Hey everyone, it's that time of year again! TUF is back on the airwaves and this season sports what appears to be one of the deepest talent pools they've had in years. To be honest I think it has to do with the fact that they're utilizing two weight classes again. The past three seasons have focused on one weight class where they've brought in between 16-32 fighters. You can't find 16 serious contenders in any division so how could expect to find serious talent when you invite that many fighters from one weight class to compete on the show? That's why I think it's a great move to split up the weight classes again and only let the best 8 fighters from each go on to the show. The first episode had a couple interesting developments.
The first was Philippe Nover fainting during the introductions due to the heat. Everyone made fun of him but Nover got the last laugh in the end. Also, Jason Guida, the brother of lightweight contender Clay, failed to make weight which is absolutely ridiculous when you're a professional fighter and know you'll need to cut weight just to make it on the show. So how could he possibly come in so heavy that he blows what will probably be his only shot at the UFC!? That was pretty sad and ridiculous. Now let's move on to the fights since that took up the majority of the show.
First up was Krzysztof Soszynski, who will hereby be referred to as KS, vs Mike Stewart who replaced Jason Guida. KS was absolutely dominant in his first round TKO win over Stewart. Obviously it's yet to be seen if KS has any ground game which will be tested at one point or another but his striking sure looked impressive. He probably had the second best performance of the day.
I'll kind of speed through most of the rest of the fights. Dave Kaplan defeated Fernando Bryant by submission in the first round. Kaplan looked impressive on the feet and the ground.
Phillipe Nover is my favorite on the show so far because he's representing Brooklyn! Also, he came back from adversity in the first round and look great on the ground in the second securing the submission win.
Jules Bruchez beat Eric Magee by submission in the first round though it wasn't all that impressive even if Jules thought it was.
Vinny Magalhaes defeated Lance Evans (brother of Rashad) by TKO when Evans couldn't continue after the first round due to a rib injury which has to be a major disappointment.
Antwain Britt and Ryan Jimmo fought to a decision that Britt pulled out.
Brian McLaughlin and Brandon Garner fought next and after an illegal knee to the downed head of McLaughlin the fight was ruled a no contest and McLaughlin moved into the house by default.
In what was the best performance of the episode Junie Browning came out and beat down Jose Aguilar so bad that he just quit in between rounds. He wasn't hurt. He wasn't gassed. He had just had enough of the beating. Browning was everywhere and so far has to be the favorite in the lightweight class.
This episode was a great introduction to the coaches who are total gentleman which unfortunately will not build big ratings or lead into a mammoth PPV. However, it should make for a much calmer environment on the show, which to be honest, I will enjoy if it happens. It must've been pretty disappointing to the UFC to lose Jason Guida and Lance Evans who were the only two recognizable names on the show. But we did see the two favorites in each division so far in KS and Browning. Granted there are still 8 more fights next week and my mind could easily change between now and then but so far those are the guys I see in the finals of their respective divisions. It was a great kickoff to what should be an improved season of TUF. I can't wait for next week! Until then,
Soccer kicks and head stomps...