The Ultimate Fighter 21: American Top Team v. Blackzilians – Week 1 Recap

Here’s what I wrote back in September 2012 in a post about fixing The Ultimate Fighter:

Camp wars

This is an idea that I’d like to elaborate further on some other time, but how about a season dedicated to two prominent camps? It would be good publicity for the camps themselves and their young fighters. The cast mates wouldn’t be forced into a team dynamic, instead training with friends who they already like and trust. There’s even the possibility of including more than two teams (something that Survivor has done before with great success). Just imagine the possibilities: American Top Team v. TristarJackson’s MMA v. Xtreme CoutureTeam Nogueira v. Alliance MMANova União v. Team Alpha Male? If a team is too dominant, it could even result in teammates having to face each other (though their reluctance to do so would be a major hurdle for the show).

I’ll admit, I’m embarrassed. I had no idea that Dana White and the UFC put so much stock in my ideas. Lorenzo, my preferred method of payment is check, though I’m not against the sack with a dollar sign on it.

Team Colours

American Top Team
Blackzilians (actually black on the show)

In all seriousness though (yes, that was me being funny), I can’t express enough how much I appreciate the show runners making a major overhaul to the program.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the show, TUF invited two of the most prominent teams in MMA to participate in a head to head battle for camp superiority. On one side, we have American Top Team cofounded and owned by Dan Lambert. On the other, we have the Blackzilians owned by Glenn Robinson. I’m not going to lie, the first few times I saw Glenn Robinson’s name in MMA articles, I thought that “Big Dog” had invested in an MMA gym.

This is the first domestic edition of TUF to not take place in Las Vegas. Instead, we’re in sunny South Florida, the site of both gyms as well as the all-new TUF house. One major difference is that the fighters have to travel there by water.

Boat RideYup, they’re on a boat.

Let’s get the nitty-gritty of the season out of the way for those of you who, like me, might not have been keeping up with the previews leading up to the show:

  • There will be 12 fights during the regular season and unlike previous editions, not everyone has to fight.
  • A fighter can fight up to a maximum of three times.
  • The 12 fights will be broken into three tiers, each worth a different amount of points. So the last four weeks will be more important than the first four weeks.

Scoring SystemI miss the IFL.

  • The fighters are selected by their teams before the weigh-in, but until then they have no idea who they will be facing At last, the Blind Date/TUF mash-up I’ve been begging for.
  • You will only be able to fight in the TUF finale if you fought at least two times during the “regular season” (as Dana calls it). It is unclear if this means you have to have fought twice to be on the card at all, or to be in consideration for the TUF Final (if there even is a traditional final match this season).
  • The team with the most points at the end of the regular season gets $200,000.
  • The team with the winning fighter in the finale gets $300,000 and the TUF trophy.

TUF TrophyPretty.

Call me crazy, but these are ideas that could be expanded on outside of the TUF format, no? Especially with all the programming the UFC has, it is not unreasonable to think they could establish some sort of regular season with major rewards at the end. Just something to consider.

They highlight Robbie Lawler’s recent world title win, a first for ATT after a handful of missed opportunities. Unfortunately, we soon go from highlighting ATT to slinging mud at the Blackzilians. Dan says that Glenn is simply a student who had enough money to buy his way into martial arts relevancy. He accuses Glenn of bringing in big name fighters to comprise his camp as opposed to developing his own.

Glenn’s side of the story is that Dan became upset with him after he became professionally involved with other fellow ATT members Jorge Santiago, JZ Cavalcante, and the Villefort brothers. This resulted in Glenn being banned from ATT. Jorge, JZ, and the Villeforts would follow him to his new enterprise, soon joined by Rashad Evans and Anthony Johnson.

Rashad & The BoysFor those of you keeping score at home, by my unofficial count (only fighters who have already made at least one appearance) ATT has 33 fighters currently signed to the UFC, while the Blackzilians have 12.

It’s cool that they show us some of the ATT roster selection process. I’ll take that over elimination fights any day. Heck, even if they don’t do camp wars every year, I’d love to see how those responsible for casting select the people for the show. Anyone who has watched DVD extras of any previous TUF season knows that the unseen auditions and table discussions are highly entertaining.

Here is a quick and dirty reference guide for the ATT team:

  • Marcelo “Grilo” Alfaya (16-7 [1 NC])
    • Crazy man
  • Hayder Hassan (6-1)
    • Knockout artist
    • In his last two fights, he knocked out a pair of Blackzilians (Jason Jackson and Felipe Portela)
  • Nathan Coy (14-5)
    • The captain
    • Grinder
    • Has fought for both Bellator and Strikeforce
  • “Creepy” Steve Montgomery (8-2)
    • 6’4”, Southpaw
  • Michael Graves (4-0)
    • Fast paced
  • Sabah Homasi (8-4)
    • Underachiever
  • Uros Jurisic (4-0)
  • Steve Carl (21-4)
    • Former WSOF welterweight champion

ATTHayder likens ATT to playing for the New York Yankees. He gets a lot of play in this episode and based on his past experiences with the Blackzilians, expect him to be a prominent character this season.

