All About Me…

May 16, 2008

Nichole Lesniak
My name is Nichole Lesniak and I am a High School English teacher by day, MMA junkie by night. A Jersey native, I graduated college from Rutgers University where I received a bachelor’s degree in English. After a couple years of being an Editor for miscellaneous Medical Journals, I decided to change my career and teach English. My passion for MMA started a few years back when I saw my first PPV – UFC 56 featuring Rich Franklin and Nate Quarry. I have been hooked ever since. Though my viewing habits are very much geared toward the UFC, I am looking forward to broadening my horizons and getting into all the new up and coming organizations and watching them grow with the popularity of the sport. My top 5 favorite fighters are GSP, Cro Cop, Matt Hughes, Rich Franklin and Keith Jardine.


The Ultimate Fighter 7: Week 7 Recap

May 16, 2008

As the episode begins, we get little snippets of last week’s fights (Matt Brown def. Jeremy May and Dan Cramer def. Luke Zachrich). And of course, Rampage is still bubbling over the fact that he gets control. But will he keep it?

Then the show jumps right into the fight announcement. Rampage wants to milk his moment for all its worth so he takes his time making the choices. He chooses Gerald Harris to fight Amir Sadollah. Basically, it’s going to be the wrestler versus the kickboxer.

At the Team Rampage training session, Rampage and Harris are interviewed and both clearly think that Harris is the likely winner. Harris admits how much he enjoys picking people up and slamming them – with a smile on his face. Ever the comedian, Rampage calls Harris his “mini-me” because he fights like him.

In Team Forrest’s training session, the mood is very different. Sadollah says that he doesn’t consider himself a complete amateur, but he is not nearly as “stoked” as Harris. Even Forrest seems worried and questions Sadollah’s confidence. In an effort to rile him up, Forrest even offers to shave his whole head if Sadollah loses and half his head if he wins.

On fight day, Harris shows his weakness in his fear of letting his family down. And Sadollah tries to be confident – he swears that he doesn’t suck. Time for both to put their money where their mouths are.

Round 1

Both guys come out and seem a little hesitant at first. Harris gets a takedown pretty quickly. He keeps him pinned against the cage, but there is no real action. Sadollah is able to kick him off, but Harris comes right back. Sadollah tries to set Harris up for an armbar but fails. Both get some strikes in and end up back on their feet. Harris manages to pick Sadollah up and slams him to the mat like a ragdoll. Harris again has Sadollah pinned against the fence and then slams him for a second time. Harris keeps his forearm on Sadollah’s throat, but Sadollah still manages to strike.
Both are up on their feet again, but Harris gets yet another takedown. He has Sadollah’s leg, but Sadollah is the only one landing any punches. Sadollah twists around to get Harris’s neck. Harris gets up and latches on to Sadollah’s waist for the takedown but the round ends. Neither looked particularly impressive.

Round 2

Sadollah (finally) tries some stand up and we see a few weak exchanges. Harris, of course, goes for the takedown. Sadollah straddles and tries to sprawl, but ends up on his back. You can hear Rampage yelling for Harris to drop some elbows, but Harris doesn’t provide. They both get back on their feet and Harris immediately goes for the takedown, but by now Sadollah has perfected his sprawl. Harris has Sadollah’s leg, but Sadollah is able to spin out and take Harris’s back. They stand up again and Harris gets another takedown but he never really takes advantage. They stand up (again) and as Harris goes for another takedown, Sadollah rocks Harris with a perfectly timed knee to the jaw. Harris is on the ground, clearly out for a few seconds, and Sadollah rains down the fists until the ref stops the fight.

Winner: Amir Sadollah, Round 2 by TKO

Harris is clearly pissed off about the stoppage and claims that he wasn’t out. But it was plain as day – he wasn’t fighting back or even defending himself. He was o-u-t. His takedowns were flashy and plentiful, but useless in that he didn’t really inflict any damage. Sadollah on the other hand took advantage when he could. He timed his shots well – and it worked. He waited for Harris to lower his head for the takedown and timed a perfect knee for the win. Now he’s happy to get the respect he deserves.

Rampage is visibly disappointed, but tries to comfort an angry Harris who is upset about letting his family down. Aww….group hug??

Moving right along, we get the next fight announcement with Team Forrest back in control. Forrest chooses Cale Yarbrough to fight Patrick Schultz (leaving the remaining two fighters, CB Dolloway and Nick Klein, to fight in next week’s show).

In typical Rampage fashion, he starts trashing Yarbrough – claiming that his mom could beat him. Oh, Rampage….

