If you missed any of the season so far, we’ve got you covered with this primer on the highs and lows of the heavyweight season.
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If you missed any of the season so far (or are still hazy from your Thanksgiving food coma) we’ve got you covered. Catch up on all the heavy-handed action by downloading the episodes on iTunes, watch the all-day TUF 10 marathon Saturday on Spike -- or just read our primer on the highs and lows of the tenth season.
CAUTION: SPOILERS INCLUDED
EPISODE 1: “Size Does Matter”
The drama: Former UFC light heavyweight champions Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and “Suga” Rashad Evans arrive to pick their teams – and start trash-talking one another immediately.
Meanwhile, fifteen competitors make their entrance, including former IFL champion Roy Nelson, NFL veterans Wes Shivers, Marcus Jones, Matt Mitrione, and Brendan Schaub, and UFC alumni Wes Sims, Mike Wessel, and Scott Junk. UFC President Dana White enters to calm the boys down and to introduce the 16th contestant – internet streetfighting sensation Kimbo Slice.
The fight: For the first fight, Rampage pits his second-choice Abe Wagner against Jon Madsen. An early cut on Wagner’s head begins a one-sided, ten-minute bout that results in a win for Madsen and Team Rashad – and one of the bloodiest fights ever seen inside the Octagon.
Read the full recap
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EPISODE 2: “All About Survival”
The drama: Rampage’s team scrambles to teach Kimbo ground skills in time for the next fight. Former IFL heavyweight champion Roy Nelson ignores most of Rashad’s coaching advice and makes no friends among the training staff.
Both men get a pass when Rampage chooses the second fight: Former NFL player Wes Shivers (6’7”!) against kickboxer James McSweeney.
The fight: Shivers lands some shots in the first round and gets McSweeney down, but McSweeney rebounds with some nasty leg kicks. The second round repeats a takedown, almost securing a rear naked choke before McSweeney escapes. Both men are gassed, and McSweeney prevails by majority decision.
EPISODE 3: “The Enemy”
The drama and the fight: If you only saw one episode of TUF this year, it was probably this one, featuring the biggest fight in The Ultimate Fighter history: MMA vet Roy “Big Country” Nelson against viral superstar Kimbo Slice.
The bout starts with a few punches landed by Nelson; Kimbo responds and opens up but is taken down with 1:33 left in the round. Nelson mounts Kimbo against the fence, locking his opponent in the crucifix position and delivering a series of unanswered blows before Kimbo is saved by the bell. Nelson takes a winded Kimbo down early in the second round, secures the crucifix a second time and unloads until Herb Dean calls the fight.
Read the full recap
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EPISODE 4: “Snitch”
The drama: Despite his loss to Roy Nelson, Kimbo impressed his fellow competitors and his coaches with his potential and performance. Kimbo asserts that he’s ready to step in if someone gets hurt. One sick list candidate may be gentle giant Marcus Jones, who breaks into a sweat and gets lightheaded one night at the house.
The 3-0 Team Rashad chooses upcoming matchups, but Matt “Meathead” Mitrione spills the choices to the opposing team “That’s like going to war and telling the enemy exactly where you’re gonna attack them,” says Evans. Some suspect that Mitrione purposely revealed the strategy to get out of his planned fight with the very large “Big Baby” Jones.
The fight: The bout this week is Brendan Schaub vs Team Rampage’s Demico Rogers. After some ground-and-pound by Rogers, Schaub reverses and wins with a slick anaconda choke.
EPISODE 5: “Rude Awakening”
The drama: Team Rashad’s Matt Mitrione makes noise about a supposed shoulder injury, while Team Rampage’s Zak Jensen gets picked on by the other fighters.
The fight: Team Rashad pits Justin Wren, a Travis Lutter protégé, to face Team Rampage’s Wes Sims, a UFC veteran (and the top tormenter of teammate Zak Jensen). Despite Sims’ height, reach and experience advantage, Wren closes the distance twice, scores a takedown, and puts Sims to sleep with an arm triangle that brings Team Rashad to a perfect 5-0.
EPISODE 6: “16 Sharks”
The drama: Team Rashad’s Darrill Schoonover is getting a reputation in the house for his drinking; confronted by his coach, he agrees to tone things down to help his team continue to win. After weeks of being picked on by Rampage for certain, um, feminine features on his physique, Schoonover snaps and confronts Rampage, offering to cut down to 205 to fight him.
Back at the house, Team Rampage’s Zak Jensen continues to get picked on, with housemates starting a pool to pick which day Jensen will lose his temper. Teasing continues at the gym when Team Rampage hangs a picture called “Team Cocky” that features all of Rashad’s team in unflattering caricature.