On the Blackzilian side:

  • Jason Jackson (4-2)
    • Top cardio
  • Luiz “Buscape” Firmino (18-6)
    • WSOF and PRIDE veteran
    • His last three wins were against Luis Palomino, Jacob Volkmann, and Tyson Griffin
    • Natural 155er
  • Kamaru Usman (5-1)
    • Olympic alternate wrestler
  • Andrews Nakahara (4-2-2)
    • Karate world champion
  • Carrington Banks (3-0)
  • Vicente Luque (7-4-1)
    • Most improved
    • Ground game
  • Felipe Portela (8-2)
    • Sick mustache
    • Originally an alternate
  • Valdir “BBMonstro” Araujo (14-5)
    • Ground game and power

BlackziliansThe South Beach mansion somehow looks even more opulent and unnecessary than the Las Vegas location. When I’d heard that the show would focus on actual teams this year, I had hoped they would move away from the reality show house format. I love the team concept, I love the points system, I HATE that the fighters still have to live in the same house. How does that make any sense? This went from fresh to disturbingly familiar real quick.

Creepy Steve: The initial reaction was a little bit of awkwardness. Tension. Competitiveness. You could tell everyone was semi-sizing each other up, but at the same time not necessarily trying to be seen sizing the other up.

This year, the coin flip determines home gym advantage. I hate when there is no consolation prize for the losing team because it puts too much importance on random chance. Especially this season where the winning team gets to keep the fights in their gym. The Blackzilians get it.

We move to the home of Glenn where he has invited the Blackzilians over to watch the UFC on Fox event where Rumble took out Alexander Gustafsson. It is neat to see how the owner and his team react to Rumble pulling off the upset. Glenn’s home set-up looks pretty sweet and we get another glimpse into his resources later in the show when he has a war room to discuss the fighter picks with some of his crew overseas via satellite. That was in contrast to ATT who are shown discussing their business inside the cage. We could have ourselves a “haves” vs. “have nots” angle.

Dana comes to the house to give the traditional pep talk and go over the points system. It might not make for exciting television, but it’s a smart thing to do because it’s so different from how every other season has been handled.

After that, we get a great quote from Jason: I’m only living by three codes: Whup ass. Cash checks. And take gold. That’s all.

For ATT the plan is simple: to stick with their best four to have the best chance of winning everything. Michael is up first.

Michael is a wrestler, but he calls his style “madness”, which probably falls somewhere between “Trap Fighting” and “Ranger International Performance” (RIP). MMA used to be all fun and games but now that he has a fiancée it is time to get down to business. Dan says that Michael came to the camp with little experience. It didn’t take long before he was proving to be a handful for most guys in the gym, even those in the UFC.

There is some kitchen drama revolving around labelling of items in the fridge and (*sigh*) not cleaning the dishes. For the rest of the season, that’s the last I’m going to write about that.

On the Blackzilian side is Kamaru. He was called in during the fight selection meeting and asked if he wanted to fight this early in the season. After some hesitation, he agreed. Glenn tells everyone to make it a point to deceive the other team as to who they might have picked.

I’ll say this: halfway through the episode, the show has a different feel and that’s a good thing. People might not find the emphasis on the coaches and their decisions to be that interesting, but it’s a change of pace from manufactured house drama and generic training footage.

Kamaru is from Nigeria, raised in Texas. He moved to Colorado Springs to compete for an Olympic spot and then…they don’t tell us why he decided to make the switch to MMA. There is actually a pause for dramatic effect and then nothing. Let’s assume this is a blank to be filled in later.

When we get to the weigh-ins, Dan admits to being surprised when Kamaru steps forward to fight. ATT was expecting the Blackzilians to lead off with Buscape. Kamaru had been watching the habits of the ATT members closely and he suspected it would be Michael or Nathan, so credit to him for his observational skills. That doesn’t mean he should be rocking the shades in-doors look though.

Kamaru CoolWatch out guys, we’re dealing with a badass over here.

The emphasis during the faceoff is actually on the two coaches standing behind their fighters. This rivalry could get tiresome quickly if they don’t lay off on it.

Welterweight Bout: Kamaru Usman (5-1) v. Michael Graves (4-0)

There is a big fight feel with recognizable fighters from both camps in the audience. It reminds me of one of the things I do like about past season’s elimination fights, friends and family of the competitors being allowed to attend. Kamaru comes out in a crouch and…

Interesting Approach…it goes poorly for him.

Kamaru catches a kick and gets the first takedown of the fight, though Michael is able to recover. He tries to switch position but Kamaru is hanging onto that single leg like a rabid dog. We move to some clinching against the cage and Michael is able to slip out and start connecting with kicks.

