first fight and just kept going right to the finish. He earned a lot of
respect in the house but definitely drew a tough matchup in this one.
Dana White came in with UFC veteran and U.S. Marine Brian Stann for a group pep talk. He basically told them that as prepared and focused as
a Marine has to be, a mixed martial artist at the highest level needs to be on the same plateau with their work ethic and focus. It looked like the
fighters were little kids listening to a super hero talk to them. It was funny.
Once again at his weigh-in, Nijem decided he has to be a weirdo and create some sort of strange homosexual tension by painting his nails and
wearing tiny bikini briefs while on the scale. He also bent over really slowly while picking up the rest of his clothes to show off his butt. He
is so strange, but if his opponent underestimates him he's proven he can deliver a rude awakening.
The first fight started just as everyone had expected, with Nijem rushing in and pressuring Harvison. Just like Nijem's first match he
immediately got a takedown and secured Harvison's back, getting a rear naked choke in place and forcing his opponent to quit.
took less than one minute. Its unreal how easy Nijem has made his first two fights look, and it's pretty safe to say he's my favorite to win this
thing at this point. I just don't see anyone there than can deal with the amount of pressure he brings, and his grappling has looked fantastic so
far. It was easy to think of his first fight as a fluke because we knew nothing about Charlie Rader as a fighter, but we saw Harvison's toughness in
his last brawl, and Nijem made him look like garbage. Look out for him.
Like I said earlier, the second fight looked more interesting because Bailey and Cope really don't like each other. Apparently Cope would wake
up every morning and give a Rick Flair-esque "WOOO!" scream, waking up anyone and everyone that wasn't already up. That usually consisted
of Bailey, who decided to let Cope know that he'd be beaten severely for his actions. I love these in-house drama stories sometimes because
it usual takes place over absolutely nothing. Cope's first fight didn't really show anything fantastic, just that he was tough and resilient while
Bailey's fight was a bit of a disappointment. Overachiever vs. underachiever? Probably. Lesnar described the matchup between Bailey and
Cope as "wrestler vs ... Chris." Even his coach doesn't know what to make of him.
For the first two minutes of the fight, Bailey looked like a man possessed. He bounced around the cage and used head movement to stay out
of range while he landed two or three really good shots of his own. After that though, the next eight minutes were a totally different fight.
It looked like Bailey was gassed afterward, he just kept shooting for takedowns that Cope denied. During every
takedown attempt, Cope punished Bailey with shots to the side of the head and body that had to figure in on the judge's scorecards. In the
second round, with his coach yelling "No hesitation" and Dana White screaming "Let your ****ing hands go kid!" Cope really started finding his
rhythm and he used good angles to land clean shots on Bailey. He looked like he took Bailey's will away in this fight. It really was a case of
overachiever vs. underachiever and somehow Cope showed that heart and stamina can beat raw skill sometimes.
I found it a little bit cheap and almost petty that Bailey went out of his way to find Dana White after the fight and tell him that he could've
taken the easy way out against Cope and just take him down to grind out a victory. He said he wanted to show White that he could "bang"
and put on a show. But when White pointed out that Bailey HAD tried to take the easy way out and take Cope down multiples times but got
denied, Bailey used his previous back injury as an excuse. He reminds me of the typical "looks like Tarzan; plays like Jane" type of guy. That
was a really poor way to end his time on the show in my opinion.
After all is said and done this week, Nijem is shaping up to be the favorite with Cope set to play the sneaky underdog type role. Two more
fights next week will decide the semifinal matchups. Stay tuned.