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TUF 6: Episode 6 Thoughts/Recap

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Let me begin by saying this was the best episode of the season so far. Hands down.

This show began right off the bat with the fight pick. No BS at the beginning, no high fives in the locker room, no recap of the last fight. Good, I didn’t want to see that crap anyways.

Team Serra has the pick and he chooses his guy Ben Saunders to fight against one of Hughes’ top guys, Dan Barrera.

There is something they can learn from this episode to do in future episodes. Spend part of the show profiling one fighter, spend another part of the show profiling another fighter, then they fight. For instance, tonight I learned a lot about Dan Barrera. He’s a really likable guy, seems super determined, and seems to have a fantastic work ethic. He has a dedication to his beliefs, to training, and to his wife. I felt like this episode actually let us get to know a fighter instead of trying to show us fighters at their worst moments for the entertainment of those at home.

Dan trains hard. Maybe a little too hard, according to his teammates. He goes a little too hard in practice with Blake Bowman and Jared Rollins, even kneeing Rollins in the nuts at one point. After the knee, Rollins and Barrera train pretty damn hard, going at it. Rollins is going for kneebars, Barrera is stuffing Rollins’ takedowns, and there’s even some shit talking going on. Good shit. I like watching the training sequences, they’re much better than fighters sitting at the house saving fucking bees from drowning.

The funniest part of this sequence was that Barrera kept asking to use the restroom and disappearing for like 10 or 15 minutes at a time. All his teammates are asking what the hell he’s doing. A few minutes later they show video from the bathroom. At one point Barrera is standing there with his pants down, shadowboxing in front of the mirror. Other times he’s just making sure he looks good, and then the rest of the time he’s shadowboxing in the mirror. At the end he’s shown walking out of the bathroom with toilet paper stuck to his foot. Classic.

Over in Team Serra’s camp, we get a glimpse of what Ben Saunders is like. He’s been a pretty nonexistent part of the show so far, yet made a small appearance on the last episode. I don’t know why we haven’t seen much of him, but he seems like a really likable guy as well, someone fans can latch onto. He’s a little crazy, it seems, and he is looking forward to a good scrap. Good, so am I.

The next morning they show Barrera getting up at 4:15 AM to go on a four or five mile run and do a workout. It’s sort of a montage with him talking about his beliefs, his life, his family. It’s pretty cool to hear the guy talk, he’s very grounded.

The next day in practice, Hughes thinks he’s going to teach Barrera a lesson about training too hard and pretty much works him in practice. I mean, Hughes manhandles Barrera. Manhandles him so bad that Barrera’s hand looks like a balloon at the end of the training session. When they get into the van after practice, all of his fingers and the top part of his palm are black and blue and his hand looks like a grapefruit. Most of the fighters look at him like it’s broken, he just thinks he popped some blood vessels. Either way, it looks real nasty.

At this point I’m thinking Hughes is going to be sick to his stomach if he’s the one who broke Barrera’s hand. How awful would that have been and how bad would Hughes have come off? I was ready to rip him to shreds in this column tonight.

Barrera eventually goes to the doc, gets an X-Ray, and is cleared to fight. Whew. They didn’t show it, but I bet Hughes was the most relieved of anyone besides Dan himself. So, he’s been cleared to fight and that drama’s over and now we can move onto the fight.

Or can we? For the second week in a row, a fighter gets a call from home. Dan is allowed to call his wife, who seems to have had some sort of panic attack or seizure. She says the devil is doing this to her purposely while he’s away and that she’s been saying her last prayers. I mean, it was some wild shit. Dan stays on the phone with her and prays with her until she calms down. He then gets her sister to go stay with her until he returns.

So not only is the guy dealing with injury, he’s dealing with drama at home. He’s got some serious balls.

The fight itself started at about 10:35 EST, so I knew it was probably going to be decent. Decent is an understatement. This was one of the best fights in the history of The Ultimate Fighter and I don’t think that’s overstating it. The one thing I’m noticing about these fights is that Serra seems to be the better corner. He is always yelling out instructions while you hear Hughes just throw something out every now and then. Or, maybe it’s just that Serra’s louder.

Anyways, these two guys came to scrap. They both come out of the box firing, Dan with punches and Ben with knees and kicks to the legs and body. Dan is more active throughout the round, punching in bunches and scoring in the clinch. At one point he lands a huge overhand right that drops Saunders to the mat. Ben’s nose is bleeding pretty profusely and Dan just stands above him while Saunders lies on his back. Herb Dean finally stands them up and after a failed takedown attempt, Saunders ends up back on the floor with Dan standing over him. Herb Dean again stands Saunders up. Dan lands a nice right hand at the end of the round and Saunders lands a couple of knees, one of which cuts Dan’s forehead. Round ends and both fighters are dripping with blood.

