The season premiere of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir began not with a bang, but with a whimper: As the 32 UFC hopefuls lined up to get pep-talked by Dana White, Phillipe Nover got a case of the vapors and passed out. (Is this show hardcore or what?!) To add further embarrassment to his situation, nobody seems to know how to pronounce Nover’s first name. He says “Filip,” but everyone else decides to go with the more ethnic-sounding “fi-LEEP” or “fi-LEEP-ay.” The guys are told they’ll be given 24 hours to cut weight, and will fight the following day. Our Guamanian buddy Joe Duarte comes in ten pounds over, but it ain’t no thing to him. Jason Guida, on the other hand, comes in like 47 pounds over.
During his agonizing cutting process, Guida pukes into a toilet like a sorority girl after a big date, then cramps up completely and his team has to look at his balls flopping out of his towel (see above). A doctor checks him out and says he can weigh in one more time before he’s given IV fluids and taken to a hospital. His final score: 207. One pound away. He fucked up, and he’s furious. He tells NSAC executive director Keith Kizer that he’ll “never be forgiven.” We are treated to this classic exchange…
Guida: “Just let me do this, doc.”
Kizer: “I’m not a doc, but no.”
And Mike Stewart, who was hanging out in the parking lot for just such an opportunity, gets in as an alternate. Then it’s time for the fights…
Krzystof Soszynski vs. Mike Stewart (205): Stewart gets jacked right away with a huge left hook, and then swarmed with strikes until the ref stops it. Back to the parking lot, buddy. By the way, there’s no fucking way I’m spelling out “Krzystof Soszynski” ever again. He will be referred to as K-Sos from now on.
Fernando Bernstein vs Dave Kaplan (155): Bernstein, a man after my own Hispanojew heart, faces another nice Jewish boy in Kaplan. Bernstein seems to strictly be a kickboxer, though, and after some ferocious striking exchanges, Kaplan gets the fight to the ground and sinks in a rear-naked choke. Dana suggests that Bernstein change his nickname from “Machete” to “Butter Knife.”
Joe Duarte vs. Phillipe Nover (155): Duarte gets kneed in the pills early and takes a moment to recover. Nover proves to be a crafty striker, working knees and hard foot stomps in the clinch. Duarte nails Nover with a big left that sends The Fainter to the ground. Duarte gets on top and takes Nover’s back, but Nover stays busy, slugging Duarte in the face from behind until the round ends. Nover takes Duarte down as the second round starts and sinks in a rear-naked-choke. So maybe he’s not the next Anderson Silva?
Eric Magee vs. Jules Bruchez (205): Magee scores a takedown early and almost pulls off a guillotine choke, but Bruchez reverses, gets on Magee’s back and chokes him out. Bruchez goes apeshit and starts running his mouth. “See that shit?” he screams at Dana White. “I saw that shit,” Dana deadpans.
Highlights are shown from the next three fights…
Vinny Magalhaes vs. Lance Evans (205): Evans (Rashad’s brother) suffers a rib injury in the first round and can’t continue to the second. Magalhaes advances.
Antwain Britt vs. Ryan Jimmo (205): Britt wins by majority decision.
Brian McLaughlin vs. Brandon Garner (205): Garner nails McLaughlin with a devastating illegal knee to the dome while McLaughlin was in a kneeling position. McLaughlin says he feels lightheaded when the doctors ask him if he can continue. It’s ruled a no-contest — the first such result in TUF history. Partly because McLaughlin was winning the fight up to that point, Dana White decides to send Garner home.
Junie Browning vs. Jose “Hitler Dog” Aguilar (155):
And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Aside from a few heel-hook attempts, Aguilar has nothing for Browning, who dominates from the start with sharp striking and takedowns. Mir clearly has a man-crush on Junie, telling Nogueira repeatedly how much he likes this kid, and screaming encouragement at every turn. (It occurs to me that Mir’s team will have a distinct advantage with him as a cornerman — he’s loud, precise, and doesn’t require subtitles.) Browning whales on Aguilar from above for the second half of the first round, and nearly sets up a triangle choke from top position. Aguilar is saved by the bell, but just like Hitler in the bunker, he quits before he can take any more punishment. “I’m pretty,” he says, caressing his face. “That’s all that matters bro.” Yep. And the other “straight-up criminals” will appreciate that when you eventually wind up in prison.
Junie leaves us with this bit of foreshadowing: “I heard there’s free alcohol in the house. That ain’t good.”