So, the last episode treated us to two semifinal fights.

The first fight was a middleweight fight between Roger Zapata and Dhiego Lima. With Lima coming into the fight off the back of a come-from-behind submission victory over Tim Williams, he was the clear favorite going into this bout. Zapata had made his way to the semifinals after a very controversial decision over Ian Stephens.

Zapata wanted to keep the fight standing, as he saw that as the area he could most likely get the win. And the coaches were happy to back him with this game plan.

Everyone expected fireworks in this fight, and it didn’t disappoint. Zapata came out aggressively, like he had promised, and Lima did the same thing. With a brief exchange on the feet, Lima ended up on his back and Zapata rushed in. I think this was Zapata´s undoing. He smelled blood and went in for the kill, but he threw all caution out the window.

Lima had shown in his last fight that he had a good ground game with killer instinct, and he didn’t need too much time while he was on his back to snatch an arm and extend it. It was a great showing by Lima, and he really showed in those two fights in the house that he is an opportunist fighter, snatching victories from any little mistake that his opponents made.

The other semifinal featured light heavyweights Dan Spohn and Matt Van Buren.

People in the house were still talking about Spohn’s vicious knockout in the fights to get into the house. With both Spohn and Van Buren classing themselves as strikers, everyone was expecting a stand-up battle. With Spohn’s knockout still fresh in everyone’s mind, most people saw no other outcome in this bout than Van Buren ending up face down on the canvas.

However, like Chris Fields said after the show finished filming, Van Buren really pulled a Keyser Söze on us. When the show started, nobody really saw him as a potential finalist. This awkward-looking guy from Virginia didn’t look too physically imposing and he definitely didn’t seem like the sharpest tool in the box. But Van Buren quietly tipped away throughout the filming of the show, and when it came down to it, he delivered the goods.

The semifinal fight started off back and forth, but the first round definitely went to Spohn. But Van Buren showed what he was made of in the second round. He took some big shots from Spohn, but he gave back some of his own. Spohn was rocked a couple of times, but held it together. Eventually, though, Van Buren dropped Spohn and finished him with strikes.

The six weeks of filming were finally over. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I definitely wouldn’t do it again, but I wouldn’t take back the experience of doing it. I learned a lot about MMA. I learned a lot about myself. I met some really cool people and some of the fighters I looked up to when I first got into this sport.

Thanks for reading my blogs!

About The Author

Cathal “The Punisher” Pendred is a 26-year-old martial artist hailing from Dublin, Ireland. He was born in Boston while his father was studying law overseas. Pendred moved to Ireland at age five and took part in judo and taekwondo, before finding rugby. At the age of 19, Pendred turned his attention to MMA. He holds wins over UFC veterans Che Mills, David Bielkheden and Nicholas Musoke and was the Cage Warriors welterweight champion prior to joining the cast of The Ultimate Fighter. Pendred trains alongside current UFC fighter Conor McGregor and fellow TUF 19 competitor Chris Fields at SBG Ireland.