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TUF 16 Weekly Recap - Episode 1

Weekly recaps of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Carwin vs. Team Nelson, airing Fridays on FX at 10 p.m. ET/PT, with re-airs on FUEL TV Sunday nights, a week after that and

The fans demanded it, the UFC brass commanded it and my wife...well....she was kind of apathetic about it. Regardless, Danny Boy Downes is back for another season of The Ultimate Recap (not quite so) Live!

The episode opens up with the usual movie-voice introductions. The Ultimate Fighting Championship is the premier mixed martial arts organization on the planet Earth where sixteen tributes from various districts must try to survive an annual survival match staged as a TV game show. I think I might have confused part of that with The Hunger Games, but you get the point.

Our coach introductions give us a general idea of who we’re dealing with this season: Shane Carwin is the powerhouse former champ, whereas Roy Nelson is a guy who beat Kimbo Slice and all-around pain in the ass.

Next, the 32 guys competing to get into the house come out for their Dana White “This is the biggest [expletive] fight of your life” speech. Dana tells the guys to put on exciting performances, and Big Country immediately contradicts him and tells the fighters to just win and get in the house. This is our first glimpse of how the Nelson/White relationship is looking for the season.

Carwin, meanwhile, takes the kindergarten teacher approach and tells the guys to have fun, make your children proud, hug your mommas and then hit each other. Now that I think about it, my teacher Mrs.Budvitis really should have been fired.

Then we get fights. A lot of fights. Here’s what happened in the episode… and then some information I’ve deemed pressing regarding some of the winners you’ll be following into the house.

Dom Waters vs. Kevin Nowaczyk

The first elimination fight doesn’t last long. The two exchange a couple of strikes and then Waters catches his opponent with a big 45° hook for the KO win. Fun fact: Waters was also an art major in college. I wonder if he could give his opinion of this portrait of Anderson Silva.

Michael Hill vs. Lev Magen
Another standup fight. Hill isn’t big on combos, but every muscle punch he throws has bad intentions. About 1:30 in, a haymaker finds its mark and he gets the finish. We’ll see if his time in the house teaches him anything about that whole technique thing.

Bristol Marunde vs. George Lockhart

This fight is a wrestling match that takes place mostly against the fence. Off a clinch release, Marunde’s opponent shoots in, gets caught in a guillotine and eventually passes out. Bristol describes himself as a “fight promoter” and “businessman/entrepreneur.” Sounds like he wrote the joke for me.

Mike Ricci vs. Jason South
When Ricci walks, out, everyone counts him out because of his pretty-boy look, but he proves the doubters wrong when he drops his opponent with a straight left and finishes with ground and pound. Dana says he,“Looks like an accountant, but doesn’t fight like one,” and dubs him The Accountant. Personally, I think he looks like Toby Maguire; but unfortunately, he doesn’t fight like Spider-Man.

Julian Lane vs. Diego Bautista
Lane reports in as our token loud, pink-hair guy. Lane throws a lot of high kicks and flash, eventually getting a takedown and controlling his opponent. Nelson calls the fight “interesting” while Dana describes it as an “absolutely horrible, boring decision.”

Igor Araujo vs. Cortez Coleman
Coleman beats up Araujo for the first round, then starts to fade away. Araujo takes the second soundly and forces it to the sudden victory round, where he ties up a triangle and gets the tap. After the fight he says, “My wife will be happy...that I’m not calling [her] tomorrow.” If there’s anything that can improve a relationship, it’s a lack of communication and going on a reality TV show.

James Chaney vs. Jerel Clark
Clark ties things up right off the bat so Chaney jumps and pulls guard. Chaney, who is a smaller yet still gangly version of Stefan Struve, shows a lot of slick moves transitioning from omoplata to triangle to armbar. Chaney eventually secures the tap out from the triangle choke 2.5 minutes in the first. Fun Fact: Chaney works in a meat factory and definitely looks like the kind of guy who walks around in a white apron covered in blood.

Cameron Diffley vs. Zane Kamaka
Diffley is introduced as the BJJ instructor at Xtreme Couture. He shoots in 30 seconds into the first round and slowly advances position to side mount before getting put on his back and throwing up a high guard. When Kamaka tries to slam his way out, Diffley transitions to armbar and gets the submission. Because, as we mentioned, he’s the BJJ instructor at Xtreme Couture.

