How about that TUF: Brazil 3 finale, eh? Okay, I’ll admit that the card kind of stunk. The ratings were in the toilet. The main event was an absolute farce. But hey, for those of us who had been watching the whole season it was really just the after party of what was otherwise an entertaining edition of this never ending series. I enjoyed seeing Warlley Alves live up to the high standards coach Chael Sonnen had set for him. Demente and Pezão had strong showings on the undercard. Demian Maia was doing Demian Maia s**t. We even got to witness the mere mention of Wanderlei Silva’s name cause a torrent of boos, something I never thought possible much less in Brazil. It wasn’t a great event by any stretch but you know what? It wasn’t for you.
And yes, I’m finding new ways every week to put off actually writing about TUF 19.
Credit to whoever put together this week’s show, they actually took the time to make us care about the match-up between Eddie Gordon (Team Edgar, 5th overall) and Mike King (Team Penn, 2nd overall). It’s certainly not the most interesting feud, but at least it’s something.
The conflict starts when King becomes aggravated by the unsanitary kitchen. Complaining about the house being dirty is the lowest common denominator of TUF programming; it’s like starting a conversation by talking about the weather. King says if the red team guys were his kids he’d “beat the s**t” out of them. In a testimonial, Gordon declares that King is “the woman in the house”. Nice, politically correct attitudes all around.
Gordon is an ex-football player, which might one day be as solid a base as wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I guess it makes sense since it involves discipline, athleticism and a predilection towards hurting people. It helps that Gordon just so happens to be good friends with some guy named Chris Weidman. Gordon is jazzed to be facing Team Penn’s top middleweight pick.
It seems like ages ago, but King made a name for himself in the elimination round with his rousing performance against future TUF: Nations competitor Nordine Taleb. He’s a meat and potatoes fighter with good cardio and wrestling. BJ Penn and Mark Coleman are confident he can control Gordon with his wrestling. Much to their chagrin, King posits that he might be able to beat Gordon with his striking. OMFG please tell me King is planning to “Stand and Wang”.
Penn says that Gordon can knock King down, but King can’t knock Gordon down. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement. Coleman is once again the voice of reason on the show (what am I saying?!?) and he suggests that they lay off on the advice so as to avoid accountability. Thanks for being here, Mark!
The Coaches’ Challenge is a kayak course, which is about as unfair as it sounds considering one guy is from New Jersey and the other is from Hawaii.
Frankie Edgar: How we picked water sports when this dude visits his buddy down the street on a kayak?
They confirm a cash prize of $10,000 for the coaches and $1,500 for each of the fighters. Not to be overly negative yet again, but even this challenge sucks. It’s just a race around some buoys and that’s it. Chael Sonnen and Jon Jones got to operate friggin’ bulldozers! The course has a terrible design. Once you get past the first few turns, it’s just a straight shot to the finish line. Edgar falls behind and never catches up. Yippee.
Neither the domestic disturbance nor King’s insistence on showing off his striking acumen resulted in much to write about as far as the fight goes. The match had that awful sparring feel to it, like both men were afraid to lose. The most intensity came from the Team Edgar corner who were constantly shouting combo codes in the form of Battleship coordinates (B3! B3!).
Remember the eye poke that was featured so prominently in the commercials for this episode? The one that could allegedly jeopardize the whole fight? It looks bad, but it takes about one minute for King to recover and it’s never brought up again. F**k off TUF 19.
After three rounds (they needed the extra), it’s Gordon’s takedowns that end up making the difference. He earns a tepid decision. As much as I respect both guys for their effort (Gordon especially since it looked like he was starting to gas out in the second round), this was a classic case of copious trash talk followed by a whole lotta nothin’.
They even resort to showing a nice shot of Chrissy Blair during Dana White’s review of the fight as if…that will…distract us…
For those of you keeping score at home, both Edgar and Penn’s top middleweights have bowed out in the quarterfinals and Penn’s top light heavyweight is also out. Only Corey Anderson was able to back up his high selection.
The last match-up is Matt Van Buren v. Chris Fields. I’m actually looking forward to this one since Van Buren has developed a decent reputation for mudslinging and Fields has a lot to prove since he just scraped by the elimination round. They don’t get along either. Unfortunately, what should have been an intense stare-down became completely inexplicable instead.
Monaghan: “Van Buren vs. Fields. The most awkward face-off that I’ve ever seen. Both their hands were up, they looked like they were ready to fly away. They genuinely don’t like each other so that’s going to be the grudgiest fight in the house. I’m really looking forward to it.”
And if King talking about beating children and Gordon expressing his opinion on the woman’s role in the kitchen weren’t enough, we end with someone yelling about Van Buren and Fields being like two pitbulls on a leash. Dogfighting.