Archive for the The Ultimate Fighter Category

Hawaii Sweeps TUF 11 Finale 3-0

Posted in Breaking News, Live Event Reports, The Ultimate Fighter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2010 by jaytan716

Story By: Jay Tan- MMA Hawaii Staff Reporter – Photos by Silton Buendia

Chris1Despite the fact that three different fighters came from three different camps, Travis Browne, Brad Tavares, and Chris “The Crippler” Leben all gave the Islands proud reason to celebrate last night, as each won their respective matches decisively at the UFC’s 11th “Ultimate Finale,” at the Palms Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

The event was the “Ultimate Fighter” season 11 finale, and was headlined by Court McGee vs. Kris “Savage” McCray, in a match to determine the reality show winner. In the end, McGee submitted McCray by rear naked choke at 3:41 of round two, earning him a six-figure contract with the UFC.

In the opening match, Honolulu-native Travis “Hapa” Browne defeated James McSweeney by TKO. Browne, who currently resides and trains in San Diego, was making his UFC debut with the match, riding in on a nine-match win streak, including victories in King of the Cage, Bellator Fighting Championships, and Gladiator Challenge.

The fight itself started out slowly, with both men sizing each other up and trading occasional strikes. Midway through the round, Browne dropped McSweeney with a left hook and pounced on top to fire a series of lefts. He worked briefly for an Americana, but transitioned to full mount and ground-and-pounded with punches until referee Kim Winslow stopped the action at 4:32 of the first round, awarding Browne victory by TKO.

The match that Hawaiians were perhaps buzzing most about was Hilo-born / Kailua-trained Brad Tavares vs. Seth Baczynski, both members of the TUF season 11 cast. The fight was in fact a rematch from a quarterfinal bout between them, which ended when Baczynski hit an illegal strike (kick to the head of a grounded opponent) on Tavares.  Because of the kick, Tavares was awarded the win by DQ and advanced to the semi-finals.


Despite the illegal strike, there was no bad blood between the two. In SpikeTV.com bonus footage, after the match, Baczynski was shown chasing after coach Chuck Liddell and Tavares, apologetic and repeating “I’m not a dirty fighter.”

Both men were all business in the first round, as Tavares hit his trademark hip toss off Baczynski trying for a takedown. Baczynski did later threaten with a triangle choke, as he would again in the third, but Tavares was dominant in the first, riding the back for most of the first and some of the third. Round two saw Tavares get the takedown and punish on the ground until Baczynski would escape to his feet, where Tavares would repeat the process. Baczynski came alive in the third, shooting for takedowns, throwing punches from bottom, and cinching what seemed like a very tight triangle, but Tavares weathered the storm and walked away with the unanimous decision victory.

Despite the triangle chokes, Tavares maintained that he was not going to give up voluntarily, saying he was “never close to tapping.  Close to going out.  I didn’t expect him to get it.  He’s got skills.”

Finally, Oahu-transplant Chris “The Crippler” Leben defeated wrestler Aaron Simpson by TKO in the first round.

Simpson scored two takedowns in the first round, the second of which he peppered Leben’s head with punches, but to no seeming effect. Around 1:20 in the second round, Leben and Simpson came alive with flurries, with heavy “Leben” chants emanating from the crowd. After taking several shots to the head, Simpson shot in for a takedown, but Leben caught it and fired lefts from a front facelock. Simpson escaped and ran, falling forward and off balance, at which point referee Josh Rosenthal called a stop to the action.  Leben was awarded the match by TKO / referee’s stoppage at 4:17 of the second round.

After the match, Leben simply said “You know what, that’s what I do.  What am I supposed to say, I hit him in the face because that’s my job.”

For his efforts, Leben was awarded $25,000 for Knockout of the Night.

This article originally appeared under National MMA News at MMAHawaii.com on June 20th, 2010.

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Court McGee wins TUF honors, Hamill Edges Jardine in All Out War

Posted in Breaking News, The Ultimate Fighter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2010 by jaytan716

Story By: Jay Tan- MMA Hawaii Staff Reporter – Photo by Silton Buendia

_MG_8731Camaraderie and career crossroads may have been the universal storyline for the top headlining matches at the 11th “Ultimate Finale,” held at the Palms Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV.

As is customary, the event was headlined by the “Ultimate Fighter” final, between Court McGee (Team Liddell) and Kris “Savage” McCray (Team Ortiz). The co-main event, at one point the headliner, was “The Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine vs. Matt “The Hammer” Hamill, in a light heavyweight bout that saw both men at a crossroads in their careers.

For Jardine, the bout represented a rebirth, as the Jackson’s MMA fighter claimed in a conference call interview that after three losses in 2009 and 2010, he had reworked and refined his fight skills.

“Me and Greg Jackson. . . We looked at all of my fights, from my first UFC fight until my last. And we started breaking down when I’m doing good stuff, when I’m doing bad stuff. And now there’s a little bit more rhyme and reason behind what I do. Like I can be – I can get back to my old style, if I want to, or I can get real clean and crisp and do new stuff, if I want to,” he explained.
“But it’s just I feel like I’ve come full circle, and I’ve needed these learning pains to get to where I am right now. And I’m excited now to show off a little bit and make another run for the top.”

