CAUTION: SPOILERS INCLUDED – Team Serra controls the quarterfinal matchups as they hold a commanding 6-1 lead on season six of The Ultimate Fighter, but Team Hughes can get a moral victory if Tommy Speer can get by Jon ‘War Machine’ Koppenhaver in the final preliminary bout this week.
Right now though, Team Serra’s coach, UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra, is loving his team’s success so far.
“I wonder if there’s a coaching book for dummies,” said Serra. “I’m gonna get that for Hughes.”
Hughes, meanwhile, is focusing on the last prelim match, working on Speer, who the coach says “reminds me of me when I was starting out.” Speer is a wrestler with raw power and determination, but his lack of emotion in the Octagon has got Hughes concerned.
On the other side of the final prelim ledger, Serra is having his own difficulties getting Koppenhaver to get with the program before his fight, and “War Machine” admits that he’s his “own worst enemy.”
But even though the training sessions are intense all around, Serra finds time to lighten things up with an impression of his coaching rival. In Koppenhaver’s mind though, it’s all business, and he recalls trying to save his father with CPR after a heart attack when the fighter was just 13, and how the loss of his father – who introduced him to the UFC – is motivating him. Yet he is still having doubts leading up to the fight.
Once the bell rings, Koppenhaver’s ‘War Machine’ attitude kicks in and he almost immediately cuts Speer across the nose with a right hand and the blood flows copiously. Koppenhaver then
takes Speer to the mat, gets his back and sinks in a deep rear naked choke. The end is apparently near, but eventually Speer gamely fights his way free, reverses position, and starts his own form of payback via ground and pound.
By the end of the round, Koppenhaver is spent, and Speer takes advantage by taking his foe down at the beginning of round two and punishing him on the mat for the entire frame.
The final scores – 20-18 across the board for Speer, who finally gets Team Hughes back into the win column while propelling himself into the quarterfinals, which begin next week.
Despite the loss, Team Serra has dominated the opening round matchups, finishing off with a record of 6-2 entering next week’s quarterfinals.