No fluke punches, ‘The luck of the Irish’ has no bearing on the final four fighters left standing in Season 7 of the “The Ultimate Fighter”- at least according to Dana White.
Episode 11 opens with Dana’s assertion that the four Semi-Finalists are truly the BEST four fighters from the show. Then again, as the promoter, what else is he going to say?
The first Semi-Final match would be the focus of this episode and it pitted JUCO All-American wrestler Jesse Taylor vs Jiu-Jitsu ace Tim Credeur.
Since both fighters are part of Team Forrest, they have to divvy up their coaches to train both fighters. Forrest Griffin decides that he’ll coach Jesse Taylor with the help of Taylor’s teammate “Madman” Matt Brown. Assistant coaches Cameron Diffley (Jiu-Jitsu coach) and Mark Beacher (Muay Thai/Striking coach) will handle Tim Credeur’s training.
This is important, because at least in this writer’s opinion Coach Cameron has a lot to do with the outcome of the fight— But more on that later.
The first item on Mr. White’s agenda for this episode is to show his appreciation to the fighters and the coaches. So, in what has become a tradition for TUF, Dana issues a Coaches’ Challenge between Rampage Jackson and Forrest Griffin. The challenge is a game of HORSE.
For all of you who are not hoop-aholics, HORSE is a basketball shootout where the two players have to match each other’s shots. If you don’t make a shot that your opponent has made you get a Letter (e.g. ‘H’). The first one to spell out HORSE loses.
The winning coach gets $10,000 in cold hard cash. The winning coach’s team receives $1,000 each… make that $2,000 if Rampage can hit a three pointer to start things off… SWISH, it’s $2,000!
Before we get to the results of this legendary hoops match-up, as I predicted last week, Matt Riddle did indeed sport another new hairstyle. This week’s Doo, a red and gold Mohawk. Next week I’m going out on a limb and predicting he shaves it all off.
So, the game of HORSE begins, but not before Rampage confesses that he has absolutely no basketball skills whatsoever. Evidently, the ‘Three’ he swished was just dumb luck.
Forrest on the other hand does his best imitation of Larry Bird, or Ray Allen for today’s fans. He ends the lop-sided challenge with a thunderous dunk, proving “white men can jump”. Rampage wants no part of it and concedes.
As Jesse Taylor and Tim Credeur sit side-by-side getting a shave and a haircut, a new nickname is born— JT Money! That is the name Jesse Taylor is having razor-sculpted into his head. With such a good name you’d think the Spike producers could hire a good barber, but Jesse’s happy with the distorted dollar sign stenciled into his head nonetheless.
The other fighters have a ball trying to make out what the design in Jesse’s head actually is. Dante Rivera thinks it’s a scrotum-sack, Amir Sadollah likens it to a faucet. But, none of the barbs bother Jesse. He’s JT Money, Semi-Finalist of TUF Season 7.
JT Money is feeling so good that he decides to celebrate his new nickname with copious amounts of booze. While most of the other housemates join the booze-fest, Tim Credeur abstains. Instead he decides to play big brother and look after his best friend. But Jesse is now JT Money and he’s livin’ it up! In between urinating on himself, turning into “Coco the Mad Monkey” (as Amir puts it), and smashing his head against a wall, Jesse decides it’d be fun to eat some pizza in the hot tub and then, with his mouth full, try holding his breath for as long as he can.
Credeur has seen enough. He uses his best body lock to bring JT Money up from down under, and finally convinces him to go to sleep. JT shows Credeur his gratitude by imitating a steam engine and snoring for 4½ hours non-stop.
All I can say is JT Money is lucky to have a friend like Credeur. Not only does Credeur put up with his roommates antics and snoring, the next day he helps JT train.
While JT is practicing his submission defense in the cage, Tim looks on and exhorts him to keep his head up when he’s on the ground so he doesn’t keep getting caught in a triangle chokehold.
When Cale Yarbrough points out to Credeur that JT is his next opponent, Credeur either naively or bravely says,
“I don’t care, I want to beat the best Jesse possible”.
He then goes back to giving an attentive Jesse his best advice.
The segment ends with both fighters professing their strategies,
JT “I’m going to get on top and ground and pound, best him down.”
Credeur, “Jesse’s a big guy, so I’m going to wait him out, let him get tired, and submit him when he makes a mistake.”
