The great thing about “The Ultimate Fighter” series, as with any good ‘reality’ show, is the growing anticipation that comes with each passing week.
With three weeks already behind us, the thumping TUF theme rap seems to sound better with every new episode. The dramatic tone of this series is always emphasized right from the get-go when we are re-introduced to each cast member, a splattering of blood accentuating their first names only.
As episode 4 begins, we revisit last week’s fight, Jesse Taylor’s submission victory over Mike Dolce. Members from both teams talk over highlights of the fight, giving their insights on just what went down. The quick re-cap ends with TEAM FORREST fighter Cale Yarbrough reminding us just where the two teams stand, “Team Forrest controls the ball”.
For anyone who reads Mike Dolce’s blog at MMA Weekly.com, then you know that one of the perks of the TUF house, is that the producers supply the fighters with just about any supplies they want, including all the alcohol their hearts desire. Jesse Taylor wastes no time enjoying this perk, as he pops open a Heineken to celebrate his hard fought victory.
He seems to enjoy a few more than just that one, because he has an awfully hard time figuring out how to put a fallen shade back on the front door. Dante Rivera, one of the more personable fellas on the show gets a good laugh out of Taylor’s antics, but chalks it up to him just being a big kid inside.
With the first fight out of the way and everyone settling in, everyone is pretty relaxed, especially Matt Riddle. Riddle is actually more than relaxed, he’s downright “chipper”, a nickname that will soon stick to him.
Riddle is still riding high from his devastating one punch KO from over Dan Simmler in episode 2. With his goofy grin, and his even goffier wrist snaps, he starts riding Dante, which leads to a humorous back and forth between the two that ends with:
Dante, “If you ever beat me, I’ll retire”
Riddle, “You better get your shoes bronzed then”
You get the feeling that their banter is only beginning.
TEAM RAMPAGE TRAINING
Coach Rampage Jackson is riding his troops while they pound UFC dummies on the mat. All his fighters look like they’re giving a Grade-A effort.
Then Rampage adds to what should soon be a classic CD of one-liners. He starts cpmplaining about how cold it is in the gym.
“I’ll bet they took the heat out and they’ll put it back when Team brown nosers train”.
Not sure how much Rampage likes Forrest yet, but he does give him props, kind of, sort of, when he tells the camera,
“Forrest looks stupid, but he’s not as stupid as he looks”.
With the training heating up, Rampage and his trainers focus on Paul Bradley’s replacement, Patrick Schultz. They figure Forrest will pick him as their weakest link to fight this week. Though everyone sincerely seems to like Schultz, he hasn’t garnered much respect since being given a second chance. Rampage predicts that Forrest might put his #1 pick, Jiu-Jitsu black belt Tim Credeur up against Schultz. He then warns Schultz,
“If I can submit you in practice, you better… cause I suck at Jiu-Jitsu.”
Schultz gets the point and to his credit, doesn’t seemed fazed by the wariness of his coach.
Back out the house, the fighters have a few more laughs at Jesse Taylor’s expense. Jeremy may thinks he has a fungus problem on his body and sprays him with a can of Tinactin.
Matt Riddle talks with some of his teammates about how he thinks Forrest might not choose their easiest fighter. We start to get the feeling that it might not be Schultz’s week afterall. Riddle keeps talking about how badly he wants to fight, so he can get it over with and relax.
Riddle’s instincts prove prophetic when Forrest picks him to fight his # 1 fighter, Jiu-Jitsu black belt Tim Credeur. So, we go from a so-so fight to TEAM FORREST’s # 1 vs TEAM RAMPAGE’s # 2.
Credeur is all business,
“I’m here to get better. No offense to Pat Schultz , but he’s not going to get me better.”
At this point in the show Schultz must feel like Rodney Dangerfield, “No Respect”. Credeur then starts calling Riddle out. He rails aginst Riddle’s age (22 years old) and refers to him as a kid over and over again,
“He’s got kid strength. I’m going to exert some man strength on him”.
