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The Final Episode of The Ultimate Figher: Season Five

Posted on 06/15/2007 by RealityWanted in The Ultimate Fighter

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By Matthew Kimura

The semi-finals are upon us, and the final four guys still in action are Gray Maynard and Joe Lauzon from Team Penn, and Joe Lauzon and Manny Gamburyan from Team Pulver. Team Penn has come a long way since dropping the first five fights, and now we have a predicament: are the teammates going to fight each other?

Before we get into that, last week we saw Manny win by decision over Matt Wiman. Manny's cousin, Karo Parysian, came to help train Team Pulver and also support Manny. After the fight, Karo and Nate were jawing at each other in the locker room. Nate thought Karo was being a little disrespectful, and called him out on it. It all escalated in a hurry, though, and both guys were ready to throw down in the locker room. Nate said that it all started when Karo put his hands on him, but from what I saw it only looked like he was putting his arm around Nate in a joking way.

Karo eventually walked out of the locker room without anyone throwing a punch, but then returned to the locker room and asked if he could talk to Nate in private. Nate didn't want to go out into the hallway with him, and said that if he wanted to talk, he could do it in front of the rest of his team. They had a few more words, and Karo had to be held back. Nate stayed in his spot and didn't step up, or try to instigate anything else. After a while Karo walked away again, angrier than before. After seeing Manny's temper at the beginning of the season, I'm surprised Karo didn't try to throw him.

Afterward, the coaches were called into a separate room to have a conference call with UFC President Dana White. The call was in regards to figuring out the fights for the semi-finals. Coach Jens Pulver said that if it turned out that teammates would have to fight each other, he was going to start breaking stuff. Last week's fight with Nate and Corey stressed him out a good deal, and he didn't want to have to go through that again. BJ was all for it, as it guaranteed that a guy from his team, and from Jens' team would make it to the finals.

Dana hinted at that idea at first, but soon he revealed that he was just doing it to get a rise out of Jens. Jens was pretty angry when he first heard "teammate v. teammate" but was relieved when he found out it wasn't true. The fights were then slated to be Manny Gamburyan v. Joe Lauzon, and Gray Maynard v. Nate Diaz.

The first semi-final fight was with Manny and Joe. Joe figured since he had the size advantage that he could throw it around and outmuscle Manny. Dana White agreed. With Joe being significantly taller than Manny, it was Joe's fight to lose. I don't know about that. Shorter guys for some reason are always more tenacious...maybe it's that Napoleon's complex, I dunno.

When Team Pulver went to train, Nate and Manny had to train together. Jens said that the fight between Joe and Manny will come down to who has the most guts. Both guys do all of the right things in training and in fights, so it'll be a close one.

When Team Penn went to train, all of the coaches predicted that some day Joe would be a world champion. Overall his skill has come a long way, and he can go nowhere but up. BJ predicted that if Manny has to fight on his back, Joe will have the advantage.

Back at the house, the night before the fight, Dana surprised the guys with a really nice dinner. He asked them all questions about how they liked the house, and whether it was better or worse than what they expected, and also what they missed from their lives at home. Overall it was a pretty relaxing time for the guys, which is what Dana wanted to provide for them all. Another surprise came for the semi-finalists at dinner, as they found out that the two guys who make it to the finals will get free service from Direct TV. In the past they usually got free phone service from Amp Mobile. I think the lightweights got the sweet deal this time.

THE FIGHT: Manny Gamburyan (Team Pulver�5'5", 66" reach, 8-2) v. Joe Lauzon (Team Penn�5'10", 70" reach, 13-3)

ROUND ONE
Right from the start Joe threw a headkick, but missed, and Manny took him down. He was in Joe's half guard, and threw some elbows and punches down on Joe before attempting a guillotine choke. Joe picked Manny up, while Manny still had his head, but fell back down before spinning out and escaping. They both stood back up, and Manny backed Joe up to the fence before taking him down again. Joe had Manny in half guard again and went for an arm triangle, but couldn't clamp it. Manny was in Joe's full guard, but kept throwing body shots. Manny's small, but he smothers people when he's on top. He kept driving his chin down on Joe's collarbone, ribs, skull...anything bony while he was on top as well. Joe threw a couple of elbows, and Manny managed to get a leg out. Joe got out from underneath Manny and they were both back up on their feet. Manny had Joe by the head, trying for a guillotine, and landed a few knees. Joe threw himself onto the ground in order to escape. Manny got back on top of Joe and landed more shots as the round ended.

My scorecard: Manny won that round. He was more aggressive and didn't let Joe breathe easy for a second. Joe didn't look beat up by any means, but he didn't get in much offense either.

ROUND TWO
Manny threw a leg kick to start the round and went for the takedown, but Joe sprawled. They stood up and Manny threw a few punches before trying another takedown. Joe sprawled again, but Manny backed him up to the fence this time. Manny hit a few punches, then Joe grabbed an arm and dropped to his back. Manny was in his guard again and threw some elbows and punches. He got a leg out, then for a brief moment had side control before Joe wrapped up a leg for a half guard. Manny stood up and dove back down on Joe, and was in Joe's full guard. Neither were doing much damage to one another, so the ref stood them up. Manny went for another takedown and Joe sprawled to block it, so Manny swept his foot to get him down. Joe went straight into a turtle position. Manny tried for a choke, and Joe was able to reverse it, but then the round ended.

