This episode of “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” picks up right where last week left off: Wanderlei Silva is still irate over rival coach Chael Sonnen’s derogatory remarks about Brazil, and “The Axe Murderer” will not choose teams unless Sonnen apologizes.
Sonnen, of course, refuses to say he’s sorry, which sends Silva storming out of the gym, fuming over his future opponent’s lack of respect. After cooling down, Silva storms right back into the gym and explain his position to the 16 assembled fighters.
“So, guys, we had a bit of a quarrel,” says Silva. “My opponent didn’t want to redeem himself over what he said about us. But I honor my agreements, and I made an agreement with you guys. I won’t take your dream away from you. He’ll apologize in the worst possible manner. It’ll be on the day we fight. I’ll knock him out hard. I’ll hurt him.”
With the stalemate ended, it’s finally time for the coaches to select their squads. Silva wins the coin toss and opts to match up the first fight of the season, while Sonnen will get first choice of the fighters, a decision the Oregonian calls “very bizarre.” Sonnen uses the top pick in the 185-pound draft to take Marcio Alexandre Jr., while Silva chooses Wand Fight Team member Ricardo Abreu. Silva gets first crack at the heavyweights and picks Antonio Carlos Jr., and Sonnen takes Marcos Rogerio de Lima.
Here’s how the teams shape up, with fighters listed in the order they were chosen:
Marcio “Lyoto” Alexandre Jr.
Joilton “Peregrino” Santos
Guilherme “Bomba” Vasconcelos
Marcos Rogerio “Pezao” de Lima
Vitor “Lex Luthor” Miranda
Edgard “Magrao” Castaldelli
Ricardo “Demente” Abreu
Paulo “Borrachinha” Costa
Wagner Silva Gomes
Ismael “Marmota” de Jesus
Antonio “Cara de Sapato” Carlos Jr.
Richardson “Rick Monstro” Moreira
Antonio “Montanha” Branjao
Both coaches seem happy with the teams they’ve selected, but the day doesn’t end without a little extra drama. As Silva is wrapping up the ceremony and wishing the fighters luck on “TUF: Brazil 3,” Sonnen can’t resist the urge to chime in.
“Don’t call it ‘TUF.’ Call it ‘The Wanderlei Show,’” Sonnen taunts. “Call it what you think it is, stupid.”
The last remark gets Silva’s goat, and the Brazilian gives Sonnen a hard shove in the chest while calling him a word that would get bleeped on stateside television. The fighters separate their coaches and Silva storms off again.
“I know I shouldn’t have done that,” Silva says in a confessional, “but I’m a hothead. I can’t suck it up, I’m sorry.”
The day after their first night in the “TUF” house -- where the fighters enjoy pizza and complimentary shampoo -- the competitors gather in the backyard. Assistant coaches Hortencia Marcari and Isabel Salgado have some information: the fighters will be responsible for narrowing a field of 16 aspiring Octagon girls down to eight. The fighters are predictably excited, though some more than others.
“It was funny because many of us are married,” says Alves. “The married guys had impeccable behavior.”
After a barbecue meet-and-greet, the fighters evaluate the girls and choose their eight: Patricia Andrade, Fernanda Hernandez, Rafaela Machado, Thais Andrade, Camila Bortolotti, Ana Cecilia Cunha, Wendy, and Francine Pantaleao. Each one will serve as the Octagon girl for one fight, with the winner being selected at season’s end.
Training begins, and Sonnen immediately begins drilling his team in wrestling fundamentals. Afterward, he calls a meeting and gives each fighter individual notes on their skills and performances so far. Silva, meanwhile, works on all manner of skills with his crew -- striking, grappling and takedowns -- to further assess their potential.
The time comes for the first fight selection, and coach Wanderlei will be matching up two middleweights. Wagner Silva Gomes gets the assignment from his coach, while Team Sonnen will be represented by Joilton Santos. Sonnen is bewildered by the pick, pegging Santos as one of his top fighters. Wanderlei explains that he believes “Wagnao” to possess greater physical strength than his opponent, who has previously competed at lightweight.
“They’re underrating [Santos] because he’s a skinny guy. He’s got a winning attitude,” says Marmota. Wagnao disagrees, calling Santos a “joker” whose lack of focus could harm him in the fight.
Both men make weight without incident, and both appear relaxed on fight day. Santos admitted to anxiety during the week, even vomiting in training, but he’s cracking jokes in the locker room.
“Can I put plaster in this?” he asks as his hands are wrapped for the fight.
The fight begins and Gomes looks to close in on Santos, walking him toward the fence before changing levels for a takedown. Santos stands him up and punishes Gomes with knees to the midsection. Gomes executes a trip takedown, landing in half guard. Gomes frames up an arm-triangle choke while Santos shrugs, looking to the referee for a stand-up. The ref does not oblige, and Gomes nearly traps Santos in a crucifix before losing the position and getting swept underneath. Gomes throws up his legs, threatening with an armbar, so Santos stands to kick at his opponent’s legs and land punches to the gut. Gomes scrambles up and the middleweights fight on the fence, with Santos on the outside, scoring with punches while keeping Gomes pinned.
Santos looks for another takedown early in round two, but Gomes stifles this one and catches Santos kneeling. After four or five hard punches, Santos rolls Gomes over and postures up to drop shots from half guard. Gomes pops up, still pressed against the cage and now trickling blood from his forehead. Two minutes into the round, Gomes catches a knee to the cup in the clinch and takes a few seconds to recover. Santos catches a kick and shoves Gomes to the ground, but Gomes stands right back up to land a double-leg takedown, putting Santos on his seat near the fence. The kneeling Santos looks suddenly exhausted as he absorbs heavy right hands. Gomes tries a rear-naked choke, gets scraped off and switches to an arm-triangle choke which Santos is forced to withstand for the final 30 seconds of the round.
The fight goes to a third round, where both men appear hesitant to engage in the opening 90 seconds. Santos finally gets busy with a few leg kicks, a jab and a left hook that prompts Gomes to shoot for a takedown. Gomes plows Santos down to the mat and spends a minute working to keep him there. Santos eventually pulls his leg free and stands to hold Gomes on the fence. A few short knees to Gomes’ legs are not enough action for the referee, who separates the fighters with 45 seconds remaining. Santos finishes the fight shooting against the fence.
When the final horn sounds, Gomes’ teammates believe their man has the fight in the bag. They are correct, and “Wagnao” advances to the semifinals with a split-decision victory over Santos, putting Team Silva up 1-0 over Team Sonnen.