by Ken Pishna
Luke Cummo and Anthony Torres (Photos courtesy of TheUltimateFighter.tv)

On last week’s show, the evil side of Matt Hughes continued to manifest itself. Following Jason Von Flue’s win over Jorge Gurgel on the previous show, Matt seemed to have no interest in congratulating Jason, actually preferring to play solitaire instead. When Dana announced that Matt had to give up a welterweight to Rich, Matt didn’t skip a beat in sending Jason “on over.” [Shameless stab at sarcasm.] At the end of the show, Seth Petruzelli sent big Dan Christianson home, winning a unanimous decision over his friend.

While Week 7 featured the height of this season’s drama, and that isn’t saying too much, this week’s episode was the opposite. This week’s episode had about as much drama as trying to decide between chocolate or vanilla ice cream. The dramatic highlight was a water balloon and food fight, which ended up with Anthony Torres getting pantsed.

Even this week’s challenge was pretty lame. I know, I know, blasphemy. This week, two welterweights from each team were chosen to play “Randy Says.” Each team had a punching bag to perform techniques on the bags (emblazoned with the likenesses of Matt and Rich, respectively) called out by Randy. Team Hughes won and earned the pick of the welterweight crop to fight for their spots on the show, as well as a handful of video games and other prizes from one of the shows sponsors to breakup the monotony.

Meeting back at the house, Dana announced that Team Hughes chose to pit Luke Cummo against Team Franklin’s Anthony Torres. In a less dramatic move than on past shows, Dana also announced the Rich had to send one of his heavyweights over to Matt’s team. Rich chose Brad Imes, most likely due to the fact that Brad has been struggling with an injured knee and is thus perceived as the weakest link in Franklin’s heavyweight chain.

One good side effect of a lack of drama and quick challenges on the show is we get more time on the fights. Without much fanfare surrounding the weigh-ins, much of tonight’s show was spent on the fight, which went the distance.

Actually, for how this season’s fights have been progressing, this was one of the better ones. It was fairly one-sided for the most part, but still entertaining. It was another classic battle of grappler (Anthony) vs. striker (Luke).

The first round started off with Anthony looking to establish where the fight was headed. They spent a lot of time clinched with Anthony ending up with a takedown. While Anthony was on top for most of the round on the ground, it still seemed that Luke was the one getting off the better strikes, even from his back. Towards the end of the round, Luke reversed position and continued to dominate the striking with some solid ground and pound.

Luke started off the second round with a different outlook on the bout, instituting a much more aggressive strategy than he employed to start the first round. They clinched again, but Luke quickly began outpacing Anthony, working his knees and elbows particularly well. But just as it seemed that Anthony was a deer caught in the headlights, he managed to drag Luke to the ground, get to his back and lock in a rear naked choke. Impressively, Luke stayed calm and didn’t waste any time in reversing position to once again dominate the rest of the round with his striking.

To finish off the fight, Luke continued his dominance through the third round. The confidence in his striking unleashed a brutal attack on Anthony and Luke even started landing high kicks to the head. The round was stopped at one point to check a cut near Anthony’s right eye. Although the cut was deep, the doctor said it was lateral and didn’t seem to interfere with his vision, so the fight continued. For his part, Anthony never gave up and showed a lot of heart and determination just to keep pushing on to the end of this fight. He even made various attempts to fire back, but didn’t appear to have the steam behind his strikes to have much affect on Luke at this point.

When all was said and done, Luke walked away with a unanimous decision victory. He did cover the gamut in scoring though. Tony Weeks scored the bout 30-26, Cecil Peoples scored it 30-27, but somewhat surprisingly, Dalby Shirley scored the bout 29-28. I honestly didn’t see a round I would have given to Anthony. (I had actually scored the bout with Weeks at 30-26.) He landed the rear naked in the second, but Luke defended well and quickly and also dominated the rest of the round. I guess that’s why there are three judges.

Matt Hughes earned back some of his All-American image, giving credit to Anthony for being a great fighter and showing a lot of heart. He just felt that it was a bad match-up for Anthony.

As much as I have disagreed with Dana White’s judgments of late, I have to leave you with a quote from a great speech that he gave regarding Anthony’s performance, “In every fight, there’s going to be a winner and a loser. There’s nothing wrong with losing. Everybody loses, it happens. But there’s something wrong with losing if you don’t give 100%. Anthony gave everything he had, he fought a great fight, he can walk out of hear feeling good about himself.”

Coming Up on Week 9:
Luke celebrates his win by pigging out. Mike asserts his place as the leader of team Hughes and a surprising end to the heavyweight bout leaves the competition wide open.