Thoughts on TUF 6 -- Episode 8
Here are some of my thoughts on last night's episode:
- Matt Serra is quickly growing to be one of my favorite MMA fighters -- the kind of guy whose personality outside the Octagon makes you root for him inside the Octagon. I interviewed him when he was down at Ground Control here in Baltimore, and he was friendly and warm and bubbly in an infectious way. What I like about him from the show is his matter-of-factness -- he's not afraid to tell you the way it is, but he does so in a way that's not threatening.
On last night's episode, Serra clowned opposing TUF 6 coach Matt Hughes as well as his own fighter, "War Machine" Jon Koppenhaver. Serra clearly dislikes Hughes, but I find his rants about Hughes clever and amusing. In the same way, Serra quickly dissected Koppenhaver's mental game as a weakness, but also gave Koppenhaver the opportunity to earn his trust through proper training.
I thought Serra handled Koppenhaver very well both before and after his loss. Serra is the kind of coach -- much like Tito Ortiz in season 3 -- that I would love to learn from.
- Wow, that Koppenhaver is quite a character. His story about losing his father as an adolescent was truly heart-wrenching and it appears that he hasn't fully dealt with that loss. It really was sad to hear him say that he has nobody in this world (save a couple of friends.) Admittedly, it was enough for me to pull for him in the fight against Hughes farmboy Tommy Speer.
And, it looked like the underdog Koppenhaver might actually get the job done, especially with his early punch that sliced open the bridge of Speer's nose and his numerous rear naked choke attempts. Speer, however, took control midway through the first round and used his size and wrestling ability to control the remainder of the match to earn the decision victory.
- Next week the quarterfinal matches begin. According to the understood rules, Serra chooses all the matchups because he won the preliminary round 6-2. I hope Spike TV and Dana White don't go and muck this up, as it looks like they might from the preview of next week's episode. If Serra wants both Hughes fighters to meet up in the first round in order to eliminate one of them, that's his prerogative. I don't think White or Hughes should have any say in it.
I'm already worked up about it. I guess we'll have to see what happens next week...