I’ve got the round score 10-9, as did most everyone, mainly due to the overhand right that rocked Saunders earlier in the round. Overall he was more active and did more damage in round one.

Round two is a different story. Ben dominates this round with combinations of knees, kicks, and punches. He kept Barrera outside of the clinch and used his range to pick Barrera apart. The cut on Barrera’s forehead looks to be a pretty nasty cut and the blood is running down into Barrera’s eyes. At one point Herb Dean stops the fight and asks him if he wants to fight and he says yes. They continue to trade strikes and Saunders lands a solid knee that drops Barrera for a moment and he’s right back up, trading punches. Horn sounds.

I’ve got the round 10-9 for Ben Saunders, one round apiece. We’re headed to Sudden Victory, baby. Round three.

Or are we? Dana seems to think so. Corners seem to think so. That is, until wise Herb Dean tells them there is no round three and that there’s a winner. Ben Saunders. Turns out two of the judges score the first round for Saunders. Hughes is livid. I’m livid. Dana’s livid. These guys deserve a third round. There is no clear winner.

Dana says “I don’t want to bash the judges, but that was some horrible judging.” You got that right, Dana.

Hughes asks NSAC commish Keith Kizer where his judges go to school and if they are trained judges. Kizer tells Hughes he thought he was a little more professional than that. All the while he has a really guilty and nervous smile on his face. He knew it was bullshit.

dan_barrera_TUFIn the locker room, Matt Arroyo tells Dana he should give Ben a $5,000 bonus for putting on such a good fight. Dana says he’ll give it to the both of them. In Team Hughes’ locker room, Hughes is pissed, Dan looks like his face has been pounded on with a hammer, and Dana tells Dan great fight and says he’ll get a $5,000 bonus. Dan is grateful, says he can help out his family with that money. Very grounded guy, I’m positive we’ll see him in a prime time spot on the TUF 6 Finale card.

Solid show this week. Real solid and a great fight to boot.

Team Serra goes up 5-1 and Hughes gets no say in the quarterfinal pairings.

Next week, Hughes looks like he wants to take the way of Noah Inhoefer and Joe Scarola and leave the show. Seems like more of a motivational tool, but that’s how they were playing it on the teaser. Also, he is raging pissed that his team is losing and decides to be rough on them in practice, yet again.

34 COMMENTS
  • jaydog says:

    Wrong on round one. Dan landed one good punch and it didn’t significantly damage Ben. Plus, he didn’t follow up, instead standing over Ben for 45 seconds (twice!). Meanwhile, Ben stayed busy, although sloppy, with his striking. Dan’s lack of a gameplan became clearer in round two, clarifying for the judges that this guy wasn’t really committed to offense, much less winning.

    Hughes’ awful coaching inspires more uninspired performances. Strike three for negative reinforcement and using your fighters as the object of the coach’s frustrations. Dan should get sympathy for his (coach inflicted) injury and problems at home, but he shouldn’t have gotten $5k. He didn’t win and he basically froze and a good chin saved him. If Ben had better accuracy, Dan would have been TKO’d. In fact, he should have been instead of being asked if he wanted to continue and basically given a standing eight. Sad ref’ing, coaching, and UFC prez’ing.

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  • […] Defending Dana White in regards to bad MMA judging. Matt Hughes, however, is not thrilled about UFC judging. Keith Kizer trying to deflect the heat from Hughes… what can you say. Adam Morgan elaborates. […]

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  • Sean says:

    Please rewatch the 1st round of the fight…how you think Dan was the busier of the two fighters, baffles me…He landed 1 punch that did damage, a great punch at that, but still one punch…Ben dropped him with a short right later on in the round, plus he had some solid kicks to the leg, body, & head…and then there were the knees that damaged Dan’s face…if you rewatch the the fight, Dan fights pretty much the same way, minus the big punch from round 1…

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  • Zane says:

    1 and 2. You go watch it again. Dan most definitely won the round, Ben was sloppy and didn’t land anything. You see him throwin kicks and punches that don’t land and you consider that damage. But Dans huge right caused no damage. Come one guys, lets get real here. Good call Mania. I agree 100%.

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  • HexRei says:

    his wife is a nutbar, i bet she drowns the kids and says the devil made her do it.