TUF HOUSE (Before Fight)
If there is one thing the movie “Rocky” taught us, it’s that every fighter needs something to fight for. Spike has learned this lesson well. So, before we step back into the realm of testosterone and bravado, we get to see the softer side of both fighters.
For Jesse Taylor it’s all about his 3-year old son. He misses him everyday. He pulls a picture out to show us and for the first time one gets the feeling that there is more to Jesse Taylor than mad wrestling skills, his dislike for Jeremy May and his new nickname JT Money.
For Tim Credeur it’s all about perseverance and the undying loyalty of his wife and coach. He talks about almost retiring 6-months earlier, about how this is his last chance. In one of the few real, sincere, compassionate moments of TUF, Credeur cries when talking about how his wife has always stayed in his corner, and no matter how difficult it became for him to support his family, she supported his dream. He chokes on his tears when he recites the best advice his wife has given him,
“Good things happen to good people.”
As nice a moment as this is, Spike knows it’s demographic isn’t the Oprah Winfrey crowd, and they better get back to building the fight to come.
JT issues his final salvo when giving his reason why he’ll win the fight,
“I impose my will. I don’t care what he does…. I’m stronger then him, more explosive… I’m going to come out throwing punches and elbows… I’m not letting Tim take money out of my kid’s pocket.”
Credeur is more philosophical,
“My coach, Rodrigo (Medeiros) always says, ‘Only the strong survive’. That saying has led my life… I’m wily, I’m dangerous, I can do a lot of things from a lot of positions.”
Tim Credeur (12-2) vs Jesse Taylor (8-2)
*Records include each fighter’s two victories on the TUF 7 show.
Dana White shows the heightened stakes of this fight when he adds to his normal plug for Burger King while announcing the beginning of this fight,
“The winner of this fight will fight at the Las Vegas Palms Hotel on June 21st in The Ultimate Fighter Finale”.
JT comes out looking to put Credeur on his back. And that’s exactly what happens. After JT takes Credeur down, the rest of the round becomes ground warfare, Jiu-Jitsu vs Ground and Pound!
JT gains control pretty quickly with heavy, short bursts of right hands and forearms. Cameron Diffley, Credeur’s coach, loudly tells Credeur to keep his head to the left of JT, in order to avoid JT from landing his right hand.
Cameron relentlessly shouts instructions to Credeur, “Butterfly Guard, get in your Butterfly Guard”. Every now and then Credeur is able to do this, but not before eating quite a few right hands, forearms and elbows from JT.
Towards the end of the round, a very game Credeur finally gets a good hold of JT’s left arm… Cameron shouts, “Arm Bar Tim, roll, roll!”… JT bulls his way out, they scramble, JT gets back on top and unleashes some more furious Ground and Pound…
Again Credeur is able to work into a favorable position from the bottom. He gets a hold of JT’s neck and begins to sweep him. Cameron at his loudest, “Triangle Choke Tim, Triangle!”… JT slips out and regains top position… More Ground and Pound… JT smothers Credeur whenever he needs a rest. Forrest shouts, “You can do this all day Jess”. Round ends.
*Jesse wins round fairly easily even though Credeur had two good chances at a submission.
Credeur comes out looking the worse for the wear, but still with some pep in his step. He tries a sloppy spinning back kick and misses… He throws some heavy armed punches that also miss and JT takes Credeur down… Back to ground warfare.
JT re-initiates his effective Ground and Pound attack. Cameron continues to shout at Credeur to get in his Butterfly Guard, so he can leverage his legs on JT’s hips and push JT off of him whenever JT throws his heavy rights… Credeur gets into a strong Butterfly Guard and is able to sweep JT.
For the first time in the fight Credeur has top position… But before he can attempt a submission, a much stronger JT pushes Credeur off him and scrambles. JT regains top position…
In between eating a load of right hands and elbows, Credeur attempts a couple of arm triangles, but JT just punches his way back into dominant position. Cameron keeps shouting submissions that Credeur should try, but JT has an answer for all of them.
*Jesse wins round by again dominating with his Ground and Pound and effective submission defense.
