The third season of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil kicked off last night exclusively on UFC Fight Pass and if you haven’t bought fight pass or are waiting to see if it will be worth it I’ll be doing a weekly recap of each week’s episode.
This season was titled “In Search of Champions” and the first episode started off with a short montage of past TUF Brazil seasons then a clip that displayed the feud between coaches Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva. Then came the new stuff that I’m not sure how to feel about yet.
The first was the contest for the Ring girl that will appear throughout the season during the fights, they mention it here but it isn’t brought the rest of the show so I’m assuming it will be decided in the next episode along with the second half of the fights.
The second thing, which I thought was completely pointless, is the addition of two female coaches. I’m not opposed to female coaches, I think that men can learn plenty from any of the very talented female fighters in the UFC, but the coaches they chose do not have any type of MMA background. On team Silva you have Isabel Salgado a former volleyball player and on team Sonnen you have former basketball player Hortencia Marcari. During the first set of fights you see these two female coaches ask if certain things are legal as well looking away when the fights get too violent. So I fail to see why exactly this was thrown into the show or how it will benefit the fighters, but again it’s the first episode so I guess I’ll have to wait and find out.
So this season in the first episode they determine who is on the show by having to fight their way into the house. I love this format and I really wish all the seasons started out like this. They waste little time on anything else and go into the intro videos for the fighters.
Now the fights themselves aren’t played all the way through, every so often it cuts away to the coaches analyzing the fights. Usually that’s reserved for the end of the fight and only the fights that go to a decision are turned into a highlight reel. This time around even some fights that didn’t go to a decision were edited, but I’m assuming not much happened and they were saving me some time so maybe that was a good thing.
With all that said the first fight set the tone for the rest of the episode, it featured Goncalo Salgado and Job Kleber. It wasn’t the most technical display by the heavyweights but in the first round Kleber rocked Salgado with a punch and as he was falling landed a brutal kick to the face leaving him flattened on the canvas.
Out of the the eight fights shown only one was decided by the judges, a back and forth battle between Douglas Moura and Joilton Santos. Again it was a fight were only the highlights were shown, then in a clip of Wandy analyzing the fight he stated he decided they needed a third round when clearly that is the procedure for any fight that is tied after the first two rounds but if he wants to take credit for it who am I to say no? In the end it was Santos who took the decision and secured his spot in the house.
To me one fighter stood out in this first set of fights, Wagner Silva. He dominated his opponent Cristiano Ferrugem right from the beginning. Silva wasted no time in securing the takedown and with relative ease sunk in a rear naked choke to pick up the win. Now while I was impressed with Silva, Sonnen thought there was a lot he could improve on but did say he saw some potential in him.
Another standout of the show, and one to watch according to both coaches, is Ricardo “Demente” Abreu. He is a training partner of Wanderlei’s and a world champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He should off his bjj skills with a very good arm bar attempt that looked very close to breaking his opponent, Willian Steindorf’s arm. Steindof escaped the attempt but was finished shortly afterwards by Demente’s ground and pound.
In the end it was Job Kleber, Paulo Costa, Jolyson Francisco, Joilton Santos, Edgard Castaldelli, Wagner Silva, Ricardo Abreu, and Antonio Carlos Jr. who advanced into the house. The remaining 8 fights will be on the next week’s show along with Sonnen and Silva picking their teams.
All in all it was a good first episode, but I wish the start time wasn’t so late. Eleven o’clock I’m sure is really inconvenient for many people as well as for myself, you would think it being on a paid subscription it would be available Saturday night at midnight. Usually Sundays end off with The Walking Dead but now I have to find something to do for the next two hours. But I managed and staying up until midnight seemed worth it this week and I hope that trend continues.