by Dean Amasinger, Special to MMAWeekly.com
After week nine’s gutsy performance by Frank, the scores are
level going into the semi-finals at 4-4. The semi-final picks were interesting
and as much of a shock to the fighters as they were to the coaches.
We thought we knew the 170-pound picks because Demarques
wanted to fight James and visa versa and we thought it inconceivable to have a
rematch between Frank and James.
The 155-pound picks were different because from our side we
didn’t really have a preference because we felt that both our lightweights
would beat either of the U.S. lightweights.
After watching the conversation between Dana and the coaches
and seeing Cameron plant the seed of a countryman vs. countryman scenario, I am
still confused as to why Dana went against his decision.
I could see why he would want to guarantee a U.K. vs. U.S.
final, but at the same time, I actually think that goes against the spirit of
the show. It should be team vs. team and if it ends up an all country final,
then so be it, because if one country had white washed the quarterfinals then
that would have been the case anyway.
Also as far as the 170-pound picks went, why did Dana go
against both teams’ wishes and go with the opposite picks? The James vs. Frank
rematch intrigued me because I had so many opinions about it and I couldn’t
quite work out if it was fair.
I’ll discuss it further though when their fight is shown.
Pierce continued to win fans by showing more endearing
personality traits on top of cowardice like disloyalty and dishonesty. He was
shown blatantly lying to Hendo’s face about passing information about the U.S.
fighters. He was guilty of doing this to all the U.S. team except for Dent.
Ritchie clearly took offense to this and told Pierce what he
thought of him, albeit in an inebriated state. He still was able to say what
everyone else was thinking. If it wasn’t for Stapes cooling the situation down
the civilized nature of this series compared to previous could have been
The fight between Nick and Demarques went almost as I
thought it would. I knew by their styles and ability that it was going to be a
very close fight and most likely would go to the decision.
They are both pretty similar fighters. They are tall and
long for the weight category, they both have good stand-up and have an accomplished
It was good leading up to the fight to be able to work on
more specifics for the opponent. We knew quite a bit about Demarques and his
style. Nick and the coaches were able to put together a game plan that could
have been effective.
The other teammates like myself who had already been knocked
out of the tournament all got together to really push the semi-finalists. Most
training was geared around their particular game plan or working them extra
You can see Nick being put through the ‘shark tank’ where
one fighter does 3×6 minute rounds with a fresh man in every minute. It’s
extremely tough and I know it did all the semi-finalists a lot of good.
The fight was exciting and so close to call that it was
difficult to predict how the fight was going to play out. Demarques seemed to
have the first round won after getting the takedown and controlling from top
with some ground and pound, but Nick made a late comeback.
Nick was able to get back to the feet and caught Demarques
with a good uppercut that sent him back and Nick unloaded with a barrage of
punches. He could have had him finished here, but he lacked the composure that
he showed in his elimination bout and didn’t quite pick his shots or vary them
quite as much.
The second round went much the same way, but there was no
comeback this time for Nick. Demarques finished the round in mount and was pounding
away, but Nick did just enough to convince Herb Dean to let it continue.
In the round break, Nick was all but done and he didn’t look
strong on his seat. By the end of the break though he had recovered and gave
out a primal scream that you could see impressed Bisping.
Watching the fight on the show was the first time I had seen
it as I was warming up Andre in the changing room. I was so impressed with Nick’s
spirit at this point and it made me proud to be his teammate.
The third round was close again, but after a caught kick by
Demarques, he was able to get a takedown and score some points. Late into the
round Nick was able to get a reversal, but it was too little to late and
Demarques had won the fight.
The U.S. take the lead for the first time in the show at 5-4,
but with their strongest fighter now through, will they get any more wins?
Next week’s episode shows the lightweight semi-finals and
they are not to be missed!