Season 13 features former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar coaching opposite top contender Junior dos Santos. While the two will battle one another at UFC 131 in June, they will first spend six weeks coaching a field of welterweight hopefuls, battling for a shot to become “The Ultimate Fighter” and earn a six-figure UFC contract.
“I want my team to win the show and I want to win my fight against Brock,” dos Santos stated at the beginning of the program.
It’s the familiar UFC training center in Las Vegas. The 14 fighters entered the gym, elated to be there.
UFC president Dana White was there to greet the fighters, and noticed their up-beat demeanor. Soon enough, the UFC head honcho let the fighters know that, unlike in some of the previous seasons, they will not have to fight their way into the house, their positions on the show secure
White introduced the coaches, then it was down to business, figher evaluations were underway. Lesnar’s emphasis immediately was on the fighters’ level of conditioning, while dos Santos focused more on sparring sessions to evaluate skill level.
“We didn’t want guys that for the last month have been sitting on the couch, eating pizza and drinking beer,” said Lesnar
While dos Santos has been wary of his ability to speak english effectively with his fighters.”I can’t speak english very well, but i don’t think it’s going to be a problem for us, because we can speak the fight language.”
Top prospect Myles Jury injured his knee early on in a botched takedown during dos Santos’ evaluations.
Lesnar immediately gravitated to Len Bentley, while dos Santos had his eyes on both Shamar Bailey and Ryan McGillivrayy for his team due to their wrestling ability and endurance displayed in the evaluation.
Once evaluations were done, White tossed a coin. Lesnar won, deciding that he would make the first fighter pick, while dos Santos would get to pick the first match-up.
When all was said and done, Team Lesnar consisted of Len Bentley, Charlie Rader, Tony Ferguson, Clay Harvison, Myles Jury, Chris Cope, and Nordin Asrih. Team dos Santos included Shamar Bailey, Ryan McGillivray, Javier Torres, Ramsey Nijem, Zach Davis, Mick Bowman, and Keon Caldwell. (All the fighters are listed in the order they were chosen.)
Entering the brand new TUF house, Team dos Santos choses the bottom floor, while Team Lesnar heads upstairs, keeping their team unity intact.
Myles Jury of Team Lesnar, who injured his knee during a takedown amid evaluations, met with Dr. Jeffrey Davidson, who confirmed a complete tear of his ACL. Davidson added that it was his recommedation that Jury not fight. White then met with him, telling Jury he would have to leave the show, but hinted that, with his record and age, the 22-year-old could soon make his way back to the UFC.
Chuck O’Neil was then called in as a late replacement for Jury, joining Team Lesnar.
Dos Santos then chooses the first fight, matching his number one pick, Shamar Bailey, a Strikeforce veteran, against Lesnar’s last pick, Nordoin Asrih.
Bailey controlled the pace of the action for the duration, taking Nordoin down at will and controlling him on the ground. Though Asrih had his moments in the midst of some scrambles, Bailey always found himself on top. In the final moment’s of the bout, he mounted the German and rained down blows as time ran out.
The result was a unanimous decision for Bailey; Team dos Santos maintained control.
The shows ends with an elated Team dos Santos celebrating in their prep room, while Team Lesnar sits silent. Lesnar said he saw it coming, having Bailey, dos Santos’ first pick against Lesnar’s last… the outcome was “inevitable.”
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