The twenty-seventh season of the UFC’s Ultimate Fighter TV series has gotten off to a roaring start in the first-ever “Undefeated” season.
This season of the series will see fighters with undefeated professional mixed martial arts records entering the “TUF” house.
Coaching for sixteen mixed martial artists are UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, and Stipe Miocic, the king of the UFC’s heavyweight division. The two champions are set to face off at UFC 226 in July, with Cormier moving up a weight class to try and capture the heavyweight strap.
The first episode saw the two coaches picking their squad of fighters. Miocic would evaluate his fighters in a general manner, gauging their striking and ground games, whilst Cormier would watch the group and see what their wrestling was like.
“Gotta sprawl unless you have a black belt,” Cormier said as he led the session.
A coin toss between “DC” and Miocic, officiated by UFC president Dana White, saw DC electing to pick the first fighter. The teams were decided as below:
Featherweight: Jay Cucciniello, Suman Mokhtarian, Dulani Perry, Kyler Phillips
Lightweight: John Gunther, Mike Trizano, Joe Martinez, Alan Zuniga
Featherweight: Bryce Mitchell, Brad Katona, Tyler Diamond, Ricky Steele
Lightweight: Thailand Clark, Richie Smullen, Luis Pena, Joe Giannetti
Miocic would have the first pick of fights, setting up Joe Giannetti to take on John Gunther, a training partner of Miocic. A few interviews with the fighters later and you really know that all the fighters are undefeated because they say so… a few dozen times.
UFC veterans James Krause and Chris Camozzi help Team Miocic to prepare, whilst former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez teams up with Cormier to beat their man across the octagon in a rugged training session.
A quick look at Gunther’s home video sees him living in his van, and taking us through his family life and alpaca shearing business before rounding the video out with a quick swim between ice holes on a lake.
Giannetti’s home video talks about a troubled backstory, experiencing bullying as a youngster and a few cameos from Gianetti’s beloved and aptly named boxer, Frazier.
Cut back to “DC” and Miocic, who are having an interesting conversation. Cormier proposes that each fight is made between each teammate equal. That is, each draft pick should fight their corresponding draft pick, so the first pick fights the other first pick, the second pick faces the other second pick and so on. Neither man can come to a decision, so the likelihood of that happening seems to be fairly low.
The clock is ticking down by this point, and weigh-ins are set. Both men make weight easily and the fight is set.
The first and only round of the fight between Gunther and Giannetti sees Gunther being smashed with a heavy knee to the torso before being hit by a barrage of punches. As he tries to take Giannetti down to the ground, Gunther gets caught in a high-elbow guillotine that puts him to sleep while he’s still standing. The fight ends in under thirty seconds, all told.
Gianetti demands a post-fight finishing bonus from White who is watching cageside and later confirms that Gianetti will be getting a bonus. Gunther seems completely unfazed by the loss and doesn’t seem to really have taken full stock of the situation. Or maybe he has and he’s just a very jolly fellow.
Next week sees Miocic’s number one pick, Kyler Phillips, taking on Brad Katona.
Tune in next week!