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The 7 - Movies & TV - [TUF] The Twist...
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Boston Idol
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#1 Posted on 23.3.05 0258.38
Reposted on: 23.3.12 0259.01
This week's episode of "The Ultimate Fighter"
revealed what is known in reality television
as "the twist", the moment where the producer
changes the rules to screw up the contestants.

Last week's episode promised a shocking twist
and showed a negative reaction from one of the
fighters. That coupled with previous attempts
to maintain balance between the teams made
it obvious to many that the twist in this show
would be pitting teammates against each other
in the semi-finals to ensure that each team
would be represented in the finals. That was
the twist that was revealed in this episode.

But first they showed the highlights and the
fallout from last week's fight between Forrest
Griffin and Alex Schoenauer. Griffin won the
fight, but in the process he suffered a deep
cut along his left eyebrow that threatened
his ability to continue on the show.

Highlights captured the violence and intensity
of the action as various fighters commented on
the match. This is one of the most effective
segments of the show at explaining the product
and giving insight into the personalities of the
other fighters. If TUF gets picked up for a
second season, they need to spend more time
on this and less time fighting over beanies.

Forrest got his eyebrow stitched up. When he
returned to the house he revealed that he had
hyperextended his own elbow on a missed punch.
It was revealing that Schoenauer was taken out
in one round by an opponent so out of control
that he hurt himself throwing a wild haymaker.
Alex gave a good account of himself within the
context of this show, but those who think this
loss made Schoenauer more marketable than
Josh Koscheck need to put the bong down.

The next day the remaining eight fighters were
called to the gym by Dana White. Josh Koscheck
described the reaction of the fighters to this
as "aww, man" because they knew something was
going on. White congratulated the fighters on
making it this far, even though some of them
hadn't fought yet. White then announced the
twist that teammates would fight each other.

White announced that the semi-finals would
be three five-minute rounds instead of two.
The order would be Chris Leben versus Kenny
Florian, Josh Koscheck versus Diego Sanchez,
Stephan Bonnar versus Mike Swick, and Sam
Hoger versus either Forrest Griffin or a
replacement to be named by Griffin if his
cut didn't heal in time for the fight.

Throughout the show the producers crippled the
team concept by forcing Liddell to sell out
his fighters by donating them to Team Couture
to maintain balance after Couture's fighters
lost. Now in one fell swoop the concept of
team rivalry, which was supposedly vital for
the finals, was being completely swept aside.

The fighters stood in stunned silence. Some,
including coach Chuck Liddell shook their heads.
Koscheck didn't look scared by the announcement,
but he looked sober, which was a big change.

"I think it sucks" said Couture, talking about
how he had tried to foster team spirit while
seemingly ignoring that many of his fighters
were sent over from Team Liddell. The fighters
weren't happy about the twist either.

On a superficial level, the twist is "cool"
because it pits friend against friend, but
at its core the twist was a betrayal of the
two coaches, the fighters, and the audience.
In the end, the team concept that they all
bought into was a sham, an plot device
easily cast aside for the semi-finals.

Leben came to the kitchen in his boxer shorts
and asked Kenny to help him dye his hair red
in a homoerotic show of solidarity. "You're
fighting a friend really at this point, and
that's the hardest thing", observed Kenny,
who until just a few days earlier had been
a member of the other team. "He's one of
my favorite guys to train with" said Kenny.
"Sorry Kenny, but I'm gonna have to put the
stamp on you" said Leben in an interview.

"Nothing makes any sense", said Koscheck,
complaining that Leben could win despite
having lost to him earlier in the show.
Griffin selected Bobby Southworth as his
contingent replacement. Stephan, who had
earlier beaten Southworth to eliminate
him from the show, said "It made me feel
like all my hard work went to nothing."

