Exclusive Zak Cummings TUF 17 Fighter Blog: Episode 2

| February 5, 2013 | 2:34 pm | Reply

TUF 17 Blogger Zak CummingsSo at the end of the Premiere we moved on to the team picks. A coin was flipped and Chael Sonnen won the toss, he chose to pick the first fighter, which was Luke Barnatt. This meant that Jon Jones (Little JJ as Chael calls him) got to pick the first fight match up. Jon decided to go right after our number one pick and matched up the shortest guy in the house, Gilbert “Jamal” “Gigantoooooor” Smith against the tallest man in the house, Luke “The European Gangster” Barnatt. Obviously after watching the episode the rest of Team Jones was not on board with this pick.

So after having the shortest and most important fight of my life, I got to jump in a van and go to my new house for the next six and half weeks. Getting to the house for the first time was a crazy experience. I’ve seen it on TV and it was still a shock. I walked in the door and a Harley Davidson motorcycle was sitting there to remind us of one of the trophies we will get after winning this tournament. Team Jones beat us to the house and sprinted upstairs to claim the large room that their entire team will stay in. I was fine with that. I felt I lucked out on the roommates. Our team was split into two rooms downstairs, one room had Uriah, Kevin, Kelvin and Jimmy in it and the other had the two Europeans: Luke from England, Tor from Sweden, along with myself from the middle of nowhere Missouri. Talk about culture differences, but I really liked both guys so far.

The first week in the house was really laid back; both teams sat down and had dinner together while trying to get to know each other the first night. Countless games of pool were played, mainly because we had nothing else to do while we were there. From the beginning I was running through everyone on the pool table. Obviously while the teams were separated we talked about match ups and orders, or the fights, but none of it mattered until Luke got past Jamal and our team had control. From talking to Jamal we knew his team was giving him a hard time about this match up and we thought maybe he was even forced into this match up because some of the others on Team Jones were trying to be very controlling. After watching the episode, I was blown away by the way the teammates were attacking Jamal. I would have slapped someone if they treated me like that right before a fight. Just ridiculous. On the other side, we all were in Luke’s corner. We did everything we possibly could to make him feel as comfortable as possible. We did everything from training Jamal’s style, staying positive during his 22lbs weight cut in 24 hours, cooking dinner for him after weigh-ins, to Jimmy allowing Luke to absolutely beat on him while warming him up for the fight.

The Ultimate Fighter 17During the fight, Luke kept on his game plan using his reach for long strikes, and getting right back to his feet after every takedown. Round one was very close, of course I am bias so I thought Luke edged it out, but Jamal landed some solid overhands and takedowns. I really don’t know if it was a conditioning thing or not but in round two Luke timed him coming in for a shot with a beautiful skip knee. I was really confused when I saw Jamal go down, I wasn’t sure how clean the knee was but after re-watching it, I think it landed pretty solid and turned the lights out. I will say I was very very impressed with Jamal and the way he handled himself after the loss. He came in and hugged all of us and told Luke congratulations. He was a class act and it told me a lot about his character.

Luke’s win via spectacular flying knee to the dome and now Team Sonnen takes control of the next fight pick. Chael decided that Uriah Hall would be the man to keep control for our team and gave him a list of guys who he thought he matched up well against. Funny, we all talked about match ups and Adam never came up for Uriah but what can you do. Chael pulled Uriah aside and that’s the match up that Chael decided. Tune in to tonight’s episode to see if it was the right decision for TEAM DARKSIDE.

Make sure to follow Zak Cummings on twitter and the Team Sonnen fighter will continue blogging each week throughout The Ultimate Fighter 17.

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Category: Blog, Exclusive, Featured, MMA, UFC, Ultimate Fighter

Zak Cummings (TUF 17 Blogger)

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Team Sonnen member of TUF 17, blogging each week during the season.

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