Once settled in their house for the next six months, the new TUF cast gets straight to business.
Coach B.J. Penn introduces his assistants who include Andres Pedeneiras, Jason Parillo, and former UFC heavyweight Mark Coleman. “I just look at all the guys and they’re all young in the sport. They all want to make something of themselves and this is really their shot,” Penn said. The coaches selected, Penn says, are his personal trainers.
Meanwhile, Frankie Edgar takes a different approach in welcoming his team. “You guys were in some close fights, some evenly matched fights, and you willed your way to get through, and that’s what this house is gonna be,” Edgar said moments before his initial training session.
“It’s six long weeks and you’re going to fight a lot. It’s mental toughness; that’s what’s gonna get you to the show and get you to the top.” Edgar’s coaching staff consists of Mark henry, Stephen Rivera, Ricardo Almeida, and Ali Abdelaziz.
Irish welterweight Cathal Pendred reflects on how mixed martial arts didn’t exist in Ireland up until a year ago. “We’re born fighters and you see that in boxing and now in MMA. You see that fighting Irish spirit coming through.” The former Cage Warriors champion faces Hector Urbina in the show’s inaugural bout.
Urbina-born in Mexico but raised in Ohio- says his brothers keep him going, even if a rigorous training regimen has kept him away from family for the better part of two years. Urbina cites this as the key reason for winning TUF. “I feel like (Pendred) doesn’t want it as bad as I do,” Urbina said. “If there’s a submission, I’m going to snap his arm off…I’m going to hurt him.”
Pendred and Urbina get uncomfortably close at the weigh-in. They stare each other down, touch nose and forehead, and have to be pulled apart by their coaches. According to Pendred, riling up Urbina was part of the plan. “He’s pretty emotional right now and he’s not gonna have a clear mind when we fight,” Pendred said.
Cathal Pendred vs. Hector Urbina- welterweight bout
Round 1- Urbina’s aggressiveness transfers into the fight as he begins with an outside leg kicks. He pushes Pendred towards the cage but the Irishman reverses and takes his back. Urbina defends a takedown and breaks away before Pendred forces the two into a clinch. Urbina goes on the offensive and lands multiple shots, knocking down Pendred. The Mexican fighter takes ground control and unleashed a flurry of punches. He nearly locking in a standing guillotine before Pendred breaks away. The fighters’ trade blows before Urbina scored another takedown. Pendred gets up and pushed Urbina to the cage as the round ends.
Round 2- Again, Urbina strikes first. This time Pendred is ready and takes him down. Pendred gets dominant position and knees Urbina’s upper body area. Urbina escapes only to hit the Octagon floor second later, this time Urbina reverses and gets on to of Pendred. They get back to their feet, hit the cage, and Pendred gets another takedown. Urbina gets up but is met with knees to his head. As the second round ends, Urbina drops Pendred and lands multiple elbows.
Round 3- Both fighters visibly exhausted, the third and final round begins. Pendred wraps Urbina’s leg for a takedown. He works Urbina’s body, but Urbina doesn’t appear to try and defend the attack. With less than a minute left, Urbina gets up and tries to mount some offense, only Pendred takes him down for the final time. Pendred wins via decision and team Penn takes a 1-0 lead.
As customary, the winning coach decides next week’s matchup. Penn selects Daniel Spohn to battle Todd Monaghan.
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