MMAWeekly.com Episode 3 of “The Ultimate Fighter 12: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck” saw one fighter annoy the rest of the house, the first coach playing a practical joke on the other, and one more participant advance in the competition.
Alex Caceres, “Bruce LeRoy,” defeated Jeff Lentz in the first team match-up during episode 2 and made sure everyone heard about it. His gloating about his come from behind win wore thin on the nerves of the other housemates.
Teammate Spencer Paige commented, “I’ve got to give props to Jeff for not stabbing Bruce in the eye with a knife.”
“Bruce LeRoy, he talks too much. He’s annoying and he’s here for TV,” Team Koscheck’s Sevak Magakain said in the confessional.
St-Pierre added to his all-star coaching staff and brought in Olympic Silver Medalist Gia Sissaouri to work with his camp of fighters on wrestling technique.
“I want them to experience what it is to train with a world class athlete,” said St-Pierre.
Coach Koscheck, already unhappy with losing the first bout to Team GSP, didn’t like what he saw in training from his athletes and let them know about it.
After a first half of training that didn‘t live up to his expectations, Koscheck called his team together for a little refocusing and motivation.
“When we’re here, we’re here to train. I’m here for one reason, you guys. I’m here to get you guys better. These coaches are here to get you better,” said Koscheck. “Remember why you’re here. You’re goal is to win this competition, to be the next Ultimate Fighter. Get your mind right.”
Koscheck’s motivational speech worked and the second half of the training session was up to his standard.
Matchmaking control remained with St-Pierre and he decided his first team pick, Michael Johnson, would fight Team Koscheck’s Aaron Wilkinson.
St-Pierre classified Johnson as, “The best athlete on my team.” Koscheck said he considers Wilkinson as a “sleeper” in the competition. Wilkinson felt like Johnson and Team GSP were underestimating him.
Johnson had tried out for the show in the past, but had not made it through the selection process.
“Now that I’m here, I’m not going to let it go to waste,” stated Johnson.
In the first coach on coach practical joke of the season, Team Koscheck took advantage of open parking spots on both sides of St-Pierre’s car and positioned their vehicles as close as they could to the Canadian’s transportation hoping he wouldn’t be able to access the interior.
St-Pierre was able to squeeze his way in through the passenger side door, so St-Pierre moved to 2-0 in mind games with his opposition thus far. But Koscheck’s efforts did cause St-Pierre to utter a few profanities, which is rare for the welterweight titleholder.
At the official weigh-in, Wilkinson weighed in at 155-pounds, while Johnson tipped the scales at 155.5.
On fight day, St-Pierre asked UFC president Dana White if he could facilitate boxing legend Mike Tyson coming to the gym and meeting with his team. White delivered and Tyson showed up for a visit and to watch the fight.
St-Pierre has been a fan of Tyson for years and Tyson is an avid fan of the UFC and mixed martial arts. St-Pierre reminisced about playing “Tyson’s Punch Out” when he was growing up. Tyson was glad to be there, saying, “It’s a pleasure really.”
Michael Johnson is also a Tyson fan, and it must have been a surreal moment and possible distraction trying to focus on winning a fight about to take place in a few minutes and having Mike Tyson walk through your dressing room door.
Johnson said of Tyson’s visit, “It gave me extra motivation, to really have the opportunity to fight in front of Mike Tyson and to make Mike Tyson a fan of Michael Johnson.”
Time for the fight.
The coaches laid out their game plans and each fighter predicted victory, but someone has win and someone to lose.
MICHAEL JOHNSON VS. AARON WILKINSON
Johnson had success in his striking early before opting to take Wilkinson down. The Englishman was able to quickly get back to his feet and landed a knee to Johnson’s head when the two separated.
They stood toe-to-toe for the next 90 seconds with neither having a clear-cut edge. Johnson secured a strong double-leg takedown at the midway point, but Wilkinson scrambled back to his feet and executed a takedown of his own with 1:32 showing on the clock.
From there he delivered an attack of elbows and punches while inside Johnson’s half guard. Johnson was able to get back to full guard, but the round ended with Wilkinson continuing to pepper him with strikes.
Tyson felt Wilkinson won the round. Johnson agreed.
“He (expletive) won that round,” Johnson said in the corner following round one.
With Tyson cheering on Johnson, it was time for the second round.
The first half of the round was competitive striking with each also getting a takedown. The rest was mostly missed punches and failed takedowns making it a difficult round to score. The judges’ scorecards didn’t return a winner, so we go into extra innings.
Johnson aggressively moved forward with punches forcing Wilkinson to wilt along the fence. Johnson unleashed a relentless assault of punches causing Wilkinson to give up his back and from there the Team GSP first-pick secured a rear naked choke finishing the fight.
Koscheck felt his fighter won the first two rounds and there was no need to go to a third.
“I thought Wilkinson controlled the fight. He did a great job,” said Koscheck. “Personally, I thought he won the first and second round.”
Next week Alex Caceres’ mouthing pushes Sevak Magakain to the edge.