by Roli Delgado – special to MMAWeekly.com
Here we are, week twelve of Season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter!
The semifinals were the focus of the last two episodes with the exception of Junie’s little misfit. By this time, we were all ready to get out of that house. I won’t name names, however more then one fighter had stated that they didn’t even care about winning anymore. They just wanted to get home. It’s a tough thing, being there for that long away from your creature comforts. However, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
First fight, Ryan Bader takes on Eliot Marshall. This was a typical Wrestler vs. Jiu-Jitsu guy. Eliot made a great analogy of the difference between a wrestler’s mentality and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu mentality. Going through a wall or going around it. Although both are great for MMA, Bader used his wrestling to outwork Eliot.
There is not much doubt that Eliot could beat Bader, however he would have to exert himself much more and take more chances. It seemed as if every time he worked for something and Ryan defended it, he was a little quick to abandon the technique. Dana picked up on this and commented as well, saying that Eliot didn’t take any chances.
However, Eliot is a great jiu-jitsu guy and I think that he will grow from the loss and we’ll probably see a better Eliot at the finale.
Ryan did exactly what he was supposed to do, and that’s win. Props to Eliot for not copping out and complaining about lay and pray. He took the loss like a champion. He knows he could have done more and we don’t always fight to our potential. Congrats to Bader for making it to the finals.
Next was Nover vs. Roop. This fight was tough for Roop because he was one handed and just fought a war with John Polakowski. There isn’t too much to say about this fight. Nover was the best 155-pounder in the house and showed it. He never gave Roop a chance, overwhelming him in the opening seconds. Roop did a great job reversing Nover after the takedown/knockdown, but gave up the Kimura. Roop, unlike other fighters in the house, took this fight like a man and admitted that Nover was the better fighter that day.
After this episode, we have two Blue Team members fighting, Krzysztof vs. Vinnie. This was interesting since they trained together inside and outside of the house. Vinnie wanted to fight Krzysztof more then Krzysztof wanted Vinnie. I think Vinnie was upset that Krzysztof and Eliot were such great friends and he was still upset about Eliot’s comment about him and Krzysztof in the finals.
Krzysztof fought an excellent gameplan. I wanted him to win because he has put so much into the sport in so little time. However, Vinnie’s BJJ paid off big time with a great submission. This fight is a coin toss that just landed on Vinnie’s side, in my opinion. Vinny doesn’t make for exciting fights, but some how pulls the wins out. Good for him. Let’s see if he comes into the final with some more confidence in his hands.
The last fight was Junie vs. Efrain. This fight was won long before the weigh-ins and the fight. Junie had no mental stability and word got around the house that he didn’t want to fight. The incident with Shane Primm where he threw the glass AGAIN and then swung at him was pathetic. To act that way consistently shows a real problem.
Props to Efrain for coming into that fight strong and prepared. His conditioning was insane and he started to pick up the pace as Junie got tired. Junie shouldn’t have tried to take Efrian down; his single leg defense is amazing. That helped to drain Junie in the fight. I agree with many that the Darce choke Efrain put on wasn’t even in all the way when Junie tapped. He seemed tired and ready to get out of there. That is the worst way to lose, but we can only hope that Junie is learning from these mistakes. Again, props to Efrain for finishing all of his fights, as did Nover. Those two deserved to win.
Getting out of that house was the greatest feeling. Getting my phone and my freedom back felt great. In all, this opportunity has made me at least twice the fighter I was. I am now giving much more effort into lifting and boxing than previously.
A big thanks to the coaching staff of Team Nog!
*Roli Delgado faces John Polakowski at “The Ultimate Fighter 8″ finale show on Dec. 13, live on Spike TV.*