UFC: Ultimate Fighter IV Finale review
by Scott Newman(MMA)
Posted on November 29, 2007, 9:53 AM
UFC: Ultimate Fighter IV Finale
Las Vegas, Nevada
-On paper, it seemed like a good idea. The premise of TUF 4 was pretty simple – rather than bring in largely inexperienced fighters who had been toiling on the smaller shows, TUF 4 would instead bring back fighters who had already been in the UFC and had dropped off for whatever reason, be it personal problems or a string of losses, promising a title shot rather than a contract to the winner. When the show was first talked about, names like Matt Lindland, Nick Diaz and Carlos Newton were thrown around and it all sounded cool, but when the actual cast list was released, it was at least a little disappointing. Sure, the likes of Pete Sell, Chris Lytle and Patrick Cote were solid enough fighters, but the majority of the cast had dropped out of UFC simply due to losses, with many of them sporting losses to the earlier members of the TUF casts.
Granted, we’d seen lesser fighters make for an exciting show in Season 3, but here that wasn’t the case either. The fights for the most part were horribly tentative, with the majority of them going to decision, and worse still, most of the participants were so devoid of charisma that the show quickly became the Serra n’ Shonie show. Even the Finale seemed cursed – the scheduled main event of Michael Bisping vs. Eric Schafer was postponed when Bisping hit Visa problems – and none of the fights, save for maybe Matt Serra vs. Chris Lytle drew much interest. Would this be the first TUF Finale to not deliver the goods?
Nova Uniao’s Leites was originally set to make his UFC debut about a month before this against Nate Marquardt, but he ended up being sidelined due to Visa issues and ended up waiting until this show. His opponent, Danish kickboxer Kampmann, had made a successful debut choking out Crafton Wallace in August.
Round 1 opens with Leites landing a left hook into a brief clinch, but Kampmann breaks off. They exchange some shots before Leites shoots, but Kampmann shows a good sprawl and blocks the takedown into the clinch. Leites keeps trying it, but the Dane blocks again and then breaks off, landing a combo. They exchange some punches when suddenly Leites surprises Kampmann with a big right hand that puts him down! Kampmann recovers quickly as Leites throws some punches into the guard, looking to pass, but Kampmann scrambles up to his feet in a clinch. They break off, and Kampmann lands a nice leg kick. Leites lands a combo and shoots, but Kampmann sprawls again. This time Leites closes the distance into the clinch, and gets a nice side trip right down to full mount. Kampmann quickly gets half-guard, and Leites works to pass, but allows Kampmann a bit too much room and the Dane escapes to his feet. Ref breaks the clinch, and the first round ends. Got to go with Leites there.
They exchange some more strikes to open the 2nd, with Leites winging punches at Kampmann, but the Dane avoids most of them and lands some nasty leg kicks that cause Leites to look wobbly. Kampmann avoids a takedown, and then begins to really take over, landing combos and leg kicks. Leites keeps swinging, but he looks tired now and begins to eat cleaner punches from Kampmann, as well as the damaging leg kicks. Kampmann lands a hard left hook that dazes the Brazilian, and then follows with a vicious leg kick too. He lands another combo and avoids a takedown, and some more punches follow with Leites looking really bloody and gassed at this point. Big right hand from Kampmann staggers him and he ends up on his back, but Kampmann won’t enter the guard and the ref stands Leites as the round ends.
Third and final round, and Kampmann easily avoids a takedown and lands another combination. Leites tries to answer, but his cardio is totally gone and his hands are almost by his sides. Kampmann begins to land at will, dropping the Brazilian with a left hand, and then demanding that he get back up. More clean shots land, and Kampmann refuses to go to the ground. Leites looks exhausted and badly hurt now, but shows some tremendous heart and just keeps lurching forward, as Kampmann looks unable to finally stop him. Leites tries a desperate takedown but Kampmann avoids, and Leites ends up down, barely able to stand. He comes back up and eats some knees that put him down again, and then the ref calls him to his feet to end the fight.
