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TUF 6: Episode 8 Thoughts/Recap

Not a whole lot going on in this week’s episode, but a great fight at the end.

As usual, we open with a recap of the last fight. George Sotiropolous dominated Jared Rollins for those who don’t know. Team Serra is up 6-1 on Team Hughes and only two fighters remain, so we already know the matchup for the this week.

Serra revels in the fact that he’s 6-1, saying Hughes might want to go get a “Coaching for Dummies” book.

The final quarterfinal matchup will be Tommy Speer versus John “War Machine” Koppenhaver. Dana White comments that Tommy’s a farm boy with little experience while Koppenhaver has had the luxury of training with the Lion’s Den and Phil Baroni.

At Team Hughes’ camp, Hughes struggles with what appears to be a lack of effort from Tommy. As usual, Hughes is giving his fighter tough love, slapping Tommy on the face and pushing him around, asking him to show some emotion. Hughes’ favorite saying, “you’re just doin’ moves out here” is heard several times. He seems to say this about every single one of his fighters.

At Team Serra, Matt Serra describes John Koppenhaver as “a nut.” He feels that John’s biggest weakness is his mental toughness and John flips out when he feels that Serra is coaching George instead of coaching him. John expresses his feelings toward Ben Saunders and Serra overhears them. Serra tells Koppenhaver to not hold anything back and to tell Serra what’s on his mind so he can make him better. Serra, once again, comes off as a really solid coach but doesn’t see the kind of attitude out of John that he wants to see.

So far both coaches don’t see the right attitude out of their fighters.

Back at Team Hughes, Tommy’s teammates rave about his “farm boy strength” and his wrestling ability. Hughes says Tommy reminds him of himself in his younger days. Dorian Price says Speer derives his strength from “lifting horses or knocking out cows or whatever he does on the farm.” Yes, Dorian, he lifts horses and knocks out cows on the farm. Good one. Tommy’s gameplan, according to Hughes, will be to take the fight to the ground and impose his will on “War Machine.” Hughes says it’s a big fight for him personally.

At Team Serra, Serra sees some improvement from Koppenhaver and feels he’s turning a corner as far as training goes. He seems to be working hard, taking it seriously, and improving. Serra tells “War” that he’s growing on him like ringworm. Ugh.

Koppenhaver tells his teammates about his past and about how he has no family. His father had a heart attack when John was 13. John revived him with CPR but he later died at the hospital. He’s pretty emotional about it because he says he has nothing to do in the house but think about it because there’s nothing to do. The house seems to be taking a real mental toll on some of the fighters. John says he’s fighting only for himself because he has no Mom, no Dad, no family. He’s super nervous about the fight and is saying crazy stuff like he’ll never fight again if he wins.

John says he has to be successful in fighting because he has nothing else other than that. Tommy can go back to his farm but John has everything to lose because he has to be successful. He’s got a very “me against the world” attitude.

The fighters both make weight and we’re looking at a fight at right around 10:40 EST, so it’s gotta be a good one.

Tommy Speer (Team Hughes) vs. John “War Machine” Koppenhaver (Team Serra)

Round 1:

John comes right out of the box and lands a leg kick and an overhand right that catches Speer on the nose, cutting him open. Koppenhaver takes him down immediately and works for Tommy’s back. It’s clear at this point that Tommy is bleeding heavily. It’s streaming out onto the mat in big puddles while Koppenhaver eventually takes his back and works for a rear naked choke. John has a deep rear naked in but Tommy defends. He keeps trying for the rear naked, almost getting it sunk in several times, but seems to be gassing himself in the process. Eventually Tommy is able to turn into Koppenhaver, ending up in his guard and starting to land some vicious punches and elbows from the top position. Eventually Tommy gets mount and pounds Koppenhaver relentlessly with elbows and punches. Koppenhaver tries several escapes but none of them work. He spends the last half of the first round mounted with Tommy pounding on him and the bell rings. There is blood everywhere.

I thought Mazagatti was going to step in to stop the fight during the last minute. Koppenhaver was doing nothing but covering up and eating punches and elbows. If the round had gone much longer, the fight would have been stopped.

Round 2:

Not much could be done to stop the cut on Tommy’s nose and Team Serra is yelling “he’s leaking, he’s leaking!” He sure is. It’s streaming down his face and both fighters are covered in it. John comes out and tries to throw another leg kick but Tommy catches it and takes him down immediately. He works ground and pound from John’s guard until John throws up an armbar attempt that allows Tommy to pass to side mount. He uses a key lock attempt to bait John into letting him mount him and then spends the rest of the round switching from side mount to mount and pounding John’s face in with punches and elbows until the round ends.

Koppenhaver can hardly make it back to his corner after the second round he’s so gassed. The mat and the fighters are both covered in Tommy’s blood. Great fight. All three judges score the fight 20-18 in favor of Team Hughes’ Tommy Speer.

Team Hughes finally gets a victory and finishes the quarterfinals with a 2-6 deficit to Team Serra and no control over the semifinal matchups.

Next Week:

Blake and Mac make up. Serra picks the semifinal matchups and hints at making Hughes’ two fighters fight one another. Hughes says if that happens that he’ll throw a fit. So much drama in the LBC.

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