Great balance and flexibility by Michael keeps him on his feet where is able to score a lot of points. On the other hand, he is also allowing Kamaru to land, which isn’t good because Kamaru is supposed to be a one-dimensional wrestler. Kamaru connects with straight rights and shoots in again, but Michael’s takedown defence holds up. I had the first round for Michael 10-9, though I wasn’t sure whether to credit Kamaru with several somewhat successful takedowns that didn’t go anywhere.

I can’t believe I’m saying his, but these ring girls seem superfluous in this environment. It’s one thing to have them in neutral territory like the usual TUF gym, it’s another to have them where these teams do their actual training.

In round two, Kamaru can’t seem to land a clean takedown. Even when it looks like Michael is headed for a fall, he has the magical ability to levitate his butt from the canvas.

Graves DefenceSeriously, how is he doing this?

Michael gets away with grabbing the cage in both rounds (oh, maybe that’s how he does it), which drives me nuts. Just take the point, ref! A sloppy takedown attempt by Kamaru bounces Michael off the cage and he dives in to take Kamaru’s back. Kamaru is forced to carry Michael’s weight as he stands up, with Michael looking for a choke the whole time. Kamaru shakes Michael loose and is able get his first real top position in the fight…with 30 seconds to go.

Kamaru ThrowToo little too late on my scorecard. Michael should have this one.

It’s a majority decision win for Kamaru. I guess they did count those takedowns. This is why I don’t gamble on fights and why I should never be allowed to judge them.

Post-fight, Dan concedes that the stand-up was even, something they hadn’t accounted for. He also says Michael shouldn’t have accepted bottom position to close out the fight as it likely cost him the round. I like Dan already. He’s not going to cry too much over a close fight.

Hayder refuses to go quietly from ringside. He calls Kamaru out and Dan tells Hayden to keep it “in the cage”. We’re already seeing the benefits of this format, since this fight could still happen without both guys having to advance to another round. The coaches could simply agree to let them step into the octagon and we have ourselves a fight. If only Joe Silva’s job was so easy.

Surprisingly, Dana doesn’t feel the guys from either team showed him enough. I thought the fight was alright, so I don’t know why they felt the need to show that criticism this early in the season. Let’s hope it’s because they want us to know that the best is yet to come.

Kamaru VictoriousThe score: Blackzilians lead ATT 25-0

Next Week: American Top Team’s…s**t, they don’t announce the fights ahead of time anymore. How am I going to do these this season?

The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 4 – Week 3 Recap

Ben Grimm: In addition to a fight, we get a whole bunch of other things this episode. As you’ve no doubt seen and heard, this is the episode where Anderson Silva gets pulled from the show. This whole situation bums me out so much. I’m a huge Anderson fan, the first UFC PPV I ever watched was UFC 101, which partly explains why I’ve always been in awe of this magical Brazilian cage wizard.

Team Colours

Team Anderson/Nogueira
Team Shogun

The guys have taken over the house, as is their right, and they’re super stoked about being there.

House PartyYour home could be next.

We only see a little of the first night there, though. The first training sessions get way more focus. Given that Reginaldo Vieira is the first fighter from Team Anderson, he gets a bit more focus here, with Anderson showing him some elbow and knee techniques. Both teams take it relatively easy during training, given that the guys fought the day before. Team Shogun does the same kind of thing, as they make it clear to the team that whoever is up next gets priority, and y’all gotta help them cause they’re all family-team now. Ace.

AL: I’d like to point out that Team Anderson employs TUF: Brazil 3 alum Rick Monstro!

BG: Next up, the boys get dressed up for a night on the town (including those weirdo Octagon shaped necklaces that no sane person would ever wear, right?), and this is where I’ll hand over to Alex.

AL: Oh, they get dressed up alright. They are taking to the Vegas lifestyle like ducks to water.

Looking Sharp

Gun fingaaaaaz!

The fighters wonder if they’re going to a strip club, which would be a first for this show. Shogun Rua tells them he has a mission for the cast and a line of beautiful women come marching out. They are, of course, this year’s ring girl contestants! One of the guys says, “No one here is committed. We’re all single.” It’s not true, but it’s still funny.
Anyway, their mission is to help narrow the girls down to two finalists for the viewers at home to eventually vote on.

Play It CoolEven Jack Godzilla knows to stay out of trouble.

The seeds have been planted for future shenanigans (fingers crossed), but we quickly move on to the coaches interacting with this week’s competitors. Shogun is confident that Matheus Nicolau is better than Reginaldo in all aspects of MMA while Anderson is more inclined to give specific pointers to Reginaldo since he is more of a one-dimensional grappler.

And then Anderson gets a phone call. Now I put the veracity of this whole scene into question, but I’d love to get your take on it, Ben.

BG: As I explained above, I’m a huge Anderson fan.

So this scene sucked so hard for me to watch.