My scorecard: Closer than the first, as Joe had a better time defending Manny's attacks, but I'd still give it to Manny.

ROUND THREE
Manny hit a leg kick and tried for a takedown, but it didn't work. He ate a knee when he tried for another takedown. Joe fell back and had Manny in his guard. They traded blows for a while, and Manny eventually got a leg out. Manny tried to get side control, but Joe rolled Manny over onto his back. Joe tried for a choke and hooked both of his legs under Manny. It looked like he had the RNC in deep, but then Manny rolled out of it and got on top of Joe. Manny rained down the punches to end the round.

My scorecard: It looked like Joe was starting to have an answer for Manny's attack, but I think it was too little too late. Manny was the aggressor for the third round again, and with the exception of a few instances, he had control. I'd give it to Manny.

Your winner: Manny Gamburyan via decision.

Nice fight! Manny had control for a good portion of the fight, but Joe hung in there. It would've been huge if Joe could've pulled off the submission with the rear naked choke. With that win, we'll see Manny on June 23rd on Spike.

Next up was the fight between Gray Maynard and Nate Diaz, but first we saw a good deal of mayhem at the house. Usually every year the guys wind up destroying a good deal of things in the house. This year, instead of breaking stuff, they had a humongous food fight. Instead of throwing pies and whatnot, they threw apples oranges and grapefruits. At first it only started with a few guys, then the entire house got involved. It was a mess.

Back at the house, Dana had a coaches challenge: a ping pong game. The winner got $10,000 and everyone on his team would get $1,000. The guys were elated. BJ looked focused, as if he were about to step into the octagon. Jens stressed out over it since he sucked at ping pong. BJ won the first game, Jens won the second and then won the third. I'd give you the details, but I think ping pong's a lot like auto racing. Back and fourth back and fourth. Drive fast and turn left. Drive fast and turn left.

Then everyone in the house, except for the fighters, started drinking...a lot. It looked like a frat party. Cole Miller looked the most wasted out of everyone, and it showed. Brian Gereghty said Cole was a "feminine drunk". I'm assuming that means he's a lightweight with the bottle, but then they showed him sitting on someone's lap. Take that as you will I guess. Anyway, Cole put his gi on and then fell asleep on the floor in his room. Then he puked, so the guys got him to the bathroom quickly. He passed out sitting on the toilet facedown in a pillow on his lap. The guys then shaved half his head. I would've drawn on him, but either way you don't pass out first. The next day Cole was sporting a completely shaved head. He said he should probably be mad about it, but he knew he deserved it since he passed out in a house with 12 other guys.

The focus then went to both teams training, with Team Penn in the gym first. Gray was working pretty hard to get ready for his fight. BJ was confident in Gray's ability. He said Nate may have the advantage standing up, but Gray's ground and pound was brutal. Gray was the only one training, as the rest of the team was laying around the gym enjoying their last day there.

Team Pulver was up next. Nate was training pretty hard as well. His submissions may be the thing that can counter Gray's awesome wrestling. Instead of laying around, Team Pulver took part in some tag team wrestling with one another. They all had a good time with it. Jens predicted a tough fight between the guys. He also talked about how proud he was of his guys, and how great of an experience it's been to coach all of them.

THE FIGHT:

ROUND ONE
The fight quickly went to the ground. Both guys were throwing a lot of shots with Gray getting the better of the exchanges. Nate was cut up pretty badly from a few shots (my cousin said he looked like Frankenberry, with the gashes and the blood and everything). Nate never let Gray set and wind up, though, as he attempted submission after submission after submission. Gray was on top of Nate for a good portion of the round, but he couldn't get much done because of Nate constantly moving around to get a better position underneath Gray, so Gray couldn't pound him out.

My scorecard: Too close to call. I'll say Gray.

ROUND TWO
Gray looked tired. Nate hit him with a kick, and took him down. They rolled for a bit and then Nate clamped on a guillotine choke out of nowhere and made Gray tap!

Your winner: Nate Diaz via submission by guillotine choke.

Seriously, I blinked and the fight ended. Just goes to show how unpredictable MMA can be. I was expecting more of what happened in the first round, but when you're going up against a guy that can put on a submission clinic in Nate Diaz, you're going to see someone tap one way or the other.

So for the finals on Saturday, June 23rd, LIVE on Spike TV: Manny Gamburyan v. Nate Diaz.

Here's the rest of the card (my predictions in parenthesis...feel free to make your own in the comments section):

Jens Pulver v. BJ Penn (Penn by submission in the 3rd)
Manny Gamburyan v. Nate Diaz (Gamburyan by decision)
Roger Huerta v. Doug Evans (Huerta by decision)
Floyd Sword v. Thales Leites (Leites by submission in the first)
Brandon Melendez v. Joe Lauzon (Lauzon by TKO in the third)
Andy Wang v. Cole Miller (Miller by TKO in the third)
Rob Emerson v. Gray Maynard (Maynard by TKO in the second)
Allen Berube v. Leonard Garcia (Garcia by submission in the first)
Brian Gereghty v. Matt Wiman (Gereghty by decision)

The Ultimate Fighter

  

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