After seeing scenes from the training sessions of both teams, it has pretty much been determined that the fight between Yarbrough and Schultz will be entirely stand-up. Yarbrough prefers it and Schultz’s strength is Muay Thai. Yarbrough seems determined to take out Schultz because he (and the others) feel like Schultz shouldn’t even be there because he already lost (Schultz came back to replace Paul Bradley). But Schultz feels that he shouldn’t be taken so lightly – claims that he’s the shark and the one that Team Forrest should be worried about. Guess we’ll see about that…

Round 1

Both immediately come out swinging. A lot of strikes are swapped and both seem pretty even from the start. Yarbrough is able to land some nice leg kicks. Within the first couple minutes, both look like they’re calculating their strikes. Schultz lands a good punch and Yarbrough ends up on his back, but Schultz doesn’t capitalize. Some more strikes for both, and then Yarbrough kicks so hard he falls! By now, both are starting to look a bit tired. There are a lot of sloppy punches and kicks on both ends. And they both begin to drop their hands. Schultz takes advantage and lands a good shot with 2:15 left.
Finally Yarbrough goes for and nails a takedown. Schultz clinches Yarbrough’s head, but Yarbrough manages to land a lot of strikes to Schultz’s face. Both are back on their feet to dance around and throw some very awkward looking strikes and kicks. Yarbrough gets another takedown and tje round ends with Yarbough landing a barrage of fists to Schultz’s face.

Round 2

Again, both come out swinging, but neither is really defending themselves. Yarbrough lands a good knee to the head and gets the takedown. On the ground, Yarbough rains down strikes to Schultz’s head. In half guard, Yarbrough continues to drop ‘bows and fists on Schultz for over a minute. Schultz is blocking them, but he’s not really fighting back. Yarbrough seems to really listen to his corner and continuously tries to get full mount. It looks like Yarbrough is doing the most damage to Schultz’s head and ribs. Schultz keeps trying to turn out but Yarbrough puts him right back and continues the torrent of fists. He maintains his rake choke and just beats Schultz down. Schultz just keeps his arms up to block until the round ends.

Forrest being Forrest, he offers up a third round. Rampage is all about the third round – claims that Schultz won the first round and Yarbrough won the second. All seem to want to go for it (with some lovely chanting in the background), but it goes to decision with Forrest laughing all the way…

Winner: Cale Yarbrough, majority decision

Tired of losing, this seems to be the last straw for Rampage and he is pissed off. He begins to stomp around the ring and yells to Forrest that he’ll bet his purse that their fight won’t go to decision.

They cut to an interview with Dana White who just chuckles about the anger between Rampage and Forrest. He jokes that the two of them want to “Ken and Tito each other” – a reference to the daily arguments when Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz coached the third season. Thankfully for us, Rampage and Forrest are much funnier than Ken and Tito.

The previews of next week look promising – but which “fight” will be better? The favorite, CB Dolloway and Nick Klein? Or pranksters Rampage and Forrest?

The Ultimate Fighter 7: Week 6 Recap “Piece of Meat”

May 10, 2008

If there could be a perfect title for an episode, it was definitely this one. If this wasn’t a meat-fest, I don’t know what is…

So the show opens with a recap of the controversial decision in last week’s fight between Dante Rivera and Brandon Sene. Ironically, as angry as Rampage was about the decision after the fight, tonight’s show glosses right over it. Instead, the focus is on how much Jeremy May pissed Matt Brown off when he put limejuice in his dip. Well, at least Brown got his wish and the fight was on.

The whole car ride after the fight, all on Team Forrest agree that May f****d with the wrong guy. It is obvious that a lot of tension is building, and just gets worse when Team Forrest gets back to the house to find Team Rampage pounding shot after shot. And in typical form, May is acting like a complete moron. We later find out that May had poured the vodka out of the bottle and put water in itself place. So he pretended to do shots and act drunk – – Yeah, real funny. Is this what you do when people already think you’re an annoying idiot? Right, you want to prove it!

None of this changes for the Team Rampage training session. May runs around all cocky and dubs his technique “Jeremey Jitsu” – – he does “whatever it takes to beat your ass”. He talks some more trash about Brown, but all in a “good Christian way”. What is with this guy? Then in some odd twist of fate, May hurts his knee during a sparring session. He stays off it for the week, not really sparring or doing any cardio. He is confined to the bike. Gotta love Karma!

At Team Forrest’s training session, all we see is Matt Brown stomping around angrily. During interviews with several housemates, Brown himself and Dana White, it is revealed that he apparently has some anger issues. Burdened by a troubled past full of alcohol and fights, Brown confesses how MMA saved him. Aww, how touching. Anyone got a tissue?