As we all know, large swaths of reality TV are semi-scripted and set up, so I’m not sure how to digest the phone call. Anderson goes from straight denial to convenient excuse very quickly. When Anderson is deflecting the anabolic steroid question, he does so by admitting to taking an anti-inflammatory for three days. I don’t know whether this is textbook denial tactics, but I know I’ve done this shit before. Cop to something lesser, in order to deflect the big charge.

I dunno. I’d love to believe Anderson, and he does seem entirely sincere when he pleads innocence in a confessional, but it doesn’t look good. Also, the potentially scripted nature throws shade on all of this. I doubt that that moment was the first Anderson heard of his test failure. It makes great TV, but it doesn’t ring 100% true.

And then from here we go straight to our first team challenge.

I think the mood whiplash just broke my neck.

Ring GirlsOnly because we didn’t give you guys a MILF shot last time.

The challenge is pretty fun, and the set holding it up is gargantuan. Each team selects four guys, and they’ll be responsible for controlling a corner of what is essentially a marble maze.

Labyrinth ChallengeGood to see that these old Survivor props aren’t just thrown away.

It seems that in this season, they’re playing for prizes, rather than arbitrary fight picking power, and the prize is seeing the snow at Mount Charleston, which I’m sure would be fairly naff to my Canadian counterpart…

AL: I chortle at this “reward”.

BG:…but as I come from Australia, a country that is 80% desert and 20% freak weather patterns, seeing non-terrifying snow would be pretty cool.

Team Shogun eventually wins, in part, I think, due to the fact that they had Soldado up on Jack Godzilla’s shoulders (JACK GODZILLA JACK GODZILLA) as dual parts spotter and mascot. Team Shogun are stoked to win, and Nazareno Malegarie sums it up best:

Freezer SpeechEl Tigre: “The Red Team, Shogun’s guys, will get to see snow. The Blue Team will have to open the door to the freezer or get a bucket of ice while we’re enjoying the snow.”

The fun stuff is over, though, and now it’s time for weigh-ins, and SRS BSNS.

AL: I’m sure you’re referring to the introduction of the first ring girl candidate of the season. Her name is Otmara Marrero and…huh, there’s something off about her Portuguese, I can’t quite put my finger on…hey! She’s speaking English! That’s not how we do on TUF: Brazil! Ironically, she says she feels like she has a certain “mystery” to her. She’s from Miami!

Otmara MarreroDisqualified.

It’s time for Anderson to tell his team about his failed test. I can’t even begin to imagine how crazy it must have been to be in that room listening to that. He goes on to give a speech about not giving up and following your dreams, but if it were me all I’d hear is a faint buzzing. His protégé, Dedé is particularly broken up. Thank goodness we have some old-fashioned violence to distract us from this awful situation.

The Nogueira brothers arrive, with Big Nog sporting some rocking facial hair for our convenience.

Mirror UniverseIt also helps us to distinguish which is the evil one.

Both fighters weigh in without incident and we have ourselves a fight!

Bantamweight Bout: Matheus Nicolau (10-1-1) v. Reginaldo Vieira (12-3)

Unfortunately, most of the actual fight is without incident as well. It has a slow, measured pace and Matheus doesn’t do anything to show off why he was Shogun’s top bantamweight pick. He’s solid, he doesn’t get in any danger, but that’s about it. It’s actually Reginaldo who manages to take the first round, punctuating it with a nice slam.

Reginaldo SlamThe fight has a TUF 19 vibe to it. I know that’s harsh, but it just didn’t do anything for me. We end up going to a third round, much to the chagrin of the Nogueiras who feel that Reginaldo was pushing the action and that should have given him the win already. Matheus scores a key takedown and Reginaldo is unable to get up after that. It’s a unanimous decision win for Matheus.

Matheus VictoriousBG: I’ve gotta agree with the Nogueiras. I thought Reginaldo won the first two and we didn’t need a third. Oh well. At his point, I’m not attached enough to any of these fighters to get angry about judging incompetence. I don’t think this loss will hurt Team Nogueira too much, as Big Nog has an impeccable TUF coaching pedigree. Taking over like this means he’s coaching his third season (TUF 8 and TUF: Brazil 2), and he’s coached three winners (Efrain Escudero, Ryan Bader, and Leonardo Santos), and five of six finalists (Philippe Nover & Patolino). Big Nog is basically TUF royalty.

Although, they may very easily lose the next fight.

Team Shogun selects their number one lightweight pick, Nazareno to fight the number one lightweight of Team Nog, Dedé. Given that his mentor just got booted from the show, Dedé could very easily be quite rattled. Clever fight pick from Shogun.

I did enjoy this episode, in spite of a fairly average fight, and I’m sure we’re gonna get some great moments out of this season!

AL: I am blown away by your staggering Big Nog TUF statistics.

Next Week: Team Shogun’s El Tigre v. Team Nogueira’s Dedé. Also, our first fighter/ring girl romance?!?

