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Welcome to MMAFrenzy.com’s live blog of The Ultimate Fighter 8 “Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir”.
As most of you know by now this seasons coaches are UFC interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir.
The fighters immediately enter the UFC training facility and UFC president Dana White announces that just like last season 32 fighters will compete for their spot in the house, though this year he have two weight classes: lightweights (155 pounds) and light heavyweights (205 pounds).
Before Dana gives his typical TUF speach to this year’s cast one of the fighters faints, but it’s just a mixture of heat and nerves, not a medical issue so he’s okay to continue.
We’re briefly introduced to Nogueira, the only fighter to ever to hold a title in both PRIDE and the UFC, and Mir, a previous heavyweight champion.
White concludes his speech and the fighters are dismissed to get prepared for the weigh-ins. Both coaches observe the fighters preparing to get a feeling for who they are, what skills they possess, and ultimately who they want on their team.
The weight cutting segment focuses on the brother of UFC lightweight Clay Guida, light heavyweight Jason Guida, who must drop 11 pounds to reach the 205 pound light heavyweight limit. White says Jason was 205 pounds “we thought”. Uh oh! Guida says he’s getting older and needs to get into the UFC or get a real job but he’s having a problem cutting down due to severe cramping.
The fighters hit the scales to weigh-in for the first round of fights and everyone seems to make weight except for Guida. The doctor says Guida’s blood pressure is a little low (to which Guida responds “What!”) but the doctor and NSAC director Keith Kizer allow Guida to hit the scales. He weights in at 207 pounds, one pound over the 206 pound limit for the fights, and despite pleading his case to cut the final pound to the comission he’s ultimately dismissed from show.
Mike Stewart, an alternate cast member, is brought in to replace Guida and weighs in at 203 pounds completing the opening round weigh-in process.
The first sixteen fights allow the coaches to evaluate the fighters so the assistant coaches corner the fighters and Mir and Nogueira sit with White and analyze the fights.
All of the fights are two, five-minute rounds with the winner earning a spot in the house and the loser going home.
First up is light heavyweights Mike Stewart vs. Krzysztof Soszynski and Soszynski stuns Stewart in the opening moments with a big right and follows it up with more punches to force a quick referee stoppage. Soszynski is in and Stewart is out.
A lightweight bout between Fernando Bernstein and Dave Kaplan is up next and Bernstein shows superior striking early, controlling the pace and pummeling Kaplan. Kaplan looks strong midway through the round, tagging Bernstein with combos. Kaplan goes for a takedown and he puts Bernstein on the canvas then takes his back, sinks in hooks, and locks up a rear naked choke that forces Bernstein to tap. Dana quips that Bernstein, nicknamed “The Machete”, is more like a butter knife. Bernstein is gone while Kaplan earns his spot in the house.
Lightweights Joe Duarte and Phillipe Nover (the guy that fainted) square off next. They touch gloves and we’re underway. Nover is agressive early but hits Duart in the groin and they’re halted temporarily to allow him time to recover. We’re back underway shortly and they clinch the fence and fight for position. More knees from Nover in the clinch as neither fighter is able to gain the clear upper hand. They’re separated and restarted Nover connects with kics. Duarte connects with a solid combo that trips Nover to the canvas and Duarte works from half-guard.Â Nover gives up his back and Duarte gets in hooks and looks for the choke finish but Nover lands repeated punches to the face of Duarte to close out the round strong. Mir and White are impressed by Nover’s agressiveness and round two is underway. Nover is quickly on top of Duarte and takes his back before sinking in a rear naked choke that forces Duarte to tap. White remarks that he made fun of Phillipe ever since he came onto the show as he’s the fighter who fainted he and the coaches agree that he looked strong in his opening bout and White adds “He ain’t ‘fainting Phillipe’ any more”. Duarte, one of the season’s most talked about cast members
Up next is light heavyweight Jules Bruchez, a self-proclaimed farmboy, and Eric Magee and Jules picks up the win via rear naked choke in the opening round but is a bit too cocky after the win prompting White, Nogueira, and Mir to have a good laugh at his antics. Bruches is in while Magee is going home.
Vinicius Magalhaes advances into the house with a win over Lance Evans, the brother of previous Ultimate Fighter winner Rashad Evans, defeating Evans via technical knockout due to a broken rib.
Antwain Britt moves into the next round with a majority decision victory over Ryan Jimmo.
Brian McLaughlin was dominating his fight over Brandon Garner but was tagged with an illegal knee to the head while on the ground. The fight is ruled a no contest due to the accidental nature of the foul but McLauglin is moving on based on his performance while Garner is sent packing.
A battle of lightweight trash talkers is on tap as Junie Browning, who impressed Dana White in the tryouts by submitting his opponent with White’s choice of submission (a triangle), takes on Jose “Dawg” Aguilar. Browning connects early but briefly gets in trouble when they first hit the mat. He escapes Aguilar’s submission attempts and works ground and pound before going back to their. More solid striking from Browning on the feet before they head back to the canvas. More submission attempts by Aguilar are evaded and Browning works from side control. After an extended series of ground and pound Junie gets mount and drops more punches and elbows from the top. Aguilar survives the round but he’s unable to continue and Browning moves on. White remains impressed with Junie after the fight. A sign of things to come? Junie finishes out the show by adding “I heard there’s free alcohol in the house. That ain’t good”.
And that’s all for the debut of “The Ultimate Fighter 8″ folks. Join us next Wednesday for another Ultimate Fighter 8 live blog of the final eight opening round fights including one in which the winner is unable to more into the house due to an injury.