(That’s gangsta. For more gifs from episode 2, check out IronForgesIron.)
As the 16 fighters who survived the elimination round move into the TUF house, some of them hump each other excitedly, while others bury their anxiety in barbecue chicken. Here’s Louis Gaudinot, the green-haired guy: “Dana said the house is 15,000 square feet, but it’ll feel really small; it’s gonna feel like a closet. And I’m already feeling that.” Really? Already? Bro, you haven’t even dropped your bags yet.
After huddling with their assistants to analyze the fighters, coaches Bisping and Mayhem arrive for team selections. The coin-flip lands in Bisping’s favor after a dramatic roll across the room. The Count decides to take first fighter-selection rather than first fight-pick. As we all know, that’s a strategic blunder on par with getting involved in a land war in Asia. The teams break down like this…
Team Bisping: Louis Gaudinot, TJ Dillashaw, John Albert, Josh Ferguson
Team Miller: John Dodson, Johnny Bedford, Dustin Pague, Roland Delorme
Team Bisping: Diego Brandao, Akira Corassani, Marcus Brimage, Stephen Bass
Team Miller: Dennis Bermudez, Bryan Caraway, Dustin Neace, Steven Siler
Bisping says he got his top four choices for the featherweight selections. “If [Miller] had an ounce of intelligence he’d be picking some of those guys, but he didn’t,” Bisping says. When Miller comments that some of Bisping’s fighters actually look happy to be on his team, Bisping reminds the home viewers that “I’ve won 17 fights in the UFC, he’s a Strikeforce reject.” Bisping has actually won 11 fights in the UFC, 13 if you count his TUF 3 exhibition matches. But who’s counting? He clearly isn’t.
The guys have their first workouts with their new teams. Steven “Last Pick” Siler gets his nose bloodied and has to have his entire face taped up. Afterwards, Mayhem and Ryan Parsons bring their fighters some space-age compression suits, which are supposed to aid recovery, I guess. Team Mayhem appreciates that their coaches seem to be looking out for them.
It’s time for the first fight announcement, and Miller selects Bryan Caraway (his #2 featherweight) vs. Marcus Brimage (Bisping’s #3). It’s pretty obvious what’s going on here. Caraway had perhaps the least-impressive victory in the elimination round, but he’s an adept wrestler, and could exploit Brimage’s lack of expertise on the ground. Mayhem needs to keep control of the fight selections by any means necessary.
“Quinton Jackson and Dragon Ball Z are the reason I do MMA,” Brimage explains. [Ed. note: Nick Diaz and Thundercats are the reason I write about MMA.] Sitting at 157 pounds two days before the fight, Brimage is a little nervous about making the weight, but Bisping and his crew guide Marcus through the sweat-suit/salt bath/blanket pile process, and it all works out.
Bryan Caraway is a bit of a head case, which he’s quite aware of. He’s been to a sports psychologist to work on “positive self-talk” and not worrying about bad things that have never happened. He feels like throwing up before he fights. He was called “Nervous Nancy” on his last team. He’s working on not letting fear overcome him. And this is Miesha Tate‘s boyfriend?
Prank #1: Team Mayhem rolls all the training tires into Team Bisping’s prep-room, and arranges it so that a tire is actually blocking the door from being opened. Bisping has to kick his own door open to get inside. And that’s about it. Look, Mayhem’s just getting warmed up, okay?
After weigh-ins, Brimage and Caraway face off, while Team Bisping’s fighters sing the following chant: “Darkness gonna knock you out….Big mistake to call him out…Caraway’s a fucking bitch…Leave his body in a ditch…Darkness, Darkness, Darkness…”
Miller laughs it off (“that was the cutest little show tune I’ve ever heard”), but Caraway’s upset that they attacked him personally. And now they’ve awoken a sleeping, nervous giant.
“This is MMA, and people like to see ass-whuppins handed out,” Brimage explains before the fight. “And that’s what I do, hand out ass-whuppins.” He sees the fear in Caraway’s eyes as they enter the cage. Will it matter that Caraway has an eight-inch reach advantage, four inches in height, and tons more professional experience? Time to find out…
Round 1: Brimage starts off throwing jabs, looking for his distance. But before he can get comfortable, Caraway shoots and scores a quick takedown. Caraway with some punches against the cage. Brimage returns a couple off his back. Caraway looks to pass guard and winds up taking Brimage’s back and flattening him out. Brimage rolls, Caraway hangs on, looking for the choke. He locks in a body triangle. Brimage defending the choke the best he can. By way of encouragement, Miller shouts to Caraway, “He’s having Bisping coaching on grappling right now.” LOL. Caraway getting his hands across the neck, but Brimage keeps pulling them off. Brimage’s mouthguard falls out. Caraway almost sinks the choke, but Brimage manages to defend again. Brimage explodes out and rolls to his knees. Caraway is like glue, sticking on his back and sneaking in punches. There’s the horn, and Caraway takes the round with ease.
Round 2: Caraway lands a counterpunch as Brimage comes in attacking. Brimage fires a superman punch but misses. They swing punches then get into a scramble, and Caraway deposits Brimage on the mat again. “Say good night-night, Darkness!” Miller shouts. Caraway looks for the choke again but Brimage escapes and they’re standing again. Brimage lands a stiff knee to the head as Caraway shoots. Brimage stuffs another takedown, but Caraway keeps at it until he brings Brimage to the mat. Brimage with an acrobatic somersault escape. He gets to his feet and Caraway chills on his back for a few seconds, taking a breather. Brimage doesn’t want to return to the mat, so he kicks Caraway’s legs a couple times then lets him up. Brimage whiffs a head kick and Caraway takes him down again. Once again, Caraway takes Marcus’s back and flattens him out. Finally, he sinks the choke and Brimage taps.
Bryan Caraway def. Marcus Brimage via submission (rear-naked choke), round 2, and advances to the featherweight semi-finals.
Brimage managed to swell up Caraway’s eye with punches from his back in the first round. Still, he feels like he let down all of Alabama. Bisping says the win “put a stupid little smirk on [Miller's] already stupid-looking face.” He says they’ll win the next one, but doesn’t really sound convinced.
On the next episode: Brimage gets into it with one of his teammates, and a mayonnaise prank goes too far.