TUF 19 Rewind Episode 5: Wrestling is simple?
MAY 15, 2014 5:15p ET
It's hard to talk about The Ultimate Fighter and not immediately focus in on whatever bout took place on the latest episode. In reality that's always the headline for the series. Each show is tailored around building toward the fight at the end of that episode, and since it's a show about fighting that makes sense.
Now occasionally you'll get an episode like this year on TUF Brazil 3 where the focal point became the two coaches -- Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva -- literally throwing down in a street fight in the middle of a weigh-ins. Probably not the kind of attention grabber the UFC was hoping for when the series started, but hey whatever works, right?
But for the latest episode of The Ultimater Fighter 19, I was drawn into one segment of the show that lasted only about two minutes, but drove me absolutely batty from the time I first watched until I saw it again on Wednesday night.
Team Penn fighter Roger Zapata made a statement about the sport of wrestling that immediately sent just about everybody that has ever worn a singlet into a frenzy. I've quoted out his exact statement just to make sure I'm 100-percent accurate with what he said.
"Wrestling is simple in terms of the moves," Zapata said. "Dudes is hitting singles to doubles, singles to doubles, it's not like they're doing 20-hundred other moves. They're sticking to simple. It's not complicated moves."
“Wrestling is simple in terms of the moves. Dudes is hitting singles to doubles, singles to doubles, it's not like they're doing 20-hundred other moves. They're sticking to simple. It's not complicated moves”
Now I don't want to single Zapata out for his opinion because everyone is entitled to have their own about anything in this world, including wrestling. That said, for those that are reading this that have never wrestled, understand the moves are not simple and it's not easy or uncomplicated at all.
Wrestling is an art that takes years upon years to master. There's a reason why you hear so many wrestlers who have transitioned to MMA talk about how long they've been hitting the mats and that's because it's not a sport that you can just pick up in a couple of years.
Fighters like Daniel Cormier and Chad Mendes started wrestling a decade before they could drive a car. The reason why wrestling is usually regarded as the best 'fighting style' to know coming into MMA is because it's the one thing you can always use to win a fight and it's next to impossible to just pick up along the way. Wrestlers have always been at or near the top of the sport when it comes to fighting in MMA. Just look at the current top 10 for the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. Five of the top 10 come from wrestling backgrounds.
Maybe what Zapata meant to say was wrestling moves look simple, but in reality they are a complicated mix of agility, strength, conditioning, perseverance, and largely scientific when you really start examining the angles and the level changes that go into a takedown. If anything at all, I'm now really curious to see Zapata wrestle inside the Octagon or even on the mat. Perhaps when this season is finished we could get a wrestling competition between Zapata and Corey Anderson?
Moving onto other subjects from this week's episode.
Team Penn decided to forgo some hard training after their cardio machine Tim Williams struggled to maintain his gas tank for more than five minutes in his fight agaist Dhiego Lima. It's an age old debate in MMA when it comes to training versus over training. There have been dozens of UFC competitors who will talk openly about pushing themselves so much during their training camp that by the time they stepped foot in the cage, there was just nothing left in reserve go to for 15 or 25 minutes. On the other side of the argument when it comes to The Ultimate Fighter, there's nothing to do on the show except get better and how do you get better? Training.
Our old friend Matt Van Buren aka 'Gutter' didn't seem to think much of Team Penn taking a couple of days off when he reacted while Team Edgar was going on a hike up Mount Charleston during their 'down time'. He also berated the team for celebrating Halloween, which consisted of Mike King and Josh Clark dressing up as the most disturbing looking women this side of Sheldon from the 'Big Bang Theory' when he put on a French maid outfit while also putting down candy by the mouthful.
"I love their work ethic and nutrition," Van Buren said. "That's why they're all only good for one round."
Harsh words from Gutter, but with Team Edgar in control, maybe he has a point?
The fight this week featured Corey Anderson from Team Edgar against Josh Clark from Team Penn. Every competitor on the show has their own back story for how they got there in the first place, but admittedly Anderson has one of the more interesting tales of becoming an Ultimate Fighter. He actually had no desire to fight, but his senior year wrestling coach just happened to be top welterweight fighter Ben Askren, and it was his insistence that Anderson give MMA a shot that he finally tried to do it for the first time.
As for Clark, prior to The Ultimate Fighter, he was living in Kentucky working 10-hour days dismantling landmines for the U.S. government. Yeah, pretty low stress compared to punching other dudes in the face inside a steel cage.
The matchup between Anderson and Clark seemed obvious. Anderson's college (simple) wrestling would be the greatest weapon against Clark, who was a former pro boxer with very little experience on the mats, especially in this particular fight. Anderson engaged with Clark in some standup early, and that's where the fight stayed close. Once he started to look for some takedowns and slams, Anderson took over and outside of a brief moment where Clark trapped his leg possibly looking for a heel hook, it was a fairly one-sided fight.
Anderson gets the win and moves onto the semifinals of the tournament while Team Edgar bumps up to tie the competition at two wins a piece. The next fight chosen pits another wrestler Ian Stephens against the man who spoke out against the sport, Roger Zapata.
The teaser for next week's episode should make everyone want to tune in and see the insanity that happens. One of the most controversial finishes in the history of The Ultimate Fighter, and from there it just turns into bedlam. Make sure to come back next week for the latest installment of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Edgar vs. Team Penn.