Episode one of Bellator's new mixed martial arts (MMA) reality show "Fight Master" hit the airwaves tonight (Weds., June 19, 2013) on Spike TV, featuring four coaches in Randy Couture, Greg Jackson, Frank Shamrock and Joe Warren.
If you're expecting a knockoff of UFC and Spike's original brain child, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), think again.
A group of 32 welterweights will be whittled down to 16 competitors, and that's when things get interesting. The twist is that each winning fighter will then have an opportunity to "choose their destiny" by interviewing and ultimately selecting one of the panel of four coaches to be their mentor for the upcoming season.
Each coach will have four fighters to specifically focus on through the course of the season, and from their history, you can expect some healthy competition. The coaches will also eventually seed all 16 fighters who advance and the top seed will get a chance to choose their destiny by having control of their next fight.
Unlike TUF, Fight Master gave more time for each individual fight, allowing the winner of every bout to showcase some personality in the post-fight interview process. Only five of the 16 fights to get in the house took place on the debut episode.
Round of 32 Fight #1: Chip Pollard vs. Tim Welch
Pollard skipped out on his grandma's funeral for this opportunity. Welch uses childhood bullying as his motivation.
Round 1: Feeling-out process and Pollard is working his jab nicely, utilizing feints to keep Welch on his heels. Welch sets a trap for him and steps back right as Pollard lunges with the jab, following him back with a huge right hand and then a left that drops him. A couple more shots on the ground and this one's over.
Tim Welch wins via first round TKO and then chooses Greg Jackson to be his coach
Round of 32 Fight #2 Eric Scallan vs. Chris Curtis
Scallan talks about all the sacrifices he's made to get here. Curtis jokingly says he doesn't need fighting, it's fun for him.
Round 1: Scallan throws a kick instead of touching gloves and Curtis blasts him with a right hand, dropping him and hurting him badly. Curtis chases him down and works for the knockout but can't get it and Scallan recovers by utilizing his wrestling. Scallan is relentless with his takedowns working Curtis to his back and he stays on top for much of the rest of the round.
Round 2: Scallan shoots in for several takesdowns, eventually getting some of them and he rides out enough of the round with his wrestling.
Eric Scallan wins via majority decision and chooses Joe Warren to be his coach
Round of 32 Fight #3 Brandon Tierney vs. Nick Barnes
Tierney talks about his work in ballet and how it compares to fighting. Barnes talks about when he was severely burned growing up and why he's nicknamed the Phoenix.
Round 1: Barnes lands some sharp hooks and then blasts Tierney to the canvas with a power double leg takdown. Tierney tries to work some jiu-jitsu from his back but eats left hands. Tierney attacks with a leg lock and escapes to his feet. Big left hand from Barnes and Tierney responds with knees in the Thai clinch, crushing Barnes with big big knee and taking his back on the ground. Tierney works for an armbar and has an inverted triangle. Barnes pops his head free and takes top position, landing punches. He secures back mount with a body triangle and sinks in a rear naked choke for the comeback submission victory.
Nick Barnes wins via submission (rear naked choke) in round one and chooses
Round of 32 Fight #4 Darryl Cobb vs. A.J. Matthews
Cobb talks about being passionate about everything he does. Matthews discusses growing up being different as a dark kid in a white neighborhood.
Round 1: Big kicks from Cobb and he works over Matthews' legs with outside kicks. Cobb shoots in for a takedown and dumps Matthews on his back, working some more kicks.
Round 2: Matthews opens aggressively with big kicks as Cobb begins to fade. Matthews takes Cobb down and beats on him from top position for the majority of the rest of the round.
Round 3: Cobb is tired but opens with strikes. Matthews grabs a body lock and slams Cobb to the ground, beating him up with ground strikes until the round is over.
A.J. Matthews defeats Darryl Cobb via unanimous decision and chooses Randy Couture to be his coach.
Round of 32 Fight #5 Josh Quayhagan vs Chris Lozano
Quayhagan talks about his religion while Lozano discusses his father being in prison for murder and how he found salvation through fighting.
Round 1: Lozano overwhelms Quayhagan, powering past the kicks and taking him down with authority directly into mount. Lozano stays on top for the majority of the round and drops punches.
Round 2: Quayhagan lands some big strikes early but Lozano takes him down along the fence, trapping an arm in the seat belt position and just blasting Quayhagan with huge right hands on the ground. Quayhagan's face is being turned into mince meat but he hangs on until the end of the round, although he lost both rounds pretty easily.
Chris Lozano defeats via unanimous decision and chooses Frank Shamrock to be his coach
We'll have more fights to get into the house next week.
See you next week!