Neil Magny vs. Frank Camacho
Camacho owns the opening round, beating him on the feet before taking him down and landing absolutely brutal shots. But Magny’s chin and cardio do him proud as he returns the beatdown to his gassed opponent in rounds two and three. Fun Fact: Magny’s day job is as a mental health counselor. Looks like he’ll pick up a lot of new clients this season.

Jon Manley vs. Ricky Legere, Jr.
This is a slow, grinding wrestling match. Dana doesn’t like the fight at all and wishes he could dump both of them. Manley gets the decision win, but has a lot to prove.

Colton Smith vs. Jesse Barrett
Smith looks like he’ll touch gloves then shoots in for double-leg to begin the fight. He spends the rest of the fight controlling from top position. Upon winning, he says that he’s going to win TUF “for the troops!” since he’s a military combatives instructor. Someone should explain to him what semper fidelis means.

Matt Secor vs. Max Griffin

Secor looks sloppy on the feet, and Griffin gets the better of the standup exchanges. Eventually Matt wises up and replaces his ugly spin-kick strategy with wrestling. On the ground, Secor takes a lot of damage, but hangs in there long enough to secure the triangle win. Fun fact: Secor lists his occupation as delivery guy for a Chinese restaurant which involves much more hand to hand combat than you would initially think.

Eddy Ellis vs. David Michaud
Ellis comes out strong and takes the first round utilizing elbows from top position. The second round has a little more back and forth and Ellis actually gets put on his back. But Ellis is able to secure an arm triangle from that position and get the tap.

Joey Rivera vs. Saad Awad
The two fighters slug it out in round one, then spend the next five minutes in what looks like an ugly high school wrestling match. Dana and the coaches are bored/unimpressed, but Rivera takes the decision.

Nic Herron-Webb vs. Tim Rubert
Herron-Webb gets put on the fence immediately. A few seconds later he gets thrown on his back and locks up half guard. He takes no damage for about four minutes then secures the armbar against Son of Malibu. Fun fact: Nic's nickname is Nap-Time because he “likes to put people to sleep and take naps.” Fine by us, since Nap-Time is easier to spell out than Herron-Webb.

Sam Alvey vs. Leo Kuntz
From the get-go, we see the origin of the nickname “Smilin’ Sam” as this grinning ginger beams the entire time he’s walking out. (I fought on the local Wisconsin MMA circuit with Sam and yes, he really does smile that much.) Sam takes a few leg kicks and brushes off a takedown attempt. He continues to stalk his opponent, walks him down and drops him with a big right hook. Fun fact: His fiancé won the eleventh season of America’s Next Top Model – no word on whether her nickname is “Smizin”.

After all the fights we head immediately to the team selections. The first overall pick is Smilin’ Sam, chosen by Coach Carwin, while Big Country’s first pick is also a winner by KO, Dom Waters.

When Nelson takes Colton Smith, the self-proclaimed vanguard of the US military says “didn’t do it on purpose” in reference to his glove-touch fake-out. Hmm…. For the second season in a row, the kid with the novelty-colored Mohawk gets picked last, as Justin Lane follows in the footsteps of TUF Live’s Chris Saunders.

The teams shape up with picks in the following order, and we're off to the races for another 12 weeks:

Team Carwin

Sam Alvey
Bristol Marunde
Mike Ricci
Neil Magny
James Chaney
Eddy Ellis
Igor Araujo
Matt Secor

Team Nelson

Dom Waters
Michael Hill
Cameron Diffley
Colton Smith
Jon Manley
Nic Herron-Webb
Joey Rivera
Julian Lane

The episode finishes with a preview of events to come and let’s just say that I’m very excited. Guys who like to fight + exaggerated notions of masculinity + cameras + booze + social isolation = television gold. You’re welcome.

That wraps up the first installment of The Ultimate Recap v2.0. Be sure to follow me on twitter @dannyboydownes the show at @TUFonFX and check out some of my other writing here. Also be sure to leave your comments on the page. Who will be the first one  to lose his dignity on television? My money is on Julian Lane.