September 19, 2005

by Ken Pishna
Rashad Evans and Tom Murphy (Photos courtesy of TheUltimateFighter.tv)

Recapping Week 4, of course, the major highlight was Joe Stevenson’s pounding of Marcus Davis to maintain his credibility as Matt Hughes’ number one guy.

After breaking down Joe and Marcus’ fight, the focus was once again on Matt Hughes. He continued to comment on how poor of a job that Rich Franklin is doing as a coach and kept up his perpetual harassment of Jorge Gurgel. Basically, Matt has been coming across as a cocky, win at all costs, hard ass on the show, and this week’s episode did nothing to dispel the notion. This might be good for the show, but it could be a blow to the general public’s perception of Matt as an All-American farm boy.

This week’s heavyweight challenge took place early on in the show and was a little lackluster. The three competitors from each team were in the octagon for a non-striking “Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em” event. All six fighters wore socks the color of their team with the challenge being to remove the other team’s socks, apparently this is an old wrestling drill. Hughes’ team won with an Olympic caliber effort, 6 stinky socks to none.

Hughes continued to razz Franklin’s team after the challenge, an effort that is really starting to smell of a Hughes-style psychological assault.

Winning the challenge, Hughes’ team chose to pair up Tom Murphy against Team Franklin’s Rashad Evans. It was Hughes that made the call and seemed to be thinking that Tom was the weakest member of his heavyweights and was expendable, but still felt that he could defeat Rashad.

After going through the usual preflight rituals of training preparations and weigh-ins, the fight was on. Unfortunately, it was a fairly uneventful fight; which took place almost entirely on the feet. Usually that means a lot of striking, but really Tom seemed to show maybe too much respect for Rashad’s stand up game. Throughout the fight, they clinched, with Rashad edging out the clinches with knees and punches to the body.

Tom had one golden opportunity at the beginning of round 2, where he locked on a tight guillotine choke, but Rashad remained patient and worked his way out and back up to the feet.

The third round followed the same M.O., clinching and separating with Rashad getting the better of the skirmishes, but not really doing damage. Tom finally came to life with about 10 to 15 seconds left in the final stanza, hurting Rashad with some good forearms, but it was too little, too late, as he didn’t follow up.

In the end, Rashad won a unanimous decision in what Dana called, “…the absolute sh*tiest fight I have ever seen.” Wow! With a statement such as that, it’s amazing that he didn’t make sure that the fight was pulled off of the episode and declare that both fighters were eliminated from the show.

Towards the end, we were given another dose of the meaner, unforgiving Matt Hughes, at least that the way he seems to be portrayed, as he felt that Tom didn’t give 100% in the fight and that maybe he just wanted to get a fight in and go home.

Coming Up on Week 6:
Hughes confronts Rashad about his behavior in the octagon and his mental attack on Jorge finally pays off.