September 28, 2006

by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Ultimate Fighter Episode Breakdown
Serra vs. Spratt

The latest edition of the Ultimate Fighter saw the final first round match-up in the welterweight division. Matt Serra finally got his chance to fight and his opponent, Pete Spratt, was getting a second shot to advance after losing to Chris Lytle.

UFC middleweight champion, Rich Franklin appeared on the show to help teach and train with the fighters. While Franklin watched the fighters work out, the champion’s concern for contracting the staff infection that pretty much everyone had, looked to keep him out of reaching distance for any of the competitors. Rich did offer advice to Matt Serra on his fight with Spratt. He suggested that Matt start the fight on one knee to keep his opponent from kicking him in the head because he would have a knee on the ground. While definitely unorthodox, Rich did try to offer the suggestion, while a great many of the fighters seemed to scoff at the idea.

Back at the house, everybody had words for the middleweight champion and his game planning advice for Serra. Jorge Rivera, who actually lost to Franklin at UFC 50 in 2004, commented that he believed Franklin was just there to scout out his potential opponents. The winner of the show is promised a title shot and Rich is the 185-pound champion. The advice that Franklin offered was somewhat strange, but just about everyone had commentary about the advice and the champion in general.

Maybe if some of the fighters on the show had the record, championships or reputation that Rich Franklin did, they wouldn’t be competing for a contract to come back to the UFC. But that’s just one opinion on the subject of other fighters’ having harsh words for an established title-holder, widely considered #1 in his weight class.

Back in training, Team No Love member Charles McCarthy went back to the gym and questioned Franklin about his suggestion to Serra. Once word of this reached the house, all the fighters gave McCarthy a hard time for running back and telling the champ what was said in the house. Serra commented that McCarthy couldn’t keep a secret to save his life and if he was ever in the mob would have been a rat.

The competitors continued to jab at McCarthy who has seemingly been downtrodden all season, earning him the name “Captain Miserable.” Patrick Cote showed off his art skills by making a cartoon of McCarthy’s superhero alter ego, which was then proudly displayed on the refrigerator. Once McCarthy saw the drawing, he avoided the other housemates and headed outside for some alone time to which one of his roomies commented, “It must be that time of the month.”

Matt Serra’s UFC career highlights followed including his controversial loss to B.J. Penn in the lightweight title tournament a few years ago, as well as all of his tough bouts in both the lightweight and welterweight divisions. Serra, who currently sports a 4-4 record in UFC competition, sounded like a fighter who has faced his losses and is definitely one of the front runners in the competition. Pete Spratt started to gear up again for his shot at redemption after a quick loss to Lytle in their fight earlier in the season.

As the fight began, to no one’s surprise, the Gracie trained New Yorker went right for the takedown on Spratt. Spratt did manage a couple of good shots, one of which opened up a cut under Serra’s eye. To Serra’s credit that was about the only offense his opponent mustered because for the remainder of the bout, the jiu-jitsu black belt worked his game and ended up putting Spratt face down on the canvas. With both of his hooks in and Spratt flattened out, Matt Serra fired down shot after shot and eventually got the tap out on the ground.

So the welterweight semifinalists are all set with Matt Serra joining Chris Lytle, Din Thomas and Shonie Carter.

Next week on the Ultimate Fighter, the last 185-pounder will make the semifinals when Patrick Cote steps in against Jorge Rivera in a fight between two men who had to be considered favorites when the competition began. And, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell stops by.