“I think the kid is riding high on the dream ever since he beat Simmler, and I’m going to beat the dream right out of him!”.
Riddle as usual seems aloof. He talks about staying unemotional. His strategy in his mind is simple: big right hand, single-leg take downs, and take-down defense. He also likes to relish in the underdog role, and mentions how unlike the other guys he doesn’t train with some big training camp,
“I train at the Rat Pack”.
We cut to Rampage and Riddle working a trainer’s gloves with his heavy right hand and rolling some Jiu-Jitsu defense on the mat. Riddle is working hard and appears to have a lot he wants to prove.
Rampage, frustrated over losing the first fight, really wants this fight for Riddle. In one of his few stern moments, he reminds Riddle where he was picked (#2) and there was a good reason for that. Rampage clearly is confident and let’s Riddle know how important this fight is.
The match-up feels a little like the Obama vs Clinton Primary, Young Gun vs Experience.
Riddle strips down first, and reveals some mighty thin skivvies. Rampage cracks up, and delivers the line of the night,
“Why’d you have to wear your mother’s drawers?”
Credeur weighs in at 186, Riddle at 183.
When they pose for the photo-op, Riddle flashes his goofy smile and prods a deadly looking Credeur to do the same. Credeur is looking right at Riddle and challenges him to look him in the eye. Riddle laughs nervously. His foolish grin really seems to be pissing Credeur off.
As they separate from the photo, Credeur crows,
“You won’t have a lot to smile about for long.”
TUF HOUSE (DAY BEFORE FIGHT)
Riddle talks to the camera about how he thinks Credeur has more to lose since he’s almost 10 years older and doesn’t have many years left in the fight game.
Credeur, is on his bed writing in a journal. He lights some incense and we can see he has pictures of his family taped to the wall. He confirms what Riddle said.
“This is do or die for me… I don’t think I can go back to square one”.
Riddle and Dante are back at it in another bedroom. Dante is using all of his fast-talking car salesmanship to psych out Riddle,
“I’ll bet you $500.00 you don’t get out of the 1st round.”
Riddle doesn’t seem as confident as earlier in the night and says he doesn’t bet. Sheepishly, he tells Dante he can’t get in his head. This only spurs Dante on,
“I live in your head. I’ve been in your head since I first met ya”.
Credeur works the mat with Forrest’s trainers, he seems to be at a higher intensity than Riddle. His words profess his soaring confidence and he continues ragging on Riddle’s youthfullness,
“I want to bleed… I want to test my spirit… I want to feel the heat. For Riddle it might be neato-mosquito, but for me, I’m here for a job… This one is for Louisianna!”.
We get a last glimpse of the two before the fight. Riddle or Chipper as he is now called is laughing in the house when he looks at the “request list” that is on the counter for fighters to request whatever items they might want. Under his name it says, photos of mom and a driver’s license.
Credeur is last seen talking from the gym,
“He’s got to turn into a different kind of human to beat me. I don’t think that is humanely possible.”
Showing off his gift for the gab, Credeur leaves us with a little Louisiana spice,
“Laissez les bon temps roulez” (Let the good times roll).
Matt Riddle (1-0) vs Tim Credeur (10-2)
Credeur enters the cage second. He tries one last psyche on Riddle by letting loose some guttural howls in Riddle’s direction.
Riddle goes for a single-leg take down. He misses, but gets Credeur’s back and takes him down that way. Riddle stays on Tim’s back while on the mat and they both begin to cautiously feel one another out.
After about 30 seconds, Credeur escapes and they’re back on their feet. Credeur fires a couple of low kicks that land. Creduer shoots, but Riddle flips behind him and takes Credeur down.
They’re up again pretty quickly before Credeur rushes Riddle again and this time takes him down. Riddle escapes and momentarily they’re up again.
Credeur once again takes Riddle to the mat, but Riddle hangs on to Credeur’s neck. Credeur picks Riddle up slightly and slams him down into the cage.
