The 19th season of The Ultimate Fighter continued, as the most controversial episode of the season took place. A three-round fight between Roger Zapata and Ian Stephens was the main focus of the entire episode, as was the craziness that surrounded it.
Before the fight, we heard that Stephens lost his father at age six when he was electrocuted on the job. That seems to be the main driving force behind the young fighter, who is known for his dominant wrestling.
Another big part of the episode was BJ Penn bringing in Matt Hughes as a guest coach. Hughes, a former three-time opponent of Penn and current friend of the coach, seemed to do great things in the short time he was there.
When fight time came, it was marred by lack of activity and controversial calls. Stephens easily won Round 1, but there was a major focus on referee Steve Mazzagatti warning Zapata on several occasions to stop grabbing the fence and throwing illegal elbows.
The same thing happened in Round 2, but a sudden victory Round 3 was required. In the third, Mazzagatti finally took a point from Zapata after another illegal elbow or two. It upset Dana White, though in reality Mazzagatti did give Zapata plenty of warnings.
In an even crazier turn of events, Zapata was announced the winner of the decision despite the fact that there was no way he could win Round 3 due to the loss of point. A bunch of craziness ensued from the questionable judge's call, but the decision stood, and Zapata now moves on to the semifinals.
The next fight was announced for next week. Ohio State wrestler Patrick Walsh of Team Edgar was chosen by Penn to take on Penn's top pick Anton Berzin, a jiu-jitsu specialist.
|Team Edgar 185||Team Penn 185||Team Edgar 205||Team Penn 205|
|Ian Stephens||Mike King||Corey Anderson||Anton Berzin|
|Dhiego Lima||Tim Williams||Patrick Walsh||Josh Clark|
|Eddie Gordon||Cathal Pendred||Matt van Buren||Dan Spohn|
|Hector Urbina||Roger Zapata||Todd Monaghan||Chris Fields|
Notes and Observations
- I really like the coaches that Penn has brought in. It seems that Mark Coleman, an everyday coach, and Matt Hughes, a one-off guest, are awesome teachers and coaches. At some point, I think it would be awesome if they had a season of TUF where the coaches are all retired fighters. Imagine having Coleman, Hughes, Chuck Liddell and other legends assembled as a team of coaches teaching fighters the tricks of the trade. Besides, other than heated rivalries, the coaches fights aren't that big a deal anymore.
- I want to know how often the last pick of the entire season has made it out of the first round. I know on TUF 18 last season, Jessica Rakoczy was not only the last pick of the women, but actually made it to the finals.
- I understand where Dana White is coming from and why he was upset, but let's look at this logically. Mazzagatti warned Zapata probably three or four times about grabbing the fence, never taking away a point. He also warned him about the elbows half a dozen times or so before taking the point. Not only that, but a lot of Zapata's strikes were to the back of Stephens' head. I think the point deduction was a long time coming.
- I scored the fight 29-27 for Stephens. I thought he won the first and third round via control, plus took the third 10-8 due to the point deduction. Assuming the judges had it 19-19 going into the third, it does seem impossible Zapata could win, especially with the point deduction. A win in the third round for Stephens would make it 29-27. A 10-9 win (9-9 with the deduction) for Zapata in that round would make the score 28-28, meaning that they would have to go to a fourth round. There is no way Zapata could have had a 10-8 (or 9-8 with the deduction) to earn that. Controversial to say the least.
- So far, most of the fights on the season have been underwhelming. This is surprising considering the level of talent on the season. I really think that Anton Berzin, Corey Anderson and Dan Spohn are great talents in the light heavyweight division, while Mike King, Dhiego Lima, Cathal Pendred, Tim Williams and Eddie Gordon are all gems at middleweight. I really expected more from these guys in terms of excitement so far.