's Guide to TUF 8

Episode 11

By Scott Holmes Dec 4, 2008
The light heavyweight and lightweight finals for the eighth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” are set.

If you’ve become wary of reading this column thanks to the filthy practices that have been observed in the TUF house, rest easy. Wednesday’s episodes featured the semifinals, and first up on the docket were Eliot Marshall and Ryan Bader.

Marshall decided it wise to call out Bader after his last fight, and everyone seemed to have a differing opinion on what the outcome could be.

“Eliot’s got slick submissions. I think he’s got a good shot of pulling out a submission in this fight,” offered Dana White.

Bader has enjoyed his time with coach Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. By the looks of it, the two sparred each other pretty hard every time they laced up. Bader knew it made a difference, and his coach agreed.

“I think he’s going to be the champ,” Nogueira said.

Eliot Marshall is standing in the way of what I want to do for a living,” Bader said. “I don’t want to go back to an office. I don’t want to fall back on my degree; I want to do what I do. I want to fight.”

Marshall knew he was in for a tough night: “I believe Bader is going to be a very difficult challenge for me, and that is what this is all about. (Bader) probably is the favorite to win the show.”

Actually what this is “about” is giving yourself the path of least resistance en route to a contract that will then, in turn, have you fighting all the difficult challenges you’d like.

The first minute of the fight was pretty even. Bader threw a nice leg kick and scored with a counter right hand, and Marshall landed a high right kick and a knee to the groin. Marshall was warned and then it was back to business. Bader reddened Marshall’s thigh with several good kicks before grabbing a lazy kick and depositing Marshall onto his back. Bader then dug in with some ground-and-pound, but Marshall employed a pretty active guard.

Eliot began the second round with a combo and a kick. Bader nodded at the sting, but another lazy kick from Marshall followed and again Bader shoved him down. For the majority of the second round, Marshall worked angles with his hips while Bader smashed him back down.

During the break, Frank Mir admonished his fighter to change things up and try his best to keep it standing. Marshall tried to employ the plan, but Bader’s wrestling was just too good. Again Bader worked in small shots while keeping Marshall mashed down. Marshall had no answers, and referee Josh Rosenthal finally decided he’d seen enough stalling and stood the two up. On the feet, Marshall had no sense of urgency and threw the same lazy kicks as before.

Of course Bader -- yes, he’s a one-word-only guy now, like Cher and Madonna -- got the unanimous decision and cruised into the finale.

“Bader came out with a good game plan,” Mir said. “He knows he’s not that great of a fighter; he’s just a good wrestler. I’ll give him credit for winning with limited abilities.”

That is what’s known in most circles as a backhanded compliment.

“Fainting Phillipe” is the nickname Dana White gave Phillipe Nover before he saw him fight. From the way Dana and Nogueira gushed about him since, you’d think Nover would already have the contract. First, though, he had to take on George Roop. Neither Dana nor Nogueira seemed to give Roop much of a chance, but Mir was convinced his fighter was tough enough to surprise some people.

Nover made his intentions clear from the bell, rushing at Roop with flying fists. The second shot connected with Roop’s temple, rocking him. Nover kept moving forward, and they tumbled to the ground. Roop swept Nover, but Nover snagged an arm in the process. Roop tried to work his way out of the hold, but Nover held on and looked as if he were solving a math problem in his head.

Before too long, Roop was rolled over onto his back. Nover gave him no place to go and cranked the kimura just a tad more for the tap.

“This kid is one of the most talented kids I’ve seen on ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ ever,” White commented of Nover.

Move over Jason Thacker, there’s a new sheriff in town.
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