As Credeur tries to gain control of his mount, Riddle up-kicks him hard in the face (seemed illegal, but there are no protests). Riddle scrambles underneath Credeur while the Jiu-Jitsu black belt tries some hammerfists.
Riddle gets Credeur’s back. They both roll, and Credeur goes for an ankle lock. Riddle punches his way out and mounts Credeur, who quickly reverses it and ends up in the top position.
Credeur finally gains some control and starts to methodically work his ground and pound. His punches begin to gain accuracy and Riddle for the first time seems to be hurt. A few heavy forearms and flush punches and soon Credeur has Riddle’s back. He goes for a rear naked choke, but the clock runs out and Riddle is saved by the bell.
Credeur wins Round 1 by gaining control late in the round.
As he returns to his corner, Credeur seems emboldened. Riddle looks worse for the wear and has blood streaming down one of his nostrils.
Someone from TEAM RAMPAGE yells out encouragingly,
“Riddle, that’s all he’s got, he’s got nothing left.”
Credeur shouts back,
“I got plenty left!”
Riddle tries a high kick, misses, and shoots in. He takes Credeur down, Credeur look more in control as he goes for Riddle’s ankle again. Riddle escapes, but Credeur is able to gain top position.
Riddle is pushed up against the cage and Credeur start hitting him with fist and forearms. Riddle does a vicious up-kick again, but this time the referee warns him.
Credeur continues to ground and pound Riddle. He lets up for a moment, and Riddle scrambles to his feet. He charges Tim and catches him with wild right hands and a body kick. Credeur bounces off the cage and backpedals in the other direction.
Riddle charges with more wild right hands, landing, and Credeur seems hurt. Riddle is going on instinct now and takes Credeur to the mat with a single-leg take down.
Rampage realizes that this is a mistake and yells at Riddle,
“Let him up!”
Riddle tries to throw punches from the mount but Credeur uses his Jiu-Jitsu to tie him up. Rampage, knowing that Riddle’s only chance is to get the fight back standing, continues to yell at Riddle to let Credeur up.
Riddle stays down, until Credeur goes for a triangle choke and rolls into top position. He throws some punches and gets Riddle’s back.
The end is near.
Credeur works to get Riddle’s arm. Forrest, knowing the clock is winding down, yells at him not to. He wants Credeur to play it safe. Credeur goes for the arm-lock anyway. He gets a good hold of Riddles’s right arm and rolls. Riddle taps.
Credeur winner by arm-lock submission.
Great fight! Great finish!
Rampage shakes his head, he is thoroughly disappointed,
“He made a mistake. He had him hurt. He needed to let him up.”
Forrest congratulates Credeur. He doesn’t think Credeur was at his best and lets him know it, but is impressed nonetheless.
Riddle for the first time doesn’t seem very chipper. He feels bad he disappointed Rampage and his team. He apologizes for the loss.
Rampage wants to know why he didn’t get the fight back standing when he had a chance to. Riddle spent says,
“It was second nature for me to go back to wrestling”.
Rampage, really seems to like Riddle as a fighter, and lets him know he fought well, but he can’t hide his disappointment. A second consecutive loss has easily irked Rampage. And when Spike shows the previews for next week’s show, we see just how irked Rampage is. As the narrator says, “For the first time Rampage goes on a tirade”. Uh Oh!
As it stands now, it’s TEAM FORREST 2 and TEAM RAMPAGE 0. Coach Rampage has now lost his # 2 and # 6 fighters. He also had to replace his # 3 fighter with Patrick “I get no respect” Schultz.
At the beginning of the show Cale Yarbrough said,
“Team Forrest controls the ball”, but after this episode they probably crossed the fifty yard line.
From here on the fights for TEAM RAMPAGE can only get tougher and as Rampage says himself in next week’s preview,
“This is not a game of Paddycake”
No, it’s certainly not. But, it is the quest to to become the next Ultimate Fighter.