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Reflections on The Ultimate Fighter week 11 (or is it 12? do weeks without episodes count?)

   So here we are at the end of Season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter, and we have back-to-back episodes to say goodbye.

   We begin with Ryan Bader vs Eliot Marshall.

   The fight went all three rounds and is pretty simple to summarize: Bader took Eliot down and put him against the cage. Bader controlled Eliot until the ref stood the fight back up and then took him down again at will. This was the pattern for three rounds.

   Bader won via unanimous decision and moved to the finals.

   Mir spent most of the fight calling for the ref to stand them up and calling it a good wrestling match. He then commends Bader after the fight for winning with a limited set of abilities. I’m sorry, but he was able to utilize his superior skill and control the entire fight. If Eliot was indeed the better fighter he could have done a number of things: Sprawl and out strike Bader, work back to his feet from the ground, sweep Bader, or perhaps submit him from his back. Instead he laid on the ground with Bader in his guard.

   Unlike his coach, Eliot made no excuses in defeat and gave Bader plenty of credit.

   Next up was George Roop vs Phillipe Nover. If you decided to go to the fridge you would have missed this lightweight bout. Nover came out swinging, connected, and took Roop down. Roop managed a nice sweep, but Nover quickly applied a solid Kimura and forced Roop to tap.

   Phillipe Nover, as many expected, is now fighting in the finals.

   The second episode begins with Krzysztof Soszynski vs Vinny Magalhaes.

   Pre-fight Bas Jr says you can change a black belt to a white belt with a punch in the face. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to land this magical punch.

   At the start of the fight it seemed like we were in for a war of styles. Vinny pulled guard every chance he got and Krzysztof sprawled or was able to stand up. However after receiving 9 inside leg kicks in a row Vinny was able to again pull guard and submit Krzysztof with an arm bar.

   Vinny will now face Bader in the season finale.

   And this is where the episode goes crazy. Junie is shown training and saying that he doesn’t want to fight. He feels he has gotten worse since he arrived and that he doesn’t want to fight and lose on TV.

   So back at the house, he loses his temper following a discussion about the fights with Shane and throws a coffee mug at him, and then a couple punches. Shane calls him crazy.

   As a result, Dana White treats us to another appearance. He asks if Junie is retarded, bi-polar or just afraid to lose. Junie claims he isn’t like this at home, and that the reality show is messing with his head. Dana says he is afraid to lose without an excuse, and that he is trying to take the easy way out. He doesn’t want to let Junie leave, but he doesn’t want the other guys think he is playing favourites, so he gives them the choice. He explains the situation (We finally get the “don’t vote him off, beat him off “ line) and Efrain expresses his desire to fight Junie. The others agree and Junie gets to stay again.

   People are going to question this move, and I questioned giving Junie a second and third chance. But I think there was sound logic behind this decision that goes beyond ratings (which many will be quick to blame). Junie talked trash all season, and Dana is forcing him to back it up in the cage.

   The Fight with Efrain is by no means spectacular. Junie begins by sitting in the cage while Efrain enters, and then by stretching when the round begins. They trade on their feet, with neither doing much damage for a round and a half.

   Mir decided to give up on Junie in Round 2 and sat down to simply watch the fight. Junie was obviously gassed and when Efrain finally took him down there wasn’t much effort to escape or defend the choke.

   Efrain submitted Junie in the second round and will now face Nover in the finals.

   After the fight Junie goes outside while Team Nog celebrates and shaves Mir’s head. Apparently Mir had agreed to it in a bet that Nog’s fighters wouldn’t make the finals.

   Outside Junie made excuses of why he would have been better if he trained at home, and said that Efrain wasn’t better than he though, but that he simply overestimated his own abilities.

   In the end, Dana White seemed pretty stoked that Junie was beaten and sent home properly.

   So thus concludes my weekly reflections on the Ultimate Fighter. Tune in next week for some views on the finales, and some other various thoughts.

(Slightly delayed) Reflections on The Ultimate Fighter week 10

   Sorry for the delay, I’ve been sick this week and the quality of this article may reflect that.

   So this week the focus is on John’s love of hugs and Roop’s injured hand.  

   The highlight is that we get a fantastic hug montage and a bit more depthin to John’s personality. John seems like a genuinely nice guy, even Junie likes John.

