Season eight of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) is officially off and running as episode one opens with a group of 32 mixed martial artists all poised to rumble there way onto the final roster.
The episode begins with the usual starstruck contestants wandering around the practice gym until Phillipe Nover realizes Ken Shamrock was actually inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame and passes out.
Jose Aguilar immediately shows his composure and blames Al-Qaeda for a possible anthrax or carbon monoxide attack.
Not to be outdumb, Jason Guida decides he's only worth 500 bucks since thats all it would take for him to fight either Chuck Liddell or Anderson Silva. I'm sure all the guys who've been struggling to increase fighter salaries are happy to have Jason in their corner.
Dana announces the coaches and Nogueira gets the Michael Bisping treatment as subtitles chase every word he speaks. Mir seems content just being employed.
Now that the fights are announced most of the guys suit up and start getting their sweat on but Guida Sr. is having trouble holding down his lunch and starts cramping up like he just received the Kiss of the Dragon.
Cut to a scene where Guida is on his back screaming as his teammates pull his legs apart and I wasn't sure if I was watching The Ultimate Fighter or The Ultimate Abu Ghraib.
Needless to say Jason doesn't make weight and he is replaced by Mike Stewart.
I'm sure Clay is glad he put in a good word.
Like Season 7, the fighters are split up while Dana, Mir and Nogueira evalute them as they fight. Also like Season 7, they get right down to business.
Light heavyweight elimination #1: Mike Stewart (1-0) vs. Krzysztof Soszynski (16-8-1)
Round 1: Soszynski comes right out of the gate and pummels Stewart into a TKO stoppage. That must feel good: You make the show and get sent home all in the same day.
Soszynski wins via TKO
Lightweight elimination #1: Fernando Bernstein (2-0) vs. Dave Kaplan (2-1)
They trade blows pretty evenly back and forth until Bernstein ends up on the ground where Kaplan easily submits him with a rear naked choke. Bernstein said he was called "The Machete". Dana says he looked more like a butter knife.
Kaplan wins via rear naked choke
Lightweight elimination #2: Joe Duarte (3-0) vs. Phillipe Nover (4-0-1)
Round 1: Duarte eats a head kick and then a shot to the sack. After some deep breaths they resume and go to the fence and wrestle for position. Herb lets them dance for a while then breaks it up. Nover eats a huge punch and ends up on the floor. Duarte gets his back but can't finish him.
Round 2: Nover scores a nice takedown and whales on Duarte's face until he gives up his back and gets submitted via rear naked choke. Maybe passing out was a good adrenaline dump because Nover looked pretty good in the cage.
Nover wins via rear naked choke
Light heavyweight elimination #2: Eric Magee (3-1) vs. Jules Bruchez (0-0)
Magee opens with a takedown and muscles his way into a guillotine. Bruchez reverses and gets his back. Magee gets strecthed out and then choked out. Third straight rear naked choke.
Bruchez wins via rear naked choke
Light heavyweight elimination #3: Vinicius Magalhaes (2-2) vs. Lance Evans (2-2)
Highlights only. Lance throws in the towel after getting hit in the ribs. So much for the siblings.
Magalhaes wins via TKO
Light heavyweight elimination #4: Antwain Britt (4-1) vs. Ryan Jimmo (6-1)
Britt wins via majority decision
Lightweight elimination #3: Brian McLaughlin (5-0) vs Brandon Garner (4-1)
Highlights only. Garner throws a knee to a downed McLaughlin and the fight is ruled a no decision when McLaughlin can't continue. Garner gets the boot for throwing the knee despite it being unintentional.
Fight ruled a no contest
Lightweight elimination #4: Junie Browning (2-0) vs Jose Aguilar (2-0)
Aguilar likes to be called "Freddy" and tries to be mystical while comparing himself to Hitler. He then mimics a few Diego Sanchez moves while Browning can barely stay awake. Browning also thinks he has a better shot at preganacy then at losing.
Round 1: Quick exchange on the feet and they go to the ground. A few reversals and Browning ends up in side control and then mount. He works it until they go back to their feet. Browning seems to get the better of the exchanges and they go back to the mat. Browning starts to control the fight with dominance on the ground. Aguilar is taking a beating now. Mir very vocal throughout. The round ends and Aguilar throws in the towel. So much for being straight-up criminal. What respectable criminal turns themselves in?
Browning wins via TKO
Overall some pretty decent fights but I was hoping to see more of Guida and Evans. Judging by this experience, they probably aren't ready for the ranks of the UFC.
Stay tuned next week as the tournament continues and Nogueira says five words during the evaluations instead of three.
See you then!