Bonnar also complained that Bobby used to
"bitch and moan", but then he pointed out
that none of the household chores had been
getting done without Bobby's complaining.
Leben claimed that Koscheck had been quiet
since Bobby left, implying that Koscheck
was a coward. Leben must have missed when
Josh swore at Hoger, a light heavyweight.

Leben's first opponent was his old nemesis,
the scale. Leben was about ten pounds over
the limit despite fighting just two weeks
earlier. Maybe Leben should try to mix in
some jogging between painting his toenails
black and dying his hair blood red. There's
more to MMA than tough talk and gimmicks.

Leben's sweating regimen was intercut with
comments from him and camp counselor Nathan
Quarry about his childhood. Leben said he
had the best childhood because his mother
never watched him. The results speak for
themselves. Quarry offered useful advice,
noting that Florian used a muay thai grip
that leaves him vulnerable to uppercuts.

Dana White's analysis of the upcoming match
was superficial and uninformative. He put
over both fighters, claiming that Leben was
a good fighter despite his earlier loss and
explaining how he was impressed by Florian
after showing up to scout his opponent.

Leben came out for the fight with a graphic
showing that he was 15-1. I guess that loss
to Koscheck didn't count, on several levels.
If these fights don't count as real fights,
why drag out Marc Ratner to do the weigh-ins?
Don't tell me he wants free camera time, too.
Florian, who had previously fought at weights
15 to 30 pounds lighter, was shown as 3-1.
Big John McCarthy, UFC's signature referee,
was on hand to officiate the unofficial bout.

Chuck Liddell got to work Florian's corner
which was fitting since Kenny was a member
of his team before being punished for their
success by being sent over to Team Couture.
If Florian won, Liddell would essentially
have two middleweights in the finals.

Florian tried a leg dive in the first fifteen
seconds, but Leben sprawled to counter it.
Leben powered the much smaller Florian into
the cage and caught him with the uppercuts
that Quarry had suggested as well as some
roundhouse punches. Leben pummeled Florian,
but never seemed to have him in trouble.

After three minutes both fighters were blown
up and the bout slowed to a crawl. By the
last minute they looked like school kids who
were just hanging on to each other waiting
for someone to break up the fight. No doubt
MMA is incredibly demanding, but once again
the conditioning of the fighters was called
into question. Not everyone can take a hard
punch or learn how to wrestle, but anyone on
a show like this should be in top condition.
One couldn't help but reflect back on dozens
of shots of fighters laying around the house
and wonder if they took this seriously.

Between rounds Liddell reminded Florian how
to escape when pinned up against the cage.
This proved valuable as Kenny was able to
avoid two attempts to trap him against the
cage. Florian circled at a distance while
Leben appeared to be anchored in the middle
of the ring, other than a brief flurry along
the side of the octagon. Leben looked much
slower than he had in the first round despite
not taking much damage and dominating the fight.

Two minutes into the second round, Florian
caught Leben flatfooted with a stiff right
cross to the jaw. Fifteen seconds later he
charged in and caught Leben again with a
left-right combination to the head and jaw.
Leben grabbed Florian and walked him back
into the cage, but he was running on empty.

Florian stayed cool and looked for openings.
He caught Leben in the side of the jaw with
a short left. A moment later he jabbed with
his right forearm and nailed Leben's left eye.
Leben tried to keep fighting, but Florian
escaped and when Leben turned back toward
the center of the ring he looked like the
loser of a human cockfight with blood pouring
from a cut above the corner of his right eye.

Referee John McCarthy stepped in immediately
to have the doctor check the cut, but Kenny
raised his hands, believing he had it won.
The doctor checked the cut, a deep gash on
the upper outer corner of Leben right eye,
and wisely decided to halt the fight. Kenny
Florian had withstood the pummeling, worn
down his opponent, picked his spot, and won.

"That's one of the bigger cuts I've ever
seen", observer Couture. Florian said he
felt lucky to get the cut, though he talked
about how he lined up the critical elbow
strike. Dana White came into the dressing
room, patted Florian's stomach, and said
"you've got big balls, kid."

