Read on for a recap of the first episode of The Ultimate Fighter Brasil...
It’s easy to notice something really special when the 32 men selected for the first edition of The Ultimate Fighter </a>Brasil make their first walk towards the Octagon.
Some athletes even let their emotions out, thanking God for the opportunity and even letting a tear run down their face during the quick speeches of both coaches, MMA legends Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva. And this mix of emotion and anxiety happens without the fighters even knowing who they are going to fight or how it’s going to unfold until they get their hand raised (or not), ensuring that they have a place inside the Ultimate Fighter house.
But in spite of the emotions, silence reigned as Vitor and Wanderlei spoke. The same can’t be said of the reaction to the remarkable introduction from UFC president Dana White. Declaring what he truly expected of the 32 fighters, Dana went straight to the point.
“I’m looking for the next world champion. It’s the opportunity of your lives. You made it this far. But it doesn’t end here; you will have to fight to get to the house. No one wants to lose the chance to be in this show, no one wants to be out of this. Today is the day! Today is the most important day of your lives. You’ll give your best here today to get inside that house, and maybe become world champions in the UFC. Are you ready?”
Without any response, in a louder voice, White asked again, “Are you ready?”
Then the excitement started taking over the 32 men standing in front of the president, who responded loud and clear: “YES!!”
Divided between featherweight and middleweight fighters, now came the defining moment for the 32 chosen - a chance to prove that all your efforts will be rewarded or overcome by the bigger will of your opponent.
Fight 1 [featherweight] - Rony "Jason" Mariano (Quixada EC) vs. Dileno Lopes (Manaus, AM)
After a slightly better start, where he gave some good kicks, Mariano caught two strong punches from Dileno's left hand and went to the ground. Trying to finish with a ground and pound attack, Dileno rushed, and even passing the guard, he could not keep his opponent on the ground. Mariano got back up to his feet and showing he recovered well, struck with a low kick, tried a flying knee and took advantage of a slip by Dileno to land a punch that knocked him down, and was then declared a technical knockout winner in the fight after two more punches.
Fight 2 [middleweight] Francisco "Massaranduba" Drinaldo (Brasilia, DF) vs. Charles Maicon (Sorocaba, SP)
A frenetic and wide-open striking fight has only one likely outcome...someone will fall. “Massaranduba” showed all his power when he threw Charles on the floor, where he started the ground and pound and implemented a sequence of left hands until the referee stopped the fight and declared him the knockout victor.
Fight 3 [featherweight] Godofredo Pepey (Fortaleza, CE) x Johnny "Cabeça” Goncalves
With a sharp ground game, Pepey showed his skills - even on his back – and he was able to get an armbar from the guard, forcing Johnny to tap out in less than two minutes.
Fight 4 [middleweight] Cesar "Mutante" Ferreira (Belo Horizonte. MG) x Gustavo "Labareda" Sampaio (Brasilia, DF)
With a big reach advantage , “Mutante” was aware that striking could be the way to victory against the shorter Gustavo “Labareda.” However, after dominating in the clinch with the best Wanderlei Silva Muay Thai style, Mutante was forced to fight on the ground when his opponent decided to pull into his guard. At that moment, the "mutant" was warned for delivering blows to the neck and illegal elbows that forced the referee to stop the fight to check a cut that was bleeding from Gustavo's head. In the next round, “Labareda” found the distance to land low kicks, and Mutante was having a hard time striking. In response, he decided to take the fight down to the mat, and though Labareda tried to get up, but Mutante had the guillotine position ready and he pulled to guard, which left Gustavo no alternative except to give up.
Fight 5 [featherweight] Alexander "Sangue" Ramos (Curitiba, PR) x Hugh "Wolverine" Viana (Salvador, BA)
Understanding the need to put on an exciting fight, “Sangue” and “Wolverine” began trading blows immediately. Sangue attempted a flying triangle, which seemed good, but Wolverine resisted, defended and escaped from the submission. Going into the guard of the man from Curitiba, Wolverine showed some inexperience using his elbows, but he eventually figured things out and put his opponent to sleep with three perfect elbows.
Fight 6 [middleweight] Daniel Safarian (São Paulo, SP) x Richard "Monstrão" Moreira (Campinas, SP)
Ignoring Richard Monstrão's reach, Daniel Safarian showed good footwork and was able to shake his opponent with a jab. On the ground, Safarian had speed in his blows, but Monstrão went for his left leg with a dangerous heel hook that was well defended by Safarian, who used it to stay on top and get the mount. Monstrão tried standing back up when - with one hand on the ground – he caught an illegal knee. After a few minutes to recover, Safarian tried getting points, and doing damage, he set the pace, but was saved by the bell when the fight went to the ground and Monstrão worked a second heel hook. In the second round, Safarian continued pushing, took the fight to the ground and punished Monstrão for five minutes, alternating blows from the mount and into half guard, taking the first victory of the day by decision.
