Well, …, Josh, man, I don’t know what to tell you. Team Koscheck’s last fight was one that gave them control of the pick for those watching TUF. Previously, Nam Phan won his bout against Spencer Paige. This is the fight that gave control to Team Koscheck. However, I have not seen it pointed out anywhere that Nam Phan didn’t beat Paige. Sure, he won the fight and I am not taking anything away from him or his skills. I am just pointing out that Paige broke his hand and made poor decisions about the types and amount of kicks he used. Paige lost the fight. Phan didn’t beat him. Yet, you couldn’t tell anyone on Team Koscheck that. And for good reason…
Fast forward to 10/20/10. We get to see a glimpse of Josh actually in the driver’s seat hungry for another win. So, what does he do? He pits his first round pick, Marc Stevens, against GSP’s 6th round pick, Cody Mackenzie. Josh is hoping that the skills of the physically smaller Stevens are superior to the taller Mackenzie.
It’s pointed out a couple of times building up to the fight that most, if not all, of Mackenzie’s wins have come from submission threw a guillotine choke. However, this doesn’t really phase Stevens because he feels his ground game is better than Cody’s. And to be honest, Stevens actually looked more mature as a fighter and someone to be worried about.
On fight day, Mackenzie strolls in with his long, rockeresque do, pulled up into a “top knot”. This actually changed his whole persona. While he doesn’t have the ripped appearance of most of the fighters, he definitely looked like he meant business.
At the opening bell, Cody charged Marc. According to GSP, this through Marc off his game and he reverted back to his skills as a wrestler. All of Koscheck’s intructions, all of the previous warnings about Cody’s skills, all the knowledge of Cody’s 11 wins, went out the window. Advantage: Mackenzie. Stevens is choked out and put to sleep by Mackenzie’s, apparently patented, guillotine move.
As Dana said, “Koscheck was horrified that St. Pierre’s 6th pick, choked out his 1st pick in less than 20 seconds!” And it was true. You could see it all over Josh’s face. He was dumb founded. In shock. And, uncharacteristically…speechless. It was so bad that the most rabid Koscheck hater might possibly be tempted to feel sorry for the guy.
Well, what was Dana going to do at this point? This fight was supposed to take up about 10 minutes of air time but it didn’t take 1/10th of that. How do you fill the void? How ’bout another fight? Sure. Squeeze it in.
Because of the win, the pick goes back to St. Pierre and we get to see a little more of how good a chess player GSP is. It’s apparent that while GSP is fully aware of the skills his fighters have, he is also fully aware of the person that they are.
In contrast to Koscheck’s team, who appear to be pretty one dimensional, St. Pierre appears to have chosen all the sensates, the philosophers, of the bunch. While Koscheck’s fighters on the whole appear to embody the mantra “I’m going to beat you up”, Georges’ fighters, on the other hand, seem more interested in growing and developing as individuals and seeking inner balance rather than outright domination of their opponent.
With the first fight we observed Mackenzie’s almost “stoner-like” elocution as he channeled “The Dude” from “The Big Lebowski”. After recounting how much better Marc Stevens’ game was on so many levels, when asked what he, Mackenzie was going to bring to the table, he merely stated “I’m gonna win”.
Moving to the second bout of the night, GSP’s pick of flower child, Jonathan Brookins, proved almost, if not, just as entertaining as Cody Mackenzie. You can see this kid as a protege of St. Pierre. He carries around the same style of “goodness” that embodies his team captain, who sometimes seems almost nerdy in his wholesomeness.
Watching Brookins practice his yoga, meditate, even pray, leading up to his fight with Savak Magakian, mentally prepares you to accept the kid’s new age explanation of his even being at TUF at all. According to Jonathan, “The Universe” has brought him to this point with the purpose of, rather than beat his opponent senseless, prove himself worthy of the calling. Hardly the kind of chest thumping, horn blowing, back slapping, that you would expect to hear from Team Koscheck.
Not wanting to take anything away from Savak, who seems like a pretty decent guy also, he looked to be a pretty good match up for Brookins. Savak, who is Armenian, started martial arts training at the age of 4. Having spent his childhood in Eastern Europe, you figure he has the heart and the skills to take care of himself.
So, here we are. The second fight of the night. Team GSP 4, Team Koscheck 1. Brookins facing Magakian. With Team GSP in the ready room, we get to hear St. Pierre give some final instructions to his man. However, we don’t hear exactly what these instruction are because the camera focuses on GSP’s left leg fidgeting nervously as Brookins heads out to the Octogon. George is clearly worried about his fighter. Not because GSP doesn’t think he has the skills. But because Georges doesn’t think Brookins knows just how good he really is.
When this fight gets going, its a little different. You can tell that each of these fighters actually have a good deal of respect for the other as a person. So, there is a feeling out period of about 30-45 seconds before the fighters actually engage. We get to see a couple of strike attempts, but, then the fighters move into the clinch and Savak attempts a throw which Brookins reverses. Savak gets up to his feet but gives up his back and Jonathan jumps on and shows a great deal of patience as he gets his leg hooks in. At that point, it’s simply a matter of time.
Savak almost goes out but taps to end the fight. When the ref breaks them up Savak clearly looks a little disoriented. This fight lasted around 2 minutes. Slightly longer, but no more impressive for Team Koscheck. What are the guys in yellow thinking right about now? What’s Koscheck thinking?
For GSP fans and Koscheck haters, this week’s episode was almost more than one could handle. While there is no GSP lock on the win in December, this little foray into coaching competition has got to have taken some of the wind out of Josh’s sails. Will he be able to overcome the almost universal embarrassment of knowing that the whole world of UFC fans have seen him be beaten by GSP in almost every dimension? Will this discourage him or cause him to dig deep within and evolve into something more than his is right now? Only time will tell.
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