Team Carwin (actually yellow on the show, but brown for the purposes of this article)
Team Pearson (actually blue on the show, but red for the purposes of this article)
(TUF: The Smashes – October 10, 2012, TUF 16 – October 12, 2012)
I’ll talk about Classic more in the “Drama” section, because there wasn’t much development outside of the featured fighters. Nic Herron-Webb and Igor Araujo are chosen to fight and for the most part, it is a classic good v. evil match-up with Herron-Webb playing the irredeemable A-hole and Araujo as the affable Brazilian. They’ve both got kids and while I respect both men for thinking of their children, Herron-Webb is a 22 year old who acts like he’s 12 and I feel kind of sorry for his offspring. He’s also irrationally confident considering Araujo is a BJJ black belt while Herron-Webb specializes in “napjitsu” (because….*sigh*…he puts his opponents to sleep).
Araujo is a Greg Jackson guy who’s been grappling since 2000 (Matt Secor jokes that he “just started” doing jiu-jitsu) and he seems like a swell guy. Carwin says that Araujo is “truly here to fight for bread and milk”, which I think is actually a really cool way to explain most fighters’ basic motivations. Wait a minute, Carwin said something memorable?
Now it might sound like this category would be a shoo-in for Smashes this week, especially since they continue to do a good job of running short features on their fighters and their training sessions. The Aussies head down to Cronulla to run up and down a set pair of sand dunes called “The Mexican”. The setting is gorgeous. On the other hand, the UK guys grind it out with the “Shark Tank” method, where one fighter stays in the centre of the octagon and runs a gauntlet of sparring partners, each one fresher than the last. Sounds interesting, right? Unfortunately, they automatically lose because of Norman Parke’s douchebag geisha tattoo.
Advantage: 10-9 TUF: 16, narrowly
Sotiropoulos continues to struggle with the funny, joking that last week’s knockout victim Luke Newman come train striking with them. It doesn’t get much of a reaction and the UK Team make fun of the fact that his delivery sucks even though he probably spends hours working on his wisecracks. Sotiropoulos comments on Parke hiding behind a pair of shades and Colin Fletcher says Sotiropoulos needs to get some new material.
There seems to be a lot more interaction between the Smashes coaches and their charges. Case in point, when Cameron Diffley politely asks Nelson to put more emphasis on cardio training, Nelson dismisses him:
Nelson: There’s a pool.
Diffley: Not everyone swims.
Advantage: 10-9 TUF: The Smashes
In what has to be one of the weakest pranks in TUF history, the Aussies leave some gym mats against the door of Team UK so that they’ll…fall slowly when the door is opened? I have no idea what they were going for, but this somehow leads to escalation. Team UK counters with the ol’ bucket full of crap (coffee, eggs, honey) tied to a door knob. Xavier Lucas barely manages to avoid getting slimed…
…and the Aussies get their own dirty bucket and splash it around the UK war room. Frankly, the exchange was more nauseating than amusing.
Smashes doubles up on the shenanigans when Fletcher decides to go streaking on the tennis court for literally no good reason. He even does some naked hurdles, which makes me grateful for the digital blurring and the fact that I’m not watching in HD.
Herron-Webb continues his dickish behaviour, taking Mike Ricci’s bed and throwing it on top of a gazebo. There is an unwritten rule in the TUF series that contestants shouldn’t mess with each other’s sleeping arrangements and it rarely leads to anything good happening. On the other hand, Herron-Webb is kind of growing on me if only for the fact that he never apologizes and tries to weasel his way out of everything. That’s a true heel.
Araujo does his part too, engaging in some competitive…nuzzling…with Heron-Webb at the fight announcement. James Chaney makes the great point that Araujo asserts his dominance by telling Herron-Webb not to touch his face and then giving him some light slaps on the cheek after. Araujo then states that he’s “f**in’ crazy, man. I want to eat some brains!” Close round, but…
Advantage: 10-9 TUF: The Smashes for the Freakshow’s streak show
One thing I’ll say about the Classic crew, they ain’t taking no guff from coach Nelson. His straw-drawing method from last week draws the ire of Michael Hill and even Julian Lane says he shouldn’t have been allowed to pick such a bad fight. Speaking of losing control, we get to see the outburst that was teased last week as Secor awakens the beast within by wafting farts in Lane’s direction later that night. Lane’s tantrum is incredibly contrived and I’m not sure if he’s quick to fly off the handle or if he just went to the Randy Savage school of acting.
So all in all, a disappointing scene that seemed blatantly put on for the cameras (even more so than usual).
Smashes doesn’t fare much better in this category as the main conflict revolves around the UK Team being slobs and the Aussies being none too pleased about it. Somehow this show lasts almost an hour without commercials.
Advantage: 10-10 Draw
TUF 16 Welterweight Bout: Igor Araujo d. Nic Herron-Webb via MD (19-18 x2, 19-19)
Araujo has a massive height and reach advantage (4 and 8 inches respectively). He comes out with big kicks and follows up with a takedown that Herron-Webb is way too slow to stop. The Alaskan shows a good rubber guard, but Araujo slips out and stands before dropping back down into half guard and moving to mount position. He takes the back teases a choke before pounding on Herron-Webb relentlessly. At first, I think he’s trying to teach him a lesson, but he soon struggles to finish. Somehow, Herron-Webb is able to reach out and recover his lost mouthpiece even though Araujo is on him the whole time.
In the second round, Herron-Webb looks to have the cardio advantage and he manages o get top position. He throws some damaging elbows, but he doesn’t stay busy enough and while he wins round 2, Araujo takes the lacklustre decision on account of his dominant first round. Dana White thinks the judging was bogus (surprise, surprise), but Araujo pitched a shut-out in the first and a 10-8 made sense even if he didn’t do overwhelming damage.
TUF: The Smashes Lightweight Bout: Norman Parke d. Richie Vaculik via UD (20-18 x3)
Before and after the fight, everyone acknowledges that Parke’s size could be the difference (he’s the UK’s biggest lightweight while Vaculik, a natural featherweight, is Australia’s smallest) and that proves to be exactly the case. “Vass” looks to have decent power for a small guy, but it’s just too easy for Parke to take him down and score points from the top. Parke’s limited jiu-jitsu prevents him from maintaining or capitalizing on his positions, but he wins handily, maybe even taking the second round 10-8. Vass showed a lot of heart and Sotiropoulos owes him an apology for picking this match-up.
Neither fight was particularly thrilling, with Araujo backing in for the win and Parke just being too damn big for Vaculik. It’s worth mentioning that every fight on Classic has gone to a decision.
Advantage: 10-10 Draw
Final Score: 49-48 TUF: The Smashes
It was close, but Smashes takes week 4. Overall, it’s just been more fun so far. Classic really failed to deliver on the Lane outburst. It was lame and lasted about three minutes. However, the teaser for next week promises intrigue with Hill being accused of stealing chicken from the fridge! How can you not watch this stuff? In totally unrelated news, viewership fell to an all-time low last week (just 624,000 viewers). I…just…please, just take us out, Kahili.