By Thomas Gerbasi
CAUTION: SPOILERS INCLUDED – The fights have begun on The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights, and this week, Team Rashad will look to go up 2-0 on Team Rampage in a competition that is rapidly heating up.
Team Rampage will pick this episode’s fight, and Kimbo Slice believes that he’s going to fight next. Team Rashad’s Roy Nelson likes the prospect of fighting him, both stylistically and because of name recognition.
Coach Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson knows that whoever fights Kimbo will be looking to take him down and test his ground skills, so he and his coaching staff are giving Kimbo special attention in the gym.
“He’s a fast learner, he’s hungry to learn and he’s very coachable,” said Jackson.
“I’m learning a lot, I’m a sponge,” said Slice.
On the other side, the coaching staff of Team Rashad is not too happy with Nelson, especially his joking and refusal to listen to instruction.
“To me, you’re uncoachable,” said assistant coach Trevor Wittman.
“I’ve been in this game for a very long time,” interjects Nelson.
“Come in here, keep it serious,” said Wittman.
Neither Nelson or Slice are in the second bout though, as Jackson decides to go for the kill shot by putting former NFL player Wes Shivers against Team Rashad’s number one pick, James McSweeney.
“I feel like it’s a personal attack Rampage going after my number one guy,” said Evans, and despite the fact the London’s McSweeney has been training with Evans and the rest of the crew at Greg Jackson’s gym in Albuquerque and is seen as the favorite, the 6 foot 7 Shivers gives a good account of himself when the bell rings and is in the fight from the opening bell.
Shivers lands with a right hand early, and after bulling McSweeney into the fence, he takes his foe to the mat. Shivers looks for the kimura, but McSweeney escapes and gets back to his feet. After a couple hard leg kicks by McSweeney, the action is halted when Shivers kicks his opponent low. When the action resumes, McSweeney goes on the offensive, but he’s ineffective. Both fighters look tired at this point, and the action is sloppy. McSweeney’s leg kicks appear to be doing damage though.
In round two, Shivers gets the takedown and again looks for the kimura. When that fails, he gets the mount position and begins to ground and pound before getting McSweeney’s back and going for the rear naked choke. McSweeney escapes and gets back to his feet, but both men are exhausted now. McSweeney, with a little more gas in the tank, tries to mount an offensive, hurting Shivers with a right hand. Shivers recovers and gets a takedown, but McSweeney tries to finish with a guillotine choke just before the bell.
Neither fighter seems to be ready for a third round, and luckily they don’t have to cross that bridge, as the judges see it 20-18 twice and 19-19 for the winner, by majority decision, James McSweeney.
“I’ve been here before,” said a disappointed Jackson, whose team is now 0-2. “We can do this. We got heart.”
Team Rampage will have a tough road ahead though, especially considering that for fight number three next week, Evans has decided to pit Nelson, the former IFL heavyweight champion, against Kimbo Slice.
“Win or lose,” said Slice. “I’m gonna fight him.”
Here’s how the teams stand after episode two:
TEAM RASHAD (2-0)
James McSweeney 1-0
Jon Madsen 1-0
TEAM RAMPAGE (0-2)
Abe Wagner – Eliminated on episode one by Jon Madsen
Wes Shivers – Eliminated on episode two by James McSweeney
For weekly recaps of The Ultimate Fighter, as well as fighter profiles, stay tuned to UFC.com.