The four remaining fighters in contention for the last two spots in the semis are Kyle Watson, who takes on Aaron Wilkinson, and Michael Johnson, who battles heated rival – and teammate - Alex Caceres.
In the first bout, it’s the veteran Watson and the UK’s Wilkinson squaring off, and Watson draws first blood with a takedown in the opening minute. Wilkinson tries to stay close to force a re-start, but the Team GSP fighter keeps working as he looks for a submission. With the three minutes left, Wilkinson is briefly able to get back to his feet, but Watson puts him down again, this time ending up in the mount position. Wilkinson turns to escape, but gives up his back. Moments later, Watson sinks in a rear naked choke that produces a tap and ends the bout.
Following the bout, Team GSP coach Georges St-Pierre brings in another special guest to work with his squad, renowned boxing trainer Freddie Roach, the man behind Manny Pacquiao.
St-Pierre has made a decision regarding the final quarterfinal bout, opting to not corner either of his team members.
“Alex and Michael hate each other, and the best way to take care of that problem is to make them fight together,” said the welterweight champ.
A definite fan of Caceres is opposing coach Josh Koscheck, who tries to stir the pot by saying St-Pierre is using Caceres as the sacrificial lamb for his top prospect, Johnson. St-Pierre and Johnson laugh the barbs off though.
After some crisp exchanges to kick off the Johnson vs Caceres bout, Johnson scores a quick takedown. The fighters get back to their feet fairly quickly, and Johnson knocks Caceres’ mouthpiece out before putting his foe on his back again. Both fighters stay active, and in a scramble, Caceres stands and fires off some flurries. Caceres looks like he’s getting his rhythm, but as soon as Johnson gets him against the fence, he regains control. Caceres finishes the fast-paced round strong though.
Johnson gets the bout to the mat immediately in round two, and his superior wrestling is causing problems for Caceres. After pushing his opponent against the fence, Johnson works his ground strikes, giving Caceres enough space to get back to his feet, but only briefly. Another scramble finds Caceres on top, and he’s able to get some strikes off before the two stand, yet in the end, it’s Johnson with another takedown. With under a minute left, Caceres gets up, but he’s unable to mount a serious offensive charge, instead getting slammed to the mat and kept there to the bell.
Scores across the board were 20-18 for Johnson, who moves on to the semifinals.
When UFC President Dana White meets with the coaches to discuss the semifinal matchups, he expects that there will be some debate, but the three quickly come to a decision, and the bouts are:
Nam Phan vs Michael Johnson
Kyle Watson vs Jonathan Brookins
Here’s how the teams look:
Michael Johnson 2-0
Jonathan Brookins 2-0
Spencer Paige – Eliminated on episode five by Nam Phan
Alex Caceres 1-1 – Eliminated in quarterfinals by Michael Johnson
Kyle Watson 2-0
Cody McKenzie 1-1 – Eliminated in quarterfinals by Nam Phan
Dane Sayers – Eliminated on episode seven by Sako Chivitchian
Marc Stevens – Eliminated on episode six by Cody McKenzie; lost in Wild Card bout to Aaron Wilkinson.
Sevak Magakian – Eliminated on episode six by Jonathan Brookins
Sako Chivitchian 1-1 – Eliminate in quarterfinals by Jonathan Brookins
Andrew Main – Eliminated on episode four by Kyle Watson
Nam Phan 2-0
Aaron Wilkinson 1-1 – Eliminated on episode three by Michael Johnson; brought back for Wild Card bout, defeats Marc Stevens. Eliminated in quarterfinals by Kyle Watson.
Jeffrey Lentz – Eliminated on episode two by Alex Caceres
For weekly recaps of The Ultimate Fighter, as well as fighter profiles, stay tuned to UFC.com.
TUF 12 Episode Ten Recap
CAUTION: SPOILERS INCLUDED – This week, two quarterfinal matchups remain on The Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck, and we will find out who will join Nam Phan and Jonathan Brookins in the semifinals.