Cat

The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 4 – Week 1 & 2 Recap

*Some of you more hardcore TUF fans might be thinking: “Wait a minute, TUF: Brazil is already in its third week! What is this nonsense?” Well, real life has caused a slight delay in our usual on-point coverage and we weren’t going to just skip ahead, so here we are catching up with a recap of the first two episodes. Be assured that we will be caught up with the program shortly, real life be damned.

You may also notice that we’re going by our real names now. Beneath our respective masks are Ben Grimm (a.k.a. The_Vortex) and Alexander K Lee (a.k.a. NewChallenger). Nice to meet you.

Ben Grimm: We back.

Alexander K Lee: Oh, we back.

BG: Hold your applause, because we’ve only just started.

AL: Hold onto your butts. Tightly.

BG: Strap yourselves in, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

You are now about to witness the finest bi-continental reviews of any pugilistic reality show taking place in a language entirely different to our own.

TUF: Brazil is back, and I could not be happier. Whilst it’s going to have to try really hard to beat last season’s Wanderlei Silva meltdown, I’m looking forward to an entirely new cast of Brazilian fighters willing to train all day, praise Jesus all the time, and shed manly tears about their families.

I love TUF: Brazil, and I’m not afraid to admit it.

AL: And TUF: Brazil loves us back.

BG: The best part of TUF: Brazil has always been the cast. They love TUF, they love the UFC, they love their coaches and they’re all ready to scrap. These first two episodes are both prelim episodes, cutting 32 fighters in half (not literally), and promise 8 sub-par fights an episode. Bring. It. On.

Interestingly, these opening fights, and the whole season are taking place in Las Vegas, in the UFC training centre. Fighters always look excited when they enter the set, and these guys are no exception.

AL: I like seeing the guys walking around and stomping on the mat, as if they can’t believe it’s real.

BG: They even make a toast, with the usual TUF: Brazil product placement at the fore. This is the best.

AL: Previous TUF: Brazil contestants had to advance to the finals before being brought to Las Vegas, but this year it’s where everything is happening. As is typical of Brazilian culture, the celebration is defined by calmness and restraint.

Invading BraziliansSomeone alert the authorities.

We get to meet the coaches, Anderson Silva and Shogun Rua, who between the two of them have fought and beaten almost every big name in MMA history. Anderson says he’s a much better teacher than a fighter. It is such a bummer knowing that he doesn’t end up coaching the rest of the season due to his PED scandal.

The fighters get invited to UFC 183 to watch Anderson fight Nick Diaz! The boss is spoiling these guys right out of the gate. Oddly, it sounds like the show dubs over Bruce Buffer so we get Brazilian Bruce.

I have to respect the show’s commitment to all of this Anderson footage despite knowing how things turned out. They’re telling the story honestly even though we all know it ends up with everyone having egg on their face.

That kind integrity is rare in this sport where so oftOMG THEREIS A GUY WITH THE NICKNAME JACK GODZILLA

If he doesn’t make it into the house I may actually cry. Speaking of getting into the house, shall we move onto the elimination fights?

*****

BG:

Fight 1 (Bantamweight): Franklyn “Arrocha” Santos (4-0) v. Bruno “Korea” Mesquita (4-0)

Arrocha is from Rio, and dropped out of college to be a pro fighter. That’s all we learn of him. Korea has a taekwondo base, so I’m pretty excited by that. Last season, we had a karate guy go to the finals, and there are plenty of fighters with a TKD base. Let’s see what happens.

Korea takes the centre of the Octagon quickly, and then we get a lot of circling. Three strikes are thrown in the first minute. Yes, I counted. It picks up a bit from there. They flurry a bit, and Korea throws one very cool spinning head kick that connects just above the neck and basically knocks Arrocha dead. It’s an amazing kick, and no follow up was needed. Dana’s impressed, Shogun less so by Korea’s passivity. Korea landed three strikes that fight, and one was the killing blow. Sick.

TKDKOWTF!

Winner: Korea via KO

AL:

Fight 2 (Lightweight): Joaquim “Netto BJJ” Silva (7-0) v. Carlos “Mistoca” Costa (7-1)

Like so many fighters, Netto got his start watching tapes and wanting to be Royce Gracie. Mistoca’s deal is that most of his childhood friends are dead. As Ben mentioned, we’re only getting about 45 seconds of background and then it is right into the fights. They’re not giving these emotional moments much room to breathe.

Mistoca gets straight cracked after motioning for Netto to bring it on. That causes Mistoca to go for a takedown but quick. Both guys keep taunting after they get hit, which seems like a silly way to go about fighting someone. Mistoca comes out in the second hooting and hollering and Big John has to tell him to get his ass back to his side of the octagon. Real professional so far.

There is so much horsing around on Mistoca’s part, but from what we’re told he is winning the fight. However, he completely gasses in the third round and eats enough punches without responding to have Big John call the fight off in favour of Netto. Anderson lets it be known that he wasn’t amused by Mistoca’s antics.

Huff PuffAnderson: “He was winning, but he started kidding around and ended up injuring himself and losing his greatest opportunity ever.”