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  • Ivan Trembow says:

    Saunders vs. Barrera was, above all else, a very good fight, but it was not a particularly close fight, and I don’t think there would be much in the way of controversy if Matt Hughes didn’t react the way that he did. (Hughes, by the way, didn’t seem to have a problem with MMA judges when two of the three judges in his fight against Renato Verissimo somehow scored the fight 30-27 in favor of Hughes, which was downright ridiculous.)

    Saunders kicked Barrera’s ass for the entire second round, and while different people have different opinions on what constitutes a 10-8 round in MMA, it’s fair to say that Round 2 of that fight COULD have been a 10-8 round due to the complete domination, but at the very least it’s a 10-9 round for Saunders.

    In the first round, it wasn’t the complete ass-kicking that Round 2 was, but Saunders still out-struck Barrera for the vast majority of the round. The obvious exception to that is the one knockdown, but even with that knockdown, Saunders did not appear to be dazed or on the verge of being finished. He was trying to apply a submission within seconds of being knocked down, and he was back up and winning the stand-up not long thereafter. Asking yourself who won the first round really comes down to what is more important: Barrera’s one knockdown, or Saunders winning the other parts of the round.

    This is not boxing, so one knockdown does not necessarily mean that you won the round. One knockdown can give you a round in MMA if very little else happens in the round, but it doesn’t automatically give you the round as it does in boxing.

    With a cumulative, non-ten-point-must scoring system, it was not even a close fight because of that second round. Even with a ten-point-must scoring system, the only way it could be a draw is if you both:

    A) Determine that Round 2 was not a 10-8 round even though Saunders was kicking ass from the beginning of the round to the end

    AND

    B) Determine that Barrera’s one knockdown in Round 1 was more important than Saunders out-striking Barrera for the vast majority of Round 1

    There are a lot of highly questionable BS judges’ decisions in MMA, with Bisping vs. Hamill being the most recent example, but I don’t think this was one of them.

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  • Jeremy says:

    You know what I have to agree with most of the posters in here right now that I actually gave the 1st round to Saunders. After the knockdown I thought Saunders did more and scored more then Barrera. The 2nd round wasn’t even close obviously. Once they said the judges had a decision you had to know it was going Saunders way since the 2nd round was total domination on his part. You couldn’t score it any other way, so it was going to basically come down to if you think the one knockdown was enough to out point Saunders more aggressive work in the round? I went Saunders way. I could see either way though, it really comes down to how you score it.

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  • Fin Diesel says:

    I as well thought Ben won both rounds, and if he didn’t, you could argue that the 2nd round was nearly a 10-8.

    There have been much more controversial decisions. Of course, the Bisping v Hammil fight being the latest….

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  • dizzle says:

    I scored the fight on my card 10-9 Berra first round and 10-8 Saunders 2nd round.

    Berra looked super sloppy during the fight.

    I have high hopes for Saunders…he seems like a great fighter…but to me looks like he has a weak chin.

    Berra has super strong chin…don’t know how many times he got kicked and punched in the head.

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  • jt says:

    Somebody tell Barra to tone down the “Godtalk”. Anyone that uses Godtalk that much clearly has no clue what they are talking about.

    Also, on a side note….Why is no one talking about Gabe Gonzaga among Heavyweight contenders. Everyone is talking about Tim, Kongo, and Big Nog. I say lets do a tourney among the Four.

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  • FightFan says:

    jt, you hit it on the head. Dan needs to tone it down. As a person of faith, I always cringe when Matt H. and Dan open thier mouth.

    Dan sure talked a big game before the fight. His performance was a huge disappointment. He had no clue what to do when the money was on the line. It’s all well and good to throw your partner around in practice when they don’t hit back. It’s another thing when you are catching legs and knees with your face. When Matt showed him who his daddy was that pretty much exposed who he really is… a whack job.

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  • Sarah says:

    adam – i agree this was the best episode so far and that they did a better job of characterizing the fighters so we got to know them better.

    but man, was dan barrera crazy. not sure if i can say that i liked him after learning about him, as entertaining as it was to watch him pull down his pants and look at himself in the mirror. and his wife – i wish someone would tell her she’s not having devil seizures, she’s having a panic attack. although i guess it’s kind of nice to see two totally insane people in love. and in love with Jesus.

    it looked to me like the fight should have gone to a third round.

    i can’t wait for next week though, when matt hughes, one of my least-liked fighters, blames ALL OF HIS FIGHTERS for what looks to me like uninspired COACHING on his part. and he threatens to leave? as if his absence would be a punishment? not to me…

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  • dizzle says:

    JT I think you have no clue what you’re talking about. The guy believes in his GOD and there is nothing wrong with that. He prayed to his GOD to ask him and his family get through the hardtimes that they were going through. I think if anything that gives him more of a motive to want to do better…not only for himself but for what he beleives in and his family.