Back at the house, Tim Credeur is giving Brown tips and letting him know about May’s bum knee. It’s then that we find out that May had been milking his knee to pace himself. He calls himself a “sandbagging son-of-a-bitch”. I don’t know if he says this to convince himself, or to convince the viewers that he has a chance.

At this point, the producers are CLEARLY showing this fight to be in Brown’s favor. May is made to look like the house fool, while Brown looks like the likely winner and hero. Even during the weigh-in photo Brown looks intense and serious while May is trying to make a joke of it all.

Matt Brown (Team Forest) vs. Jeremy May (Team Rampage)

Round 1
Surprisingly, May comes out seriously aggressive, landing punches whenever possible. Brown can block them, but he can’t seem to counter. May gets Brown on his back within 30 seconds. May continues to dominate with a lot of punches and ground control. He even gets Brown in position to be submitted, but he can’t capitalize. Brown manages to reverse and gets May on his back, but he also doesn’t capitalize. They both get to their feet, but May shows serious wear. With May half-aware, Brown is able to land a couple good punches and definitely leaves May shaken. A seriously gassed May stumbles back to his feet in time for Brown to land a perfect knee to his chin, followed by a kick straight for May’s jaw. May crumbles. And Brown’s round one KO gives Team Forrest 4 wins to Rampage’s ZERO (this doesn’t sit well for Rampage who is clearly heard screaming ringside).

Now for the really funny part: May blames his bum knee on his lack of training! He says the whole fight was just so out of character for him and that – here’s the kicker – Matt Brown got lucky! **insert confused look here**

And ya gotta love it – we get a second fight in the same night! Woohoo! The meat train continues!

Team Forrest flips their magic coin and the next fight is Luke Zachrich and Daniel Cramer.

From the get go, these two are dubbed as being underestimated; Zacharich because he was chosen last and Cramer because he is a “pretty boy”.

The best part of this is the priceless confused look on Rampage’s face. He is completely baffled as to how Forrest is picking fights. When he finds out that it’s via coin flipping, he is just absolutely dumbfounded. He claims that Forrest has real “caboñas”? Ah, gotta love Rampage-isms. Whatever he thinks of Forrest, though, he is definitely tired of losing.

The training sessions for both teams are pretty dull. Zachrich whines that he has a lot to prove for being the last pick. Cramer, though 3-0, says that people think he’s not tough enough. Both teams make predictions in their own favor – well, duh…

Fight Day

Both guys go into this pretty evenly matched. Though neither is expected to be particularly spectacular, it should still be an interesting fight.

Luke Zachrich vs. Daniel Cramer

Round 1
Cramer comes out swinging and they’re both trying to get each other clinched. But even after a minute or so, both seem really anxious, almost panicky. Cramer finally gets Zachrich against the fence and gives him a few solid knees. They push off each other, but not for long. Zachrich gets Cramer down and almost gets his back, but before long both are standing. Again, there’s a lot of reckless swinging. And with only 2 minutes left both look really worn. You hear a lot of shouts of “Hands up!” from their corners. Cramer finally lands some solid strikes to Zachrich’s face, rendering him clearly out of it. With both worn there is a lot of swinging but nothing lands. Finally, Zachrich sweeps Cramer and gets him down. Cramer rolls and gives Zachrich his back. With 30 seconds left, Zachrich gets under his neck, but he clearly has no energy to squeeze. He mounts him, but lays on him until the round ends.

Round 2
Again, Cramer comes out swinging, but they’re all half-assed punches. Cramer gets Zachrich on his back and he gets the full mount. He rains down elbows and fists. Trying to escape, Zachrich rolls and gives Cramer his back to mount. Cramer continues to punch the size of Zachrich’s head. Zachrich tries to roll back, but Cramer is landing a lot of strikes. Unfortunately, as clean as the strikes are they’re not doing any real damage. Finally, Zachrich gives up defending himself and Mazzagatti stops it.

With Team Rampage getting its first win, all you hear is an excited Rampage whooping it up. He calls it the best fight he’s seen in a long time (well, I guess when you lose the previous 4, they don’t exactly rank highly for the guy).

And in a touching moment, Cramer says that he’s happy to make Rampage happy. How sweet.

Zachrich is disappointed in himself and realizes he gassed, but he gives Cramer due respect. Both are really respectful and humble – a nice change to see the house!

But then the best (of the worst) that I’ve seen on TV finally happened. Rampage showcases his “I got control” dance.

Sorry Rampage, you are NOT Janet!