   John explains that he holds his hugs extra long because no one gives a good hug anymore. Instead of simply going through the motions, he makes every hug count.

   John being such a nice guy causes a very small prank to be a rather big deal. The guys on Team Mir steal the marshmallows from John’s lucky charms (Which is pretty funny) and he gets genuinely upset. He explains that he didn’t involve himself in any previous pranks, and that he has been nothing but nice to Team Mir.

   John is someone I hope the UFC or at least the WEC pick up. His attitude is good for the sport.

   The fight itself is a bit weak. Roop keeps john at a distance with kicks and controls the fight despite only having one hand. The most notable moment was the pre fight hug, perhaps the first ever in the octagon.

   Not surprisingly Roop won the fight via decision. Dana got upset, stating that he hates it when fights are stolen from fighters. Dana felt a third round was needed, but I personally don’t think John did enough to warrant one.

   Post fight Team Mir talks trash about Team Nog’s family atmosphere and Roop looks a little embarrassed to be in the same dressing room with them.

   Back at the house a couple guys toss eggs and things off the balcony onto the guys in the hot tub. In retaliation Junie throws a temper tantrum equal to a younger brother who knows he can’t do anything to get his older brothers to stop picking on him.

   The semi final fights are announced as:

Eliot vs Bader

Vinny vs Krystoff

Junie vs Efrain

Roop vs Nover

   However if the commercials for the upcoming episode and Junie’s comments on Dana’s video blog are any indication, we won’t be seeing Junie vs Efrain. 

Reflections on The Ultimate Fighter Week 9 (and a thought on UFC 91)

   Well, I must say, this week’s episode had me worried but became rather entertaining.

   Following his loss Kaplan gets mighty sloshed and begins claiming he can’t be knocked out. He calls out just about everyone in the house with this claim. Eventually after begging drinking buddy Tom Lawlor to punch him, Kaplan is knocked out cold. He claims he wasn’t, but his legs went stiff, his eyes glazed over, and he was unaware of his surroundings. The cat was out cold.

   The best part of the whole situation (Other than seeing Kaplan get knocked out) was Junie being stoked, because it made him seem a bit more normal.

   This week’s pranks managed to avoid bodily fluids thankfully. Bader decides that since Kryz is fighting this week, he needs to be the focus. The red team moves a ton of things into Kryz’s room, after moving his bead into the closet.

   Bas Jr sees this and enjoys it thoroughly, claiming he didn’t think they had it in them. Of course, he makes this prank look like child’s play by moving every plate, cup utensil, etc onto the basketball court in the middle of the night. It is quite obvious who is better with pranks.

   In the coaches’ challenge, we learn that Big Nog is the worst soccer player in Brazil. But this doesn’t stop him from beating Mir and winning money for himself and his team. Mir’s insane logic following the event explains that since scored 6 goals on a guy from Brazil, he was 200x (his measurement) the athlete that Nog is. Maybe I just don’t get the advanced math Frank used to decide this, but I’ve never seen Big Nog look like Mir did against Dan Christison. Or if you need a pre-accident example, I don’t think he would be gassed in the second round against Wes Sims.

   The fight itself wasn’t extremely competitive; Bas Jr was able to out strike Kyle standing, then pull guard and transition to an arm bar.

   Nog is a big fan of Kyle though, and has offered to teach him the ground game when the show is over, since he came in with only 6 months of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training.

   It was nice to see an appearance from Kryz’s Team Quest coach “Dangerous” Dan “Hendo” “Hollywood” Henderson in this episode.

   Speaking of nicknames, really Nover? The Filipino Assassin? Do you know how many assassins there already are? Houston Alexander is “The Assassin”, Mikey Burnett is “The Eastside Assassin”, Sam Hogar is the “Alaskan Assassin”, Sokoudjou is “The African Assassin”, David Terrell is “The Soul Assassin”, Melvin Guillard is “The Young Assassin” and of course Josh Barnett is “The Babyface Assassin”. And those are just off of the top of my head. So please Phillipe, find a new nickname.

   Huge fights this Saturday at UFC 91. After he dismantled Tim Sylvia I said I would never doubt Randy again and I will stand by that. I’ll admit in advance that I am biased and if I made a favourite fighter list, Randy would be at the top, but I still think he has the edge in this fight. The man is insane at creating strategies to exploit the weaknesses of his opponents. I think his experience and ever improving hands will play a big factor in this fight.

