by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Ultimate Fighter Season 4: Episode 1 Breakdown
Old Faces in New Places
By Damon Martin, MMAWeekly.com

The concept behind the Ultimate Fighter season 4 is pretty basic. Fighters that have previously competed in the UFC being brought back for one more chance at redemption after all leaving on a loss or down note for some reason or another. The other interesting point to this show is that the winner is promised a $100,000 bonus and a title shot in the middleweight and welterweight divisions respectively, something that has never been promised in any previous season.

Dana White made the announcement that while the fighters would be split up into teams, neither would have one definitive coach and that all the competitors would have the chance to train with UFC legend Randy Couture as well as top welterweight contender, Georges St. Pierre. The fighters went into a basket to select jerseys and with that the teams were determined.

Each team picked their own name, so Team Grey became Team Mojo with welterweight members Matt Serra, Chris Lytle, Din Thomas and the newest star of this show, “Mr. International” Shonie Carter. The middleweights consist of Scott Smith, Edwin Dewees, Pete Sell and Patrick “The Predator” Cote.

The blue team, now named Team No Love has 170lbers Pete Spratt, Mikey Burnett, Jeremy Jackson and Rich Clementi as well as middleweights, Jorge Rivera, Travis Lutter, Gideon Ray and Charles McCarthy.

The tournament format is set up the same for this season as it was last year with the preliminary winners automatically moving onto the semifinals and the finals from there. Dana White conducted a coin toss that gave control to Team No Love to pick the first fight, a bout in the welterweight division. The team decided on Rich Clementi to take on the always stylish Shonie Carter.

The video clips throughout the show helped to illustrate how each fighter had come and gone in the UFC, also showcasing Shonie Carter’s highlight reel win over his now teammate Matt Serra from UFC 31. Serra admitted that he was hoping to face Carter in a rematch during the show but would welcome him as a teammate instead. With no actual coaches motivating each team this year, the fighters themselves had to step up into a leadership role and Matt Serra showed that for his team in the first episode.

Not much was shown as far as life in the house during the first episode but as the year goes on, the antics are guaranteed to happen. Shonie Carter did manage to give the UFC sign a new color scheme while many of the fighters questioned his motivation going into the elimination fight with Rich Clementi.

At the fight, Clementi sounded extremely confident while Shonie sounded like Shonie (for those of you that haven’t seen Shonie perform before, this will make more sense as the season goes on). The first round was back and forth, with both men landing solid takedowns while Carter held the advantage on the feet landing a good body shot kick in the opening minute of the bout. The 2nd round was much of the same except this time around Shonie was able to reverse position on Clementi towards the end of the fight and started to ground and pound. The punishment on the ground probably helped to solidify the victory for Shonie Carter and “Mr. International” lives to fight another day while Rich Clementi is the first fighter sent home.

After the decision, Clementi showed little class complaining to Dana White about Carter being “greased up” passing the buck on his performance and not taking the call out of the judges’ hands by finishing the fight. Shonie Carter looked solid in his performance and definitely had the more supportive corner with Matt Serra being heard shouting instructions during the entire fight.

Next week the middleweights are up for elimination and now the control shifts to Team Mojo who will pick the fight and when its all over one more fighter will be sent packing.