The_Vortex: Last episode, Team Wanderlei took first blood, with Wagnão grinding out a three round split decision over Team No Apology’s Peregrino. Even though they’ve won the first fight, things are not all unified joy in the Wanderlei rooms. Apparently, during the fight, Borrachinha said that he thought Wagnão (his teammate) lost the first round (which he did, pretty clearly). Marmota thinks Borrachinha’s betraying the entire team, and bringing down them down with his attitude. It gets settled quickly, but going against the team is basically a death sentence in Brazil, and Borrachinha’s going to need to watch himself in future.
Borrachinha remains stylish the entire time.
It’s bizarre that despite getting the first heavyweight pick, Wanderlei Silva still gets to pick the first heavyweight fight. I don’t get this. Chael Sonnen should either have this pick, or should have picked the first heavyweight for this to be fair.
Nevertheless, Wanderlei picks Cara de Sapato, who looked extremely dangerous in his prelim to square off against Edgard "Magrão". What do you reckon, NewChallenger? Good matchup, weird circumstances?
NewChallenger: Wanderlei getting to pick the fight is completely unfair. Luckily, there are usually game show style challenges that can shift control of the picks. That might sound silly in comparison to, you know, the winning team getting to keep control, but I think it’s a good idea because TUF: Brazil that’s why!
Cara de Sapato was the 1st heavyweight taken overall while Magrão was the 6th, so Wanderlei is more focused on advancing his top guy than taking out one of Sonnen’s. It’s a sound strategy. Get as many wins for your fighters as you can, build their confidence and maybe better prepare or get a more favourable match-up for some of your lesser skilled fighters. I’m down with it.
For reasons that will become clear later, they have a lot of time to spend talking about Magrão and Cara de Sapato’s backgrounds, though we don’t get anything particularly interesting. Magrão is spending his time in the competition instead of with his wife who is expecting their first child. I think he speaks English too, since we see him conversing with Sonnen a couple of times throughout the episode. As for Cara de Sapato, he’s refreshingly honest about how he doesn’t come from the impoverished background that many Brazilian fighters have in common. He’s had a comfortable life and fighting is just something he loves and that he’s good at.
The real story this week is the emphasis on Isabel and Hortência. I think a lot of viewers (particularly us non-Brazilians who had never heard of these women before the show) were questioning the necessity of having these two around despite their incredible athletic accomplishments. Here, we see them both come up with some, um, interesting drills to keep their team motivated. Isabel says that hers is a "motivational activity" while Hortência is more concerned with keeping the team loose and happy. I’m not gonna lie, for an older bird I think Hortência is kinda sexy.
It’s the skirt that does it for me.
What are your thoughts on these segments? Did they have any merit?
The_Vortex: I can’t really see the value overall in having team building exercises in what is probably the most individual sport out there. I’ve got to agree, Hortência’s got it going on, Stacey’s Mom style. After the fun and games, Chael P. Sonnen, smooth operator extraordinaire teaches Hortência about American swing dancing. Yes, you did read that sentence correctly. This is my new favourite moment from the season, although I’m sure it’ll get replaced by something even better soon.
Chael, you sly dog.
After this, Wanderlei joins his team in the house for some foosball, and to do a bit more coaching. He’s really there for the food, though.
How, precisely, does a motherf… eat?
There’s a bit of dissent in the Team Sonnen ranks. Half the team are hanging by the pool, discussing the coach. The consensus seems to be that he’s a great guy, but they’re not sure who they’re going to root for at the eventual Coaches’ Fight. Bomba, in particular extolls the virtues of their coach, and I have to agree, Chael always looks like an excellent coach.
I don’t think this is going to cause problems in the future, but who knows?
You can’t prove that Bomba isn’t naked in this shot.
NewChallenger: I like how Pezão showed great respect for his coach Sonnen while at the same time reaffirming that he is rooting for his idol Wanderlei. That’s a professional attitude and I think it will do him good in his career.
Overall this episode was mostly focused on training and gym time, with no house drama to be seen (unless you consider "how many BBQ ribs can Wanderlei eat?" to be drama). This is in line with the direction the American version has shifted in and I can’t help but lament the homogenization of this series. Let the Brazilian show be the Brazilian show, damn it! If someone isn’t crying or making up a song for no good reason at least once per episode then you’re doing it wrong.
As we all know, finding good heavyweights is hard to do. That’s why you don’t see too many TUF seasons featuring heavyweights. They’re just not out there. Thus, it’s no surprise that Cara de Sapato and Magrão come in just over the qualifying limit for the 265 and under division. They’re light heavyweights masquerading as fat boys. Don’t expect either of them to stay in this class after the show is done.
Pre-fight, we get to see Sonnen work his magic. He came up with some phenomenal speeches for TUF 17 and the trend continues here:
No one has the right to beat you. This guy is not entitled to beat you. God has not chosen him to beat you. He’s giving you the choice. You decide when we walk through these doors if you win or not. Only you.
If that doesn’t get you pumped up, I don’t know what will. Perhaps this week’s ring girl, Francine Pantaleão?
Ready for her close-up.
As for the fight itself, I think it’s fair to say that it was *ahem* less than epic…
The_Vortex: It took me longer to type this sentence than the whole fight took. In all honesty, I’m not a very fast typist, but still, 12 seconds is not a long fight. Cara de Sapato lands his first strike, which is a big right hook. It hits flush, Magrão goes down, and CdS (that’s what I’m calling him now…) lands some follow up strikes to get the T.K.O win. To compound Magrão’s bad day, it even looks like the referee knees him in the head as he dives in to stop the fight.
It doesn’t get much worse than that.
CdS is obviously overjoyed, and Magrão is devastated. He says he’d rather have been beaten up than crunched down like that. It must suck to go out like that.
The fight placement in this episode was very tricky. It’s all over, they’ve finished the obligatory fight recap, and there’s still five minutes to go? I was pretty confused by this, but we get some wacky TUF: Brazil hijinks to fill put the rest of the episode!
I might as well jump!
NewChallenger: Ah yes, the first of the now infamous TUF: Brazil games. Right away we’re going big and I use that word literally. The challenge is mud soccer and it involves pushing around an enormous soccer ball through a mud pit. You would think this was a team challenge, but instead Pezão and Jollyson Francino are selected to go one on one. I have a theory about what happened here. It looks extraordinarily difficult to the point that officials can clearly be seen helping the fighters to control the ball after they start gassing. The first round probably took forever so everyone just agreed to let that lone point count for the win and to move on. The whole affair was disappointing.
Even more disappointing? Only the guys get in the mud.
Anything else important to discuss?
The_Vortex: The most important thing: I think Rafaela’s the current winner. Francine’s definitely hawt, but Rafaela is in the lead in my opinion.
NewChallenger: I concur. For those of you playing at home, that means Rafaela gets to hold the TUF Brazilian Octagon Girl Championship belt for another week. Can she pull off an Anderson Silva like run of dominance? Gotta keep tuning in to find out!
Next week: Another challenge, Sonnen accuses Wanderlei of being an alcoholic and the tables turn for Isabel and Hortência when they get in on the martial arts training.