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TV Review: The Ultimate Fighter 4, Episode 3

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Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a physical game, but it's the psychological or mental side of the game that can make all the difference in the success a fighter has in the Octagon.

Episode three featured various aspects of the mental gamesmanship going on in the Ultimate Fighter household. Whether it was a practical joke, the building expectation for a clash in the Octagon, or the trash talking of an MMA legend, somebody's mind was getting messed with in this episode.

Shonie again this week found a way to get more screen time. As usual, he did it by aggravating the other fighters. I sense a theme developing here. Shonie continued his spray-painting spree around the house. No household object was safe from Shonie's aerosol creativity.

At one point Shonie relinquished the spray paints and opted to display the finer side of his art skills by sketching a charcoal drawing of himself. And that's when his castmates chose to pounce. Rich Clementi traced a duplicate of the drawing and enlisted others to vandalize the duplicate with markers and Shonie's "bling stones." Shonie fell for it hook, line, and sinker. It was a torturous practical joke that made Shonie squirm and the other fighters laugh. They got him good.

One of the best moments of the show came when the group got to watch the UFC 60 Matt Hughes versus Royce Gracie fight. As Din Thomas commented, it was cool watching the fight with guys that had already fought in the UFC. On the flip-side, it was tough to see Matt Serra, the first American black belt under Renzo Gracie, deal with Royce losing.

The next day at the gym, it was even tougher to see Matt dealing with new trainer Marc Laimon putting down Gracie's performance. Being a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt himself, Marc would have known the relationship Matt had with the Gracie family. In fact, Marc is only one instructor removed from the Gracie teaching lineage. And the disrespectful talking clearly got under Matt's skin. The two have a history of confrontation, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it crop up on the show again.

More gamesmanship was evident when Din Thomas toyed with a less-than-confident Jeremy Jackson, who appeared to be the targeted fighter for the next welterweight fight. While Jeremy's had the shortest time to prepare for the show, he seems to be off his game from more than just the physical side. Although Randy touted his skills, Jeremy's comment that he was only "1% ready" but that was all he needed was probably closer to bravado than truth. It was an interesting process to watch Jeremy psyche himself, though, as he prepared himself to fight Chris Lytle, almost as if he was willing it to happen, only to be let down at the fight announcement.

Instead, Team Mojo chose to match up Chris Lytle against Team No Love's Pete Spratt.

Dana White mentioned that Chris and Pete had fought before. It was at RSF-Shooto Challenge 2 in January 2004. Chris won by submission (rear naked choke), in 46 seconds into the first round. Because of the win, you had to give Chris the advantage.

Matt Serra said, "Pete did not want to fight Chris Lytle. It's a very bad fight for Pete. Pete's a very tough guy. He's very dangerous on his feet. Chris is more well rounded. I think he can beat him standing up or on the floor."

And as Chris himself put it, "Why would you want to fight someone who already beat you once?"

Come fight day, Chris was proven right. He ended his second fight nearly as quickly as the first, this time at 2:55 of the first round with a guillotine choke.

That's the third consecutive win for Team Mojo. I'd say they have a psychological edge.

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