Judges all have it 29-28; I would’ve gone 29-27 personally as the third was a 10-8 round if I ever saw one, but whatever really. Leites was doing fine until he gassed in the second round and from there this was all Kampmann. Given what he’s done since I would probably argue that Leites simply suffered from ‘Octagon shock’ here, but regardless, he came in with a big reputation so this was a big win for Kampmann.
McCarthy was unfortunate enough to be labelled ‘Captain Miserable’ on the reality show, for reasons that speak for themselves really, while Ray was practically a faceless member of the cast. Both men were eliminated in the quarter-finals, Ray by Edwin Dewees, and McCarthy by Pete Sell. Physically, McCarthy looks the bigger man here.
They circle to begin the fight, with Ray landing some nice strikes; jabs, low kicks and a nice kick to the body. Nothing happens for a while until Ray lands a heavy left superman punch that seems to stun McCarthy and has him back-pedalling. Boring fight thus far. Finally with a minute to go McCarthy closes the distance, shoots in and gets a big slam down to side mount. Ray immediately looks lost from his back as McCarthy works for a kimura, and then turns across to an armbar instead, extending it for the tapout.
Pretty dull fight, as McCarthy did nothing for four minutes while Ray picked at him from the outside, and it was somewhat sad in the end that Ray lost a fight he was handily winning within like 45 seconds of it hitting the ground.
I was pretty annoyed that this didn’t get air time over Rivera vs. Dewees, as in terms of the undercard it was easily the fight I’d been anticipating the most, as both men had had some exciting fights in the past and were likely to throw down regardless of their friendship on the show. Personally Sell was my pick as I figured he was a little more well rounded.
Round 1 begins slowly, with both men pressing and throwing out feeler shots. Smith then lands a one-two, and from there it’s a WILD TRADE with both landing until suddenly they stop and decide to high-five. With that out of the way, bam, they trade off again, and then Sell comes forward with an uppercut and a left hook. Sell continues to press the action as both men openly trade punches, until they end up in the clinch where Sell lands some foot stomps. They break off and exchange once more, and this time Smith catches him with a hard left that puts ‘Drago’ down! Sell quickly pops back up though and gets to the clinch, where they exchange uppercuts. Sell looks badly bloodied now, as they exchange some more shots before clinching and trading knees to end the round. Bizarrely they end up hugging between rounds, these guys are INSANE. Hell of a first round though.
Sell continues to just throw BOMBS to begin the second round, but it’s Smith who draws first blood, landing a good right hand. They continue to exchange big shots, and Sell appears to be getting the better of things, landing a nice combo and then some more cleaner shots. Finally Pete hurts Smith BADLY with a big left hook to the body, causing him to stagger backwards and double over, but as Sell closes in for the finish....Smith catches him with a HAYMAKER RIGHT HAND that knocks him DOWN AND OUT!~!
Absolutely unbelievable finish – one of the most memorable in UFC history, probably. On first look I actually thought Smith might’ve been playing possum in order to draw Sell in, but right away he actually collapsed clutching his ribs, so the reality was that he literally had one punch left in him, threw it, and somehow it connected clean. I guess the lesson is regardless of how hurt your opponent is, you don’t wade in with your hands down looking to finish things. This was a pretty great brawl anyway, but the finish puts it over the top. I fully suspect both men will probably have jobs with the UFC for a long time for this one.
Ah, Jeremy Jackson. It seems like each season of TUF always has it’s token knucklehead, and in this case Jackson certainly fits the bill, as he was thrown off the show for actually jumping over the fence to go fool around with some girl he met at the pool one day. Truly up there with the likes of Noah from Season 3, I would say, and I was really surprised when he was actually given a chance at redemption with a fight on the finale show. Spratt, his opponent, had the misfortune of actually being eliminated twice on the reality show, as after he’d been choked out by Chris Lytle he returned to replace Jackson, and subsequently got submitted again, this time by Matt Serra.