Conversely, Hamill said he felt he was continuing his way to the top. In the post-fight press conference, Hamill stated that his goal was to crack the top 10 fighters in his weight class, and to do that, he had to beat fighters the caliber of Jardine.

The match was a back-and-forth war of attrition, almost exclusively on the feet. Jardine seemed to want to keep the fight standing, escaping Hamill’s clinch and keeping the former Utica wrestler at bay with low kicks and overhand rights. Hamill found himself chasing Jardine for much of the match.

In round two, the exchange of combos continued, though Hamill reached for more takedowns. Midway through the match, Hamill took several fingers to the eye, for which referee Herb Dean eventually penalized Jardine one point. The poke was apparently bad enough that Hamill spun away from Jardine and even fell to the ground, off-balance, but ringside physicians allowed the match to continue. At this point, Jardine was a house of fire with combinations, perhaps frustrated by the point deduction. Hamill’s reply was just as strong, taking Jardine down and throwing fast rights off a front facelock, then knees from a Muay Thai clinch. Jardine had a nasty deep cut in the middle of his face. Hamill scored a takedown early in the third round, and tried for seve_MG_8585ral more, though Jardine, who was visibly gassed, evaded most shots.

Judges award the match to Matt Hamill via majority decision (two wins, one draw), off scores of 29-27, 29-27, and 28-28.

One of the most interesting yet understated aspects about the McGee x McCray finals was the fighters’ mutual respect and admiration for each other. In numerous interviews surrounding the fight, both men demonstrated a mutual bond and friendship that was more characteristic than any pair of TUF finalists in any of the past ten seasons.

“I support him 110%, and he’s gonna do the same for me. I know he is,” McCray declared in the post-fight press conference.

Even before the opening bell, “Let’s Go Savage” chants resonated throughout the crowd. Both men started out with fast flurries in the center. McGee took the fight to the ground twice early, with McCray escaping to his feet both times, with McCray firing headshots the second time. McCray pushed the action with strikes, though McGee was never one to shirk from the challenge, forcing McCray to the fences. In round two, McCray stayed heavy with the striking and worked some dirty boxing from the clinch. McGee grounded the match again and worked a modified side choke / arm triangle. McCray escaped, but after another big double-leg takedown, McGee got the back and sunk in a rear naked choke until McCray was forced to submit at 3:41 of the second round.

After the match, McGee dedicated his victory to recovering addicts and people who faced drug and alcohol problems. McGee, himself a recovering addict who once overdosed to the point of near death, said “when I broke up like that, that’s seven years, man. All in one minute. I dedicate that fight to anybody who’s in the struggle, tonight. If you’d have come from where I came from to where I am today, man, you’d have been the same way.”

This article originally appeared under National MMA News at MMAHawaii.com on June 20th, 2010.

Scottie “Einstein” Epstein to join Team Liddell on TUF 11

Posted in 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu, Breaking News, The Ultimate Fighter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2010 by jaytan716

Scottie "Einstein" Epstein will be Chuck Liddell's assistant coach on the next season of "The Ultimate Fighter."

By Jay Tan

10th Planet instructor / brown belt Scottie “Einstein” Epstein will be Chuck Liddell’s assistant coach on the next season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” which will debut on March 31st and run through June.

“This is a great opportunity. . . It makes 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu go to a whole other level of respect. It legitimizes it more and more,” said Epstein.

Season 11 of “TUF” begins shooting this month, and will feature 16 middleweight fighters competing for the traditional “Ultimate Fighter” three-year contract. This will be Liddell’s second tour of coaching duty, as it will be for his opponent, Tito Ortiz. Liddell coached the inaugural season of the show in 2006, against Randy Couture, while Ortiz coached season three, against Ken Shamrock.

“This show is a show that I watch. . . ‘Dexter’ and ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ are the only shows that I’ll watch every fuckin’ episode. So I get to be a part of that. So that’s exciting for me. What really will be exciting is, hopefully, guys that I’m teaching use the shit that I’m teaching. . . It excites me to corner, it excites me to fuckin’ get paid for it, and to get recognition for it.”

This won’t be Epstein’s first exposure on national cable TV, as he previously was featured on an episode of “TapouT” two years ago, in connection with his 2007 match against Sergio Quinones. This time, however, “Einstein” is all too happy to defer the limelight to Liddell and the 16 competitors, explaining “[with] the TapouT show, there was pressure on me. There’s no pressure on this. . . So this is a lot more fun for me, and I get to fuck around a lot more . . . live my life and not really worry.”

Although the announcement that Liddell and Ortiz would coach season 11 and subsequently face each other in a third match was met by many MMA fans with anti-climactic disappointment, Epstein is one of the vocal enthusiasts for the match, believing that this will be the opportunity for Liddell to reinvent himself as a ground specialist.

“I’m training him 3-4 days a week. He flies down to train with me. That makes me feel good about myself. That that guy trusts me that much. . . Which is why I want him to submit Tito immediately. I want Tito to be taking him down, he sprawls . . . smash, choke him the fuck out. That’ll be his first submission ever in his professional [fight career].”

This will be the second 10th Planet / Legends MMA member to coach on “The Ultimate Fighter,” as Chris Reilly served as striking coach for Team Rampage on season seven (Quinton Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin).

Best of luck to Einstein and Team Liddell.