It’s been an amazing 12 weeks watching each episode back, reliving the highs and the lows of competition, that being said we have two final fights to recap!
First up were both my teammates Kate Jackson and Tatiana Suarez. On the morning of the fights I went outside to soak up the last of the Vegas sun before I had to head back to the cold of the UK! Meanwhile Tatiana was literally doing laps around the garden, sprinting lengths and being extremely energetic! I found this crazy, I’ve always just chilled out (or worked) on the morning of my fights but it worked for her and I could see she was more bored of waiting around to fight than anything else. She was the first of the girls to fight five weeks ago so she had been ready since then!
I partnered with Tatiana quite a bit in training as I liked her work ethic. We were similar in that respect, there was no chatting or dawdling. We got on with it. She’s a vocal striker like me so I could hear every time she hit the bag, I would try to hit it 2-3 times more. I liked the mini competition I had going in my own head. She also reminded me of my old Thai boxing training partner, Chloe Roddam. These girls have one speed, there’s no ‘light’ or ‘slow’ it’s just go and go hard. I believe I need a training partner in my life like this. They remind me of what the fight will be like, they remove any bad feelings I could ever have about clipping them with a hard shot and they force me to remain focused 100% otherwise I’ll be the one getting clipped. That’s how I need to fight.
One time we were just practicing a combination and I was like, ‘dude, you don’t have to hit me that hard’. I don’t believe in clocking up head strikes unless it’s in the fight or sparring and even then I’m trying not to obviously! So I said something and we were cool. As you can see from the clips, she did her fair share of launching me like I mentioned in my previous blog! As hard as her takedowns were I got up and kept trying, every single time. By week 4 I still couldn’t stop Tatiana’s takedowns but neither Kate or Amanda could take me down so that was some progress. Well, until the fight unfortunately!
On the flip side there was Kate. She was totally different in training, especially with jiu-jitsu. She was a lot more playful and flowing which I enjoyed. As long as my sessions are productive I like a balance of all out physical effort and a slower pace for learning and analyzing. It’s hard to recognize any mistakes going full speed so you could be reinforcing bad habits without realizing.
Kate likes being in control (she’ll admit this!), so turning up to training and not having a clue what we were going to be doing was stressful for her. She’s used to her own training partners and due to a recurring neck injury she was in a lot of pain during sessions which just made the whole situation worse! However, she’s tough as nails. I knew how upset she was post fight even though she wouldn’t shed a tear! Whereas I’m the total opposite, I just let rip!
Onto the fight…
It was another short fight for these ladies. As the round starts Tatiana closes the distance and they both exchange some strikes, then Tatiana lands a body kick and immediately goes for a throw landing in top position. From here she has Kate pinned up against the fence, landing some strikes to her head. Tatiana tries to transition to mount but Kate is good with her elevator hooks and manages to keep her knees between them, but Tatiana is still heavy on top and landing more strikes.
Soon after Tatiana attacks Kate’s neck and lands some nasty knees to the body whilst Kate is trying to get back to her feet. Tatiana sinks in the choke and forces Kate to tap. I was happy for Tatiana but gutted for Kate at the same time, there was nothing I could say to make her feel better, she’s extremely critical of herself and has been around long enough to know post fight spiel, I just wanted to be there incase she needed a hug or a rant! I then congratulated Tatiana, she’d earned her spot in the final.
Next up were the boys, Josh and Khalil. These guys went hard! It was such a brutal fight, back and fourth with some heavy, heavy shots getting thrown! I couldn’t watch at times, both were hurt but kept pressing forward and I knew one of them was going down, I just didn’t know which one.
Towards the end of the first round Khalil drops Josh and follows up with more strikes to finish the fight. It was another tough fight to watch. Again, I was gutted for Josh but happy for Khalil. I’m sure both will do well in the UFC.
So that concludes this season of TUF. The finale will take place this Friday and I am super excited to watch it. I want to thank everyone for their continued support, the well wishes, messages and Mean Green T-shirt buys. Again thank you to my sponsors Mindsport Consulting, Upgraded Grappler, SL Sports Massage, Steffan Abel chiropractor, Revgear Europe, Functional Self, Led Supply and Fit, My Protein.
If anyone would like to grab a Mean Green T-shirt you can do so via the link below:
UK fans can watch The Ultimate Fighter at 3am (BST) every Thursday morning on BT Sport (repeated at 10pm later that same day). The show is available on Fox Sports in the US (check your local listings).