Spratt opens the fight with a brutal leg kick, and then a good right hand to the clinch, and right away Jackson begins to look for the takedown. He ends up pulling guard, and then quickly sweeps to full mount, but Spratt slips his way free and stands up, dropping punches down onto the downed Jackson. He steps back and the ref calls Jackson back up, and from there Jackson ducks a left hand and gets a takedown to guard. He passes to half-guard, only for Spratt to reverse to his feet, but Jackson quickly trips him back down to guard. Spratt escapes to his feet again, and this time he lands some punches as Jackson works for a single leg. Jackson gets the takedown again however, and then moves into side mount, only for Spratt to get half-guard as the round ends.
Into the 2nd, and again Spratt opens with a nasty leg kick. Jackson shoots in and shoves him into the fence, working for a takedown again, but as he leans down to grab the leg for some reason he ends up tapping out. Really weird finish.
Buffer announces it as a neck injury for Jackson which is a pretty unfortunate turn of events, especially as nothing Spratt did really appeared to injure the neck, but eh, I’m not going to feel all too sorry for the guy as he was lucky to get a fight here in the first place. Spratt continues to be one of the most frustrating fighters out there – still sick on his feet and still pretty bad on the ground. I would however not complain if he were matched with TUF 6’s Dorian Price at some point.
This was the opening fight for the Spike TV portion of the show and I still have no idea why they chose it to be televised – it wasn’t like either guy had really shown tons of personality on the show and I definitely would’ve preferred Smith vs. Sell to be televised, but whatever. Patrick Cote had eliminated both men on his route to the final round.
Round 1 begins, and both men press forward, Rivera landing a pair of leg kicks. He follows with a good right hand into a clinch, where he lands a couple of hard knees to the body before breaking off and stunning Dewees with punches, causing him to cover up. Dewees manages to recover and backs off, and Rivera comes forward with another leg kick, and then another flurry as Dewees covers up again. Dewees survives and answers with a flurry of his own, but as he swings Rivera catches him with a left to the jaw, and follows with a right uppercut that drops him to the ground. Dewees turtles up by the fence, and Rivera follows up by pounding away, and after numerous calls for Dewees to defend himself the ref steps in.
Post-fight Dewees complains about an early stoppage, but c’mon, even if he wasn’t being hurt by the shots (which is debatable) the ref gave him plenty of time to fight back or improve his position and yet he stayed in the turtle position. So no, it wasn’t an early stoppage. Wasn’t a bad fight actually – probably the most exciting one I can recall from Rivera in the UFC off the top of my head.
Despite both of these guys fighting at Welterweight on the reality show, they ended up dropping to 155lbs here, unsurprising when you consider that pre-TUF both men had only ever fought in UFC at Lightweight anyway. Though Clementi is a real in-between guy who seems to float between 170lbs and 155lbs with little problem anyway. Word on Thomas was that he was hugely improved from his previous UFC run after some time off and a new black belt in BJJ from Ricardo Liborio.
They circle, and Thomas right away shows much improved stand-up, pumping out a left jab that keeps Clementi at distance. Rich lands a leg kick and then a glancing overhand left, but Thomas continues to get the better of the stand-up, cracking him with a hard right cross. Clementi clinches, and they muscle for position with Clementi landing some knees, until the ref breaks them. They exchange from the restart, and Thomas nails him with a combo, dropping him with a left hand! Clementi recovers quickly as Thomas comes down into his guard, but then Thomas brings it back to standing and rocks him with a combo again. Clementi closes the distance, but eats some body shots. He comes back with a couple of leg kicks, but gets tagged again and ends up tripping Thomas down to close the round.
2nd round begins with Clementi throwing out some leg kicks, before missing a spinning backfist. He tries a high kick but slips to his back off that, and Thomas goes down into his guard. They come back up into the clinch, where Thomas opens up with a heavy bodyshot and then a pair of nasty left hooks that stun Clementi badly. Clementi breaks, but gets tagged again and then Thomas follows with some jabs, an uppercut into the clinch, and a takedown directly to mount. Clementi turns to his side and Thomas locks up a rear naked choke, and that’s all she wrote.
Really impressive performance from Thomas – they weren’t lying when they said he was hugely improved from his last UFC run. His stand-up looked tremendous here and he was way too good for Clementi standing, and when he finally hurt Rich and the fight went down, he quickly closed it off with the choke. Bit of a one-sided fight but a solid enough one.
