Both teams are set for their first match up in episode four of the The Ultimate Fighter: U.S. vs. U.K. This episode (my favorite thus far), started off skipping the antics, skipping the drama and going straight to giving the viewers a preview of how each team has started their training this season.
Michael Bisping introduces Mario “Sucata” Neto (Grappling) and Dave Jackson (Thai Boxing), who are actually his own coaches but will be helping Bisping train Team U.K.
Henderson however seems to have a bit more aid with Gustavo Pugliese (Boxing), Ricardo Feliciano (Grappling), Cyrille Diabate (Thai Boxing), and finally Heath Sims will assist Henderson as a wrestling coach.
In the third episode we were left with the coin toss ending in the favor of Team U.S. meaning they will pick who fights first. The first fight is announced by Hendo and it will be the heavy-handed Mark Miller (10-4) vs. FiveOuncesOfPain.com‘s very own residential TUF blogger Nick Osipczak (3-0). Both teams and fighters appear excited with the match up as usual in previous seasons.
Bisping and his coaches are seen reviewing tape of Miller’s elmination bout to evaluate a game plan for Osipczak. While watching tape, Bisping notices that Miller brings his hands back to his hips after throwing instead of back to his chin as well as backing into a defense when pursued.
Later, Bisping mentions having trained with Osipczak for his fight with Chris Leben seeing that he is a southpaw. However, Nick Osipczak is comfortable with fighting both southpaw and conventional. After fighting southpaw for his preliminary bout, Nick decides to try to get the upper hand on Mark Miller by fighting conventional. We are also told by Nick that he started with Kung-Fu for two years prior to training in MMA.
We are shown a glimpse of Osipczak training for his fight with Miller before we are brought back to the house for the first time in this episode, and yes the pranks finally begin although seemingly tasteful compared to last season, hands down. DeMarques Johnson starts things off by taking a shirt left behind by the U.K. team and writing “Team U.S.A. 1, Team U.K. 0”. Later in the episode Johnson finds wrestling shoes (belonging to Ross Pearson) at the gym left behind by Team U.K. and continues to write, “Team U.S.A. – 2, Team U.K. – 0”. Bisping has a chat with his team telling them to basically stay calm and remember what they are really here for; to prove they are real MMA fighters. “We’re here to win the god damn show.”, said Bisping.
While Miller admits he is not a “game plan” guy and he, “rolls with the punches”, Bisping forms a game plan for Nick Osipczak. Nick is taught to always cut corners when backing up and to counter over Miller’s lead hand. Before the fight Bisping works a game plan with Osipczak to take down Miller because they believe Miller has nothing to offer on his back.
Mark Miller (10-4) vs. Nick Osipczak (3-0)
Both fighters tie up at the beginning of the first round but it’s Osipczak who throws Miller to the ground. Osipczak falls into Millers guard but has Miller up against the fence. Miller tries for a kimura but fails while Nick moves to half guard and over commits trying for the mount. Miller gets the top position in the exchange but not much damage is done. Once back on the feet the fighters exchange knees, a first for Mark Miller who showed little to no Thai boxing in his first fight. Miller lands some heavy hands and knocks Nick to the ground but it’s Nick who gets top position again while Miller tries for another Kimura but again is lost.
Half way through the first round the fighters are on their feet and are trading leather. Osipczak continues to keep the pressure on Miller, forcing him into the cage. Both fighters trade a few knees which is a surprise for Miller who wasn’t showing any knees in his last fight. Osipczak ducks a punch and captures a double leg for an almost picture perfect take down at 2:10 into the first round. Nick continues to throw strikes from inside the guard. Miller scrambles to his feet but Osipczak sinks in a guillotine with one arm in and pulls guard. Miller obviously taps twice but Herb Dean doesn’t call the fight. Again the fighters scramble to their feet but Nick takes Miller down again just before the end of the first round.
The second round starts off with Miller throwing a left and a right hook. Miller pulls guard and goes for a guillotine choke but Nick is already in half guard and moves quickly to side control to defend the choke and throws short elbows to Miller’s face. Miller lets go of the choke only to start another. Nick passes to the mount while Miller still holds on for the guillotine but eventually bucks Nick off. Miller lands in the guard position for a short while before Osipczak throws numerous elbows and a triangle attempt that fails. Miller gets side control but Nick Osipczak immediately gets back to full guard. Nick continues to throw elbows from the bottom. Both fighters are back to their feet and Nick Osipczak throws a beautiful high kick to the head of Miller for the K.O.
Nick Osipczak wins via K.O. (high kick) over Mark Miller in the 2nd round, 3:54
I am personally very impressed with Nick in his victory over Mark Miller. He showed that he does have power in his strikes despite what Hendo said about him in the first episode. Now we have a tall and lanky striker in the U.K. Team who has already shown his takedown abilities against a shorter, stockier opponent as well as submission attempts and what appeared to be a first round submission by guillotine choke.
I wanted to also add that Mask, the loved owner of Tapout and ongoing supporter of MMA from the early days was present on this episode. Although not seen, he could be heard ringside if you listen carefully. Mask, you will truly be missed and thank you for believing when so few did. You truly offered your own hands in the molding of what MMA is today.
Be sure to check out Nick Osipczak and his TUF 9 Blog exclusively, only on FiveOuncesOfPain.com.