The twelfth season of the Ultimate Fighter has seen its fair share of dramatic events and exciting fights. Episode nine further set the table by hosting two of the four quarterfinal fights. As the season nears a close these fighters continue to push their selves and become the next Ultimate Fighter.
Episode nine began back at the TUF house where friends and training partners Sevak Magakian and Sako Chivitchian were discussing Sako’s upcoming fight against Jonathan Brookins. Brookins defeated Sevak to knock him from the competition so that places an extra boost of motivation for Sako. Brookins knows this and expects Sako to come more prepared and be a big challenge in their upcoming fight.
St. Pierre opens his team’s training session with a discussion on how their practices will train. Instead of hardcore physical exercise, the fighters will now go through more game planning sessions and tactical explanations of what St. Pierre expects form them during their upcoming fights.
Koscheck helps Sako prep for the fight by forcing him to learn how to return to his feet when taken down. The game plan was to keep the fight standing and avoid Brookins ability to take his opponents down and submit them from a dominant position. Sako feels that his experience in martial arts is an advantage and that he will be able to control where the fight takes place.
Round one of the fight begins with both fighters circling and feeling each other out. Brookins takes the first opportunity to shoot in for a double leg, but Sako defends and presses his opponent against the cage. Sako goes for a takedown but instead ends up in a bad position. Brookins scrambles and takes his opponent’s back while pressed against the cage. Sako tries to work what he was shown during his training time with Koscheck, but Brookins drags him to the ground. From that point, Brookins positions himself to secure the rear naked choke, while Sako uses hand fighting to keep him at bay. He isn’t able to stop all the attempts though as Brookins locks in the submission hold and forces Sako to tap; winning the fight and moving into the semifinal round. This is Sako’s first time losing in his MMA career and he takes the upset very hard.
The second fight of the evening placed Nam Pham of team Koscheck against Cody McKenzie from team GSP. During training GSP comments on how confident McKenzie is that he will walk through his competition in any confrontation. However, GSP believes that Nam Pham will be a problem for his fighter and their strategy is to keep Pham against the cage so he can’t use his variety of skills.
Everyone knows that McKenzie is great at using the guillotine choke to defeat his opponents and Koscheck works with Pham to develop a strategy against that maneuver. Pham is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu but the game plan is still to keep the fight on the feet and avoid that choke.
Round one of the second fight begins with both fighters exchanging blows. McKenzie pressed Pham against the cage and controls his opponent firmly. McKenzie tries to drag his opponent to the ground but is unable to secure a better position. Before the round ends, Pham separates from his opponent and opens up with some striking. McKenzie tries to push forward but Pham continues to score with punches and kicks. McKenzie is finally able to gain control against the cage once again, but the round comes to a close.
The second round begins with Pham quickly gaining the upper hand with his striking. McKenzie once again tries to control Pham against the cage, but he is unable to hold his opponent in that position. Pham is able to create space and continues pelting McKenzie with head kicks, jabs and body blows. McKenzie tries to move away but is caught by a left hook to the body which causes his to drop to the floor. Pham jumps into place and lands a few more shots to the head before being separated by the referee. With this victory Pham moves into the semifinal round of the Ultimate Fighter.
St. Pierre voices his concern with how Koscheck was parading around the cage after the victory, stating that Koscheck has gotten under his skin and that will motivate him even more to win their fight in December.
Next week’s episode of the Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP versus Team Koscheck will feature the last two quarterfinal fights. Aaron Wilkinson will face off with Kyle Watson and Michael Johnson will battle his teammate Alex Caceres. Tune in to see which of these guys will move one step closer to the contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
You can also follow The MMA Zone on Twitter here.