The third season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil debuted late Sunday night on UFC Fight Pass.
The head coaches for the season are Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen. Their rivalry has been the driving force behind the anticipation of the season, and it has been featured prominently in the UFC's video packages for this season of TUF.
Prior to the show's premiere on UFC Fight Pass, the hashtag "#TUFBrasil" was trending worldwide. A promising sign for the new season of the show.
Interestingly, the season has a slogan: "In Search of Champions."
The debut episode of the season opened with a video about Silva and Sonnen's rivalry. After the brief video played, their rivalry was not the focus. They took their positions behind the table to evaluate the talent. Eight of the 16 bouts took place on the first episode.
A small addition to the season is that each team will have one female assistant coach joining their staff from outside of the world of MMA. Team Wanderlei will be assisted by former volleyball star Isabel Salgado, and Team Sonnen will be assisted by former basketball star Hortencia Marcari.
There will be 32 fighters, 16 in the heavyweight division and 16 in the middleweight division, battling it out for spots in the TUF house.
This is what you need to know from the first eight bouts of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil season 3.
- The first bout featured heavyweights Goncalo Salgado (7-2) and Job Kleber (3-1).
- Soccer megastar Cristiano Ronaldo was featured prior to the bout. He sent in a video of encouragement to his friend and former bodyguard, Salgado.
- Kleber defeated Salgado in the first round. He rocked Salgado with a punch and landed a kick to the head as he was falling face first to the canvas. It was a spectacular and brutal knockout to kick off the season.
- Middleweights Jose Roberto (5-0) and Paulo Costa (3-0) were up next.
- Costa, nicknamed "Borrachinha," looks the part of a serious prospect. He is a big middleweight who looked to be in prime shape. He dominated Roberto in the first round and continued that into the second frame before finishing with a guillotine choke. He will be one of the fighters to watch develop on the show.
- Heavyweights Everton Rocha (3-1) and Jollyson Sosatleta (2-0) were up next.
- Rocha, a riot policeman, had nothing for Jollyson on the canvas. Francisco locked in an arm-triangle and got the tap.
- Middleweight Douglas Moura (4-1), husband to female fighter Duda Yankovich, squared off against Joilton Santos (9-2) in the next fight.
- Only highlights were shown of the fight, but it appeared to be a back-and-forth bout. After two rounds, Silva stated in the talking head interview, "We decided for another round." I assume he did not decide that unilaterally, and it followed previous TUF regulations of going to sudden victory. However, it's taking place in Brazil so who really knows? I wouldn't be surprised if the former Pride champion decided that on his own. Regardless, Santos picked up the split-decision win after the third round to advance to the house.
- Edgard Castaldelli (12-4) vs. Felipe Dantas (6-0) was next up in the heavyweight division.
- Once again, only highlights were shown. Castaldelli advanced with a second-round TKO.
- Cristiano Ferrugem (4-1) met Wagner Silva (3-0) next in the middleweight division.
- Silva wasted no time in taking the fight to the ground. It wasn't long after that in which he sunk in the rear-naked choke for the tap. An easy preliminary bout for Silva to advance in the competition.
- The next bout was also in the middleweight division. It featured Willian Steindorf (3-0) against Silva's training partner, and world champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Ricardo "Demente" Abreu (4-0).
- Abreu got Steindorf to the mat and dominated the fight. He had a good armbar attempt, but Steindorf got out of it. Silva's assistant coach Salgado said to Silva, "When you said it was about to break I was going to leave." The bout went into the second round where Abreu got a TKO from ground-and-pound.
- Sonnen noted Abreu's talent and said that he is a front-runner to take the crown this season.
- The final bout of the episode was in the heavyweight division between Guilherme Viana (4-1) and Antonio Carlos Jr. (3-0).
- The fight initially hit the canvas where Carlos controlled the action. They got back to their feet, and Carlos nailed Viana with a looping overhand right. Viana staggered around the cage, out on his feet, as Carlos went for the finish. The referee intervened before Carlos could do any more significant damage.
That was it from the first episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil season 3. The customary airing of what to expect next week showed clips of the remaining eight fights. The teams will also be selected at the end of next week's episode. The most interesting bit pulled from the highlights of next week came from Silva himself. In an apparent spat with rival Sonnen he said, "He either apologizes, or I quit the show."
|The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3: Episode One Results|
|Goncalo Salgado vs. Job Kleber||Job Kleber||KO, Round 1|
|Paulo Costa vs. Jose Roberto||Paulo Costa||Submission, Round 2|
|Everton Rocha vs. Jollyson Francisco||Jollyson Francisco||Submission, Round 1|
|Douglas Moura vs. Joilton Santos||Joilton Santos||Split Decision|
|Felipe Dantas vs. Edgard Castaldelli||Edgard Castaldelli||TKO, Round 2|
|Cristiano Ferrugem vs. Wagner Silva||Wagner Silva||Submission, Round 1|
|Willian Steindorf vs. Ricardo Abreu||Ricardo Abreu||TKO, Round 2|
|Guilherme Viana vs. Antonio Carlos Jr.||Antonio Carlos Jr.||TKO, Round 1|
|The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3|
The drama between the coaches seems to heat up next week, and that will be what most fans will want to watch. It was an entertaining start to the season, and business continues next week.