Tim Williams (Penn) v Dhiego Lima (Edgar)
On the last episode of TUF 19 fans were treated to an outright boring fight that saw Daniel Spohn pulling away with what he described as a “smart” victory. The group discussed the fight in the beginning part of this week’s episode and Spohn defended his strategy while others begged to differ. The boring nature of the Spohn fight was parlayed into a similarly boring episode this week as the fighters began to accept the fact that they were stuck in a house without television, Twitter or women to make them feel at home.
Some life was brought back into the fold however, as the world was introduced to “Gutter.” If you haven’t met Gutter than you are in for a treat this season. While his non-stop chatter and nonsense allowed viewers to stay awake for the first thirty minutes of the episode it remains to be seen if he can actually fight. So far all we have heard is hot air. Regardless, Matt Van Buren, or “Gutter” as he now known among his housemates, struck a nerve with Irishman Chris Fields who seems to be willing and ready to take a swing at Van Buren. I am not sure if that fight will ever happen or what the outcome would be, but at least we are finally given something to look forward to. In what appeared to be a fun and exciting season so far has not delivered.
The teams continue to train hard and the mood in each camp remains different. Team Edgar, who is still searching for their first win in the Octagon, appear to have a sense of urgency and have put significant stock in Dhiego Lima. To the average viewer it wouldn’t appear that Penn is outcoaching Edgar necessarily, but instead the matchups have favored Penn so far. Edgar, who is as competitive as they come, has gone above and beyond to coach his fighters and he is a vocal coach during the fights. From what I can gather the first two losses were a result of Edgar’s fighters not listening to their corner and straying away from their game plans.
On the other end of the spectrum, Team Penn is operating like a well-oiled machine. They are in synch with their training and each fighter is challenging one another everyday in the gym. Coach Mark Coleman in true wrestler fashion is giddy about guys pushing themselves to regurgitation and Coach Penn is very confident that BJJ technician Tim Williams will handle Lima in the upcoming fight.
As is with each episode of TUF, viewers are given an inside look at the fighters personal lives and the path that led them to the reality show. The story of Tim Williams is both sad and inspiring as we learn about the transgressions that put his life in jeopardy. Nearly taking his life and the life of his friend after a terrible car crash we also learn that Williams had a brain aneurysm that doctors found weeks before a scheduled fight with titleholder Chris Weidman. Thankfully nobody was seriously injured or killed in the crash, however, Williams carries a scar on his neck to remind him of that terrifying night and also to motivate him to stay on the straight and narrow.
The fighters made their weights and the fight between Dhiego Lima and Tim Williams was on. While Team Penn was busy predicting Williams as the next ultimate fighter, Team Edgar was highly focused on the task at hand.
In round 1 Williams came out strong controlling the round completely and applying pressure from the opening bell to the final second of the round. The round went exactly like Williams wanted as he was able to land strikes, move inside on Lima and eventually take him to the ground. They spent a significant time against the fence and Williams was able to land some soft blows to the body. Lima escaped momentarily but was unable to find his groove. Williams wins round 1 in a landslide and looks completely composed entering round 2.
The fight continued with Williams following the same game plan as round 1. Williams landed several nice strikes including a superman punch that backed Lima against the cage. Lima was able to find some openings with his boxing as he landed a big left hook that knocked Williams’s mouthpiece straight in the air. In what was maybe the most impressive non-fight moment of the match, Williams catches his mouthpiece out of mid-air after taking the punch to the chin. It is clear that Williams doesn’t want to stand and punch anymore so he begins to try for takedowns. If Williams can get Lima back to the mat this fight would surely be over. However, after Williams goes in for a lazy takedown Lima makes a nice sprawl that sends Williams face first to the ground. Using his speed Lima quickly gets to Williams back and digs into the neck for a rear-naked choke. Williams appears to be completely caught off guard and a little tired as the choke is not defended whatsoever. Lima, who was dominated the entire fight up to this point, pulls out the victory by submission as Williams cannot make it out of the round.
An exhausted Dhiego Lima is emotional as Team Edgar flies into the ring to celebrate their first victory. Tim Williams is very disappointed but keeps his head up as this unfortunate incident is small compared to the life-threatening issues he has already endured. Control of the fights is now in the hands of Team Edgar as Frankie selects Corey Anderson to face off against Team Penn’s Josh Clark.
Check back next week at THE FIGHT VOICE for TUF 19 recaps and discussion.