Fight 7 [featherweight] Fabricio Guerrero (Santana, AP) x Rodrigo Damm (Vila Velha, ES)
The experience of fighting in Brazil, Japan, Russia, Canada and U.S. that Rodrigo Damm had may have been crucial for him to overcome Fabricio Guerrero's best striking, as he took advantage of the timing of attempted kicks to counter attack with well-aimed punches. But Damm realized that he wouldn't win standing up, and he used his wrestling as an ally combined with his black belt in jiu-jitsu to get a rear-naked choke and finish the fight in the second round.
Fight 8 [featherweight] Wagner's "Galeto" Santos (Pines, PR) x Fernando Guerra (Dourados, MS)
Although we didn’t see much of the performance expected - Wagner “Galeto” and his combinations appeared to have him heading towards the knockout. But it was difficult to define a winner after two rounds of five minutes each, and an extra stanza was needed. In it, Galeto seemed to have enough gas to give a final sprint and show everything that he hadn't done before. Fernando resisted, but ultimately did not convince the judges, who gave the victory to his opponent. Before the verdict, Fernando tried to verbally convince the judges that his opponent did not fight, but just tried to manage the fight, creating some tension between the two, but it was left alone.
Fight 9 [middleweight] Sergio Moraes (Sao Paulo, SP) x Thiago Rela (Itatiba, SP)
You shouldn't ignore it when they say "Do not go to the ground with a renowned black belt in jiu-jitsu." If he is a three-time world champion, it’s even worse. Thiago Rela started well, trading blows in an unusual position on the floor - with one closing a triangle on the other’s leg. But Sergio Moraes’ moment soon arrived, and shortly after he sunk a heel hook in, submitting Rela and stamping his "passport" into the Ultimate Fighter house.
Fight 10 [featherweight] Rafael Bueno (Bragança Paulista, SP) x Anistávio "Gasparzinho" Medeiros (Natal, RN)
Gasparzinho was not as nice a guy as his nickname (Casper) would denote, and with enough versatility he confused Rafael's striking and got the best of him in the first five minutes. After that, Rafael hit back, and despite being punished by the end of the round, he had done enough to take the fight to the third. In that tiebreaking round, "Casper" showed a lot of aggression and almost managed to finish with an armbar, but won by decision.
Fight 11 [middleweight] John "Tuba" de Souza (Curitiba, PR) x Thiago "Bodão" Perpetual (Santo André, SP)
Tuba from Curitiba wanted to show what he had early in the match and he took Thiago Bodão to the ground and went to half-guard while hammering him. Bodão rebounded in the same way, reversing the position and punishing from the passed guard. In the second round, Bodao repeated the successful formula of the previous frame: ground and pound. Tuba was a warrior and survived, only to lose the decision to Bodão.
Fight 12 [featherweight] Geovani "Soldado" Souza Jr. (PB,) x John "Macapa" Teixeira (Macapa, AP)
A trade of low blows started this bout off in bizarre fashtion, but on the second restart, an exchange of heavy blows ended with a clinch and a takedown by Macapa. Soldado reversed the position, but Macapá locked in an armbar that ended the fight.
Fight 13 [middleweight] Delson "Pé de Chumbo" Heleno (Teresopolis, RJ) x Gilberto Galvão (Camburiú, SC)
In a battle between two of the most physically strong fighters in the competition, Pé de Chumbo got the best of his foe as he put into practice a successful strategy of takedowns and a fine ground game to dispatch Gilberto via judges’ decision.
Fight 14 [middleweight] Fabio Bolinho (Natal, RN) x Renee Forte (Fortaleza, CE)
Punishing Renee's left leg with very heavy low kicks, Fabio seemed to have found the path that leads to the house of The Ultimate Fighter. Renee wouldn't surrender the easy way though, doing justice to his name and finding the distance to adjust with good uppercuts, shaking his opponent on some occasions, and earning the decision win.
Fight 15 [featherweight] - Marcus "Vina" Pancini (Curitiba, PR) x Pedro Nobre (Rio de Janeiro, RJ)
A right hand that landed perfectly on Pedro's face was the beginning of Vina’s path to the house. Even dizzy on the floor, Pedro tried to work a leg lock, but many right hands sealed the end of the fight by technical knockout in favor of Vina.
Fight 16 - [middleweight] Samuel Trindade (Boa Vista, RR) x Leonardo "Macarrão" Mafra (Camburiú, SC)
The last elimination of the night was considered "Fight of the Night." A duel of back-and-forth exchanges left White, Silva, and Belfort on their feet applauding at the end of two remarkable rounds. In the tiebreaking round three, fatigue had Samuel and Macarrão seemingly moving in slow motion, but that didn’t mean the fight was no longer exciting, as the two continued trading punches. With less than 12 seconds left, Samuel took his foe down and got the mount, going for a triangle, but time ran out. The final attack was not enough and Macarrão emerged victorious by decision.
If adrenaline was sky high after the first episode, rest assured that you will have a hard time handling the excitement coming up. In the weeks ahead, we will have Wanderlei and Vitor choosing their team members, their training sessions, a look at the fighters living in the house together, and the fights that will determine the first two Ultimate Fighters of Brasil.
Here are your final 16 competitors: