Episode four of Bellator's new mixed martial arts (MMA) reality show "Fight Master" hits the airwaves tonight (Weds., July 10, 2013) on Spike TV, featuring four coaches in Randy Couture, Greg Jackson, Frank Shamrock and Joe Warren.
MMAmania.com will be here live tonight to cover the first official episode of the show now that everyone has fought their way into the 16-man tournament. This is where everything is going to officially start cooking.
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 show, 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.
Fighters confirmed thus far:
The winning fighters enter the house, which is actually connected to the training warehouse/gym where they fought to get on the show. Frank Shamrock has still not filled out his team due to one of the winners being suspended due to a cut over his eye. Shamrock has his choice out of the losing fighters and he selects Joe Williams, a hard-nosed wrestler who had a barnburner of a fight against Cole Williams.
All four coaches hold a training session with their respective teams and you get a feel for what each coach is bringing. Warren coaches like the underdog with something to prove, Jackson is the master gameplanner, Couture is all about teamwork and taking care of each other while Shamrock goes old school trying to keep everyone's mind, body and spirit in check, even giving all four members of his team a fight journal to scribble down their thoughts and keep them occupied.
Next, the coaches put their heads together to compile the rankings, seeding each fighter in the show 1-16 with the help of Bellator President Bjorn Rebney. Every coach fights for their guys to have a higher seed because the top fighters get to choose their match-ups. Eventually, Joe Riggs is given the top spot, with Cristiano Souza taking number two and Chris Lozano coming in number three. Xtreme Couture fills out the top five with A.J. Matthews and Cole WIlliams, holding an early advantage with three of the best fighters in the competition.
The fighters get to pick their respective fights in the round of 16, although the rankings are withheld from the competitors and after they've chosen all their fights.
Round of 16 Fight #1: Cole Williams (Xtreme Couture) vs Mike Dubois (Shamrock MMA)
Dubois comes out slugging, landing a few straight punches but Williams utilizes his wrestling advantage to shoot in and take him down. Dubois tries to hang tough but he's no match for Williams' ground skills and he's eventually forced to tap out to a rear naked choke.
Cole WIlliams defeats Mike Dubois via submission (rear naked choke) in round one.
Round of 16 Fight #2: Chris Lozano (Shamrock MMA) vs Bryan Travers (Jackson's MMA)
This is a battle of skill and power versus heart and conditioning as Travers overcame a rough start to outwork his opponent to get into the house. Lozano, on the other hand, got tired in his bout to get in the house after just two rounds.
Early on, Lozano dominates, scoring with combinations and low kicks. Travers fires back but his punches don't have the impact of Lozano's. Travers initiates clinches to try to wear Lozano down and slow him but Lozano hurts him every time they're in open space, easily taking round one after landing a few really heavy right hands near the end of the frame.
Travers bounces back in round two, again forcing Lozano into the fence, landing some strikes of his own in the stand-up and then catching a leg kick and dumping Lozano on his back. Travers is able to keep Lozano on the ground for over half the round, passing to half guard and dropping occasional strikes. He continues to neutralize Lozano's offense until the bell.
The judges are split one round apiece and we head to the third, which has been the bane of Lozano's existence thus far. Surprisingly, Travers does not come out looking to grapple or clinch, instead standing and banging with Lozano, although he's holding his own. Lozano starts to gain a slight advantage on the feet, scoring with a few big right hands and low kicks and Travers shoots in for a takedown with about 30 seconds left. Lozano stuffs it and winds up on top, dropping right hands on Travers until the bout concludes.
Chris Lozano defeats Bryan Travers via split decision
See you next week!