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  • Mike C. says:

    #12 What was ridiculous was when he said he was going to win because God loved him more.

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  • Adam Morgan says:

    I don’t think Dan was preachy at all. He has very strong beliefs, but in no way was he ever pushing his beliefs on anyone throughout the episode. Unlike Hughes, with his “optional” bible study.

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  • Mike C. says:

    I meant #13

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  • dizzle says:

    #14 Mike

    Dan never said that God loved him more. He just said that he was going to win because God Loves him. There is nothign wrong with that type of mental focus before a fight.

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  • FightFan says:

    Yes, Mike there is something very wrong when you think you will win because God lives you. That is saying that God does not love your opponent, which of course is utter nonsense. His inmature faith should be toned down. If you can’t get the basics that God loves everyone without prejudice, then you should keep you faith a very private matter. Otherwise he becomes a scandal. Just sayin’

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  • Mike Olson says:

    It was obvious that Dan won the first round. Matt Serra, Ben’s coach, told him as he approached the corner to get ready for third round. He scored the fight the same way as the rest of the people who have a clue about MMA rules and scoring.

    Dan won the first round quite easily (winning the standup and nearly knocking Ben out; had he listened to his horrible coach he could have easily won by ref stoppage or KO), and the second round was indeed dominated by Ben. To say that the first round went to Ben is ridiculous. He was more active. Blocked the majority of the kicks and knees and landed numerous good shots.

    I actually taped the fight and had to watch a few more times just to see if they had scored it right. They hadn’t… Glad to see the fighters were rewarded for going in there and actually fighting. However, Dan just baffled me by not trying to finish Ben when he had him hurt and nearly knocked out. Turned out to be HUGE mistake. Best episode of the season…easily!

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  • dizzle says:

    #18 How do you figure there is something wrong with that. Just because he says GOD loves him doesn’t mean he is implying that God does not love his oppenent. He just saying that type of stuff because he knows that with his faith in God that he will win the fight. He didn’t win either way, but it wasn’t because god loves or doesn’t love him. I think people are looking to far into his beliefs. Also remember this is reality TV…we didn’t get to hear everything he said. They make the show be controversial so that people like us get to stand up for the character or put him down.

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  • a. hieronymous says:

    Adam, why don’t you ask Dan out on a date already. “Very grounded”?! He’s a nutcase that’s woken up by “God” every morning at 4:15 & shadowboxes in the bathroom mirror with his shorts down. It’s too bad his wife had a nervous breakdown; that’ll happen when the breadwinner in a young marriage quits his job to go on a reality-show. Dan, bless his heart, is just another wack-job fighter who can dish it out but can’t take it.

    As for the cornering, one of the reasons Serra is on this season is his ability to successfully coach someone through a fight. Mat Hughes has blogged that he doesn’t have the same kind of energy, so he just tells Lawler what to say Lawler yells it out for him. You do know both fighter have their own TUF blogs, right?

    People always rag on judges when the fighter they like better loses a decision, but openly questioning the judges? You might as well be on a damn playground whining to the teacher. They made their call…deal with it. Better yet: next time don’t leave it in their hands. Barerra claimed the first round was 10-8. Who looked like the Elephant Man at the end of the fight?

    I gotta say…this was a terrible review of the show. Were we even watching the same program?

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  • dizzle says:

    #21 I think that your opinion on Bera is way off. How can you say he’s a wack-job figther? Because he trains hard and gets into a routine just like every other hard worker in the world does. That isn’t called Crazy…that’s called being a hardworking individual with a passion for fighting.

    I wake up everyday at the same time and do the same routine everyday. So does that mean I’m a wackjob too?

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  • TwoExtremes says:

    I think Dan Barrera showed that you can look, train and talk like a fighter, but that doesn’t make you a fighter. His technique standing up was awful and he had no ground game. It seems to me that Barrera is in love with himself and likes to pretend to be a fighter, but pretending will get you a loss and an ass-whoopin’.

    Also, running away from an opponent as Barrera did in the second round is the antithesis of a courageous fighting spirit.

    In any event, we need a rematch of this fight on the TUF finale.

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  • a. hieronymous says:

    Props to you Dizzle. I have trouble getting up for my 7am workout & it shows. But if you pulled half the antics Dan did on last nights episode, I’d call you a wack-job too. Maybe some of it has to do with being a young guy under enormous pressure with a horrible teacher. Maybe he was starting to crack & this was his coping mechanism. Maybe the editors were trashing him.

