Relive the first episode of TUF Brazil 3: Team Sonnen vs. Team Silva. Tune in every Sunday at 9 PM on UFC Fight Pass.
The episode opens with an introduction to this season’s format. There will be 32 fighters (mix of middleweights and heavyweights) fighting for 16 spots in The Ultimate Fighter house. split between the heavyweight and middleweight division. The coaches this season will be Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva. Dana White calls it, “The biggest rivalry in the history of The Ultimate Fighter.” Wanderlei says that he’s Chael has insulted him and his country and that, “He messed with the wrong person.” Ever the gentleman, West Linn’s bad boy describes Wanderlei as “very peculiar,” and that the Axe Murderer should have retired from MMA a long time ago. Another wrinkle to this season is the presence of two celebrity assistant coaches. Team Sonnen has retired Brazilian basketball star Hortencia Marcari and Team Silva has beach volleyball pro Isabel Salgado. After the coaches give some words of encouragement, we head directly to the preliminary fights.
Goncalo Salgado vs. Job Cleber
The first heavyweight fighter we meet is Portugal’s Goncalo Salgado. Former bodyguard to soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldo calls Salgado to give him some motivation. Cleber doesn’t have any celebrity friends, but he is a police officer who started MMA as a way to help him on the streets.
Cleber opens the round with a body kick, and is immediately taken down. He quickly gets back to his feet, but eats some hammerfists for his trouble. He drops down for a single leg, but can’t finish. Salgado keeps hammering away at his opponent’s face, and Cleber finally lets go of the leg. They break and Salgado connects with a big knee. Cleber tries to retreat and recover, but the Portuguese offers no quarter. Salgado hits Cleber with two hard knees to the body and some nasty elbows. Wobbly, Cleber throws two last ditch punches. The left hook lands, but the follow up right knocks Salgado out. As he’s falling over, Cleber finishes the job with a punt right to the face. Joe Cleber is the first person to enter the house with an impressive comeback TKO.
Paulo Costa vs Jose Roberto
The first middleweight fight is between Paulo Costa and Jose Roberto. Costa has spent a lot of time in the gym, but he also seems to spend a lot of time grooming. His brother calls him “very vain” and says Costa worries too much about doing his eyebrows and hair. Roberto is an undefeated fighter who wants to succeed on TUF to honor the memory of his father.
Costa times Roberto’s first kick and brings him to the mat. After trying to advance and not getting anywhere, Costa stacks his opponent up and starts bringing the ground and pound. Punches and elbows are flying and all Roberto can do is hold on tight. It looks like Costa wants to bring it to the feet as he stands up outside Roberto’s guard, but he quickly decides against it. He dives right back in and continues his assault. Roberto attempts a triangle, but Costa keeps beating him up from top position until the round ends.
Battered and bruised under both eyes, Roberto opens with a double leg attempt. Costa counters with a guillotine and it’s in tight. Costa squeezes and the fight ends only seconds into the second round. Both coaches are impressed with Costa’s performance. Chael even describes him as “full of life and energy.” Maybe the American Gangster likes his manicured eyebrows.
Ewerton Rocah vs. Jollyson Francisco
Nicknamed “Gigante,” Rocah is a member of a Brazilian Special Forces unit. He fights with no remorse and claims to treat MMA like the streets -- always ready for battle. Jollyson talks about his more humble beginnings as the son of a vendor.
Francisco plays on the outside using his boxing. Rocah tries to land some power kicks, but they miss. After Francisco lands a solid jab, cross combo, Gigante rushes to counter. He gets too close and walks right into a takedown. Francisco immediately starts advancing position and goes for a north/south choke. Rocah escapes the submission attempt, but now he’s still on his back. Francisco elbows to the body, moves to mount and starts working the arm triangle. Rocah initially defends, but he’s only able to hold out for 11 seconds. Francisco moves into the house with a submission at the 2:34 mark.
Douglas Moura vs. Joilton Santos
Moura is married to Brazilian boxing champion Duda Yankovich. Joilton has excellent taste in headwear. Wanderlei calls this “the most technical fight of the night.” Both fighters are evenly matched and the momentum keep transitioning back and forth. Tied after two round, it heads to the sudden victory round. Much like the rest of the fight, it’s extremely close and Joilton takes the split decision.