   I’m a fan of Lesnar as well. He is a huge man and a challenge that has me a bit worried for Randy. I think he is the future of the division and will be a champion at some point, just not this Saturday.

  Next week we see John the Hug Machine fight. If he wins with a rear naked choke (or a hug from behind I’ll call it) it will be the greatest thing ever.

The NFL Fantasy Funbox Week 10

Welcome to week 10 of the funbox. Whether you’re making a late run for the postseason or trying to hold off the opposition, you’ve come to the right place to solve all those pesky line-up dilemmas. 

Raptor - 36 (+2 prop points) = 38 points
Beer Baron – 27(+2 prop points,) = 29 points (This includes a generous point for Santana Moss as a bust who barely played half the game)
Gizmo - 29 (+2 prop points) = 31 points

Quarterback of the week

Gizmo - Philip Rivers. Rivers had arguably his best game of the season in week 8 against the Saints in London. After a week off and a return to home soil, Rivers should be in for a repeat performance against the lowly Chiefs this week. Chris Chambers is healthy and Tomlinson seems to be past his turf toe, forcing teams to respect the run. This unlikely fantasy stud should be able to take advantage of a favorable match up and put some up some big points.
Honorable mention: Kurt Warner
Beer Baron - Chad Pennington.  On a team that appeared set on a long, arduous rebuilding process, Pennington has been more than the stabilizing force that he was initially sought out to be, and has emerged as a reliable lowQB1/top QB2.  The Fins face the Hawks this wk, a team that will truly enter rebuilding mode once Mike Holmgren leaves after this season.  Expect just under 300 yards passing (Penningtons average the past 4 games) and at least 1 TD…dont rule out him catching one also.
Honourable Mention:  Drew Brees
Raptor - Drew Brees. Brees has been the bee’s knees this year.  He’s on a record setting pace and with Colston and the Shock getting healthy he can only get better.  Sure he’s without Bush but Brees has shown he can get the job done with Henderson, Patten, and Miller as his big guns.  The Falcons have decided to sub Grimes out at CB but his replacement is not much better.  This is a poor secondary and Brees should shred them.
Honorable mention: Kurt Warner 
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Reflections on The Ultimate Fighter week 8

   This week we get a great episode of The Ultimate Frat Boy. I don’t know why, perhaps because the producers don’t find Nog or Mir that interesting, but we don’t get to see much training this season.

   The show focuses quite a bit this week on the prank war within the house, however this time it goes to a strange new level. People have been eating Tom Lawlor’s fruit tray daily while he is at practice. Tom (and a couple other guys) piss in the fruit tray and explain that it isn’t their fault if the other team eats it. Of course Bader, Phillipe, Kyle ad a few others eat it.

   When Team Mir explains what happened they take the news very differently. Phillipe starts to gag, Bader doesn’t react much, and Kyle is pretty stoked about it being a great prank.

   In retaliation, Phillipe is upset that people keep eating his sushi. So, in what must be the most awkward sequence in The Ultimate Fighter history, the guys on team Nog add some special sauce to Phillipe’s sushi.

   Dave Kaplan, Phillipe’s opponent for the week eats it, and then freaks out a bit. He claims that his fecal matter will be on them within 3 days.


   This week we saw maybe about 7 minutes worth of actual training, and when they showed team Mir train it was Junie throwing a temper tantrum about no one wanting to train. Mir sitting with his team on the mats explains he simply waits out these moments with Junie. Great coaching Frank.

   We see a bit more of Nog than Mir in this episode because he takes the time to go to the house to see his guys. John is stoked about this so he and Nog hug it out.

   Junie gives Phillipe tips on how to beat Dave Kaplan. His reasoning is that he doesn’t like Kaplan because he talks too much. Really Junie? Really? Alright.

   The fight itself lasts maybe two minutes. Phillipe lands a couple big shots standing, moves to the ground and sinks in a rear naked choke for the win.

   Following the fight Kaplan and Mir make a lot of excuses as to why Dave lost the fight. They don’t mention the one where Phillipe is pretty damn impressive.

   Other than the fight and Dave Kaplan’s Rain Man like ability to name the capitols of countries, this week felt like a bit of a waste of time. 

The NFL Fantasy Funbox Week 9

We’ve reached the midpoint of the season.  Raptor seems to have the hot hand right now, let’s see if that’s a trend or a mirage.