The teasers showed Chris Leben taking his
second loss badly and questioning his value
as a fighter. Leben should have questions.
He's supposedly a heavy hitter, yet he hit
Florian with at least two dozen punches and
never even had him staggered. He lost two
fights to two fighters with less than five
professional fights each. He lost to a guy
he normally outweighs by some twenty pounds.

It's not all bad news though. Leben was
handling Florian with ease until Leben
blew up late in the first round. In the
second round he simply didn't have enough
left to attack Florian or to defend himself.
Leben's biggest enemy is still the scale
and his half-assed approach to conditioning.
If he worked on his endurance, he would be
a much better fighter. If he worked on his
attitude, he'd be a much better person.

"The Ultimate Fighter" could also use a lot
of work if it is going to make a comeback.

The last two fights have been much better
than the previous three fights, though the
Maryland State Athletic Commission finish
could leave many fans dissatisfied, but
the rest of the format has been poorly
thought out and wildly inconsistent.

Kenny Florian, Sam Hoger, and Mike Swick
made it to the semi-finals without fighting
while Leben and perhaps Bobby Southworth
got second chances after losses, frustrating
those who defeating them and making those
matches, which fans bought into as dramatic
elimination bouts, ultimately meaningless.

The team concept has been totally ruined.
Liddell will also have to work the corner
for Stephan Bonnar or Mike Swick while two
of Liddell's remaining fighters will have
Randy Couture in their corner in the semis.
Any way you look at it, the coaching for
these critical bouts is now a clusterfuck.

If the team concept is important enough to
ensure for the finals, it needs to be given
respect throughout the series. It doesn't
make sense to have Liddell coach one of
Couture's fighters into the finals to face
one of his own fighters, possibly one who
was coached by Couture in the semi-finals.

The training and strategy segments are often
interesting, as is hearing the fighters discuss
their own fights and other fights on the show.
The laying around needs to be replaced with
more discussion of fights or more training,
especially since fighters seem to be blowing
up quickly in their occasional matches.
The human interest segments where fighters
argue over beanies and complain to their
coaches should be dropped.

More important than all of that however, the
producers need to identify the core dynamic
of their show and they need a plan that will
preserve that dynamic. The fighters may be
powerless to protest capricious rule changes
that make earlier segments pointless, but
viewers who feel ripped off have the freedom
to tune out "The Ultimate Fighter" with the
click of a button. This week the show drew
a 1.7 rating, breaking a three week slide,
but it appears to have very little momentum
as it builds toward the final live episode.

Frank
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#2 Posted on 23.3.05 0454.26
Reposted on: 23.3.12 0456.08
The twist was predictable...I called it last week. That isn't bad, however. Seeing Diego beat the living hell out of Koschek will be entertaining. So will watching Leben cry. I actually think Leben could have gone on and beaten Florian, but whatever. They should've allowed Chris to pull out the win and then pick a replacement, but that's the way it goes...
Ozzysun
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#3 Posted on 23.3.05 0836.05
Reposted on: 23.3.12 0836.08
I have alot more respect for Leben now.
That fight was his, Kenny landed a lucky blow. Kenny was way outclassed here.
I do look soooo forward to Josh getting his ass handed to him though, for some reason I can't stand that kid now.
Boston Idol
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#4 Posted on 23.3.05 0953.02
Reposted on: 23.3.12 0954.29
    Originally posted by Ozzysun
    I have alot more respect for Leben now.
    That fight was his, Kenny landed a lucky blow. Kenny was way outclassed here.
    I do look soooo forward to Josh getting his ass handed to him though, for some reason I can't stand that kid now.


Respect for Leben? The supposed heavy hitter landed over two dozen punches and couldn't knock out a guy twenty pounds lighter. I don't get it. For all the criticism of Koscheck, Leben is the trash talking bully who can't back up his big mouth.

