UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter 10: Heavyweights Recap, Episode 1

The Ultimate Fighter: Season 10, Episode 1
Airing September 16th, 2009
Report by F4Wonline.com, Brent Wilson



The show begins with what will obviously be a theme of the season, the two coaches, Rashad Evans and Rampage Jackson trash talking. And it will always be awesome. Rashad claims he got in Rampage’s face after the Rampage/Jardine fight because he was told to do so by the UFC brass. He also says he’ll KO Rampage because Jackson is too slow (sort of true) and has a giant head. ‘Page counters with the fact he doesn’t think Evans can take Rampages shots based on the Machida fight. Rashad brings up that that is the only fight he’s lost, but Rampage counters with that’s because Evans hasn’t fought anybody yet. Rampage shoots the camera a deadpan stare straight out of The Office. This stuff is great and should never end. Rampage should keep taking movie roles and keep postponing the fight so they can just keep jawing forever.

The Heavyweights come in so the two coaches briefly stop barking to remark at how big guys like Wes Shivers and Marcus Jones are. Then they pick right back up again with Rampage comparing Rashad when he was KO’d to a fish gasping for air and Rashad claming Shogun Rua made Rampage quit.

Dana then groups everyone together and introduces Kimbo to the other fifteen Heavyweights. Both Dana and Kimbo position him being on the show to “prove Dana White wrong”. Rampage immediately claims Kimbo will be his first pick, which Rashad and Greg Jackson seem more than fine with….for good reason. Rampage adds that Kimbo doesn’t have to train or do anything that he doesn’t want to do. Brendan Schaub adds “Fuck him, fuck that guy.” in an awesomely contrived manner…..which based on his post-fight antics in his prior fights is right in line with his contrived heel persona. Roy Nelson thought that he was the big announcement for the season, and was surprised to see Kimbo walk out.

In fighter evaluations Rashad mentions that James McSweeney and Brendan Schaub both have experience with Team Jackson. Rampage has the fighters live spar and wrestle for his evaluation period, in the process of them beating each other up Rampage makes sure to make fun of Nelson’s gut, and claims that Darrill Schoonover has man boobs.
Rampage was far more mpressed with NFLer Marcus Jones and Kimbo, of course Big Country Nelson and Schoonover are above-average fighters….and Jones and Kimbo are not. Rampage also threatens to take McSweeney from under Rashad….but he’s also not very good, Rampage could be about to make some brutal picks.

Rashad wins the coin toss and chooses to pick the first fighter, which allows Rampage to pick the first two fights. Rashad picks his teammate James McSweeney and Rampage takes Kimbo…..two of the worst fighters go off the board first…and they were picked because they were pals with the coaches, awesome. Rashad follows with Brendan Schaub, Rampage takes Abe Wagner, Rashad with Justin Wren. Rampage takes Demico Rogers, Rashad with Jon Madsen, Rampage takes Wes Sims (who claims to have beaten Frank Mir twice, hilarious), Rashad takes Roy Nelson (seriously Kimbo and Wes Sims were picked before Roy Nelson), Page takes Scott Junk, Rashad with Darrill Schoonover, Jackson takes Wes Shivers, Rashad with Matt Mitrione, Rampage takes Marcus Jones, Rashad takes Mike Wessel, leaving Zak Jensen as the last fighter to get selected onto Team Rampage, which is actually fair. Team Rashad is a billion times better.

In the first coaching session Rampage mentions that Wes Sims has done some crazy stuff which is an understatement. Rampage thinks he can coach it out of him, and doesn’t think Sims has done anything crazy in a while….I guess Rampage didn’t see the recent Steve Bosse fight where Sims push kicked the ref after an inadvertant stoppage.
Rampage mentions that he selected his team largely based on size, and then is shocked to see Marcus Jones gas when doing intense cardio training.

For the fight selection Rampage picks Jon Madsen from Team Rashad to fight Abe Wagner from his team. Rashad thinks Rampage just picked Rashads top wrestler to fight a guy with no ground game. Which is true, Madsen has a very strong High School and College pedigree and Wagner has been very flat footed when standing and got submitted instantly the only time I’ve seen him on the floor. Madsen is shown training throwing one shot while stepping in to close distance to set up takedowns and plans to use his ground and pound. Rashad reiterates that this should be an easy victory for Madsen as Madsen will duck under Wagners wide shots and keep him on his back. I agree.
Rampage thinks that Wagner has the jiu-jitsu to hold his own with Madsen on top and foresees lots of knees in the clinch from Wagner.

Like a ton of Heavyweight MMA prospects Abe Wagner (6-2) made the transition from football, having played at Michigan Tech University before beginning to train to fight. He hasn’t been the most active with only two fights in the last two years as he’s working full time. I’ve actually only seen Wagner in his two professional losses, so my view may be pessimistic but it still should be telling.

It’s tough to get a good grasp on Wagner as he looked very different in the two fights, in the first, a KO loss to Sunia Filikitonga Wagner stayed exclusively on the outside. From there he landed some decently hard leg and body kicks often and showed a good straight right. The problem was that he was throwing strikes at a very low volume, couldn’t counter Sunia’s wild brawling as hands looked very, very slow, and he was a stationary target. Wagner didn’t really even lift his feet to move away, he would slide them from place to place, when you do that and don’t counter or move your head, and you drop your hands then you become a sitting duck even for a brawler. Sunia found his mark very early in Round Two and put Wagner to sleep with a big straight right.

