Fighter Brazil's third season, featuring coaches Chael Sonnen and
Wanderlei Silva, continues, only on UFC Fight Pass...
Despite the fact that we spend 13 weeks of television and six weeks in real time with the competitors on The Ultimate Fighter, it's still only a very small window into who these guys are as people, as teammates, and what kind of career they will ultimately have in the UFC. There was no way to pinpoint on the first season of the show that Josh Koscheck's villainous portrayal would haunt him his entire career or that Forrest Griffin would one day become a UFC champion based on what we saw during those weeks in the house.
The Ultimate Fighter allows the participants to show part of who they are, however, and that can leave a lasting impression both inside and outside the Octagon. For Team Sonnen middleweight Warlley Alves, the fighters in the house approach him on the new episode for having a bit of an overconfident attitude as he gets ready for his showdown in the final middleweight preliminary bout with Team Wanderlei's Ismael “Marmota” De Jesus.
Now Alves might have a right to be somewhat cocky given the kind of fight he had to get into the house. He battled for three hard rounds against Wendell Oliveira and came away with a split decision victory. Sure, it wasn't a 10 second knockout, but going through a war of attrition and coming out on top just to get into the house shows the kind of mental and physical makeup a fighter like Alves has inside him. Not to mention outside of the show, as Alves is 6-0 as a professional and trains out of the X-gym in Brazil - the same camp led by top-ranked middleweight contender Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.
That said, being a little cocksure heading into a fight isn't a bad thing necessarily, so long as it doesn't affect preparation. As you'll witness in this upcoming episode, coach Chael Sonnen isn't about to allow that to happen.
In the first preview for this season of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil, one of the initial things noted was Sonnen's pedigree as a coach. When the microphone is on and the cameras are rolling, he's one of the best promoters in the fight game. He can talk an opponent up or down, and when it's all over you're generally ready to watch whatever fight he's been discussing. But in the gym, Sonnen is a workhorse.
Training for years out of Team Quest in Oregon, Sonnen cut his teeth under UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture as well as Olympic silver medalist Matt Lindland, not to mention multi-time champion Dan Henderson. This is the same team that produced Ultimate Fighter 1 competitors Nate Quarry and Chris Leben, and a laundry list of top-notch competitors over the years. These days, Sonnen works out a lot in Orange County, California, where he's sparring and grappling with Mark Munoz and former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields. Sonnen loves to soak in as much knowledge as possible, and he's now passing that on to his team, especially a sponge like Alves, who is still young and ready to learn anything and everything he can to get better.
This week's episode of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil also presents the infamous coach's challenge and there may not be a more competitive set of coaches in the history of the show than Sonnen and Silva. Beyond the fact that these two genuinely do not like each other, Sonnen has to feel like his pride is on the line because in all of the team competitions this year, it's Team Wanderlei that keeps finding a way to win.
Now Sonnen has a chance to erase all of those victories with a huge win of his own and this one is the most important for a very key reason - there's a whole lot of money on the line for him and his team.
The activity chosen for the last season of The Ultimate Fighter, TUF Nations, which took place in Canada, was adapted to the terrain where the show was being filmed. Coaches Patrick Cote and Kyle Noke took part in an outdoor competition with axe throwing, a crossbow shoot and log sawing to help decide the winner. Let's just say the competition this year on TUF Brazil 3 is another native sport, but just because Brazilians are known for their prowess in this particular event doesn't mean Wanderlei Silva will have the edge.
Finally, it's fight time on this week's episode of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil, and as teased earlier, Alves is supremely confident in his ability to take out De Jesus. On paper, he's got a reason for a slight bit of arrogance.
Alves is a very well-rounded fighter with both knockouts and submissions to his credit. While De Jesus technically has more experience, it's Alves' style that gives him the edge here. Alves' confidence should allow him to go out and be aggressive, looking to finish De Jesus before the final bell. The truth though, is that the book isn't written on De Jesus yet. He's 14 fights into his career and he's faced some UFC talent during his time in the cage, but he's still more of an enigma than his opponent.
If Alves can set the tone early with strikes and force De Jesus into a defensive posture, he can begin to pick him apart minute by minute. Alves is a real force in this competition and unless he really is letting his own confidence go to his head, he should walk out with a stoppage victory in this fight and move on to the next round of the tournament.
Find out for sure tonight, when The Ultimate Fighter Brazil returns on UFC Fight Pass.