And the cut simply put Leben out of his misery. He took four stiff shots in the second round because he was flat footed and couldn't defend himself. What's his training regimen, curling 12 oz bottles of beer to his mouth?

Leben was out of gas and Florian was picking his spots. If he hadn't busted Leben open, Florian would have worn out Leben's face with more punches and forearms.

Watch the second round again, if you get a chance.

Florian was winning the round handily and doing big damage. Leben was a sitting duck because he doesn't keep himself in good fighting shape.

Frank

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#5 Posted on 23.3.05 1000.17
Reposted on: 23.3.12 1000.33
Frank, thanks for crossposting these here. I wish I cared enough about this show to have ANY opinion, but it never really elevates above the level of "background" while I'm checking the RAW thread.

I have no (okay, little) doubt Leben would have gotten the judge's decision, but I say that based mostly on the first round, because by the time it had ended I was lulled into a state where I wasn't really paying attention to ANY of it. One thing about not having ringside commentary is you become keenly aware of how gassed those guys are because all you end up hearing is HEAVY BREATHIN'. I also wonder if the switch to a mandatory instead of optional third round made the fight flow any differently - and how/if a third round might have changed Leben's FIRST fight.

That said, there's some irony in *Florian* being the man to "take it out of the hands of the judges," so good on him.

I get the impression that Da Meltz is devoting an awful lot of ink to this show. It will be interesting to see if he can get as excited about RPW coming to national television this weekend. My guess is he won't because it isn't enough like MMA, which seems like a poor tactic for a "pro wrestling" journalist.

(edited by CRZ on 23.3.05 1001)
Boston Idol
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#6 Posted on 23.3.05 1032.14
Reposted on: 23.3.12 1032.30
I thought Leben won the first round by a mile.
I thought he lost the second round by as much.
If it went to a third round, I'm not convinced
Leben had enough energy left to mount an attack
and win the round, much less to defend himself.

Watch the second round again, if you have it.
Leben was rooted, flat flooted on the logo in
the center of the ring for most of the time
while Florian circled. In the first round
Leben would have moved in, caught Florian
against the cage, and used "stand and pound"
to wear him down. By the second round Leben
lacked the energy and quickness to do that.

Florian looked like he was almost suckering
him into the cage for the final clinch and
he not only broke open his eye with the
forearm, he popped him in the jaw with the
other hand as well. I think Florian knew
Leben was a sitting duck at that point and
had no fear of his "stand and pound" approach.

In three rounds, I think Florian all the way,
but judging by the mouse under Leben's left
eye, he was going to have trouble lasting three.
Florian landed more convincing blows overall.
The right eye might have been swollen shut by
a welt if Florian hadn't opened up the cut.

Meltzer is up and down on coverage. As with
the XFL, rah-rah wrestling types hyped up a
bad show because they wanted it to succeed,
then gave up and tapped out quickly when it
started to lose momentum. Discussion now is
only a fraction of what is was leading into
what was supposedly the biggest fight in UFC
history, the Leben-Koscheck match.

Hopefully people have learned a few things
along the way, although many will abandon
ignore TUF and UFC and move on. We've seen
that skills and heart, not petty grudges,
are what make a good fight. We've seen that
within the current rules, finishes are not
always going to be decisive or satisfactory,
though as I said, I believe Florian would
have worn out Leben's face and taken the
second and third round to win anyway. We've
seen that prematch trash talking and goofy
rituals don't mean dick inside the octagon.
Old timers knew this already having seen
Tank Abbott, but for the Leben fanbase it
seemed to come as an unwelcome surprise.

Most importantly, we've seen that in the
dynamic world of MMA, it is dangerous to
get carried away with assumptions. A few
weeks ago everyone was touting a rematch
between Leben and Koscheck as a big match.
Now that Leben has lost to Florian, that
matchup isn't nearly as attractive as
people thought. Leben needs to beat up
a few tomato cans to rebuild his paper
tiger image before he can be booked again.
Trash talking isn't enough when you can't
back it up against a much smaller fighter.

