Sherdog.com’s Guide to TUF 6

By Scott Holmes Nov 22, 2007
Some technical difficulties with my satellite provider had me stressing when I couldn't get "The Ultimate Fighter" to come on. Luckily the crack technical support staff at Sherdog are almost NASA-like in their professionalism, and by that I mean drunk and wearing diapers.

I kid, I kid, but my boy and fellow Cowboy compatriot Mike Fridley had me in business after missing only the first 10 minutes or so. Big ups, Mike, you're my Michelangabro.

Knowing that there were would be two fights on this episode and worried I'd missed a round, I was in panic mode. How fortunate for us all that when things get up and running there is Dana, the coaches and both teams all where you'd expect them to be -- in a bowling alley. Guess I didn't miss anything.

It's become customary for the two TUF coaches to meet in head-to-head competitions that are outside the MMA boundary. Last season it was ping-pong that had Jens Pulver (Pictures) and B.J. Penn (Pictures) glaring at each other. This time it's bowling.

Hughes admits that he's no bowler, and after hearing that his fighters would only take home $1,500 while he gets 10 large, he asks Dana to sweeten the pot. Dana hems and haws for a while. Then, after seeing how clumsy Hughes is with a bowling ball, he announces that if Hughes can bowl a strike on his next toss, the fighter money will double.

The fighters get excited while Hughes lines up his shot and underhands the ball down the lane with all the grace of the Incredible Hulk tossing a rock. It's a strike. "He worked me," Dana says along with his usual expletives.

Hughes is no Ernie McCracken, however, and after he throws a few more gutter balls Dana feels better about the scenario. "This is going to be a good game," Dana says. "Both of them suck."

Matt Arroyo gives Serra pointers, telling him to keep his arm straight on the delivery. Soon Serra is getting some strikes and spares going. With 10 Gs for the winning coach and now $3000 for each fighter behind him, the competition gets fierce and comes down to the final frame.

Serra gets a "blowout," knocking all but one pin down. Yeah, I had to look that up. Anyway, he's left with one last shot, and of course he's clutch and comes through. Hughes can't catch a break this season and as usual he has that look on his face as if someone just stole his new stereo. Hughes storms out of the building without any goodbyes, and Serra revels in his win.

"More importantly, I made Matt Hughes (Pictures) depressed," Serra says.

Hughes thinks he isn't a bad loser, but he explains, "When God made his ingredients for me, he put a double helping of competitiveness."

Yes, competitiveness and snakes, snails, puppy dog tails and enough testosterone to kill an average-sized quarter horse.

Time to put down the balls and pick up the gloves as four Team Serra members will face off to see who will be heading to the semifinals. Matt Arroyo isn't too keen on the idea that he has to fight his teammate and bunk bed companion Troy "Rude Boy" Mandaloniz. The two have grown to be close friends, but anyone who's ever had a sibling or been to juvenile hall would know that bunk bed fights are very common.

"Rude, we're boys, but for 15 minutes I can't have any regard for you," says Arroyo, but he is wrong. He doesn't need 15 minutes to dispatch Mandaloniz.

Arroyo immediately lands a high right foot to Mandaloniz's ear to get things started. Mandaloniz comes back with a leg kick, but Arroyo closes the distance and shoots low for a textbook single-leg takedown. Once the fight hits the ground, Arroyo takes over with ease. He gets side-control and quickly drops back for a straight armlock that "Rude Boy" verbally submits to before a fight could even get started.

Dana wonders aloud how a guy like Mandaloniz can train with B.J. Penn (Pictures) and have "zero ground game." Arroyo breezes into the semifinals after outclassing both of his opponents this season.

Next up is George Sotiropoulos (Pictures) versus Richie Hightower (Pictures). Sotiropoulos and Danzig are by most accounts at the head of the class this season.

"He's just a dangerous guy," says Serra of Sotiropoulos.

Hightower has no delusions about his opponent's skill and hears the talk. "They figure I'd be an easy win for George," Hightower says. "Am I going to roll over and die? No, I'm here to fight."

Hightower does admit that he's up against a wall: "I'm going to have to knock him out or cut him."

Hightower enters the cage sporting a clean, shaved head, eschewing his usual magenta-tinged locks maybe in an effort to show his seriousness. In fact, he is serious, coming right after Sotiropoulos with some good shots that force him to move back. Hightower stays true to his word, swinging for the fences and looking for the knockout.

Sotiropoulos closes the distance, however, and gets Hightower down. Hightower still shows aggressiveness with some good elbows from the bottom position.

Sotiropoulos stays patient, though, and keeps his composure while working to pass Hightower's guard. He moves from side to north-south, then looks to trap an arm. Eventually Sotiropoulos finds the right spot and cranks a Kimura until Hightower yelps in pain and taps in the final moments of the first round.

Next week we will finish out the quarterfinals with Tommy Speer versus Ben Saunders. Also, we will finally get to see the chaotic house that we've been teased with in all the commercials this season. What joy!
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