The Ultimate Fighter: Season 10, Episode 2
Airing September 23rd, 2009
Report by F4Wonline.com, Brent Wilson
Shockingly, the show opens up with everyone talking about Kimbo Slice. Kimbo notes how big some of the guys in the house are, particularly Wes Shivers. Justin Wren remarks that he would love to fight Kimbo and Roy Nelson feels that Kimbo would be a perfect style matchup for himself, which it would be. Kimbo feels it’s an honor to work with Rampage and Rampage thinks he sees a lot of himself in Kimbo. We then cut to a montage of Kimbo working on getting up after getting taken down. He looks decent, but the types of switches he’s shown hitting aren’t going to fly against an opponent who’s actively pushing back.
ANGLE ALERT: Roy Nelson is displayed as being hard to coach for Team Rashad. Rashad notes that Nelson is as old and as experienced and accomplished as himself and so he understands why Nelson is being so difficult. Rashad tries to present it to Roy that the other guys look at Nelson as a leader and he needs to lead by example or else no one is going to train right. It actually gets pretty heated with Nelsons KO loss to Andrei Arlovski being brought up, and talk of Nelson having to move to Team Rampage, but at the end of the day Nelson accedes and will play the good soldier.
For the second fight selection Rampage picks Rashads top pick and Team Greg Jackson teammate James McSweeney to face off against his Wes Shivers. This is a better match up picked by ‘Page as opposed to last week but is still one fraught with danger. Shivers has shown a very limited gas tank, is still very green and has dropped his hands early in his fights. This leaves himself open to the big strikes and flying knees that McSweeney has, however McSweeney is far too aggressive and Jackson is probably banking on Shivers getting McSweeney down early and using some of his catch wrestling and hilarious submissions to put McSweeney away. Rampage claims the pick had nothing to do with strategy and he only picked McSweeney to take out Rashads boy. Rashad thinks McSweeneys stand-up is second to none on the show which is true, but he exposes himself in the other areas of the game greatly.
James McSweeney (3-4) comes from a Muay Thai and Kick Boxing background and is a veteran of both K-1 and Cage Rage. As a British Mixed Martial Artist McSweeney is contractually obligated to have no wrestling skill whatsoever….but seriously, in the fights I’ve seen McSweeney literally has a 0% success rate defending takedowns, and his only takedown attempt was an atrocious double leg that didn’t even budge a completely gassed Neil Grove, Grove then pounded out McSweeney and collapsed into a pile of tired goo.
McSweeney doesn’t help matters by being so aggressive on the feet, while on the outside McSweeney actually shows the nicest footwork of anyone on this season, staying on the balls of his feet and throwing leg kicks. He’s coming from mainly a Muay Thai background and as such McSweeneys’ hands aren’t the most developed and he wings the wild hooks typical of Heavyweights. Where the problem is, is that McSweeney is far too active for his own good, he is constantly leaping in and throwing superman punches, flying knees, and front kicks. This allows opponents to get into his body and easily take him down, when opponents push back on the feet McSweeney moves straight back into the fence and then doesn’t circle off of it effectively, which again allows opponents easy access to his legs. This strategy can sometimes pay off spectacularly like in the ten second flying knee knockout of Roman Webber, but for the most part it just ends up with McSweeney on his back.
Whilst on his back McSweeney actually suffers from the same problem, he attempts to do far too much, McSweeney is constantly either trying to get up or throw up his hips for a submission attempt. This creates a frantic pace but just makes it far too easy for opponents to pass McSweeney’s nonexistent guard, McSweeney also looks to have enough jitz to create opportunities but not to finish them, failing to finish a pair of armbars against Polish Sumoka Robert Paczkow, or a triangle/armbar against Neil Grove that were all ripe for the picking. In the five fights I’ve seen that McSweeney has ended up on his back he has given up at least side control in all of them, and mount in three of them, the Paczkow fight ended with Paczkow passing to North-South and then smothering McSweeney’s face with his sizable belly for an embarrassing submission, the others ended with McSweeney giving up dominant position and either covering up while getting pounded or giving up a choke.
James McSweeney was brought onto this season to throw some wild strikes, maybe get a crazy KO but ultimately will end up mounted or back mounted and that will be that.
McSweeney thinks recently moving to Team Jackson will greatly improve his game and that that will give him an advantage as opposed to Wes Shivers who is training with Alan Belchers team in Mississippi.
