’s Guide to TUF 6

By Scott Holmes Dec 6, 2007
It's time to find out who the final matchup will be come Saturday night at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas. The last four fighters are vying to move on to try and become the "Ultimate Fighter" -- at least for this season.

From Team Serra we have Matt Arroyo and George Sotiropoulos (Pictures) meeting Mac Danzig (Pictures) and Tommy Speer from Team Hughes.

I'm proud to say that at this point I can type Sotiropoulos without looking it up. It's a good feeling.

While preparing to square off against Danzig, Arroyo injures his ribs during training and heads off to the doctor. He doesn't wait for the doctor to give him bad news, telling Serra that he should drop out of the fight anyway. Serra listens and turns him over to Dana White, who tries to explain to Arroyo what an opportunity he'll be passing up.

"You're one fight away from going home and recovering," Dana says.

Arroyo has thought it through, however, and explains that the injury is affecting his breathing and, in turn, his confidence. He says that a fighter without confidence shouldn't enter the ring.

White talks about all the guys that have quit before and doesn't think that Arroyo is from the same stock.

"Who am I to say that the kid's not hurt?" says Dana after giving his usual "If you leave, you aren't coming back" speech. He's pretty sure that Arroyo is no quitter.

After Arroyo's decision, Serra and White get together to figure out who will step in for the injured fighter. One by one the fighters from Team Serra are paraded through. After "War Machine" gives his thoughts, Serra interprets it as an "I'll give it a try."

"Rude Boy" comes in. At 190 pounds, he admits, "I'm just dreading that cut."

Richie Hightower (Pictures) also has to cut but says, "I'm not scared to fight Mac."

White and Serra aren't convinced that any of these guys want any part of Danzig, so how refreshing for them when John Kolosci (Pictures) comes in and announces, "Gentlemen, I want to fight Mac Danzig (Pictures)," to laughter. He immediately gets the chance.

Danzig finds out that he has to fight Kolosci again and doesn't think it's very fair and vents to his teammates. Danzig fought his way into this spot and, like anybody else, doesn't want to see a past foe get a lucky second chance.

Serra knows that Kolosci didn't give his best showing the first time. "He keeps his calm, he'll give Mac a hell of a fight," Serra says.

Kolosci is well aware of the opportunity, saying of the first meeting, "I'll be erasing that fight out of my mind." He adds, "Now I get another chance."

Kolosci is punchier in this fight with Danzig. He doesn't freeze up and spends most of the first round throwing leg kicks, some of which connect well, and others miss. Danzig is still able to stay out of the reach of his taller opponent and seems annoyed by Kolosci's effort. Danzig eventually closes the distance and dumps Kolosci onto the ground. Kolosci tries for an armbar while under Danzig but to no avail.

Once Kolosci turtles up on all fours, Danzig gives him a few body blows while Kolosci holds onto one of Danzig's wrists. Danzig then secures a rear-naked choke without even getting his hooks, and again Kolosci is forced to tap from the same submission as their last fight.

Kolosci put everything he had into every strike he threw, which, according to Hughes, "made him slow" and allowed Danzig to avoid any real damage.

"Mac's a well-rounded fighter who's paid his dues and has earned his spot," Dana says. "I'm happy for him."

Tommy Speer and George Sotiropoulos (Pictures) are the last two left on the dance card and the fight I most want to see.

It is a matchup of well versed versus well built since Sotiropoulos by all accounts is very technical while Speer has that ungodly strength that comes from a lifetime of wrestling.

Hughes thinks that Speer has more than just big arms: "If he can unleash that right hand against George, it could be lights out."

On the flip side, Speer teammate Blake Bowman points out the fact that "Tommy has been caught in both of his fights, but George can finish."

"This kid has a ton of heart," Dana says about Speer but adds that, "I think George can stuff his takedown and has better standup."

Early in the first round, one of Speer's punches grazes the eye of Sotiropoulos and affects him enough for the ref to stop the action. Sotiropoulos recovers enough to get back in the action but continues to favor the eye with blinks and squints.

Speer wisely decides to work that side of his head and connects with a right hand that drops Sotiropoulos for the first time on the show. Once the Australian hits the ground, a new Tommy Speer shines.

Training has paid off for Speer, and he must have developed a killer instinct because he is all over Sotiropoulos with hammerfists to leave him lying unconscious on the mat while Team Hughes rushes the Octagon.

After the great run that Team Serra has throughout the season, the finals this weekend is all Hughes as his best fighter, Danzig, will meet his new protégé, Speer.

Speer revels in the joy, and after his teammates mob him, he compares the feeling to a "buzzer-beater shot."

While Speer and company celebrate, a foggy Sotiropoulos wakes up and asks his coach, "What happened?"

While it wasn't his night, we certainly haven't seen the last of Sotiropoulos. With the success of previous TUF contestants, it won't be a reach to say that the sky is the limit for the Australian.

This weekend we will get to see who the last man standing will be among this season's 170 pounders. The finale will be another matchup of styles, not so much in the martial art sense but in terms of the style of fight.

Speer said it best, noting, "Mac's going to use his skills to finish it, and I'm going to use my power."

Looking forward to it.
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