3. Matt Serra vs. Marc Laimon – Season 4
This was a verbal battle and one that cemented my love of Matt Serra. Honestly, I’m eagerly awaiting his video blog for his upcoming fight at UFC 119 because the entertainment it provides is better than most primetime programming on television these days.
The cast is given the opportunity to watch UFC 60, where Matt Hughes defeats Royce Gracie much to the chagrin of Serra, who has studied with the Gracies and earned his black belt under Renzo Gracie.
Laimon, a black belt under John Lewis who has never fought MMA, was serving as an instructor on the show. After UFC 60, he was voicing his thoughts on the fight with Hughes including saying that Gracie shouldn’t have fought. Serra took exception to Laimon’s comments, believing he was being disrespectful, and fired at the Cobra Kai leader.
The two went back-and-forth in a heated exchange, with Laimon defending his right to offer whatever comments he chooses. While he is certainly free to make whatever comments he wants, Laimon loses the war of words when he asks, “You can’t be an expert by watching something?”
Serra comes back with the best line in TUF history, maybe all-time history: “You’re like an expert swimmer who never got in the pool.”
2. Scott Smith vs. Pete Sell – Season 4 Finale
This was an actual fight from Season 4 and it was tremendous.
These two just stood in there banging away on each other, exchanging smiles and high-fives mid-fight. The bout moved to the second round, and Sell caught Smith with a left to the mid-section. Joe Rogan called it as a shot to the floating rib, some have called it a liver shot; either way, it obviously hurt like hell as Smith buckles over, wincing and grabbing at the impacted area.
As Sell charges in for the finish – KABLAMMO! – Smith shows why he is known as “Hands of Steel,” dropping “Drago” with a stiff right right on the button for what is still one of my favorite knockouts of all-time.
1. Introducing Chris Leben
When every subsequent season features someone trying to steal the spotlight in some way, shape or form outside of the cage, they’re following in the footsteps of the original bad boy of The Ultimate Fighter, Chris Leben.
Thought he lost both of his fights during the season, Leben made an indelible impact on the program. It started with his peeing – sorry, spritzing – on Jason Thacker’s pillow while the Canadian was in the shower, and kept rolling as the booze kept flowing.
For every drunken rampage that has happened inside the TUF house since Season 1, nothing could ever compare to the mayhem that ensued when Josh Koscheck and Bobby Southworth sprayed Leben with a garden hose.
Two doors and a whack of skin from the knuckles on his left hand fell to “The Crippler” who has remained one of the most popular fighters in the UFC since the show.