Joey Rivera (right) and Sam Alvey took to the cage on Friday's episode. | Photo: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC
The intro to episode three of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 16 reminds us of two important developments that occurred a week ago: Team Carwin’s Neil Magny bested Team Nelson’s Cameron Diffley, and the clean-cut Mike Ricci was doused in flour courtesy of the house’s first prank. With that out of the way, I think it is time to get down on what will surely be the drunkest episode yet.
As one would expect, the boys in yellow are stoked about Magny’s victory, while Team Nelson is sporting one giant, bearded, semi-homeless frown. Coach Roy Nelson attempts to find the silver lining, asserting that this initial setback might serve to light a fire under the rest of his squad.
One Nelson fighter with an apparent surplus of fire is Colton Smith, who broods at the camera after being called an ugly baby by Matt Secor. In Smith’s defense, he actually looks like he was probably a pretty decent-looking baby.
Nic Herron-Webb decides he has a little late-night billiards brewing inside of him, and he decides to let it out in the most obnoxious way possible, waking Ricci and Eddy Ellis from their respective slumbers. Neither man is particularly pleased, and Herron-Webb switches to the jump rope -- an equally loud though different activity -- in a superior display of “little brother” technique.
Shane Carwin asserts his dominance at the fight picks the next day, choosing his boy, Sam Alvey, to take on Team Nelson’s Joey Rivera. As expected, Alvey is smiling like a sadistic clown as the two square off.
Back in the locker room, Michael Hill joins Ricci, Ellis and Secor on the Nic-Herron-Webb-irritates-me list. Hill gives his teammate an earful, reminding him that his actions hurt his own squad, as well as Team Carwin.
Rivera introduces himself as the owner of Apex MMA in Tucson, Ariz. He explains that he got into fighting at an early age due to his mother making some poor choices in her domestic partners, resulting in fists flying between Rivera and a few of her boyfriends. Rough gig.
Nelson explains that Rivera’s strategy will be to put Alvey on his back and wear him down. Rivera hits the cage with his head coach and actually starts popping him pretty hard in the face. Is that a good idea? Oh, never mind. Nelson is digging it.
Alvey is a member of Team Quest in Temecula, Calif., and reveals that he grew up as a band nerd in Wisconsin. He next reveals that he met his fiancé at a Renaissance fair, and she went on to win “America’s Next Top Model.” She has now become an integral influence on his fight preparation, supporting him emotionally, along with wrapping his hands and keeping his weight in check.
Carwin’s assistant coach, Trevor Wittman, compliments Alvey on his striking, as the red-headed southpaw spars with Nate Marquardt. Carwin agrees with the assessment and reveals his unbridled confidence in his new pupil.
Back at the house, several members of Team Nelson steal Alvey’s mattress and manage to float it in the pool. Ever grinning, Alvey takes it in stride, though he spends the night on the couch. The next day, both men make weight, but Alvey is forced to ditch his all-leather “Spartan” briefs in order to hit 171 pounds.
Prior to the actual in-cage confrontation, both fighters offer up their final thoughts. One of them uses the word “ejaculation.” Let us just leave it at that.
Referee Herb Dean starts the action, and Rivera immediately launches two nasty high kicks at Alvey’s dome and then hits a huge double-leg. Alvey wall walks, but Rivera stays with him and tries to take the back before snatching a rear waist lock and planting Alvey once again. Carwin’s man again escapes to his feet, where he wiggles out of a standing arm-triangle, but Rivera grabs a standing guillotine and forces Alvey to slam him and scramble to escape the hold. The men work their way to a vertical base, and Rivera snatches another guillotine, this time pulling guard with it, but Alvey frees himself before nearly getting caught in a triangle. Alvey tries to finish the round strong by pounding away with heavy hammerfists as the frame expires.
It is rinse and repeat for Rivera to start round two, as he fires a head kick and follows it up by launching a pair of shins at Alvey’s lead thigh. Alvey digs hard for a double-leg but cannot secure it before Dean separates the fighters. Rivera slips a one-two and drives for a double before being reversed and entering into a stalemate against the fence. Dean again separates them, and Rivera finally lands with that high kick in the center of the cage, staggering Carwin’s No. 1 pick and putting him on the defensive until Alvey hits a double-leg slam with 10 seconds to go.
UFC President Dana White announces Rivera as the victor by majority decision. We are promised big drama in episode four, as White stops by with a special surprise and Team Nelson’s representative apparently fails to make weight. No mention of any pee-your-pants drunkenness, but we can always hope.