*Due to some scheduling issues, this recap is both late and somewhat disjointed. We’re still working out the kinks in the system so bear with us as we focus on bringing you the best joint Canadian/Australian TUF: Brazil recaps on the web. And that’s no lie!
NewChallenger: Come one, come all and join The_Vortex and I on what has to be one of the only collaborative reports you’ll find on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3. I’m still disappointed that this season is intent on being taken seriously. Brazil 2 brought back the entertaining (if wholly unnecessary) challenges from the early TUF seasons and they helped to break up the monotony while also showcasing their various sponsors. I don’t think those shenanigans will fit this season and that’s a shame. What say you, Vortex? Is that a missed opportunity or are you looking forward to the greater focus on integrity and athletic competition and blah blah blah...?
The_Vortex: I missed watching most of season 2 of TUF: Brazil, and it looks like I’m missing out. From what I’ve seen, there were some brilliant antics, and, in possibly the best guest coaching spot ever, Fabrício Werdum brought in a pole dancer for core training. Brilliant.
Whilst it does seem like this season is going to be more serious, we do have The Gangster From West Linn, Chael P. Sonnen as a coach, so hopefully we’ll get some solid gold moments, or at the very least, hectic rhymes.
I’m hoping we get some craziness, as my vote on best TUF season is easily season 5, and that absolutely takes the cake when it comes to bonkers house moments and personality clashes. I mean, thanks to this recapping thing, I’ll be watching every week, but if we start getting fireworks (both metaphorical and literal), I’ll be stupidly happy. At the very least, since this is still an entry fight episode, we’ll be getting some fights here, with a couple of brutal finishes, and one very shocking upset for the hardcore prospect watchers among you.
NewChallenger: I concur that season 5 might be where the show peaked in terms of coaching rivalry and talent level. Nine of the fighters went on to have some success in the UFC (Gabe Ruediger had three appearances!). Even the washouts were memorable. I’m looking at you Andy Wang and Wayne Weems. However, and I know this will sound insane, I have a deep fondness for TUF 6 which might have had the worst cast of fighters. That probably deserves its own post some day, as explaining it now would only waste time and make me lose any credibility I might have as a TUF-ologist.
Let’s get to the first this week, a heavyweight bout between Richard Moreira and Alexandre Machado. Moreira goes by the awesome nickname "Rick Monstro" while Machado goes by "Bebezão". They’re both portrayed as family men, with Monstro chilling with his fam and Bebezão being coached by his brother. The fight starts and Monstro more than lives up to his name, smothering his opponent. Bebezão tries to clinch, but it’s no good. A storm of punches put his lights out just twenty seconds into the fight! During the replay they show that Monstro’s mother was covering her eyes the whole time. Too bad, because she missed a decent performance. As I mentioned last week though, these fast finishes make it nearly impossible to gauge the actual skill level of these dudes.
Advancing: Rick Monstro
The_Vortex: That performance by Rick Monstro was brutal, and he showed some killer instinct and aggression. It is tough to judge how he goes from here, especially with the whole "heavyweight means one punch changes a fight thing".
It’s back to the middleweights, and next up is Markus Perez Eichemberg or "Maluko", against Guillherme de Vasconcelos, aka "Bomba". Maluko’s a big Bruce Lee fan, and trains with his parents at gym. He’s a bit of a nerd, he says, and we get the first of TUF: Brazil’s legendary product placement, with some clips of him playing UFC: Undisputed 3. Bomba says he would’ve been a model if not for his cauliflower ears, and he’s a well groomed pretty boy, according to his family.
The fight starts with Maluko showing off a bit of his striking. Bomba shoots, and Maluko tries for a guillotine. Bomba escapes and they wrestle for position along the fence. They break away a bit, and then Bomba hits the takedown. He keeps pressure on with some ground and pound, takes Maluko’s back, and sinks in the choke in just under two minutes.
The coaches note that Bomba’s a jiu jitsu world champ, but Chael thinks he needs to see more for a better evaluation.
NewChallenger: I also had my modelling career derailed by ugly ears, so I sympathize with Bomba. I never had his hair though.
Next up is Marcos Rogério who goes by the creative heavyweight moniker of "Pezão" or "Bigfoot". *groan* But who cares about him...look, it’s former Bellator tournament contender Thiago Santos! Santos is best remembered for his thrilling non-trilogy with Eric Prindle. In their first encounter, Santos kicked Prindle right in the little Prindles as the fighter was laying on his back. The "No Contest" lead to a rematch four months later...or it would have if Prindle didn’t get the flu. But hey, a week of rest and Prindle was good to go the following week. Too bad Santos ended up missing weight by 12 pounds. Prindle was given the tournament title by default.
A feud that heated couldn’t end like that and Bjorn Rebney could smell the money in pairing these two up for one, final confrontation: October 5, 2012. One year later. In a stunning reversal of fate, it was now Santos who found himself staring up at Prindle. Surely, Prindle wouldn’t make the same mistake, right? Wrong. Unlike Santos, he didn’t leave anything to chance, driving an axe kick right between Santos’s legs. It landed so cleanly that Santos was actually knocked unconscious by the low blow. Prindle waited almost a whole year to get revenge, even knowing that it would cost him his spot in that year’s tournament. I’ll never know if it was worth it.