Felipe Dantas vs. Edgar Castaldelli
Nicknamed “Monstro,” Dantas quit his job to be on TUF. Castaldelli’s wife is pregnant with their first son and he feels bad that he’s not there for her.
The two exchange hands in the middle. Dantas crosses and Castaldelli answers back with a solid counter. Dantas low kicks, but Castaldelli grabs it and pulls the fight to the ground. It then cuts to the highlights. Chael compliments Castaldelli on his boxing defense. Wanderlei calls the fight a battle between Monstro’s standup and Castaldelli’s jiu jitsu. Marcari reveals that some of Castaldelli’s punches even scared her sitting cageside. We see a bloodied Monstro saved by the referee and Castaldelli moves into the house with a TKO win.
Cristiano Pontes vs. Wagner Silva
Pontes is a well-versed martial artist with training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai and Capoeira. Silva reveals that after his divorce, he moved to Rio to begin his fight career.
Pontes works his jab and moves in and out quickly. Silva misses a few kicks and then tries to close the distance. His movement is met with a hard left hook. SIlva counters with a body kick, but Pontes blocks and the two clinch up. Silva drops down for a single leg and finishes the takedown. After some punches and short elbows, he moves to mount. Pontes tries to escape, but he gives up his back. Silva flattens him out, locks in the rear naked choke and secures the tap at the 2:54 mark. Despite the first round victory, Chael says that Silva needs a lot of work and has “a lot of rough edges.”
William Steindorf vs. Ricardo Abreu
Not only is Steindorf the first multi-colored hair fighter on the season, he’s also the first to drop the classic, “My opponent will have to kill me to stop me” line. Nicknamed “Demente,” Abreu earned the title because of his hyperactive nature.
Abreu comes out aggressive and backs Steindorf down. Demente lands a heavy cross and the two tie up. Steindorf slips out the back and grabs a waistlock, but Abreu counters and lands a takedown of his own. Abreu punches from half guard and moves to full mount. Steindorf tries to buck him off, but he can’t seem to get any momentum. He tries a couple more times and finally rolls his opponent over, but Demente grabs an armbar. It’s in deep. Steindorf refuses to tap and Abreau just keeps on wrenching it tighter. Amazingly, Steindorf escapes and takes Abreu’s back. He’s too high on his back, though, and falls off. Abreu immediately begins starts punching and comes close to finishing the fight, but the round ends just in time for Steindorf to survive.
Not set to coast on his first round performance, Abreu open the second with bad intentions. He’s throws heavy punches and every single one of them is connecting. He lands a head kick, winds up and scores a second one. He then shoots a double leg and advances position to full mount. Demente keeps punching and Steindorf has nowhere to go. You hear Chael in the background asking for the fight to end and mercifully the ref steps in and stops it.
Guilherme Viana vs. Antonio Carlos Jr.
Fighting since the day he was born, Guilherme Viana feels like he could be Matt Hamill’s Brazilian cousin. Antonio Carlos Jr. earned his nickname “Cara de sapato,” (literally shoe face) because of his distinguished chin.
Both fighters take the center of the Octagon with great head movement and footwork. After the two exchange some strikes Carlos shoots in for a double leg. Viana defends and the two clinch up. Carlos attempts a second double leg and this one is successful. Viana looks for a kimura from bottom position while Carlos elbows his body. There’s a scramble, but Carlos is still able to keep top position and attacks from half guard. After some time there, Viana sits up and finally make it back to his feet. His small victory is short lived and Carlos throws an overhand right that staggers Viana. He goes for the finish, but the ref steps in before Viana absorbs any more damage. It looks like a questionable stoppage, but once they sit Guilherme down and talk to him, he has no idea what happened. He asks how the first round went and if the second will be starting soon.
The episode ends with a sneak peek into next week’s episode. Who takes the last eight spots in the house? Who will be the number one pick? What does Chael say to make Wanderlei threaten to quit the show? Find out this and more next week on The Ultimate Fighter!