- 33 (+3 prop points) = 37
Gizmo - 23 (+3 prop points) = 26
Beer Baron - 25 (+0 prop points) = 25

Raptor - Donovan McNabb. 
I don’t want to go to the well too often but McNabb is due for an absolutely boss stat line this Sunday against the Seahawks.  Sure they’re playing in Seattle, which is a tough place to play, but the NFL’s 8th quarterback of all time to 3000 yards rushing will scorch the skies this Sunday.  Ever since he got dropped from his label, (Campbell’s Chunky,) and recovered from surgery, he has looked leaner and more mobile.  Seattle is without Patrick Kerney and McNabb will have all day to open up the Seattle D like a can of Chicken Noodle.
Honourable Mention - Kyle Orton
Gizmo - Kurt Warner.  They man they call ‘Q’ is back.  This gives Warner three legitimate options with Fitzgerald and the upstart Steve Breaston also split out wide.  ‘Zona has all but abandoned the run at this point and is facing a mediocre Rams team this week.  Warner’s averaging 37 pass attempts per game and should at least match that this week as he continues to make his case for league MVP.
Honourable Mention - Matt Schaub
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(Brief) Reflections on The Ultimate Fighter (and UFC 90) Week 7

So this week my ability to watch the Ultimate Fighter resulted in watching it without sound at times, and seeing the fight before the actual episode.

We got a chance to see Mir’s team doing some intense cardio work with snorkels (Wanderlei style) to make up for Junie’s lack of gas in his fight.

It is revealed that Bas Jr believes he has broken or fractured his wrist, but will continue to ice it and fight. He mentioned recently in a blog that it was hurt more than he let on, but he didn’t talk about it much because he didn’t want to be sent home. This is something that State Athletic Commissions are looking to start cracking down on because a serious injury could easily occur in the ring due to “manning up”. All the sport would need is a fighter to suffer a life threatening (or ending) injury because they lied in their physical.
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The ODC NFL Week 9 Power Rankings

Power Rankings can be a tough call because many times you are going to have teams that have beat other teams ranked ahead of eachother.  Here is what I settled on:

1. New York Giants - Sorry Tennessee but if these two teams meet on a neutral field the Giants win

2. Tennessee - Their rushing attack is amazing

3. Washington Redskins - They just know how to win games

4. Pittsburgh Steelers - Missing Santonio Holmes hurt more then people think

5. Carolina Panters - Steve Smith is healthy and doing things all over the place.  He is the key

6. Buffalo Bills - Trent Edwards is giving them great QB play

7. New England Patriots - Matt Cassel is getting comforatable but the Pats have had a pretty easy schedule so far.

8. Tampa Bay Bucs - Lost to Dallas at home but they are still a good team with a good coach

9. Dallas Cowboys - Beating Tampa proved they can be a decent team with Brad Johnson but they would have lost on a neutral field.  When Romo is back an healthy this team moves way up.

10. Philadelphia Eagles - How good is the NFC East?  Really good.

11. Chicago Bears - Kyle Orton has decided to not drink a sip of alcohol until the season is over

12. Green Bay Packers - Aaron Rodgers is doing an amazing job

13. Indianapolis - Is it just me or can Peyton Manning not throw a spiral.  They get much healthier next week with Bob Sanders returning.

14. Atlanta Falcons - Matt Ryan is proving he can become a force in this league

15. Arizona - May be the worst team to reach the playoffs ever.  Someone with 7 wins could win the NFC West

16. NY Jets -  The Jets are living and dying with their man Brett Favre

17. Baltimore Ravens - If you can’t throw the ball they will beat you every time

18. New Orleans - You need to play defense in this league if you want to make the playoffs and you need to show up every week too.

19. Denver - Off a bye week.  Lets see if Cutler can get back to the form of the first couple of weeks because they were a much different team them.

20. Cleveland - There defense has been really good.  If the Offense gets more consistent, they could make a run.

21. San Diego - A ton of talent but like I said before you need to be able to play defense to go anywhere.  Where is Marty Schottenheimer?  You think a team coached by him would have the 32nd ranked pass defense.

22. Jacksonville - They need Garrard to step up and be the quarterback he can be.  Same goes for their defense.

23. Minnesota - Can they ride the Gus bus to the playoffs?  I don’t think so

24. St Louis - Their record doesn’t show their 24th ranking but Haslett is making a huge difference to this team and Bulger seems back to his old form.  Obviously because he is now getting protection.