Pre-fight video package desperately tries to get Lutter’s personality over by showing him racing motorcycles and stuff, but sorry, the guy is just insanely dull. Pretty good fighter though as evidenced by his wins on the show over Scott Smith and Pete Sell. Cote shows more personality in his video package than we’ve ever seen from Lutter, which is a pity as he’s the huge underdog in this one. General consensus was that if it went to the ground Lutter would win. I picked Cote, but that was more out of sheer hope than anything else.
They circle off to begin, before Lutter shoots in and looks for the takedown right away. Cote tries to defend, but backs up against the cage and Lutter drags him down to half-guard. Cote actually goes for a kimura from his back, but Lutter’s having none of it and passes the guard with ease into side mount. From there he takes the back with both hooks, and isolates the right arm. Cote tries to roll free, but Lutter quickly slides off into an armbar, and straightens it out for the tapout.
Post-fight Anderson Silva joins Lutter and warns him that he’ll be training a lot of Jiu-Jitsu for their eventual title fight. Pretty much a squash as the fight was practically over as soon as it hit the ground, but man is Lutter a dull guy.
Hopes were much higher for the Welterweight finals as not only was it a much more even fight on paper, but Serra was probably the most memorable guy from the show for various reasons (becoming the unofficial coach of his team, the spat with Marc Laimon, etc) while Lytle rarely has boring fights and is a pretty interesting guy in himself, what with being a fireman on the side and everything. Really close fight on paper, too – this was one of the hardest ones to pick on the whole card.
Round 1 begins, and Serra comes forward into the clinch, where he lands some foot stomps as Lytle works to defend the takedown. They exchange a few shots inside as Lytle continues to defend the takedown, and then he gets one of his own to guard. Serra goes for an oma plata from his back, but Lytle avoids and gets to his feet, taking an upkick on the way. They clinch up again and this time Serra pulls guard, but Lytle stands, and Serra comes up and shoots again to end the round.
2nd round and they circle into the clinch once more, with Serra again using the foot stomps. They muscle along the fence, exchanging short punches, and Lytle continues to block the takedown. Ref finally breaks them, and they press forward but neither man lands, and they clinch again, and the round peters out in the same way that it began. This has been a horribly dull fight thus far.
Both men try to come out more aggressively in the third, throwing some strikes out, and finally Serra lands a spinning backfist (albeit not cleanly) and then tackles Lytle to the ground! Lytle immediately gets full guard, so Serra stands up with Lytle clinging onto him. They go back down, and Lytle blocks all Serra’s attempts at passing guard, so the ref stands them, much to Serra’s chagrin. They clinch once more, and Lytle continues to block the takedown, almost going down at one moment, but he comes right back up to the clinch and the fight ends there.
This one’s almost impossible to score. First judge has it for Serra, 30-27, second for Lytle, also 30-27, and the final judge has it for Serra too, 30-27, giving him the split decision. So strange to see a split decision where the judges actually give all three rounds to each guy, but then again it was probably justified here, as neither man really did enough to clearly take any of the rounds. I’d probably agree with the decision too, not that Serra really did any damage, but he was by far the more aggressive of the two and at least pushed the action while Lytle just defended for the most part. Lytle was unlucky in the end I guess as he was never hurt, but he paid the price for being so defensive. Terrible fight though and watching this it’s hard to believe that Serra would be the one to dethrone St-Pierre.
-And we roll the highlights.
Season 4 didn’t deliver in terms of the reality show and unsurprisingly the Finale was a letdown too. Sure, Sell-Smith is a hell of a brawl and has one of the best finishes in UFC history, but everything else is worth a pass, especially the two final bouts which unlike the back-and-forth wars we’re used to from the TUF finals ended up being pretty terrible, with one being a squash and the other one of the most tentative and dull fights I can recall seeing in UFC recently. None of the other stuff is bad or anything, but it’s just not memorable in any way. Thumbs way down for TUF 4, both the show and the finale.
UFC: 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, Fight Night 11.
King of the Cage: 23, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36, 42, 48, 52, and 58.