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The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs Team Mir - Episode Three Recap

CAUTION: SPOILERS INCLUDED – 16 athletes have fought their way into the house on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs Team Mir. Now all that’s left is to split the fighters into teams coached by interim UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo ‘Minotauro’ Nogueira and former champ Frank Mir, and begin the competition that will whittle the field down to two light heavyweights and two lightweights who will compete for a UFC contract and the right to be called The Ultimate Fighter.
By Thomas Gerbasi

CAUTION: SPOILERS INCLUDED – 16 athletes have fought their way into the house on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs Team Mir. Now all that’s left is to split the fighters into teams coached by interim UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo ‘Minotauro’ Nogueira and former champ Frank Mir, and begin the competition that will whittle the field down to two light heavyweights and two lightweights who will compete for a UFC contract and the right to be called The Ultimate Fighter.

Team selections are expected to kick off this week’s episode, but first there are some medical issues to be taken care of, and after visits with the doctor, Brian McLaughlin and Karn Grigoryan are forced out of the competition due to broken noses that have placed them on a 180-day suspension list by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

Kyle Kingsbury, who performed well in his preliminary loss to Ryan Bader, will take Grigoryan’s place. Coming in for McLaughlin in the lightweight division is Roli Delgado, who had already gone home and was announced later in the episode.

Coach Mir won the coin toss by UFC President Dana White and decided to make the first pick. He chose light heavyweight Krzysztof Soszynski. Coach Nogueira countered with Ryan Bader, and his first lightweight pick was Phillipe Nover. Mir’s first lightweight pick (and the first 155er picked overall) was Junie Browning. In the end, the teams looked like this:

TEAM MIR
Krzysztof Soszynski 205
Vinny Magalhaes 205
Elliot Marshall 205
Tom Lawlor 205
Junie Browning 155
Shane Nelson 155
Dave Kaplan 155
George Roop 155

TEAM NOGUEIRA
Ryan Bader 205
Shane Primm 205
Kyle Kingsbury 205
Jules Bruchez 205
Phillipe Nover 155
Efrain Escudero 155
John Polakowski 155
Roli Delgado 155

Mir brought in Robert Drysdale and Ken Hahn as assistant coaches, while Nogueira enlisted Daniel Valverde and Al “Stankie” Stankiewicz as his assistants over the course of the season.

Back at the house, it was clear that even though this is an individual sport and competition, some took their team affiliations very seriously, with Browning taking his post team selection celebration to the point where he called out members of Mir’s team. But there was apparently a method to Browning’s madness.

“They’re gonna think that I’m a clown and can’t fight,” said the Kentucky native, who ended the night’s antics alone by the pool.

“Everybody’s got a sob story, but I know I grew up harder than all of these people,” he added.

The next day the ball was in Nogueira’s court as he got to choose the first fight of the competition. His choice – two-time All-American wrestler for Arizona State Ryan Bader (7-0) against Team Mir’s Tom Lawlor (4-1-1).

Both fighters made weight for the bout, and Nogueira and his coaches visited the team for dinner the night before the bout. Nogueira saw that Bader was ready for his fight, and when the bell rang the next day, he didn’t disappoint his coach.

The Bader vs Lawlor match saw Lawlor fight well in the early going as he kept his foe at bay. Eventually, Bader broke through Lawlor’s defenses, got a takedown and lowered the boom on the Floridian with a right hand from the top position that earned him a first round knockout victory.

After this week’s bout, Team Nogueira jumps into a 1-0 lead in the competition and retains control for next week’s bout pick. Here’s how the teams look:

TEAM MIR
Krzysztof Soszynski
Vinny Magalhaes
Elliot Marshall
Tom Lawlor – Eliminated in week three by Ryan Bader
Junie Browning
Shane Nelson
Dave Kaplan
George Roop

TEAM NOGUEIRA
Ryan Bader 1-0
Shane Primm
Kyle Kingsbury
Jules Bruchez
Phillipe Nover
Efrain Escudero
John Polakowski
Roli Delgado

For weekly recaps of The Ultimate Fighter, as well as fighter profiles, stay tuned to UFC.com.
Saturday, December 20
10PM/7PM
ETPT
Barueri, Brazil

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