Winner: Netto BJJ via TKO

BG:

Fight 3 (Bantamweight): Renato “FranguinhoMônaco (10-1) v. Dileno Lopes (19-1)

Franguinho is the brother of Tiago Mônaco Tosato, another MMA fighter, with a record of 34-19, that consists entirely of beating up debuting fighters. Also, he’s a ranga.

AL: I actually don’t know what that means.

BG: I don’t care for him too much. Dileno Lopes fought Rony Jason on the elimination round of the first season of TUF: Brazil and got TKO’d. He’s hoping this one goes better.

Franguinho is a big bantamweight. Both fighters come out strong. Dileno gets the better of the early exchanges, chopping away at his opponent’s legs. He eventually trips the ranga down, and lands in side control. He mounts really quickly, and when Franguinho rolls, he sinks in the RNC. Really strong performance against a larger opponent.

Lopes ChokeAs he’s announced the winner, Dileno manages to cry, thank Jesus, and his whole family. That’s the real holy trinity of TUF: Brazil.

Winner: Dileno Lopes via submission

AL:

Fight 4 (Lightweight): Nazareno “El Tigre” Malegarie (28-3) v. Edson “PC” Pereira (12-2)

El Tigre is from Buenos Aires, Argentina, the same country as one of our favourites, Guido “Ninja” Cannetti. You might actually recognize Malegarie since he fought for Bellator against the likes of Daniel Straus and Marlon Sandro. He’s certainly a favourite going into this competition.

No joke, PC explains that he got his nickname because he would skip training to play games at cyber cafés.

The highlights don’t give us much to work with. All we learn is that PC tired himself out going for takedowns and El Tigre cruised to a decision. You have to think that’s the veteran savvy of Malegarie at work, not wanting to potentially injure himself or show too much of what he can do before he gets into the house.

El TigreAlas, he does not celebrate by yelling out “I’m a Mac, bitch!” in Portuguese.

Winner: El Tigre via decision

BG:

Fight 5 (Bantamweight): Matheus Nicolau (10-1-1) v. Mateus “Pitbull” Vasco (12-1)

Matheus Nicolau moved out of home, to live in a slum, so he could be next door to the gym he trains at. He also has very pretty eyes.

Pitbullis our season’s token Pitbull. Given that he is yet another Pitbull, I refuse to learn anything about him apart from the fact that he couldn’t think of an original nickname.

The fight’s alright. Matheus “Pretty Eyes” nearly gets caught by an early armbar, but bulls his way out of it. He leaps into Pitbull Version 25.0’s guard, and they grapple around, with Pretty Eyes eventually getting full mount, only to be thrown bodily off. In the resulting scramble, he takes Mr. Worldwide’s back, and it’s only a matter of time before he locks up another RNC.

Matheus NicolauMatheus has been pegged as a potential finalist by Coach Shogun.

Winner: Pretty Eyes via submission

AL: It looks like there’s a bunch of TUF alumni in the building, including Amir Sadollah, Gray Maynard, Uriah Hall, and Heather Clark…either that or I’m being mad racist as usual and all y’all white/black/women folks look alike.

Fight 6 (Lightweight): Raush “Cavalo de Guerro” Manfio (6-1) v. Glaico “Nego” França (12-3)

As his nickname says, Cavalo de Guerro is the “War Horse” of Team Nogueira.

Nego describes himself as a big lanky dude, making him this year’s Corey Hill/James Vick. I’m disappointed when he enters the cage and looks kind of like a normal 155er. False advertising, bro!

What were we talking about? Oh, Nego wins with a rear naked choke.

NegoGleison Tibau might have to sue Nego for rocking that shoulder/arm tattoo.

Winner: Nego by submission

BG: Dude, when we split up the fights, I had no idea that you’d end up recapping so many clipped together fights. This is hilarious to me.

AL: Laugh it up.

BG:

Fight 7 (Bantamweight): Bruno “Bulldog” Silva (8-2) v. Gustavo Sedório (4-0)

Bulldog is a capoeirista and hip hop dancer. Heck yeah! I did capoeira for three years and still love it. He’s the guy that’s been walking around wearing a large chunk of chain and he promises entertainment.

Capoeira ExhibitionThere is just…no possible way this can be useful, right?

Gustavo Sedório trains with Team Checkmat, and had nothing else interesting to say.

Bulldog’s first kick in the fight is a snapping front kick that connects with Gustavo’s face. As we find out later, the kick actually broke his jaw. To his credit, Gustavo fights the whole round out on a broken jaw, but he never comes close to controlling, let alone winning the fight. Bulldog may not have realised the damage he did, as we don’t really see him grinding on the jaw during the fight. Apart from the first kick, and a couple of other fun grappling exchanges, there’s nothing remarkable about this fight. It wasn’t a bad fight by any means, just fairly average.

The fight is waved off when the doctor discovers Gustavo’s injury.