Wes Shivers is a big, big dude. Standing 6’7″ and having to cut to 265 lbs, Shivers towers over the competition in the TUF house. Shivers is one of the four NFL veterans on the show having spent some brief time with Atlanta and Tennessee after a successful career with Mississippi State (he was famously involved in an on-field brawl in Starkville during a recruiting trip where he was clocked and busted up by current NFLer Deuce McAllister). Shivers has since transitioned to MMA starting out with catch wrestling, then moving on to work with Belcher.
Shivers is very clearly a work in progress in MMA, on the feet he shows an alright jab but everything else is very sloppy. His footwork is awkward, he’s off balance, he just alternatingly wings both hands as hard as he can. The biggest problem is that he constantly drops his hands, when he flurries with punches, when he kicks, when his opponents kick, when he gets tired (which happens very quickly), this resulted in his only loss as Brad Tidwell knocked him out cold with a counter while Shivers was flinging wild shots.
Shivers uses his size to his advantage well though, he’s so big it can be tough for opponents to get to his legs on takedown attempts. He’s also very good in the clinch at leaning on his opponents with his huge upperbody, this not only wears on his foes and keeps them away from his legs, but also creates space for his hips for him to throw knees. When he’s on top Shivers clearly knows how to pass and is effective with short forearms and elbows, throwing short shots as it’s tough to get good leverage on punches with such long arms on the ground. From his back Shivers constantly looks to control his opponents head and posture with his left arm, while overhooking his opponents left with his right and trying to set up an arm-triangle from his own guard, Mike Thomas Brown-style. This actually worked against Jerry Carrol, but honestly that’s not going to work against good fighters and leaves him open for elbows between his arms.
Shivers is too wide open for shots from other brawlers, his grappling is sloppy and has only excelled against jobbers, and he needs to finish things very quickly due to his limited gas tank, to be honest I just can’t see him sticking around the UFC for too long after the show. If McSweeney comes flying out at Shivers I could easily see Shivers ending up on top. From there Shivers has enough passing skills to easily flow through McSweeney, end up in dominant position and submit or pound him out. McSweeney doesn’t have textbook hands or huge power to take full advantage of Shivers low hands, but if it stays at a distance he dominates Shivers, but he’s probably going to give in to his urges to hand Shivers a takedown.
Shivers plans on countering McSweeney leg kicks with straight rights, Rampage mentions that McSweeney comes from a pure Muay Thai background and wants Shivers to take the fight down right away and check his ego behind to get the win. Demico Rogers thinks that Shivers length and power will even give him the advantage standing and thinks a hard straight right from Shivers will drop McSweeney….I have yet to see Shivers throw anything resembling a straight right, and for his size hasn’t shown that much power, but we shall see.
Ultimate Fighter Opening Round Fight #2
Team Rampage vs. Team Rashad
Wes Shivers vs. James McSweeney
McSweeney takes the center of the cage and looks real light on his feet, landing a leg kick which buckles Shivers and stepping away immediately from his awkward counter. McSweeney with another leg kick, but as Shivers presses forward McSweeney again moves straight back allowing Shivers to get to his body and grab the clinch. Shivers bulls McSweeney to the fence using his good lean before easily tripping McSweeney down which leaves his takedown defence percentage at 0%. Shivers is on top in half-guard, Shivers is so long that despite being in half-guard effectively has the leverage of being in side control while having one of McSweeneys legs locked down. Shivers is grabbing wrist control on McSweeneys left arm possibly to set up a straight armlock but he should really be looking at passing McSweeneys really loose guard. Shivers frames up a kimura but from half-guard McSweeney is able to turn with it and roll over, and up to his feet. Shivers is breathing hard already. A head kick slaps with the foot across Shivers face as he’s dropping his hands yet again. A leg kick from McSweeney, Shivers catches McSweeney low. This break benefits the tired Shivers. McSweeneys lack of hands show through when he steps in too close to Shivers, Shivers starts winging both hands wildly and since McSweeney backs straight up some are actually finding a sloppy home. McSweeney tries a push kick and a leaping Brazilian kick to keep Shivers off but it just allows Shivers to grab McSweeneys back standing.
McSweeney grabs Shivers left arm and does a really nice job turning into him to extricate himself. McSweeney is looking a little tired as well, the action slows, McSweeney with a leg kick and a jab. Another leg kick from McSweeney, but another one that slaps with the foot. Straight right from McSweeney, Shivers too tired to respond. McSweeney is doing a good job staying out of range of Shivers hands and Shivers is too tired to press the action, McSweeney with his second real hard leg kick. Shivers looks hurt by that one. And another. And a third and then out of range of Shivers wild shots. Leg kick. Leg kick. Round ends.