One more note: The show that followed that Bellator broadcast? The MTV2 original program "numbNuts". You don’t know how much I wish I was making that up.
What were we talking about? Oh yeah, Santos should be one of the favourites going into this competition. He ends up going for a clumsy takedown and tapping out to a guillotine choke. That was disappointing.
The_Vortex: Back to the middleweights, as Pedro Paulino Santana "Vinagre" takes on Ismael de Jesus, or "Marmota". Santana goes to med school, but loves the feeling of fighting. He’s very undersized for a middleweight. Marmota trains with José Aldo and Renan Barão, so he’s presumably a Nova União guy. We get a clip from Barão pumping him up.
The fight is just devastating. After a bit of circling and feeling out, Vinagre shoots a takedown, and after ends up getting dumped to the floor. He springs up quickly, and they spar for a bit, until Vinagre thinks he’s broken his finger, and calls for a doctor. And that’s it. No time outs in MMA, no calling for a doctor unless you want the fight stopped. Vinagre is devastated, especially since his finger is only dislocated. Not much sympathy from the coaches, and Wanderlei Silva talks about how he would’ve just continued with nine fingers.
NewChallenger: I’m not saying Vinagre should have just fought through it, but the way he yelped and screamed about his finger was an ignoble way to go out. The next two fights get the "highlights only" treatment, so we’ll deal with them accordingly.
In the heavyweight division, Antonio Branjão ("Montanha") faces off with Fernando Camolês Ribas (who has to be one of the only Brazilian fighters who doesn’t have a nickname). Montanha fights despite the disapproval of his father while Camolês is a judoka who had the misfortune of missing out on the Olympics due to an injury. Not surprisingly, Camolês dominates in the early going with his grappling, but Montanha survives each submission attempt. In the second, Montanha scores with a trip and advances to full mount. He pounds away for a TKO victory! All of the coaches are impressed.
In the middleweight division, ex-street fighter Warlley Alves is in tough against the most experienced fighter in the competition Wendell Oliveira Marques aka "War Machine Negão". The two have trained together, so it’s one of those fights where the guys exchange hugs in between trying to cave in the other man’s skull. The coaches see the fight completely differently and so do the judges. We get a third round where Alves is clearly the more active fighter. He takes a split decision. Sonnen’s coaches are begging for him to take Alves, so there must be more to this kid than meets the eye.
The last two fights are really showcases for Márcio Junior and Vitor Miranda, better known as Lyoto and Lex Luthor respectively. Lyoto comes from a family of karatekas and as you’d expect he fights exactly like...Leonard Garcia. Okay, no, he’s rocking that Machida style poking away at his opponent Giuliano Arante ("Alemão"). Alemão is the perfect opponent to showcase Lyoto’s karate, going wild near the end of the first and carrying that strategy over into the second. Lyoto bludgeons him with a counter shot that sets him up for a match ending guillotine choke. He celebrates with his dad and Thiago Tavares.
Lex Luthor’s arch nemesis is nowhere to be found so he has to settle for Bruno Silva ("Blindado") who turns out to be nearly as invulnerable as Superman himself. Or The Tick, at least. This isn’t Lex Luthor’s first rodeo as he worked as an assistant for Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira on the last season of TUF: Brazil.
The highlights are all Lex Luthor. He picks Blindado apart with crisp muay Thai and then takes him to the ground to pound on him. From what we see, it’s a miracle that Blindado isn’t knocked out. Blindado can’t land anything while Lex Luthor hits him every time. A head kick out of the clinch finally does Blindado in. Blindado’s gritty performance has him positioned as the first substitute, which isn’t a bad consolation prize since injuries in this tournament are expected.
Advancing: Lex Luthor
For those of you keeping score at home (and as an excuse to show all the awesome names in the show), here’s a list of the fighters advancing:
We’re about to move on to the team picks when Wanderlei decides now is the time to take care of personal matters. He demands that Sonnen apologize for slanderous statements he made about Brazil in the past (they show a clip from the press conference where Sonnen claimed he was enjoying modern luxuries while Anderson Silva and his friends played in the mud). Otherwise, Wanderlei will quit. Sonnen’s response is classic:
Sonnen: I accept his surrender.
The others aren’t sure how to react. The contestants are mixed on whether Sonnen should apologize or if they should save it for the cage. Isabel and Hortência are forced to play peacemaker. They’re really milking this and I have to say as far as manufactured drama goes, it’s not bad. There is zero chance that Wanderlei would actually consider quitting (you know, since he’s getting paid and all), but he’s definitely drawing on genuine animosity for Sonnen in playing out this feud. We end the episode with Wanderlei emerging from his locker room to give Sonnen a piece of his mind.
Okay, I’ll admit it:
Next week: We finally get around to the team picks and more importantly, the first ever TUF Ring Girl Pageant! Until then...
Are we sure we need to find a new ring girl?