Gymnastics ExhibitionFor real, I’m a check on my opponent after I do my flips.

Winner: Bulldog by TKO

AL:

Fight 8 (Lightweight): Erick “Índio Brabo” da Silva (17-5) v. Gabriel Macário (3-0)

Índio Brabo (roughly translating to “mad Indian”) could not be more indistinct. He says something about being well rounded and zzzzzzz…

Gabriel Macário is both new to the sport and allegedly a rich kid. Sounds like shark bait to me.

Gabriel is in great shape and has hard punches, but Índio Brabo is too well-rounded for him and zzzzzzz…

Indio BraboWinner: Índio Brabo by TKO

We close out the first episode with a clip of Anderson saying we should expect surprises this year. Sad face. Let’s just move on to the week two fights, eh?

BG: So we enter episode two with a few nice fights under our belt, and one very slick K.O. from Korea. I know it’s been a long read so far, but we’re only halfway there (whooaaah, living on a prayer).

Ahem.

Fight 9 (Bantamweight): Matheus “Adamas” Mattos (8-0-1) v. Marcos “Majú” Lima (9-2)

Adamas is here to hammer his opponents into the canvas. His recap/promo video even has him brandishing a sledgehammer, proving that maybe this guy could be a decent WWE heel if this MMA thing doesn’t work out.

AL: Ben, there’s no way that Triple H would allow that blatant gimmick infringement.

AdamasI think they call that “murder”, Adamas.

BG: Majú has been fighting since he was 17, and is not getting a winner’s edit right now. I’ll be surprised if he pulls this one off.

We don’t see this whole fight, but the bits we get are action packed. Adamas shows some great boxing, and Majú appears to gas really hard at the end of the first round. At the start of the second, Matheus is moving better, and way faster than his more tired foe. He backs Majú up against the cage and unloads on him, eventually forcing the TKO stoppage of a crumbling Majú. Matheus is screaming in happiness, T-Rex style, but Dana White’s also impressed by the way Majú WAR’D. He basically promises Majú a spot as an alternate if someone drops out because of injury.

Winner: Adamas via TKO

AL:

Fight 10 (Lightweight): Adilson “Jack Godzilla” Fernandes (11-4) v. Arlen “Benks” Viana (8-1)

JACK GODZILLA JACK GODZILLA JACK GODZILLA JACK GODZILLA JACK GODZILLA JACK GODZILLA JACK GODZILLA JACK GODZILLA JACK GODZILLA JACK GODZILLA JACK GODZILLA JACK GODZILLA JACK GODZILLA JACK GODZILLA JACK GODZILLA JACK GODZILLA JACK GODZILLA JACK GODZILLA

Jack GodzillaJACK GODZILLA

Winner: Jack Godzilla via arm triangle

BG:

Fight 11 (Bantamweight): Reginaldo Vieira (12-3) v. Peter Montibeller (7-0)

Reginaldo Vieira trains out of some guy’s kitchen. It’s hilarious. There are heavy bags hanging next to the fridge. It’s pretty crazy.

AL: They do this sequence of zooming shots that end on a cat for no good reason. I don’t know why, but that killed me.

CatBG: He desperately wants to get into the UFC so that he can fight an American, which is a really weird life goal to have, in my opinion.

Peter Montibeller used to train with his brother, until he unfortunately passed away in a motorcycle accident. Peter got his brother’s face tattooed to his arm, as a memorial piece, and whilst it’s not as bad as the Johnny Cash-esque abomination on Alan Belcher, it’s seriously not great.

Peter's TattooAL: I just want it on the record that my Australian counterpart is a heartless monster. I don’t care how clearly awful that tattoo is.

BG: The first thing Reginaldo does in this fight, is shoot for a takedown whilst he’s up the other end of the cage from Peter. He obviously doesn’t sink it, but isn’t punished enough for such a bad attempt. They strike a bit, with the wild swings of Reginaldo having some decent effect, until Reginaldo grinds his opponent against the cage, and eventually gets him down. They scramble a bit, and Reginaldo catches Peter in a guillotine

Reginaldo ChokeSeconds before this tap, Peter’s corner was telling him he wasn’t in danger.

Winner: Reginaldo Vieira via submission

AL:

Fight 12 (Lightweight): Fernando “Açougueiro” Bruno (15-2) v. Bruno Murata (6-0)

Açougueiro is a new dad, so we all know what he’s fighting for. Bruno Murata, on the other hand, comes off as a cold-blooded killer.

A straight left by Açougueiro knocks Bruno down early. You get the feeling that Bruno never recovered and Açougueiro gets a takedown to clinch the first round. Bruno is able to keep it on the feet in the second round and we’re going to extras. It’s revealed that Bruno broke his hand, which may explain his ineffectiveness in the final period. Açougueiro slams him to the mat and wins with a rear naked choke.