Tricky round to score. Shivers landed absolutely nothing in the last half of the round but McSweeney hasn’t taken huge advantage, rather peppering Shivers with leg kicks.
I’m actually going to go 10-10. Team Rampage wants Shivers to press forward, Team Rashad wants more McSweeney jabs.
McSweeney jab lands early. McSweeney is really digging the leg kicks with his shin now, his footwork is giving Shivers different angles and not letting him fire back. Let’s see if McSweeney can keep it up for the whole round. Nice footwork and head movement from McSweeney, Shivers telegraphed shots sail over his head. It disappears when Shivers fires a leg kick, McSweeney moves straight back into it. McSweeney leg kick. Leg kick. After a head kick Shivers rushes McSweeney, McSweeney sprawls and avoids! He’s up from 0%! He still moved straight back, he’s lucky Shivers was too tired to really do anything but run at him. Leg kick. Jab. Left hook, leg kick. Shivers catches a body kick and for some reason wrenches up on the leg, it doesn’t matter as McSweeney loses his balance on his own. Shivers is on top in side control, McSweeney regains half and Shivers tries to set up his arm-triangle. Shivers lands an elbow, McSweeney again tries to just stand back up allowing Shivers to grab mount as McSweeney literally just tried to get up…once again. Shivers takes a deep breath and lands a right, he’s now flinging both hands. McSweeney rolls over and hands Shivers an arm, Shivers ignores it and keeps pumping, Shivers locks a rear naked choke but its on McSweeneys chin. McSweeney rolls out of it and tries to stand up, this time Shivers maintains no control but goes for the choke again, this easily lets McSweeney turn into him and end up on top.
McSweeney stands up and Shivers now has his hands on his hips. McSweeney looks real tired as well, sloppy punches from both with nothing landing. Leg kick. The two stand half a cage apart and both try to catch their breath. Leg kick. Rest break. McSweeney flings an overhand right, turns and runs away, Shivers lands a leg kick then bends over and puts his hands on his knees. This is bordering on embarassing now. Inside leg kick. Rest break. Leg kick. Rest break. LKRB. Hard overhand right staggers Shivers, Shivers ducks into a head kick now as he tries to hang onto McSweeney. Shivers grabs a leg, McSweeney does a good job of dead legging him for a second before falling over. McSweeney grabs a guillotine on the way down, it looks tight and he locks his left leg up high on Shivers back. Shivers can’t free his head but does loosen McSweeneys guard which should enable him to ride out the round. Shivers frees himself with ten seconds left and does nothing until the round ends. Wes Shivers dies.
Another relatively tricky round to score, this one was brutally sloppy but each guy had their moments. McSweeney added a guillotine attempt, a heavy right, and a head kick to his leg kicks from round one that’s worth more than the few shots from mount and the choke attempt. McSweeney 10-9. I’ve got it 20-19 for James McSweeney.
The judges score it 19-19, 20-18, and 20-18 giving the majority decision to James McSweeney which sounds about right.
Winner: James McSweeney by majority decision.
Both guys were exactly what they were in their pre-show fights. When facing someone who could fight back Shivers was unable to finish the fight on the ground with his catch or with his wild shots before his gas tank ran out and that was that. McSweeney showed that he has nice Muay Thai and nice footwork early however he continued to show that his footwork disappears when pressed, has sloppy hands, no takedown D, a brutal guard, a shaky gas tank and only won because Shivers turned into an invalid as the fight progressed. Rashad’s potential for an undefeated season still lives though, his best fighters have yet to fight and his team is still a bajillion times better than Rampages’.
Next week is being hyped as the biggest fight in TUF history as Rashad picks Roy Nelson to fight Kimbo Slice. Just a brutal matchup for Kimbo. His only hope is that Roy does stop moving when his opponents flurry, gets hit in everyone of his fights and is vulnerable to uppercuts. But Roy has shown a big chin, only Arlovski has hurt him and Kimbo stops sitting down on his shots when he flurries negating that strength. Roy has got great clinch takedowns, brutal ground and pound and quick passing when his opponents can’t control him. Roy also pumps out a great jab and a solid 1-2, showing a straight right that has consistently hurt people. Nelson could more than hold his own even if he chose to stand the whole time, although he has no reason to. Terrible, terrible stuff for Kimbo and he could look awful in this bout, considering the way the two fighters appearances this could finish Kimbos cred if he gets pummeled for a second time by a pudgy white guy. At least this time it’s not in a basement.