The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs Team Mir - Episode One Recap
CAUTION: SPOILERS INCLUDED – With former series champions such as Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans and Michael Bisping all making significant noise in their respective weight classes, it goes without saying that The Ultimate Fighter reality show has graduated some of the best young talent in mixed martial arts today. But what will become of the 32 fighters brought in to compete on the eighth season of the show, which premiered Wednesday on Spike TV? Let the journey to the finale begin.
Coached by interim UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo ‘Minotauro’ Nogueira and former champ Frank Mir, 16 light heavyweights and 16 lightweights were brought in to compete for 16 overall spots in the Ultimate Fighter house in Las Vegas. As instituted last season, all the fighters must fight and win a preliminary bout to earn a spot.
While UFC President Dana White explained this to the 32 hopefuls to kick off the season, lightweight Phillipe Nover was an early casualty, as he fainted due to the Nevada heat. Nover recovered quickly though, and he and his 31 colleagues then got down to the business of making weight for their first fights.
24 hours to make the light heavyweight limit wasn’t going to be enough for Jason Guida though, and the brother of lightweight contender Clay Guida checked in at 207 pounds, just one pound over. The Nevada State Athletic Commission wouldn’t allow Guida to attempt to shed the pound though, citing that in his dehydrated state, it wouldn’t be safe. Guida was distraught over this decision, but White agreed with it, saying “The commission made the right call.”
With Guida out, New Rochelle, New York’s Mike Stewart was brought in, but in his opening bout, he was quickly TKOed by Team Quest standout Krzysztof Soszynski.
The first lightweight bout of the tournament saw Washington, DC’s Dave Kaplan score a first round rear naked choke submission win over California’s Fernando Bernstein.
In another 155-pound scrap, unbeatens Joe Duarte and the aforementioned Nover locked horns, and though Duarte’s power seemed to be controlling the action early, Nover wouldn’t give in to his foe, and by the second round, the Brooklynite was ready to make his move, and he did, submitting Duarte with a rear naked choke.
Back in the light heavyweight division, Lafayette, Louisiana’s Jules Bruchez made short work of Eric Magee, submitting him with a rear naked choke in the first round.
Soszynski’s Team Quest squadmate, light heavyweight Vinny Magalhaes also earned a spot in the Ultimate Fighter house with a first round stoppage of Lance Evans. The brother of light heavyweight contender Rashad Evans was forced to retire from the fight and the competition with a rib injury.
Magalhaes was joined in the house by Antwain Britt, who decisioned Ryan Jimmo.
Lightweight Brian McLaughlin moved on in the competition in an odd fashion when he took a knee to the head from Brandon Garner while down and was ruled unable to continue. The bout was then declared a no contest, but since it was Garner who threw the knee, he was eliminated, allowing McLaughlin to get into the final 16.
Lexington, Kentucky’s Junie Browning moved on in less controversial circumstances, and if you heard him talk about his fight with New Mexico’s equally loquacious Jose Aguillar, it was like he knew it all along.
“Do I think Jose Aguillar can beat me,” asked Browning. “He has a better chance of getting me pregnant.”
It will be tough to top that classic line, but with a first round stoppage of Aguillar, who retired in his corner, it looks like Browning may have the goods to make some noise over his next six weeks in the house, as he impressed White, Nogueira, and Mir with his first fight.
There will more fights though before a winner will be crowned on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs Team Mir, and next week’s episode will determine who will join the eight fighters below in the final 16.
After one week of action, the following fighters have earned a spot in the Ultimate Fighter house for this season:
For weekly recaps of The Ultimate Fighter, as well as fighter profiles, stay tuned to UFC.com.