In the second fight I saw was an entire year later against Chris Blaire and to his credit Wagner looked far more active. He still showed decent leg kicks and slow hands but didn’t really use them, Wagner ran right at Blaire grabbed the clinch and proceeded to knee him and use his right hand over the top over and over and over at a fast pace. The only problem was that this pace caused Wagner to gas early on and even despite landing at a high volume was never able to hurt Blaire, who submitted a completely gassed Wagner the second the fight hit the floor.

Both those fights were quite some time ago so Wagner may have made big improvements since that then. Although the fact that he needed five rounds to beat Sherman Pendergarst in what was apparently a close fight back in December does not bode well for his chances in the UFC.

JON MADSEN (1-0) BEAT BROCK LESNAR!! In a high school wrestling match….many moons ago…still that’s impressive and Madsen’s other wrestling credentials are almost as nice as he’s a three time All-American and a Division II NCAA champion from South Dakota State. Madsen has very recently jumped into MMA and made the move down to St. Louis to train with Matt Hughes and Robbie Lawler at the HIT Squad. Madsen is one of the smaller competitors at only six feet tall but that’s not a huge deal with his gameplan. From what I’ve seen Wagner looks like a great match up for Madsen, Wagner is far too slow to get away from Madsen, especially if he stands right in front of him. If he runs right at Madsen like in the Blaire fight he’s going to expose himself for a takedown either way, it’ll be hard to set up his clinch game against someone who is going to dive at your legs. With the low volume, lack of power, and slow hands he showed in both fights I just can’t see him finishing Madsen, or hunting and pecking enough to offset Madsen takedowns.

Heavyweight First Round Fight #1
Jon Madsen (1-0) vs. Abe Wagner (6-2)

Round One
Wagner comes out like he did in the Filikitonga fight staying on the outside taking very small steps right in front of Madsen. This lets Madsen bullrush Wagner and just power him to the mat and end up in side control. Wagner regains half and looks to sit up, Madsen cradles and controls Wagners head to prevent that and bullies Wagner back down to the mat although Wagner does regain guard. Madsen postures up high and starts to load up on punches causing Wagner to shrimp towards Madsen looking to sweep. This does bring Wagner closer to Madsen allowing him to drop elbows onto Wagners head. Wagner grabs a high guard, both Madsens arms are tucked in on the inside allowing Wagner to stall out from this position and control posture. Madsen is landing a couple shots to the body and some short elbows. After more inactivity Madsen is able to create space using his left forearm, posture up and land some hard right hands with Wagners head pinned against the fence. Madsen grinds a few right elbows opening a cut on Wagner before dropping more right hands. Madsen postures up high and drops more elbows widening the cut over Wagners right eye. After some more light shots Madsen stands over Wagner and starts throwing hard with both hands, the mat in the corner is now doused in blood. Madsen finishes the round pounding and Wagner is spouting a gusher. Big time Madsen round, I’ll go 10-8, dominating round. Wagner threw up his hips a couple times but was never close, even with Madsen leaving his arms in, or using an extended arm to control or create posture,

The cut actually doesn’t look too bad, just being on the forehead it’s a gusher, it’s off to the side so it can create vision problems.

Round Two
Right after touching gloves Madsen shoots a double, Wagner shows some resistance but as soon as Madsen even starts to turn the corner he’s down. The cut is bleeding heavily already just thirty seconds into the round, Madsen is again using his left forearm to create space. Madsen has his head on Wagners chest and both hands on the mat and ref Steve Mazzagatti steps in quickly for a stand up. Madsen flings two wild right hands with his hands by his side then presses Wagner into the cage and easily takes a single leg. On top in guard Madsen knee picks GSP style into half and drops an elbow. Madsen is throwing some slow rights and elbows, Wagner is a total mess but Madsen may be tiring. Madsen with a hard left then stands back over Wagner, this is where he did the most damage in round one and again he pounds on Wagner. Madsen descends back onto Wagner and after some more inactivity is stood back up with half the round left.

Just like they practiced Madsen flings the right while stepping in, picks Wagner up and drops him back down, this time landing in side control. Wagner starts to try and roll over so Madsen positions himself into half-guard to control a leg. Wagner sits up into a guillotine, then looks for a kimura. Neither are close and Wagner regains full guard, both guys look tired, Madsens volume is low but Wagner has zero answers. Madsen is just grinding his left elbow into Wagners face and the two are stoodback up again. You’ll never believe what happens. Madsen flings a left, steps in, and takes Wagner down with little effort. Rampage is frusturated and storms off….but really, what did he expect? The round ends with Madsen standing over Wagner flinging punches. Wagner wins at least 20-18, could be 20-17 or even 20-16. The judges give it 20-16, and two 20-17s for Jon Madsen.

Winner: Jon Madsen by Unanimous Decision (20-17, 20-17, 20-16)

Team Rashads smaller fighter beats a one-dimensional larger Team Rampage fighter. That should be this seasons byline. Team Rashad has one win on the road to a potential undefeated season. Jon Madsen looked okay, really only one of his shots was real technical, the double leg where he rounded Wagner off, the rest he just bullied Wagner down. He also showed nothing on the feet, throwing the same one punch, step in combo with his hands at his waist. He also needed to be stood up constantly due to cardio issues, and due to showing very little ability to pass or sustain strikes for ten minutes, but Rampage gave him a perfect matchup in someone who had shown no wrestling or ground game in his prior bouts. That could be enough for a guy like Madsen or Justin Wren to get by against a lot of the brawlers on this show, but there’s always the chance they’ll get caught standing or gas out and end up on their backs, there’s really no one who can threaten them from the bottom on the show.

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