In this week's episode of The Ultimate Fighter, Team USA had its opening round to determine who made it into the house. The fights occurred after Henderson had beaten Franklin and was probably a week after the UK guys got to fight. That is a big advantage for the UK guys who get to lick their wounds for a greater amount of time.
At the start of the episode, we already have a guy fainting in Jason Pierce, who supposedly had just cut 11 pounds. Next we have John-David Shackelford being checked out by a doctor, informing him he has a contagious herpes legion on his forehead. Nasty. Moments later, Christian Fulgium fails at making weight.
Dana White is pissed by the start for the American team, drops about 25 f-bombs and remarks that Team UK is out to get them. I thought to myself that it sounded like a football coach saying something ridiculous to get you fired up. Finally the fights start.
Kevin Knabjian vs. Mark Miller- These were my two top 170 Team USA fighters, so it really is ridiculous they had to fight in the first round. On top of that, both are from Illinois and training partners.
The fight was very exciting as these two traded multiple punches, with Miller getting the better punches in. In the second round, Knabjian lands a big punch dropping Miller, but cannot capitalize after trying to get a heel hook. Miller makes it back up to his feet, lands a nasty uppercut, and then a bunch more punches to get the TKO. Awesome come from behind victory. Knabjian is pissed, not wanting to give Miller props.
Paul Bird vs. Richie Whitson- Whitson, donning red hair, was called "Shawn White" by Dana, referring to the famous snowboarder. Paul Bird is ready to fight,saying "this is my time to shine. I punch hard, I kick hard and I fight to the death. I'm going to kill this mother f*$@er.
As the fight starts, Bird is able to get a takedown and get the back, but Whitson bucks him off and gets to his feet. After wild punches, Bird fails to get a takedown and Whitson gets top position. From there he throws punches, gets Bird's back, then sinks in a rear naked choke for the victory.
Santino Defranco vs. Waylon Lowe- Waylon Lowe completely dominated the first round. Getting top position early, Lowe continuously rained down elbows and punches. However, Defranco was blocking all those punches. The second round was a different story, as Defranco connected perfectly with a knee as Lowe was shooting in. With Lowe stunned, Defranco eventually gets Lowe's back and sinks in a rear naked choke.
Steve Berger vs. Jason Pierce- This fight is reduced to a highlight reel as Pierce wins the first round by dropping Berger with a punch and trying to choke him out. In the second, Berger wins the round. In the third, Pierce wins the fight with a unanimous decision.
Cameron Dollar vs. Tom Hayden- This fight is also reduced to a highlight reel as Hayden gets the mohawked-Dollar's back and pounds on him for most of the first round. The second is more of the same until Dollar gets a reversal and submits Hayden.
Ray Elbe vs. Damarques Johnson- Elbe, a Muay Thai fighter, looked good in the first couple minutes, landing decent kicks. Johnson seems more confident with his hands, looking to punch. Elbe then tries for a takedown, but instead pulls Johnson onto him in the full mount position. From there, Johnson lays a beating on Elbe with elbows and punches, opening up a couple gashes on Elbe. From there the fight is called.
After the fights, it is announced that Jason Dent will now face Robert Browning for a spot on the show at 155. Kiel Reid will face Frank Lester for the final spot at 170.
Team USA WW's 170
*Winner of Kiel Reid and Frank Lester
Team USA LW's 155
*Winner of Jason Dent v. Robert Browning