    I just thought he came off as an athletic, hyper, naive dude who kicked a little too much ass in practice but had trouble backing up the trash talk when he was in the cage.

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  • dizzle says:

    Well Hieronymous I think that the video editors wanted to protray him that way in the show. I think that Dan was a little over the edge while in training, but he was taught a lesson by Hughes. And where do you get off saying that Hughes is a horrible teacher? I think that you aren’t looking passed what TV is showing us. We only get to see very small bits and pieces of every workout/training sessions these guys have. Hughes has the experience of a being a champion and he’s trained alot of other fighters out there. Hughes isn’t the guy who has trained theses guys since their venture into MMA…he only has these guys for a month 1/2. He is only trying to better the skills that each fighter has brought to the table. If you noticed Hughes was very upsets at the fact that Bera wasn’t following directions from his corner while being in the fight. Hughes can’t just jump into the cage and talk him through the match.

    I feel that Hughes is a great teacher and that his figthers haven’t been able to perform to 100%.

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  • a. hieronymous says:

    True…I’m not a huge Hughes fan so I’m probably seeing his coaching skills the way I want to. I have to admit that his guys can’t follow a game plan to save their lives, which isn’t all his fault. I’ve read on Mac’s blog, too, that Hughes kinda sorta “dumbed-down” the workouts to accomodate fighters who weren’t quite as developed. I honestly think, though, that Serra is a fantastic coach, which has to have helped his team so far.

    Yes, the editors probably had a field day with Barerra. But in all fairness, he gave them plenty to work with.

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  • dizzle says:

    Either way…everyone in the show are great fighters with excellent skills…if they weren’t fighters then they wouldn’t be in the show.

    Hughes is doing a great job with coaching, but his team isn’t being open-minded.

    Serra is a great coach and his team is very open-minded.

    This was the best episode by far…

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  • garth says:

    This recap = lame. I had Ben winning both rounds too. I though Dan threw one good punch, and a couple halfway punches, and spent a lot of the round getting chased. His idiot “stand there and stare” space out was costly too. He let Ben recover from his only effective offensive move of the fight. That one punch, while it was a good one, was it.
    I didn’t even think this was a great fight. It was a bit above average. Ben has some interesting striking skills, and Dan seemed to have some skill, but he’s super-raw. The Dan profile was interesting, but the interaction with his girlfriend was creepy. I know lots of people with mental disorders (I hang out on MMA sites!) and I’m wondering if she’s not borderline bipolar or suffering from depression. Who knows.
    Overall, decent ep. I guess I’ll defer to the coaches on the judging/action/etc. Dana seems to have found a new Emerson.

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  • The Atom. says:

    Im in the UK. Cant wait to see this fight on monday night now, annoyed at myself for reading all your comments and spoiling the surprise, but thats just made me even more desperate to see this controversial episode and gain my own opinion.
    C’MON Monday!!!!

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  • garth says:

    and as far as being a wackjob, I think Barrera has some issues, but no more than anyone else. The various routines are easy to understand. he was in the military, and he’s a fighter. Two jobs that involve lots and lots of tedium, repetition, and waiting. you develop lots of ways to pass the time.

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  • a. hieronymous says:

    I dunno…from his first appearance on the show “Matt Hughes sees God in me” to his last, “I won that round 10-8! I have a wife, 2 horses & a dog!” he seemed to be a little…well…wacked-out.

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  • big O says:

    the ufc always seems to stack the deck with guys who have no business even watching fights. this season its barrera, last season it was emerson, wang, and that other guy. i think they pick like 4 guys who they know will make it to the end and 12 other guys who are athletic morons, ie: dan barrera.

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  • Buttkick says:

    Dan Barrera deserved a 3rd round. This judges are morons, and the people saying that Ben won the first round… You are idiots too.

    A knockdown is a knockdown, you just don”t let it pass like a “normal” punch or attack, you hurted very badly your opponent, Dan only lacked experience, so he didn’t finish the fight.

    If this was in pride, he would come kicking Ben’s head, and that was it, he just froze because the rules don’t make easier to attack the oponent making guard in the UFC. And what about Ben in the ground with his legs open like a whore? That’s humiliating, and I’m a Jiu Jitsu practicioner, but standind in the ground like a slut with legs open, doesn’t count as attack for me, and he did this 3 times in the first round, so he clealy lost.
    The second was all Ben, but we should’ve seen the 3rd.

    Only internet morons and this fucked judges can’t see that was a tie. EVERYBODY at the fight thought that a 3rd round was mandatory.

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  • Buttkick says:

    I really like to know the name of this idiotc judges so I can pay attention to their stupidities.

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