The competitors on The Ultimate Fighter, no matter what season that's been put together, are teammates on the show but that doesn't mean they always agree on everything or actually get along 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whether it's a disagreement in the house, food that gets stolen, training habits, or just a certain quirk that gets under somebody's skin, the tightest knit groups will always run into a bump in the road during the course of six weeks living together.
Following the triumphant win from Wagner Gomes to get Team Wanderlei on the board first, Paulo Costa is at odds with his teammates over some comments he made during the fight. Episode four of TUF Brazil 3, airing tonight on UFC Fight Pass, showcases some of the dissension in the ranks among Wanderlei's team when the fighters don't necessarily agree on how teammates should treat teammates when they are inside the Octagon competing against a competitor from the other side.
Costa was showcased early on in the series as the pretty boy who could fight, but don't expect him to back down when it comes to defending his words, even when it involves a teammate. Could this kind of infighting doom Team Wanderlei as the season moves forward? A team is only as strong as its weakest link and the last thing they need is to start biting at each other before the season even gets close to being in full swing.
As we witnessed on last week's episode, the rivalry between Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen has already taken center stage on this season. From the first days in the gym when Wanderlei demanded an apology from Chael for all the nasty things he's said about Brazil over the years, to the Brazilian storming out of the gym and saying he was done filming until his future opponent said 'I'm sorry,' all the way to last week's episode, when the first physical altercation between Silva and Sonnen broke out during team selections.
But how much of Silva and Sonnen's personal rivalry will start to bleed over into their fighters, and will this eventually become a distraction or force the competitors to pick sides?
Throughout Silva's historic career, he's been an icon in Brazil for more than a decade. Silva was known as the most vicious knockout striker while competing in PRIDE Fighting Championships, and he's added a few more to his record since coming to the UFC. If Royce Gracie is the Brazilian most synonymous with mixed martial arts in America, Wanderlei Silva was his equal when he was competing in Japan.
So it's going to be an interesting dynamic that gets explored during episode four as the fighters start to discuss loyalties to team versus home country pride. Silva's shadow looms large over Brazilian MMA, and no matter how much the fighters on Team Sonnen might respect their coach, are they secretly pulling for the other coach to succeed, at least come fight night?
This all boils away once it's time for the fight and this week the heavyweights are in action once again as Team Silva's Antonio Carlos Jr., better known as 'Cara de Sapato,' who was Wanderlei's top pick, takes on Team Sonnen's Edgard Castaldelli Filho.
On paper, this is a classic grappler vs. striker matchup, with Carlos being a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion, while Filho comes out of Team Nogueira, where he is well-versed in the ground game, but is primarily known as a striker, where he's worked with a ton of well-known stand-up fighters, including former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos. Both fighters finished their early bouts to get into the house by TKO, so Carlos and Filho know how to get the knockout, making preparation and game planning the key in this matchup.
Filho has the experience edge with more than 15 professional fights on his record, while Carlos has only three. Still, Carlos has a wealth of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournaments under his belt and while that won't account for the full range of skills needed in an MMA fight, he's definitely no stranger to competition or going for the gold. It will be an interesting chess match to see if Carlos can get this fight to the ground or if he might try to bait Filho with that attack and force a standup battle.
Also look forward to some new and interesting team competitions that will take place on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3. Think back to the early days of TUF season 1 with Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture if you need a reminder for what's coming soon to the Brazilians under the leadership of Silva and Sonnen.
The only way to see the fight and the rest of the drama is to tune into The Ultimate Fighter Brazil tonight on UFC Fight Pass.
TUF Brazil 3 - Episode 4 Preview
The Ultimate Fighter Brazil's third season, featuring coaches Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva, continues, only on UFC Fight Pass...