Hall Of Fame
Relive the seventh episode of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3: Team Sonnen vs. Team Wanderlei.
We open with Wanderlei Silva at the doctor’s office. His hand has been bothering him since last week’s scuffle with Chael Sonnen, and he wants to find out if anything is seriously wrong. The doctor tells him that he pulled a muscle in his hand and puts him up in a soft cast. We cut to the TUF gym and Job Kleber has his hand in a cast. Unlike Wanderlei, his injury came inside the Octagon. If the injury weren’t bad enough, Chael Sonnen has to deliver more bad news. Because Job cannot continue training, he must leave the show. Chael tells him that he’s very proud of his performance, and he will miss him. Job walks back into the locker room to tell his teammates and delivers a moving speech. It stirs up some powerful emotions, and Chael walks out of the room because he starts to tear up. Thugs cry and so do American Gangsters.
Later, Dana White appears via video conference and he delivers a speech of a different sort. First, he kicks Team Silva assistant coach off the show for sucker punching Chael during last week’s brawl. He calls Dida a “disgrace,” and even suggests that he should be arrested. Once Dida walks out, Dana then turns his attention to Wanderlei and Chael. “We’ve been flying around the world for years trying to get this sport regulated...people thought this sport was filled with thugs and that’s what you looked like.” He derides them for their unprofessionalism and calls them poor mentors to the young fighters on the show. Both coaches know they’re on thin ice, but neither seems to show much remorse. Chael points the finger at Wanderlei and Wanderlei praises Dida. He calls a team huddle to give the assistant coach a sendoff, and lauds Dida’s actions as something any Brazilian would do.
We shift our focus to this week’s fight between Borrachinha and Lyoto. Chael predicts that this fight will be the closest matchup we’ve seen all season. A classic striker vs. grappler matchup, Team Wanderlei drills takedowns while Team Sonnen focuses on solid striking stance. We then learn more about the first combatant Borrachinha. He readily admits that he’s “very vain,” and we witness his grooming habits. Coach Silva has a lot of good thing to say about the 22 year old and not just because he has impeccable eyebrows. Wandy calls him strong, powerful, explosive and good looking (ok maybe the eyebrows do have something to do with it). He believes that Borrachinha is ready for the UFC and should be offered a contract right here and now.
Lyoto, on the other hand, doesn’t have much to say about hair product. He characterizes himself as a strategic fighter, and plans on using his wits and striking to earn Team Sonnen their first victory. He knows that Borrachinha has dangerous ground and pound, and plans on moving a lot and using distance to minimize the amount of grappling. You can’t take down what you can’t touch. Don’t expect him to be a slow, plodding fighter, though. His current record sits at 12-0 and he’s finished every single opponent in the first round.
Weigh-ins go on without a problem this week (thankfully), and former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua shows up to lend some support to Team Wanderlei, and Borrachinha seems genuinely starstruck. Let’s hope he has his wits about him because it’s fight time!
Borrachinha wastes no time bringing the fight. Lyoto dodges the initial charge, but inexplicably engages the clinch first. They move against the fence, Borrachinha throws a hard elbow and scores a takedown. He tries to advance, but Lyoto locks him down in half guard. Borrachinha may not be able to generate much offense, but Lyoto can’t rise to his feet either. Lyoto finally causes some separation, but Borrachinha responds with a massive overhand right. It partially connects, but Lyoto still manages to make it back to his feet. Borrachinha glues himself right to the karateka, and winds up taking his back. The powerful middleweight moves for the rear naked choke and starts wrenching Lyoto’s jaw. Lyoto fights off his hands, but Borrachinha stays in place and continues to work for the submission. After stalling his attack, Borrachinha unwinds his legs and switches to a guillotine. Lyoto gets his head out, but he’s back on the mat absorbing punches. Lyoto returns to his feet as time expires, but Borrachinha controlled the majority of the round.
Lyoto finds his range in the early portion of the second round and connects with repeated low kicks. After ripping up Borrachinha’s leg, he starts kicking to the body and scores with those as well. Borrachinha tries to clinch up, but Lyoto breaks free. Again, Lyoto appears to be winning the striking exchanges, but he forces the takedown. Borrachinha defends and pushes him against the fence. They jockey for position in the clinch, and neither gains the advantage. Borrachinha moves for a high crotch takedown, but Lyoto defends. They break apart, and Lyoto goes back to attacking with his kicks. Borrachinha spends the rest of the round fighting to bring the fight back to the ground, but he can’t finish. Lyoto sprawls and brawls his way to win the second round. We’re headed to “sudden victory!”
Both fighters are fatigued and it shows. Lyoto goes back to chopping away with the low kicks, and Borrachinha has little to no defense. At one point, he even stands with his hands on his hips gasping for air. Lyoto pounces on this opportunity and drops him with a left hand. Borrachinha recovers and immediately shoots for the takedown. Lyoto quickly returns to his feet and tries an outside trip, but can’t get separation. They stall against the fence and the ref breaks them up. After the restart Borrachinha dives for a desperation takedown and misses. He lays on his back and Lyoto milks the clock with some standing kicks. The ref stands them up with less than a minutes remaining, and it is a sprint to the finish line. The two fight in the clinch and Borrachinha’s takedowns continue to be denied. Lyoto hits a takedown of his own and finishes the round in top position.
The judges’ scorecards come back and Lyoto wins by split decision. Wanderlei gives credit to Lyoto for a tremendous performance, but says that Borrachinha didn’t pace himself well. He used too much energy in the first round and couldn’t recover. He’s sad for his fighter, but knows that Borrachinha is only 22 and has a long future ahead of him. Chael credits Lyoto for digging deep and committing to his strikes. The victory is bittersweet, however, since one of Lyoto’s kicks was checked hard and he can barely walk on it. We don’t hear any more about his condition.
The episode closes with the “Wrapped Up Challenge.” Four members of each team are covered in plastic wrap with their arms pinned to their body. The fighters will then have to scramble in any method possible to get back to their feet and ring the bell. The first team to get all four of their participants to ring the bell wins. Team Wanderlei cruises to victory and all of its members get to their feet before Team Sonnen even has one. This gives Team Wanderlei control to choose next week’s fight. Who is it? You’ll just have to wait until next week and watch the Ultimate Fighter Brazil!