AcougueiroWinner: Açougueiro via submission

BG:

Fight 13 (Bantamweight): Eduardo “Cabelo” Diez (4-0) v. Giovanni “Soldado” Santos (15-1)

Cabelo does pilates for core strength, and has a totally banging MILF for a mother.

AL: I knew you were going to go there. I refuse to provide a screencap.

BG: Soldado fought in the elimination round of TUF: Brazil 1 at featherweight, and got armbarred by John “Macapa” Teixeira, a fighter I thought was going to do way better in his career than he has.

AL: I agree, Macapa looked like a killer to me.

BG: Soldado has the tips of his hair frosted like it’s the early 2000’s all over again. Yeesh.

This fight goes to a decision, and from the few clips we get, it looks like Soldado is a lot stronger than his opponent, and is able to control where the fight goes. He doesn’t seem to ever be in much danger, and pushes the pace accordingly. Cabelo eventually opens up a cut on Soldado, but it’s never big or scary enough to end the fight.

SoldadoWinner: Soldado via decision

AL:

Fight 14 (Lightweight): Alexandre Cidade (11-1) v. Nikolas Motta (6-1)

Alexandre Cidade says he would watch Bruce Lee and then go outside and fight his friends. Good role model.

Nikolas Motta is a straight up baby! I want to just pinch those cheeks!

The highlights don’t give us a good gauge of who is capable of doing what and both fighters look to have their moments. Motta finds a second wind, which helps him to take the third round.

Nikolas MottaPinch!

Winner: Motta via decision

BG:

Fight 15 (Bantamweight): Leandro “Pitbull” Higo (13-2) v. Maycon “Boca” Silvan (7-2)

AL: Now who’s laughing?

BG: Surely we’re past the point in MMA history where a young fighter is seriously willing to call himself “Pitbull”. It’s been done to death, and it’s well past any semblance of uniqueness as a nickname. Boca get about a ten second life preview, so I wouldn’t bet on this guy to take it.

Again, this one is a clip show. Mr. Worldwide fights pretty well, and he’s able to get Boca down in quick order. From there, it’s simple for him to lock up an arm-triangle choke, and win the fight.

PitbullIt doesn’t stop.

Winner: Pitbull via submission

AL:

Fight 16 (Lightweight): André “Dedé” Ricardo (3-1) v. Jeferson “Batata” Negrini (10-0)

Dedé is Anderson’s student and Batata is apparently nobody. Can you guess where this one is headed?

Batata actually makes a good accounting for himself in the short time we get to see him. It’s not like Dedé comes out guns a blazing, though his mentor never does that either so maybe that is the gameplan. Dedé outlasts Batata and finishes him with a nice bodykick.

Dede Body KickWinner: Dedé via TKO

As you can tell from our somewhat sparse fight coverage, everything is starting to blur into this indistinct blob of corner shouting, slow motion replays, and Pitbulls. Let’s get to the finish before someone gets hurt.

Minotauro is on hand for the ceremonial coin toss. It’s a shame they haven’t adopted the tournament format for these international editions yet. I know it made more sense with TUF 20 since you had the top ranked women in the world there, but it’s still a cool way to mix things up.

Shogun wins the toss and chooses to pick the first fight.

To nobody’s surprise, Anderson selects his boy Dedé first overall. He goes with young Motta second, referring to him as “Quejinho”. Did he pick up that name between the fights and the team selection? A quick Google search reveals that Quejinho is some kind of cheese. Let’s stick with Motta for now until the nickname gets more traction.

Jack Godzilla is the last lightweight picked! Gah! Even worse, Shogun calls him “Jack Fernandes”, as if he is refusing to acknowledge that redonkulous nickname. He’s probably just jealous of it.

Adamas is the first bantamweight picked and I have to point out that they did a really poor job of emphasizing who is in what weight class and they don’t make a big deal out of where guys are picked. I’m disappointed in the coverage of the fighters overall, especially since the only reason for TUF to exist these days is to give character exposure to young up and comers.

Soldado is the last bantamweight remaining and Shogun says he picked him because he’s a great cheerleader. You didn’t have a choice!

Team Anderson

Lightweights

  1. Dedé (1)
  2. Nikolas Motta (3)
  3. Índio Brabo (5)
  4. Açougueiro (7)

Bantamweights

  1. Adamas (1)
  2. Pitbull (3)
  3. Reginaldo Vieira (5)
  4. Bulldog (7)

Team AndersonTeam Shogun

Lightweights

  1. El Tigre (2)
  2. Nego (4)
  3. Netto BJJ (6)
  4. Jack Godzilla (8)

Bantamweights

  1. Matheus Nicolau (2)
  2. Dileno Lopes (4)
  3. Korea (6)
  4. Soldado (8)

Team ShogunNext week: Team Shogun’s Matheus Nicolau v. Team Anderson’s Reginaldo Vieira. Also, they’re bringing back the Ring Girl Competition! Because that produced such memorable results last time.

CatAnd remember…the cat is watching…the cat is ALWAYS WATCHING.