Fresh off last week’s The Ultimate Fighter Nations finale, the show heads back to where it all began: Las Vegas. Dana White kicks off the premier episode by declaring that this season consists of middleweight and light heavyweight fighters. This season’s coaches will be B.J. Penn and Frankie Edgar.
There is obvious discomfort between the two as they meet at TUF gym. Penn thanks Edgar for the opportunity for a second rematch as they avoid eye contact. “I’m not really his close friend because he did beat me twice and he represents somebody I gotta get past. On the other side, it’s hard to hate him,” Penn said. Edgar makes small chat and reveals that he was a contestant on TUF when Penn coached a few years ago.
Countless fighters arrive at the gym and prepare for their one shot at a dream job. The first fight is between former NFL player Tyler King and Ohio-native Daniel Spohn.
Daniel Spohn vs. Daniel King – light heavyweight match
Round 1- Spohn opens with a kick to King’s abdomen. King aggressively advances but Spohn knocks him out with an overhand right, just seconds into their fight. Kings collapses face-first and referee Herb Dean calls the match.
Spohn wins via knockout
Hector Urbina vs. Adrian Miles– middleweight match
Round 1- The fighters clash at center ring and Urbina gets a quick takedown. Miles gets up but Urbina immediately pushes him to the fence. Urbina works for another takedown and flips Miles over his neck. Miles gets up, leaving his neck exposed and giving Urbina an opening for a guillotine choke.
Urbina wins via submission (guillotine choke)
Jake Heun vs. Todd Monaghan – light heavyweight match
Round 1- The fighters exchange leg kicks as Heun lands a big overhand right, knocking Monahan to the mat. Monaghan gets to his feet but Heun takes him down and gets in half guard position. Heun relentlessly lands elbows and jabs on the defenseless Monaghan. Somehow, Monaghan gets to his feet but is met with consecutive knees to the body. He falls back and Heun raises his arms in victory, only the fight isn’t over yet. Realizing this, Heun takes Monaghan’s back and lands elbows to the back of his head. Monaghan gives up his back, giving Heun an opening for a rear-naked choke. Monaghan wiggles out of it and locks up Heun’s arm.
Monaghan wins via submission (armbar)
A first in TUF history, middleweight Cathal Pendred gets an elimination-round bye due to his opponent’s withdrawing.
Roger Zapata vs. Tyler Minton – middleweight match
A series of highlights show Zapata’s non-stop attack on Minton. Bloodied and dazed, Minton is defenseless through the two-round bout.
Zapata wins via TKO
Ian Stephens vs. Lyman Good – middleweight match
A series of highlights show Stephens picking apart Good, a former Bellator champion. Stephens has dominant position throughout while Good didn’t have a takedown defense.
Stephens wins via decision
Josh Stansbury vs. Chris Fields – light heavyweight match
Round 1- They start out tentatively. Fields misses with multiple leg kicks, including an attempt to Stansbury’s head. Stansbury takes Fields to the cage but he escapes. They meet a center ring where Stansbury connects with a big right hand. A floored Fields defends as much as he can and managers to get up. Stansbury’s hit with a low blow and takes a moment to compose himself. As Stansbury goes for a takedown, he blows out his knee, forcing an end to the fight.
Fields wins via TKO (injury)
Cody Mumma vs. Anton Berzin- light heavyweight match
Round 1- Berzin makes short work of Mumma, taking him down and advancing to Mumma’s back. He attempts a rear-naked choke but can’t quite lock it in. after a failed armbar, Berzin finds success with a triangle armbar.
Berzin wins via submission (triangle-armbar)
Bojan Velickovic vs. Tim Williams- middleweight match
A second round of highlights begins as Williams controls most of the fight on the ground. The only fight to go three rounds so far, Williams gets a stoppage after Velickovic can’t defend himself.
Williams wins via TKO (punches)
Matt Gabel vs. Eddie Gordon- middleweight match
A video montage of Gordon landing numerous solid punches is shown.
Gordon wins via decision
John Poppie vs. Josh Clark – light heavyweight match
Highlights show Poppie and Clark splitting the first two rounds. Clark wins by armbar as the fight goes to sudden death.
Clark wins via submission (armbar)
Patrick Walsh vs. Doug Sparks- light heavyweight match
Round 1- Sparks spends the first part of the match on the ground as Walsh picks him up and slams him to the mat. Walsh gets into half guard position and unleashes a flurry of strikes on Sparks. Walsh moves to side control and locks in a kimura.
Walsh wins via submission (kimura)
Matt Van Buren vs. Daniel Vizcaya- light heavyweight match
Round 1- The fighters exchange leg kicks as the match begins. Vizcaya pushes Van Buren to the fence where Van Buren lands brutal elbows to the head. A dazed Vizcaya monetarily loses consciousness, forcing a stop to the fight.
Van Buren wins via TKO (elbows)
Corey Anderson vs. Kelly Anundson- light heavyweight match
Another round of highlights show Anderson wins both rounds. Anundson has frequent takedown attempts but can’t follow through on his attack.
Anderson win via decision
Dhiego Lima vs. Adam Stroup- middleweight match
The final highlight montage has Lima handily beating Stroup with well-placed combinations. He wins both rounds as Stroup never manages to compose an attack.
Lima wins via decision
Nordine Taleb vs. Mike King- middleweight match
Round 1- Taleb strikes first with a big right hand. King goes for a takedown, but Taleb quickly gets to his feet. King pushes Taleb to the cage, landing knees and punches to his body. Taleb escapes the clinch and lands a hard right knee. He goes for another knee but slips. Taleb lands a few kicks as the round ends.
Round 2- King lands a strong right knee early, dazing Taleb. They stand-and-trade in the middle of the ring before Taleb knocks King to the floor. King quickly recovers, but not soon enough to warrant the round to Taleb.
Round 3- Visibly exhausted, the fighters meet in the middle of the Octagon where Taleb lands a big right, knocking King to the mat. Taleb goes on the offensive but King counters with a kneebar. Taleb doesn’t quit but gives King top position. They got to their feet and Taleb gets a takedown. Again, King finds his way to a dominant position. He attempts another submission that Taleb doesn’t tap to as the sudden death round ends.
King wins via decision
As the final bout concludes Penn and Edgar meet with the victors, ready to choose their fighters. Edgar wins the customary coin flip and chooses Anderson.
Here are the teams and the selection in order that they were drafted:
- Corey Anderson
- Patrick Walsh
- Matt Van Buren
- Todd Monaghan
- Ian Stephens
- Dhiego Lima
- Eddie Gordon
- Hector Urbina
- Anton Berzon
- Josh Clark
- Daniel Spohn
- Chris Fields
- Mike King
- Tim Williams
- Cathal Pendred
- Roger Zapata
For the first match, Penn decides on Pendred and Urbina.
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