The fight: Evans picks Schoonover to fight Jensen in a battle of the underdogs. On fight day, Schoonover gets the last laugh, getting in close and unleashing a barrage of hard strikes. Jensen gets a takedown, but Schoonover locks in a triangle choke that puts Jensen to sleep.
EPISODE 7: “Voices in My Head”
The drama: Tensions heat up on two fronts. First, Evans and Jackson continue to jaw at each other after the fight announcement. Meanwhile, Matt Mitrione stirs up drama among some housemates that gets him a talking-to from Rashad – and a whaling from Jon Madsen during sparring.
The fight: Rashad chooses Matt Mitrione to face Team Rampage’s Scott Junk. Mitrione and Junk battle it out in the Octagon; Junk falls a few times but Mitroine keeps the fight on the feet. Shortly into the second round, Junk gets a takedown, but the ref eventually stands the exhausted fighters up and Mitrione wins by majority decision.
An 0-7 Rampage then beats up a door, destroying it in frustration.
EPISODE 8: “One Soldier Left”
The drama: Matt Mitrione and Scott Junk are banged up after their battle. Mike Wessel, who’s slated for the last fight against Marcus Jones, shares that his wife recently underwent cancer surgery.
The fight: In the first round, Wessel closes the distance and looks to brawl. The fight hits the mat, and Jones locks in an armbar that forces Wessel to submit. Team Rampage celebrates their first (and only) win of the first round.
White immediately gets the two coaches together and they begin the process of determining the quarterfinal matchups, which will include three bouts between Team Rashad teammates:
Roy Nelson vs Justin Wren
Brendan Schaub vs Jon Madsen
James McSweeney vs Matt Mitrione
Marcus Jones vs Darrill Schoonover
EPISODE 9: “Rattled”
The drama: With seven of the eight quarterfinalists are from Rashad’s team, he decides to cut back on actual coaching so as to not show favoritism. Matt Mitrione continues to feel the effects of his first bout, but his teammates suspect that he’s exaggerating. Team Rampage gets pranky, putting live chickens in Rashad Evans’ car.
“I thought they were gonna be pissed,” laughed Jackson. “But those guys were happy. The joke backfired on us. We just can’t win here.”
The fight: In the Wren vs. Nelson fight, Wren stays busy early but then gets pinned against the fence. Wren lands a heavy right, while Nelson slowly finds his range. With just two minutes left in the second round, Nelson starts pushing the pace and piling up the points. Most viewers expect a third round, but the judges give it to Nelson by majority decision.
EPISODE 10: “Gut Check”
The drama: Matt Mitrione continues to waffle on whether he’s well enough to fight, while his possible opponent, McSweeney, resents the drama. Rampage hopes that Mitrione will drop out so Kimbo can return, but Kimbo’s is still dealing with some damage to his knee from an earlier practice.
White shows up to the house for a pep talk about fighting through the bumps and bruises: “If fighting is what you want to do, don’t forget why you came here,” said White.
At the Coaches’ Challenge, Rampage and Tiki Ghosn fall to Rashad and Mike Van Arsdale in beach volleyball.
The fight: Brendan Schaub and Jon Madsen prepare to do battle without the aid of their coach. Schaub gets taken down twice in the first round, but erupts in the second with a big right which puts Madsen down and out.
EPISODE 11: "Demise Me"
The drama: Brendan Schaub and Roy Nelson have fought their way into the semifinals of The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights, while two spots remain in the semis.
Dana talks to Kimbo about replacing Mitrione, but with a wonky knee, Kimbo doesn’t want to risk further injury. Marcus Jones unleashes his rage toward Mitrione at the gym, and McSweeney nearly goes after Mitrione at weigh-ins
The fights: McSweeney and Mitrione feel each other out; Mitrione lands some hard shots before McSweeney gets a takedown. With 90 seconds left, McSweeney wins via guillotine choke.
In the second bout, Jones quickly takes down US Army vet Darrill Schoonover. Schoonover tries to survive but is soon finished off by strikes.
The semifinals are set:
Roy Nelson vs James McSweeney
Brendan Schaub vs Marcus Jones
The drama: Antics continue with Rashad and Rampage barking at one another until they’re separated. Later on, Team Rampage decorates Team Rashad’s locker room with pink stuffed animals and other pastel touches. Back at the house, Zak erupts after incessant teasing, throwing punches at McSweeney.
The (actual) fights: McSweeney scores well early. In the second minute, Nelson looks for the takedown, but McSweeney fights him off. Midway through the round, Nelson jars McSweeney with a right hand and then follows up with a takedown and a series of unanswered strikes that leads to a TKO.
In the last bout, Jones takes Schaub down early and mounts, but Schaub fights his way back to his feet. A big right hand follows, and Jones is down. Schaub pounces and the ref soon halts the bout.
The finals are set, as Team Rashad’s Roy Nelson and Brendan Schaub will square off this Saturday night.