JT comes out and immediately tries to take Credeur down. Credeur finally shows an effective spread and avoids the takedown… They clinch… JT throws two sharp knees to the mid-section and takes Credeur back down…
Credeur knows he’s running out of chances. He gets into a strong Butterfly Guard. He sweeps JT and scrambles to get his back. Cameron, at the top of his lungs, “Guillotine!”… Credeur can’t sink the chokehold in and JT rolls… Credeur releases, and they scramble… JT attempts an ankle lock, but Credeur kicks out of it… JT pounces and gets back into Credeur’s Full Guard.
The round is fast coming to an end and Credeur is desperate to find a way to submit JT. He eats a slew of heavy right hands as he tries to grab a limb, any limb that he can twist or lock onto…
In the span of about 30 or 40 seconds, Credeur literally tries an Oomaplata, an arm triangle, a heel hook, a triangle choke… But, JT either muscles his way out or throws some vicious Ground and Pound Credeur’s way.
Cameron gives up on yelling out instructions on what submissions to try. He is now sounding as desperate as Credeur looks,
“This is your life Tim, fight, fight!”
The round ends with JT smothering Credeur, and Credeur madly flailing away, throwing punches from the bottom.
*It’s obvious, though this was Credeur’s best round, Jesse Taylor wins all three rounds convincingly!
The Judges scores show how convincingly:
30-27, 30-26, 30-27
Both fighters are completely exhausted. Credeur cries as he hugs Jesse, “You earned it JT, you earned it.”
Jesse raises his arms, then rushes to his corner and promptly vomits in a bucket (which seems to be his post-fight ritual). Credeur in a brotherly tone tells Jesse to calm down. The referee and Credeur are waiting for Jesse so the inevitable can be announced. With bucket in hand Jesse makes it the center of the ring as the scores are read.
In the locker room Jesse hugs teammate and cornerman Matt Brown. We hear Jesse’s final thoughts,
“He’s a good friend, but I had to look at Tim as just another guy I have to go through to get what I want”.
We see Credeur outside telling the camera, “JT deserved it. I gave it everything I had, but he had all the answers.”
Remember I told you that Cameron Diffley, Credeur’s coach for this fight, had a lot to do with the outcome of this fight?
Well, I know it’s pretty normal for coaches and cornermen to shout instructions to their fighters, but if I were Credeur I would have knocked Cameron right on the noggin and told him to shut his trap.
As if it’s not hard enough to be underneath a dynamo like Jesse Taylor, Credeur had to listen to Cameron “motormouth” Diffley tipping Taylor off on every submission that Credeur attempted.
Maybe it’s just me, but I thought that part of the submission game was catching your opponent unexpectedly. Of course Credeur didn’t help himself either by instructing Taylor on how to avoid a triangle choke during practice.
In the end, I think Credeur is a helluva fighter, but maybe too nice a person to be an MMA champion. If I were to give an award for best person on TUF 7, it’d definitely go to Credeur.
For Jesse’s part, he wanted this fight just a little more. As for his chances in the finale, Amir Sadollah, the kickboxer, is definitely the easier match for him style wise. But, it sure would be interesting to see if JT Money can outwrestle Division I All-American Wrestler CB Dollaway.
We’ll just have to wait until the final regular episode this Wednesday, 6/18 at 10:00 PM to find out who Jesse Taylor gets to square off against, as CB Dollaway (Team Rampage’s # 1 fighter) takes on Amir Sadollah (Team Forrest’s # 2 fighter) in the other Semi-Final.
The episode looks like it’ll be a doozy! In the preview we see Dana White watching a surveillance video of a limo in a parking lot. Something happens with one of the fighters, something bad!!!
The narrator urgently appeals to us,
“Tune in next week for the most shocking ending in UFC history.”
The last thing we hear is Dana,
“He’s out of the finale and out of the UFC!”
THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER 7 LIVE FINALE: JUNE 21 ON SPIKE TV (9 PM)
Main Card Bouts:
-Evan Tanner vs. Kendall Grove
-Diego Sanchez vs. Luigi Fioravanti
-Spencer Fisher vs. Jeremy Stephens
Ultimate Fighter Middleweight Tournament Finals
-Jesse Taylor vs CB Dollaway/Amir Sadollah Winner
-Josh Burkman vs. Dustin Hazelett
-Marvin Eastman vs. Drew McFedries
-Dean Lister vs. Jeremy Horn
-Rob Yundt vs. Rob Kimmons
-Matt Arroyo vs. Matt Brown
-Dante Rivera vs. Matthew Riddle
*Card is not yet final