It's been a few weeks since both TUF Live and TUF Brazil went on the air, and I think it's fair to ask: which is more entertaining?
I had high hopes for TUF Brazil since hearing about it, but I've been a little disappointed by it thus far. I was really expecting the change of setting to add a new dimension to the show, but it's more or less the same as its American counterpart.
In some ways it feels very introductory, such as when weight classes and rules are explained. This makes sense, however, as this is the first season in Brazil, and for some Brazilians, perhaps their very first introduction to the UFC.
It's a pretty standard season so far, and the fights have been okay. "Gaspar" is the usual clown of the season—what Chris Tickle is to TUF Live. Very similar to Chris Leben, Junie Browning and Alex Caceres from past seasons.
Perhaps a trivial matter, but I do like how the Brazilian fighters integrate their nicknames into their names, like Hugo Wolverine, Rony Jason, and the fighter who simply goes by his nickname "Massaranduba." It adds personality, and it simply works in Brazil. It would be lame to see a fighter in the U.S. adopt the name "Jason" and wear the "Jason" mask to fights.
One minor gripe is the TUF Brazil advertisement placement. Products are prominently featured throughout the show—even more so than in the U.S. version. It's downright weird to see Wanderlei shaving his arms as an advertisement for shaving cream, or seeing him passing out protein bars to his team and then showing them eating it.
TUF Live, on the other hand, has been a pleasant surprise. The live format throws a wrench into the standard formula, and after 14 seasons, the change is welcome. Both the fights and the fighters have been memorable. We've consistently seen early finishes to fights, and Justin Lawrence seems like a star in the making. I do feel that this season was a little front-loaded, however, as we've seen most of the top picks of both teams fight already.
The rivalry between Faber and Cruz does seem a little more intense than Belfort and Silva, although it does appear very "acted out" at times.
So all in all, the early nod goes to TUF Live. It's been a pleasant surprise. When watching TUF Brazil, I do keep in mind that I'm not the target demographic. I wouldn't be at all surprised if TUF Brazil does for the UFC in Brazil what the original TUF did for the UFC in the U.S.