That was a fantastic season of The Ultimate Fighter. It’s not just because lightweight is my favorite weight class (although with the addition of feather and bantam, that might change), but because of the coaches. George St-Pierre, referred to by a friend of mine as “the protagonist of the UFC,” and Josh Koscheck, a bully so obnoxious he inspired Seanbaby to write a whole book of insults, spent eight weeks coaching opposite one another and built up enough bad blood to give Edward Cullen explosive diarrhea for a thousand years. This Saturday, we get to see St-Pierre fight for Truth, Justice and the French Canadian Way, and Koscheck fight for… I don’t know, the right to have a head that looks like Brooke Hogan’s muff, I guess.
The Main Event: Welterweight Title Bout
Georges St-Pierre (20-2) vs. Josh Koscheck (17-4)
The Breakdown: St-Pierre is the best pound for pound fighter in the sport today. I rank him ahead of Anderson Silva, not because I hate evil, but because GSP is the most complete athlete. Fighters have what they do well, and generally stick to that. GSP is good enough to pick whatever his opponent is bad at and do that. Against wrestler Jon Fitch, St-Pierre stayed standing and kicked Fitch in the face. Against striker Dan Hardy, GSP took him to the mat but was too nice to actually break the Outlaw’s arm. Koscheck is a dangerous combination: an extremely skilled wrestler with dynamite in his right glove. St-Pierre, though better technically on the feet, won’t want to stand with Koscheck, since one lucky hit means GSP goes down (as we saw in the first Serra fight). Expect St-Pierre to drop Koscheck to the mat repeatedly and work submission attempts while trying to avoid Kos’s red right hand. This will make the wrestler fight off his back, where wrestlers like Koscheck are weakest. Sort of like turtles, if turtles were insufferable douchebags.
My Pick: St-Pierre by decision. He says he wants to finish Koscheck, but I don’t think he can.
Gore Factor: Light to none. I don’t see many significant strikes landing.
Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve (23-4) vs. Sean “Big Sexy” McCorkle (10-0)
The Breakdown: The sad fact of the matter is, no matter how good Stefan Struve ends up being, every fight he’s in will have the flavor of a freakshow. At almost seven feet tall and looking like the Bergman Grim Reaper’s clothes-averse brother, calling him “distinctive” doesn’t really cut it. Now, throw in the fact that he’s fighting trashtalk maestro Sean McCorkle, and this thing seems like it’s barely a step removed from that embarrassing Couture/Toney dust-up. Fortunately, both of these guys actually belong in the Octagon. Struve is a kickboxer and a jiu-jitsu practitioner, both of which benefit from his Dhalsim-like proportions. McCorkle is a wrestler/kickboxer/schoolyard bully combo that has been very effective against bad opponents and good taste. Big Sexy is going to come right at Struve, knock him down and pound him out as fast as possible before the Skyscraper can utilize that ludicrous reach.
My Pick: Normally, I’d pick Struve due to the experience, but he’s got a bad record against powerful strikers. Plus, I really think the trashtalking has got him rattled. Big Sexy by TKO in the first.
Gore Factor: High. Struve can’t brush his teeth without needing stitches.
Jim Miller (18-2) vs. Charles Oliveira (14-0)
The Breakdown: This is your Fight of the Night. Seriously. These two grapplers want to lock it up and try to work each other like Rubik’s Cubes that scream and bleed. It’s going to be fantastic.
My Pick: Pretty sure this one is going to decision. I’ll pick Olivera, but don’t be shocked if it’s split.
Gore Factor: Light. Although Miller’s a wrestler and Oliveira has some Muay Thai, which means elbows, and thus blood, is a strong possibility.
Joe “Daddy” Stevenson (36-11) vs. Mac Danzig (20-8-1)
The Breakdown: Another lightweight clash? The Fight Gods appear to be rewarding me. For what? Better sacrifice a fatted ring girl just to keep them on my good side. Anyway, a little background: Stevenson and Danzig are both past winners of The Ultimate Fighter reality show who are getting their asses kicked more often than they kick ass. This is despite Danzig sporting a name that sounds like something a friend of mine would have named his Vampire: The Masquerade character. Seriously, couldn’t you picture a Brujah named Mac Danzig? I really need to focus here. Okay. This promises to be another grappling war, which is more evidence that I have to get on that human sacrifice thing.
My Pick: Danzig, despite the awesome name, hasn’t even fought any top-flight competition. Stevenson has gotten his ass handed to him by George Sotiropoulos, Kenny Florian, Diego Sanchez and BJ Penn. That’s the kind of experience that nets you a win. Stevenson by decision.
Gore Factor: Lot of elbows flying. Medium.
Thiago “Pit Bull” Alves (22-6) vs. John “Doomsday” Howard (14-5)
The Breakdown: The real question is will Alves make weight? He cuts a truly ridiculous amount, especially what with hauling around those useless basketballs attached to his shoulders. He has already missed weight against both Jon Fitch and Matt Hughes and a third miss means likely expulsion from the welterweight division. Fitch was able to capitalize, wringing the water-starved strength out of the Pit Bull’s tissues. Unfortunately, Doomsday doesn’t have the skill set to make that happen. Really, that’s for the best. This looks like a fight that will remain standing until Alves lands a shot that sends Howard to the mat.
My Pick: Alves by TKO in the second, forfeiture of 10% of his purse, followed by renewed demands that he move up to middleweight.
Gore Factor: Medium.
Undercard Highlight: Lightweight Bout
Mark Bocek (8-3) vs. Dustin Hazelett (14-6)
The Breakdown: Yet another lightweight grappling war? At this point, I’m probably going to need… I don’t know, a golden calf or something. Gods like those, right? Hazelett is one of the most entertaining grapplers out there with an unfortunate weakness: getting punched in the face. To combat this, he’s made the move down to lightweight. It remains to be seen if his now sizable reach advantage will counteract a physique that can best be described as “famine-tacular.” Lucky for Hazelett, Bocek isn’t going to want to stand and bang.
My Pick: This should go to the man more creative with applying torque and leverage. That’s Hazelett. I like him by round 2 submission (of the night).
Gore Factor: None. I’ll be shocked if a punch gets thrown.
I have been looking forward to this so much that I actually had a dream where I rescued GSP from a haunted house. I’m serious. My wife thanked me and then asked why GSP needed help doing this. I explained that he can’t take ghosts down.