25. Miami - Probably could be much higher on this list but they need more wins.

26. Houston - Starting to put it together after a bad start.  3 home games in a row that include Cincy and Detroit can really help.

27. Seattle -  They need Hasselback back.  Funny thing is that this team still has a chance at making the playoffs.  Yes, the NFC West is that bad.

28. San Francisco - The rest of these teams are really bad.  Only reason SF gets the nod here eventhough they were beaten at home is because Singletary will make a huge difference for this team.  You have to love him kicking Vernon Davis off the field.

29. Oakland - When Al Davis passes they may have a chance at being good again.

30. Kansas City - They are almost giving up 200 yds rushing per game.  Is that a record?

31. Cincy - They mailed it in when they told Carson not to play because he has a sore elbow.  Sore elbow, I bet every QB in this league has a sore elbow.

32. Detroit - Blah, need I say more.

NFL Fantasy Funbox Week 8


Welcome back to the Funbox where it’s our sole purpose to satisfy the needs of those who possess a David Duchovny-like obsession with fantasy football.

Raptor: 20 pts (+7, including 3 prop points) = 27 pts
Beer Baron: 14 pts (+8 pts, including 3 prop pts) = 22 pts
Gizmo: 19 pts (+3 pts) = 22 pts
The Geezer’s wisdom paid dividends as well with his Jake Delhomme pick.

Onto this week’s picks…
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Reflections on the Ultimate Fighter Week 6 and no more EliteXC

   So this week was by far my favourite episode of the season thus far. There was very little in the way of house nonsense and shenanigans (some, but much less then previously).

   Following their win from last week Frank Mir comes to celebrate at the house. While there he asks Delgado where he got his black belt. The preview made it seem like Mir was harassing him, and Mir received heat on message boards like Sherdog for it. In reality the question was posed quite casually and in a friendly way. The answer given by Delgado is a bit complicated, and lead to many questioning his black belt’s legitimacy. He said he would post a link of his ceremony and he did (Find part one here)

   This persists into the fight announcement where Junie hands Delgado a black belt and spits on it. Which is an ignorant thing to do, let alone with Frank Mir and Big Nog present. Mir chalks it up to being charismatic, but echoes Nog and Anderson Silva, stating it is disrespectful.

   The episode is indeed all about the fight between Junie and Delgado. Junie doesn’t make weight at first, but manages to cut the additional two pounds in an hour. (Although he seemed on the verge of giving up a couple times.) Mir is right when expressing his anger and frustration with Junie. His mental state and strength are his biggest weakness.

   Junie talks some pre-fight trash stating that Delgado won’t make it out of the first round. Saying he wants to make a deal with Dana that says Delgado wins if he survives round one.

   Well guess what, the fight goes three rounds. It is not a great technical fight, and neither fighter looked incredible. What did stand out is Delgado’s heart and drive, Junie’s punches to the body and Junie’s lack of cardio.

   Junie landed a lot of shots, but Delgado didn’t seem particularly injured. They may have seemed better than they were relative to Delgado’s standup though, which was rough and ineffective. Both men taunted each other in the early rounds, but by the third Delgado was the only one smiling as Junie continued to out point him. For all the trash he talked about Delgado’s credentials Junie would not go to the ground, even while Delgado laid on his back and called Junie to come after him.

   Junie won via split decision, and in a moment of class apologized to Nog about the belt incident, chalking it up to pre-fight hype. Junie also expressed his disappointment with himself for letting Delgado out of the first. Mark it down, Junie managed to not be a complete fool for about 10 minutes, let’s hope it continues.

   Frank Mir stated they picked this fight so Junie could simply destroy their weak link and send a message. Well Delgado didn’t look hurt during the fight, which required a third round, what happens when Junie fights one of Nog’s best?

   In other news, EliteXC folded this week, where their fighters will end up is currently unknown. Hopefully we see Robbie Lawlor back in the Octagon, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kimbo at a Dream event in the near future. If only the UFC would bring Gina in for the fight with Cyborg as a one-time deal to test the reaction to women in the UFC. But I’m sure we can all agree that it is good to have Jared “Why do I call myself $kala?” Shaw out of MMA for the time being.