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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.

  • screwface says:

    good fight, warmachine did better than i thought. tommy almost tapped early in 1st round, when warmachine was on his back choking him, tommy def tapped his arm once and then rethought it. good fight tho but shame war didnt listen to serras advice. serra clearly said during the training that the reason why he kept getting taken down was cuz of those leg kicks. so 2nd round when war came in with the obvious 2nd leg kick tommy knew it was comin and dominated the round on the ground. war mighta had a better chance if he kept it standing.

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  • jaydog says:

    War-Machine said his specialty was ground’n’pound. We’ll he gets him down against the fence (and bloodied!) and what does he do? He goes for a choke and does very little damage while he’s in control. It’s all downhill from there. Clearly a case of nerves. War-Machine psyched himself out and we saw a lot of sloppy attempts at punishment. Okay, everyone’s a critic. I’m just looking forward to the series boiling down to the few credible fighters on this cast.

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  • garth says:

    Tommy’s strikes from the top didn’t look so great or viscious… it looked more like him sitting on top of John for most of the fight is what caused the problem…Tommy’s a big dude and knows how to apply weight. john looked amazingly gassed. i think he did a fantastic job of fighting someone with well above-average wrestling skills.
    in the end, i’d like to see both guys fight again. entertaining fight, and i finally learned my lesson and just recorded that, instead of littering my DVR with the whole ep. keen!
    side note: which fighters haven’t cried yet? who’s setting a line on when the remaining non-cryers will leak hot slaty tears? George and Mac are the only ones i’d bet on not crying at all, and maybe Richie since he seems like a soulless frat boy. just a guess tho, TV adds ten pounds to your asshole.

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  • dizzle says:

    Tommy gased out in the first round struggling to get away from the rear naked choke. They were both gased out from the first round. Tommy was just the smarter fighter in both rounds. I think if Tommy didn’t recieve that vicious right from war machine that opened up that wound between his eyes…he could have finished the fight in the first round by ref stopage.

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  • Luke says:

    I’m sorry, but that was one of the worst fights in TUF history. To say that War Machine has very little to offer from his back is an understatement. He had virtually no half guard, he was WAY too high on the back, he didn’t tuck his glove under his chin to finish the choke, and worst of all, didn’t try A SINGLE escape from Speer’s VERY ESCAPABLE mount. Tommy was sitting below his stomach for crying out loud. His punches didn’t have a lot of steam on them and not once did War Machine try to bridge to shrimp to half guard. That is BJJ 101. I’m sorry, but that fight sucked and I cannot believe the UFC is passing this off as A-level MMA.

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  • dizzle says:

    Luke try being gased out and getting out of a mount. Plus these guys don’t have days to rest before a fight like the real UFC Professionals. Look passed the fact that they have “UFC” in the title of the show and you’ll see it was an excellent fight.

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  • Luke says:

    “Luke try being gased out and getting out of a mount.”

    Um, I have. A lot. A whole lot. You see, I trained and mount escapes is an important component of that. No one is saying it’s easy. What I’m saying is that escaping the mount – tired or not – requires certain fundamentals that War Machine wasn’t practicing. Making you tired doesn’t mean your memory is erased.

    If someone is mounted on you, you should always be moving trying to shrimp your hips out. Always. Always keep moving your hips. The WHOLE POINT of the mount is to leave your opponent with no way to use their hips. When you move, that makes your opponent’s ability to stay on top that much more difficult. Moreover, you never actually SIT in mount. There should be distance between your ass and your opponents body because if you sit on them and they bridge, you stand a much better chance of getting bucked.

    The key opportunity to escape the mount is when your opponent throws a punch. If you’re bridging he should come forward, allowing you just enough space to shrimp your hips out and recapture half if not full guard. Tommy was LITERALLY SITTING ON WAR MACHINE. Not only that, he was sitting low. A good mount is right up inside the arm pits. Tommy was leaning over to punch for crying out loud. I’m sure Tommy is strong as an ox, but from a technical level, mounts don’t get much easier to escape than that. War Machine could’ve given his back and it would’ve been better than what he was doing. Hell, roll to the side. At least from there you can tempt the arm bar and you stand a better chance of getting your hips outside.

    Don’t lecture me on mount escapes unless you’ve done them yourself. I realize these guys on the show are young and just need some experience. I’m not saying they’re bad fighters, I’m saying they’re inexperienced and it shows. Either War Machine doesn’t know mount escapes (unlikely) or he abandoned them and spazzed out (more likely). Either way, that proves he’s young in the fight game AND that this fight was very short of anything approximating “technical”.

    They both fought their hearts out and my hat goes off to them, but that doesn’t in and of itself make it a great or A-level fight. Gameness isn’t enough at the top.

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  • Luke says:

    trained = train…present tense

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  • Crazylegs says:

    Luke, I completely agree with you on your technical analysis of War Machine’s fight.

    The only disagreement I have is that I don’t feel the UFC is trying to pass these fights off as A-level caliber. They are definitely, for the most part, entertaining but the point of the show is to “discover” an A-level fighter (or possibly two) who could possibly make it in the UFC.

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  • dizzle says:

    No need to explain yourself to me Luke. I too train on a weekly basisr. I was raised in a family of 6 brothers and I’ve been doing “real” wrestling since the age of 6. I understand fundamentals of leverage in a ground fight. If you’re so confident that you know what should have happened during the fight…then I say you get into MMA and go fight War Machine and see if your techniques work against a trained fighter.

    The thing is…these guys haven’t fought infront of the camera…nervous take a factor in how you perform in front of millions of viewers. They were both gased out in the first round. War Machine had his hooks in from the choke, but Tommy struggled to get out of it and did so. They are both good fighters and they both deserve alot of respect from the MMA community.

    also if you watched the fight…ic ould have swore that tommy tapped out from the choke while being on his side. Not sure if anyone else noticed that or not.

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  • dizzle says:

    also next episode dana white changes things up a bit….serra doesn’t get to pick the fights, but instead Hughes gets to pick the fights.

    just my personal feelings.

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  • Captain says:

    This recap seems a little tame if you ask me. Did someone put Morgan on a leash?

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  • MoreThanUFC says:

    “If you’re so confident that you know what should have happened during the fight…then I say you get into MMA and go fight War Machine and see if your techniques work against a trained fighter.”

    A statement I would guess comes out of the mouth of someone who doesnt train.

    I fight in MMA, albiet still amatuers. I’m 4-1 now after dropping my first via decision to a guy with 6 amatuer bouts to his credit. The last four wins have all come via sub or tap to strikes from the mount. Those are my qualifications, along with 16 years training military HTH, 10 in jujitsu, and 2.5 in muay thai.

    I completely agree with Luke’s assessment, so if you dont buy his opinion, I suggest you buy mine. I know I know what I’m doing.

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  • Adam Morgan says:


    No leash. This episode was just lame all around. Not enough people to poke fun at.

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  • Captain says:

    ^^^I haven’t watched yet, so I’ll take your word for it. Guess I should also pick up a six-pack on the way home before I watch, so thanks for the heads up. If it’s that bad I might have to watch the end of last week’s episode just so I can see that shot of Hughes shakin his head again. Man that was awesome.

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