Team Carwin drew first blood as coach Roy Nelson (right) kicked things off with a somewhat suspect pick for the season's first fight.
Over the course of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) reality TV series, "The Ultimate Fighter" (TUF), there have been a multitude of dynamic, celebrity coaches.
It's fun to speculate, based on a fighter's specific persona, as to what kind of motivator, strategist and overall coach he will be. Sometimes, the predictions are dead on.
It wasn't a huge shock when Ken Shamrock wasn't able to connect with his guys and exhibited a pattern of poor decisions. On the flipside, it wasn't super surprising when UFC Welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre was able to bring his team of experts and collectively perform in a very successful and efficient manner.
In interviews to promote this current season of TUF, UFC President Dana White has been vocal about his dislike for coach Roy Nelson. He's also essentially inferred that "Big Country" may not have done a spectacular job as a coach for TUF 16.
And, in episode two, viewers were able to get their first real taste of what Nelson will be bringing to the table.
Looks like "Uncle Dana" may have been right:
Episode two got started with Coach Nelson announcing his first fight pick. It was a big deal. Make the right choice, and you get to keep control and look like a genius. Choose incorrectly, and you hand over control. You also risk the possibility of losing the confidence of your entire team.
Diffley is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) guy. Primarily, he's a teacher. Magny is a doer. He's also a vastly superior striker. But, you never know. Anything can happen when a fight hits the mat and a jiu-jitsu specialist gets a hold of his opponent.
Surprisingly, that's actually what happened in round one, when Diffley got a hold of a fairly deep heel hook. Magny looked like he was in trouble, for a brief moment, but he was out of harm's way with what seemed to be very little effort.
It was at that point that the tides shifted dramatically. Magny realized that Diffley's ground game was not the "big, bad wolf" it was made out to be. All the technical knowledge in the world is ineffective if it doesn't come equipped with killer instinct.
And it didn't.
Diffley may be a fantastic coach. He may be one of the greatest jiu-jitsu instructors in the world. What he isn't is a top level fighter. Not yet, anyway. And it was broadcasted, loud and clear, during the second round, when Magny put on a striking clinic, and Diffley looked like he had a fever...and the only prescription was jabs in the face.
When it was all said and done, Team Carwin was up 1-0, and the stage was set for a season that looks like Team Nelson may be playing "catch up" for the majority of the episodes and fights.
Shane Carwin has a better staff. He has a better team (on paper). He seems to have a better strategy. I'm not sure what will happen when Carwin and Nelson get into the Octagon to fight each other, but for now, Carwin's team looks to be heavily favored.
Anything can happen. Nelson might change things up. He might bring in better personnel. Carwin might make some missteps. Only time will tell.
If you missed TUF 16 episode two, check out our full LIVE recap, here.