After an intro that establishes the stars of the show, namely Brock Lesnar ($) and Junior Dos Santos, the new recruits enter the gym and meet Dana White who is there rocking a Saturday Night Live shirt.
Just as a quick reminder here are the 14 contestants on this season.
Nordin Asrih, 32, (16-5-1)
Shamar Bailey, 28, (10-3)
Len Bentley, 27, (9-4)
Mick Bowman, 26, (7-2)
Keon Caldwell, 26, (8-1)
Chris Cope, 28, (4-1)
Zachary Davis, 26, (4-1)
Anthony Ferguson, 26, (10-2)
Clay Harvison, 30, (6-1)
Myles Jury, 22, (9-0)
Ryan McGillivray, 24, (11-4-1)
Ramsey Nijem, 22, (4-1)
Charlie Rader, 29, (16-5)
Javier Torres, 25, (3-0)
Dana makes the announcement that we all already know which is that there is no round of 28 and that these people will not have to fight there way into the house. I am against this decision, for the record, but I see why they would do it and as long as they keep it to one tournament per season I am happy.
Lesnar begins to work on “evaluations.” He says that he has no interest in people who have been sitting on the couch eating pizza (one of my favorite hobbies) and has his strength and conditioning coach take a look at the prospects.
Dos Santos does the same. This is where that preliminary round pays dividends because how much can the coaches actually tell about the fighters just by watching them engage in light sparring and asking them why they are here. “Are you here to be a fighter or are you here to be a TV star?” is one of Lesnar’s questions…for real.
Lesnar speaks highly of Len saying that he has a chance to win the show.
During the grappling Myles hurts his knee but it turns out to be insignificant.
Have they always had those goofy before and after pictures of Bonnar and Griffin on the walls because those things are terribly tacky and I’ve never noticed them before.
Lesnar wins the coin toss and chooses to pick first. All of the actual side picking goes on behind closed doors and Dana White comes out to make the official announcement.
Len Bentley (1st overall pick)
Team Dos Santos
They move into the house and Mick is the one who drops the cliche of all cliches “We’re not here to make friends.” Well, I’m glad we got that out of the way.
We get obligatory inside look of the training sessions.
Lesnar meets with Dr. Jeffrey Davidson who tells him and Myles that Myles has a torn ACL. They then inform him that the medical opinion is that he not fight. Lesnar is left in the uncomfortable position of having to play the softie who breaks it to him. Dana has no problem in the role of hardass who has to kick him out of the house.
His replacement is one Chuck O’Neil. He hails and Massachusetts and is a BJJ practitioner. He holds an 8-3 record and his only real claim to fame is that he earned a victory on the preliminary card of Bellator 17 (Huerta vs. Curran) against Damian Vitale.
Dos Santos has the first pick and the fight he goes with is…
Shamar Bailey vs. Nordin Asrih
Obviously that pits Dos Santos’ 1st pick against Lesnar’s last pick.
We get a quick look into each fighters training camp not much useful information is gleaned, sadly.
Biley speaks about how important faith is to his life (complete with a shot of him reading the Bible). Nordin reiterates that he is a German and that he, too, is full of faith. So much so that he prays five times a day.
Opening Round Bout
Shamar Bailey vs. Nordin Asrih
Round 1– Bailey opens by going for a single leg take down, Asrih tries to use that to lock on a choke hold. The action quickly moves to the ground and stalemates. Bailey is in side control but not doing very much with it. Bailey lands a few shots to the head, Asrih rolls up to his feet but Bailey is quick to wrestle him back down. Bailey winds up in his half guard, still in control but Asrih is starting to throw elbows from the ground. Bailey stands up and Asrih tries to keep him at bay with up kicks, it doesn’t work out and Bailey ends up hitting him with a massive shot to the jaw. It is too bad that Bailey isn’t inflicting more damage because his control could have opened up a 10-8 round. Bailey remains in the half guard and is content to punch his opponent every 20 seconds or so. Bailey stands up again and we get more up kicks from Asrih. 10-9 Bailey in one of the easiest rounds I’ve ever scored.
Round 2– Bailey looks to turn Round 2 into a repeat of Round 1 as he gets on top and starts to grapple with Asrih. He goes for a rear naked choke which allows Asrih to spin around and get on top for that only last for a seconds. Side control for Bailey. Bailey gets a few free shots in on Asrih’s jaw. Bailey is clearly too big and too strong here. Short elbow from Bailey at the half way point of the round. He lands a knee or two into the side of Asrih. He then transfer over into full mount. From there he starts to focus on short elbows which forces Asrih to give up his back. Nothing doing for Bailey there and Asrih spins back around to his front. Bailey starts to employ a ground and pound as the final seconds begin to tick away. 10-8 Bailey simply because Asrih was completely useless in there.
Shamar Bailey def. Nordin Asrih via decision
Lesnar reminds his team that wrestling is very important in this sport but also acknowledges that this result was to be expected since Dos Santos sent his #1 pick in there against Lesnar’s #7 pick.
Considering that Brock Lesnar is one of the coaches on this season the UFC really doesn’t have to go out of there way to create awesome television. That said this episode did a decent job of setting the season up. It’s really unfortunate to see a contestant go out without even getting to have one fight but those are the breaks in this game. The really interesting thing will be to see Dos Santos does with his matchmaking abilities going forward. Having Bailey whoop on Asrih may have been fun for this week but burning off his crown jewel this early will eventually catch up with him.
Tags: Brock Lesnar, Dana White, Junior dos Santos, Mixed Martial Arts, Shamar Bailey, Ultimate Fighter