September 29, 2008

by George Roop for MMAWeekly.com

Hey what’s up Tucson, America and the rest of the
world?  Well Episode 2 is here and
we finally get to see if I make it into the house!!!  There’s a lot of pressure on all the fighters for this first
fight to get into the house.  If
you lose this fight you’re not even on the show.  A lot of the fighters have quit their jobs and made a lot of
sacrifices to get just to this point. 
Another stressful part about this first fight is that you don’t know
your coaches very well or even at all. 
This is the most pressure I have ever felt!!!!


When I first walked into the gym I looked around and
noticed that there were two fighters there that I already knew from a local
show that I have fought several times in. 
One of those fighters was light heavyweight Kyle Kingsbury.  I have watched him fight several times
and every time he destroyed his opponent. 
The other fighter was lightweight Efrain Escudero.  I have also seen him fight on a number
of occasions.  In fact, Efrain and
I were supposed to be each other’s very first MMA fight ever.  Due to him having severe cauliflower
ear our fight never happened.  I
was excited to see people I knew there and that knew me as well.  I was rooting for both of them to get
in the house right off the bat. 
That is, unless I was up with Efrain of course.


When they matched Rolando Delgado and I up, we went
out to the middle to shake hands and for the first time in eleven fights I was
looking straight up at my opponent. 
This guy was like 6 feet, 4 inches tall.  This threw my strategy right out the window right away.  I have always been a lot taller than my
opponents so this was going to be different for me.  I knew that Delgado was an accomplished black belt in
jiu-jitsu, so I knew that this wasn’t going to be an easy fight and that this
is the biggest fight of my career!


George Roop vs. Rolando Delgado

So the pressure is on!  I had Team Mir in my corner.  Before I walked out to the Octagon, Ken Han and Robert
Drysdale asked me what I like to do. I simply replied, “I want to stand.” The
first time in the Octagon felt like any other time I had a fight.  I was just telling myself that I’ve
been here before and this is just another fight.


Round one: I came out and tried to establish my jab
right away.  I let him know that I
was going to dictate the pace of this fight and where this fight took
place.  I wanted to wear him down
and give the crowd what they wanted to see, big shots landed. That’s what I
did.  I hit Delgado with several
overhand rights and lots of outside leg kicks.  About one minute into the fight Delgado started to respect
my stand up game.  After me almost
cutting his leg off with inside and outside leg kicks and punishing him with
heavy overhand rights, Delgado decided to try and take me down a couple
times.  There was no way I was letting that happen.  I was sticking to my game plan, which was sprawl and
brawl.  When we clinched Delgado
jumped guard and caught me in a choke. 
I just stayed patient and defended the choke.  When I was out of the choke, I threw a little flurry of
ground and pound and made him stand back up into my world.


At the beginning of round two, I just Delgado jumped
guard on me a few times but was not successful.  I punished Delgado every time he tried to shoot in. I
dictated the pace of the fight, where the fight took place, and won the


John Polakowski vs. Wesley Murch

Polakowski hits hard, landing powerful punches throughout
the round.  He finished the round
strong.  At the end of the round,
Murch showed great heart answering the second round bell.  It’s unfortunate that the fight ended
the way it did and I believe that John would say the same thing.


Shane Primm vs. Sean Ononeal

Another exciting fight!  Both fighters came out throwing leather right away.  Primm had great, great transitioning on
the ground.  His jiu-jitsu looked
very good and he finished Sean in the first round.


Ido Pariente vs. Efrain Escudero

Efrain showed great wrestling and Octagon control
just like in all his fights I’ve seen. 
I was rooting for Efrain because it would be nice to have someone in the
house that I knew.  I didn’t get to
watch this fight because my fight was next and I was in the back warming
up.  So this was the first time I
got to see this fight. Great fight Efrain!


Ryan Lopez vs. Tom Lawlor

Lopez was very nervous before his fight and just
didn’t seem very confident.  Lawlor
made quick work of Lopez.


Kyle Kingsbury vs. Ryan Bader

Kyle came out throwing great strikes.  I’ve always enjoyed watching him
fight.  Kyle stuffed the takedown
early in the round and made Bader pay every time.  I’m glad that I’m not a judge because the first round was
very close.  Bader came out in the
second round and turned the heat up. 
Bader took Kyle down, showed some great ground and pound and finished
him with a beautiful arm triangle.


Charles Diaz vs. Shane Nelson

Shane looked unstoppable in his fight.  He showed great stand-up skills and
excellent ground game as well. 
Nelson pushed the pace all two rounds.  Diaz had no answer for Shane at all.  I was impressed with Shane the most out
of any of the other lightweights.


Eliot Marshall vs. Karn Grigoryan

What a fight!  It was a
great three rounds of action. 
Eliot is a complete fighter. 
He has it all.  Great
jiu-jitsu and stand up.  I was
surprised that this fight even went into an overtime
round.  Eliot won the first round
and even won the second round by even a bigger score.  The overtime round is supposed to decide the fight.  In this case, that’s not what
happened.  Eliot Marshal destroyed Karn in the third round more than he did in any of the
other rounds.


After the fights they make everyone that lost
leave.  Next they take us to the
house.  This was a long day of
fights, but full of action.  Now
we’re in the house, let the fun begin. 
This will be the best Ultimate Fighter thus far!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Goerge Roop is
one of the cast members and MMAWeekly.com’s correspondent for The Ultimate
Fighter Season 8. He is sponsored by Swat Fitness,
Ultima Martial
, Just Weight,
and Classy Entertainment