I was a little worried that I might not be able to watch the season finale. Having just moved to a new place, I am still sorting out my cable and TIVO hook-up. Apparently, VoIP is not a preferred method for TIVO to get the cable information, so I will probably have to kickdown and get the wireless adapter. Anywhooo.. on to the fights.
1st fight of the night was Jorge Riveria against Edwin DeWees. These two guys were some of my favorite fighters from the house. Jorge seems to be a well rounded fighter and DeWees really knows his stuff and is all heart when he gets in the Octagon. They both come out a little tenative trying to feel each other out with a few jabs and kicks. They tie up a little bit and Jorge gets a thai clinch. He tries to throw a couple of knees that don’t seem to phase DeWees, but Jorge is able to slip a few punches through and gets DeWees up against the fence then to the mat. DeWees is in a bad spot with Jorge on his back raining down punches. The ref eventually stops the fight because DeWees can’t do anything offensively. He looks fine but I think the ref made the right call. You can’t stand them up with the top guy throwing punches and you can’t just leave the fight down like that with the bottom guy getting wailed on even if he is blocking with his hand.
2nd fight of the night is Rich Clementi versus Din Thomas. Clementi looks pretty cut and seems to have lost a lot of weight to fight at 155. Clementi is coming out pretty sharp with some quick jabs and kicks. Clementi is a little snappier than Thomas but Thomas probably needs to warm up as the fight goes along. Thomas clips Clementi with a overhand right that sends Clementi to the mat but he pulls guard and tries to throw some up-kicks as Thomas moves in. Thomas decides to just stand up and they end the round swinging. The first round was very even. I would lean toward 10-9 for Clementi. In Round 2, they come out looking fresh with some renewed energy. The both seem pretty even as far as stand-up and on the ground. Thomas’ striking seems to be a little more on the mark and really connects with Clementi more often than not. Thomas is able to land a few nice shots right on the button causing Clementi to crumble to that mat. Thomas jumps on Clementi into the full mount, Clementi turns over and sinks in the rear naked choke. Clementi taps.
3rd fight of the night is Pete Sell versus Scott Smith. For some reason, I really think that Scott has a lot more talent than we have seen. He has really hung in there with some really tough competition and barely lost each time. They come out throwing some big punches. Sell has the better boxing form but Smith has better accuracy. Sell looks to be getting banged up. One thing I really hate is the high-fives in the middle of the fight after a good scramble or punch. Jorge Gurgel did a lot of this in his fights in the Octagon. There should be a no high-five rule. In the 2nd round, they are keeping it standing. They are swinging away when Sell catches Smith with a body shot to the floating rib. Smith grabs his rib as he stumbles back… and then the craziest thing happens.. Sell rushes in to follow-up and Smith out of nowhere throws one right down the pipe on to Sells chin and Sell falls to the mat. Smith jumps on to throw more punches but Big John McCarthy stops it as Sell is obviously out. Then Smith falls to the mat in pain. It was an amazing body shot that Sell threw, but Smith somehow toughed it out and KOs Sell.
4th fight is the Middleweight finale between Travis Lutter and Patrick Cote. The winner of this fight will get a chance to take on Anderson Silva. Cote has a lot of confidence in his striking and is probably figuring that all he needs is to counter the takedown, but the problem… Lutter is really good at taking fighters down. Cote comes out with a few jabs and straight punches. Lutter is trying to corner him and is finally able to tie him up and take Cote to the ground. Lutter is in Cote’s half-guard. Lutter is trying to pass guard while Cote is going for a kimura on Lutter’s left arm. Lutter gets to the side and they scramble. Lutter gets Cote’s back and goes for a rear naked choke, loses it then turns it into an armbar. Cote does a good job of defending the arm, but Lutter’s BJJ is just too good and Cote taps. Lutter gets the $100K contract with the UFC, $100K with Xyience, a new Scion, a limited edition Gerge diamond watch and a shot at Silva in February 2007.
5th fight of the night.. amazing.. 5 fights and still 1 to go… is between Martin Kampmann and Thales Leites. I am not familiar with either of them. Martin is from Denmark and Thales is from Brazil. Thales is supposed to have some good jiu jitsu but he seems to do well standing. They are trading some even punches. Thales shoots for some takedowns but Martin has really good sprawling and throw defense. Thales is finally able to take Martin down and gets in the full mount. Somehow Martin is able to sit up and get Thales in half guard eventually working his way to standing. I think I would give the round to Martin. They start the 2nd round with some punches and work in a few kicks. Thales seems to have some really good standup and is able to trade punches pretty well with Martin who is supposeldy considered the better puncher. As the second round progresses, Martin’s punching seems to be getting better and Thales’ movenment is starting to looking stiff. Rogan keeps commenting on Thales’ legs as starting “to lock-out”. Thales looks dead tired while Martin, who was a Danish kickboxing champion, seems ready to go 5 more rounds. The third round seems very even. Thales punches aren’t as clean but he is landing a lot of them but so is Martin. Thales does look the worse for wear. Martin has some nice 1-2 punch combos, but he doesn’t seem to have the heavy hands needed for KO power. Martin is definitely picking away at Thales. Martin is finishing the round strong. Definitely the winner is Martin, but if Thales kicks up his cardio he looks like he would be a very formidable contender. Martin wins with a unanimous decision.
6th and final fight of the night is between Matt Serra and Chris Lytle. So far this has been a really good show.. minimal commercials and a lot of good fights. They come out with a few punches and Matt goes right for the takedown. Lytle’s training must have really included a lot of defense because Matt is having a hard time of it. They are pretty even for most of the first round. I would probably give Serra the advantage as the aggressor. In Round 2, they come out swinging again with Serra pushing Lytle up against the fence working for a throw or trip. Lytle is hanging in there with some really good stand-up countering Serra’s attempts. I think Lytle’s height is an advantage. Serra is only 5’6″ and with personal experience, I know it’s really hard to take a taller guy down. They block you with their hands as you shoot in.. when they sprawl, their legs go further back and if you even get a leg or arm their height helps with their balance. Lytle seems to have all the right moves. In the 3rd Round, Serra is finally able to get Lytle down, but Serra is unable to get into a better position with Lytle’s counters. I am starting to think Serra’s takedowns aren’t as good as they are cracked up to be. I see a couple of times where he has Lytle’s arm and can go for a Jap throw or a hip throw or even a lateral drop, but Serra doesn’t seem to capitalize on this. It’s going to have to go to the judges. 30-27 for Serra, 30-27 Lytle and 30-27 for Serra. Its a split decision for Serra. Lytle is clearly disappointed. There are a few “Boos” as Serra gets the decision. I just can’t see how it wasn’t more like 29-28. I figure that the judges probably voted in Serra’s favor for his aggressiveness.
It was overall a really good show and probalby one of the best season finales for TUF.