For me, if I was going to be an MMA fighter,
my first priority would be doing roadwork.
It's clear that at the TUF level a fighter
can overcome skill, experience, and size
deficits simply by having more stamina,
though I assume the fighters on the PPVs
keep themselves in much better shape than
many of the fighters we've seen on TUF.

Forget the bus ticket, Leben. Jog home
this time.

Frank
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#7 Posted on 23.3.05 1033.51
Reposted on: 23.3.12 1034.00
I'll admit I don't know how to score a fight.
What I saw was Leben come out looking strong, punch hard, showing alot of offense. Kenny looked taken aback strongly. He was running from Leben and not showing alot of offense. He looked in my opinion more wore out then Leben. I still think Leben would have won had it not been for that elbow.

Just my 2 cents.
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#8 Posted on 23.3.05 1052.53
Reposted on: 23.3.12 1056.42
Like I said, if you've got it on tape or can catch a replay,
watch the second round again. Watching it live, I had
the same impression you had. Afterward when they
showed highlights, I was floored by the stiffness of the
shots Florian had landed. Not just the forearm, but a
right cross that turned Leben's jaw and a left-right
combination where both punches landed crispy. In the
second round clinch, Leben was much less effective.
In the first round he was landing uppercuts and coming
over the top with roundhouse punches. In the second
round he was hitting short, ineffective punches to
the ribs and thighs. His hand speed and his reactions
were shot and he seemed to be running out of ideas.

Frank

(edited by Boston Idol on 23.3.05 0853)
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#9 Posted on 23.3.05 1411.53
Reposted on: 23.3.12 1413.48
Leben even said during the show that technically Florian is the better fighter. Florian sounds like he has a lot of potential because has jiu-jitsu skills and has shown that he can take a pounding on his feet.

I wouldn't be surprised if Liddell told him not to take Leben down because Leben gassed on his feet. Its a similar strategy that Liddell has used before.

It was also pretty impressive for Florian to be able to execute that forearm/elbow from so close. I still think he's going to get creamed in the Finals, though.

There are a lot of kinks they need to work out with the show but you have to cut them some slack considering this was all SpikeTV's idea and the UFC had no experience in reality TV. If they do a second season, they're going to have to either scrap the team concept or allow a team to get totally eliminated before teammates fight themselves.
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#10 Posted on 23.3.05 1741.46
Reposted on: 23.3.12 1742.10
Why didn't Florian try to roll with Leben? It seemed like he was playing a dangerous game on his feet with Leben.

The show has been going downhill lately. There isn't much doubt that the Team Liddell are the big favorites going into the finals.
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#11 Posted on 23.3.05 1840.24
Reposted on: 23.3.12 1842.06
    Originally posted by ShotGunShep
    There isn't much doubt that the Team Liddell are the big favorites going into the finals.


While I would normally agree with you on this they make up new rules on the fly so much it takes alot of validity from the actual contest itself.
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#12 Posted on 23.3.05 2014.32
Reposted on: 23.3.12 2014.32
New Rules?
I was under the impression that the two last MW and the two last LHW were to meet each other live on Spike TV April 9th.
I don't see what twists they could add to an MMA bout. This isn't the WWE

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#13 Posted on 25.3.05 0806.20
Reposted on: 25.3.12 0807.44
    Originally posted by Ozzysun
    I have alot more respect for Leben now.
    That fight was his, Kenny landed a lucky blow. Kenny was way outclassed here.
    I do look soooo forward to Josh getting his ass handed to him though, for some reason I can't stand that kid now.


There is no such thing as a lucky blow or lucky punch. He threw an elbow aiming for Leben's head and he connected. I don't see why everyone is speculating as to what the outcome would have been if it went to the scorecard, it is not relevant, the fight ended the way many MMA fights end.

Cole
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