Cleat Geeks

The Ultimate Fighter: Episode 3 recap

 

 

UltimateFighterPosterWhat I love about this show, is that it explains what it takes to mentally be a fighter. When we watch a UFC card, we see all of the physical attributes on display right away, and we even get to hear a little bit from the winning fighter in the post-fight interview, but how much do we actually learn? In episode three of The Ultimate Fighter, we had a striker vs wrestler match-up, but it was so much more than that. Chris Gruetzemacher (USA) told of his horrific past as the show built up to the featured bout. We were told a story of how his Grandfather was a Senator in Chile, that ended up being tortured for years in a prison, after their Government was overthrown during his time in office. He also spoke of his father’s untimely murder early in his childhood. These are the types of things that mold a fighter early in life.

On the other side of the cage Sascha Sharma (Germany) inspired watchers with his tale of when he contracted Guillain Barre, which left half of his body paralyzed. After he re-learned to walk, he decided to pursue martial arts as a way of not allowing that weakness back into his body. Unfortunately, these stories make you inevitably want both fighters to succeed, but as we know, only one can move on in this tournament.

SaschaSharmaIn the first round, Sascha had the early advantage, landing the better strikes. His knees to Chris’ midsection were right on cue with what Conor McGregor was instructing from the corner. “Gritz” was able to take Sharma down, but Sascha nearly locked in the triangle choke to end the fight. Even though Gruetzmacher ended the round in the dominant top position, I’d have to give the advantage to Sharma. Chris was able to reverse nearly every dangerous position that Sharma placed him in, but he never seemed to establish any dominance in the first.

In an unadvised maneuver, Sharma elected to “pull guard” or fall to the mat voluntarily, in order to draw in his opponent. In doing so, Chris was able to land a big elbow to Sascha’s head, causing him to bleed profusely. One scramble after another left Sascha in a worse position, as he was nearly submitted by an arm-bar, midway though the second round. Gruetzemacher found himself in the dominant mounted position a couple times during this round, which won him points on the judges scorecard. He definitely gritted it out, and began to run away with the fight, while wearing Sharma out on the mat. This was very apparent, when Chris was the only one to jump up after the second bell rang out to end the second round.ChrisG

The judges and I agreed that each fighter one a round, which lead to a third, sudden-death round. On The Ultimate Fighter, there are only two rounds, unless, like in this situation, each fighter wins a round. As the third round began, Conor McGregor made it clear what he wanted his fighter to do. He repeatedly yelled, stay on your feet to Sharma. As soon as the fight would resume, he immediately elected to go to the ground. Every fighter in the gym was screaming that Sharma was trying to quit. Conor even yelled that he should stop going to his back like a “bi**h”. No matter how many times McGregor shouted “Up on your feet”, he simply would not stand. It was obvious that Chris had completely zapped the cardio of Sharma. It is not a rewarding feeling to watch a fighter quit in the cage, but it is great to see a fighter like “Gritz” systematically wear down the bigger fighter, after being down a round. He could have made more of attempt to win the fight, but he coasted to a very good decision win.ufcUltimateFighter

With the new stipulation that Dana has put on this contest, Chris may have to worry that he is in line for an early exit if his fight isn’t up to performance standards. Conor had the most enthusiasm in the entire gym, but he couldn’t will his fighter into a winning position. Chris won this fight, and didn’t take a whole lot of damage, which is key in this competition. Faber made sure to make a comment after the fight, that Conor should start attending his morning practice sessions with his team, and not only the evening practices. For once McGregor had nothing to say to that. This season continues to impress, as the coaches and competitors hold nothing back. Urijah Faber retained control for his team and selected Marcin Wrzosek from Team Europe, to compete with Team USA’s Tom Gallicchio. If these first couple episodes are any indication, we are in for another great fight next Wednesday night.

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