The Ultimate Fighter: Undefeated, the 27th installment of the reality series, debuted on FOX Sports 1 on Wednesday. Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and light heavyweight titleholder Daniel Cormier lead teams of undefeated fighters hoping to earn a spot on the UFC roster and six-figure contract with the fight promotion.
The cast of 16, consisting of eight lightweights and eight featherweights, made it through the grueling tryout and interview process with UFC matchmakers and were then evaluated by Team Miocic and Team Cormier coaching staffs.
Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier Pick Their Teams
UFC president Dana White flipped a coin to decide which coach would get the choice of either choosing the first fighter or picking the first matchup. Cormier won the coin toss and elected to choose the first fighter. He chose featherweight Tyler Diamond as his first pick while Miocic chose featherweight Kyler Phillips.
Cormier’s second pick was featherweight Bryce Mitchell. Miocic selected Suman Mokhtarian. For his third team pick, Cormier selected lightweight Richie Smullen while Miocic’s first lightweight choice was Mike Trizano. Cormier’s fourth fighter selection was lightweight Luis Peña. Miocic chose John Gunther. Cormier’s fifth pick was lightweight Joe Giannetti while Miocic selected José Martinez Jr.
For his sixth fighter selection, Cormier’s picked featherweight Brad Katona while Miocic chose Jay Cucciniello. Thai Clark was chosen by Cormier in the seventh round while Miocic went with Allan Zuniga. Ricky Steele was Cormier’s final team selection leaving Dulani Perry as Miocic’s final picks.
With Cormier deciding to select the first fighter, Miocic got to choose the first fight and selected lightweight John Gunther to face Team Cormier’s Joe Giannetti.
The Fight: John Gunther vs. Joe Giannetti
Gunther trains with Miocic in Ohio and lives in his van. Outside of fighting, he travels from state to state sheering large animals’ hair. He’s the second of ten children who got into fighting for the challenge.
Giannetti is 22-years old who got into fighting to protect himself from being bullied for his weight in middle school. No longer the heavyset kid, Giannetti has been homeless and hopes to use fighting to rise from poverty to become a success story.
Gunther quickly closed the distance and was met with a jab. He pressed forward looking for a takedown and found himself trapped in a standing guillotine choke. Seconds later, Gunther was unconscious.
“I feel amazing. I still can’t believe that I just won on The Ultimate Fighter. This is exactly how I expected the fight. I knew I probably wouldn’t finish him with strikes, but I knew if I touched him first he’d have to shoot and he drove right into my choke,” said Giannetti following the first fight of the season. “Snatchin necks and cashing checks.”
“Apparently I got choked out. From my perspective, I was fighting and all of a sudden I like saw some people looking down at me. I was like, oh no. This is weird. This is a weird perspective. Why am I staring at the ceiling? Then I knew this is bad,” said Gunther after the loss.
Stipe Miocic Announces The Next Fight
With Team Cormier leading the competition 1-0, Coach Miocic selected the next matchup. He chose his first pick, featherweight Kyler Phillips, to take on Team Cormier’s sixth pick Brad Katona.