The Ultimate Fighter Season 16 Episode 1 - Team Carwin vs. Team Nelson - Recap
The moment we've all been waiting for has finally arrived, as The Ultimate Fighter Season 16 premiere airs on FX! This time, it's former UFC Heavyweight champion Shane Carwin squaring off against The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 winner Roy "Big Country" Nelson, two captains battling to lead their team of young Welterweights to victory.
Host Dana White stands firmly in the center of the octagon, as all 32 contenders make their way down the aisle, an experience that would be chilling to even the toughest of fighters. After all, this is the moment they've all been waiting for. "You're gonna find out who you really are.", says White as he reminds the contenders of exactly what is at stake. Not only will the 16 contender's who prove victorious have a shot at a 6-figure UFC contract, but they will also be fighting to win a custom built Harley Davidson.
The captain's take the octagon, as the surprised and excited fighters watch on. Already, Roy Nelson and Dana White are at a disagreement, as Roy tell's contender's his expectations... put quite simply... make it into the house. Win your match. Host Dana White disagree's letting contenders know that he wants to be impressed and see some good fights. This is their chance to make a name for themselves. Their opportunity to become champions.
As we head into the elimination rounds, the arena is certainly not lacking in intensity. Two determined captains and three judges watch on as the first two of 32 Ultimate Fighter's battle their way into the top 16 spots. This bout, it's Kevin Nowaczyk facing Dom Waters. The fighters don't waste any time as they charge each toward each other, both clearly motivated to give it their all and impress the judges. This fight will be a short one, however, as Dom Water's hit's Kevin with a huge uppercut and finishes the round with a knockout only twenty-five seconds in.
As the show progresses, we see several deadly fighter's head their way to victory with some nasty submission maneuvers. The drive in every fighter is clear, but in each and every match only one can come out on top. We see a few surprising comebacks, total dominations, and some all around great fights. One noteworthy fight however is the match between Frank Camacho and Neil Magny. This three round bout started with what would seem to be Frank Camacho dominating the fight and ending it early, however the incredibly tough and highly skilled Neil Magny refused to give up, and fought his way to victory by landing a barrage of vicious blows that left Camacho battered and bloodied. In the end, the referee called the fight as Magny ground pounded the back of the head of Camacho. Dana and the crew could not conceal their excitement, or their fondness of this promising contender.
When you fight in the UFC you do it not only for yourself, but for honor, for your families, for a cause. One contender, Colton Smith upset the judges with his lack of respect for his opponent as he used his attempt to touch gloves to capitalize and take him to the ground. "What a douche!", Roy Nelson exclaims. The judges seemed to forget, however, as the fight went on for a couple of long drawn out rounds, before Colton began to dominate on the ground striking relentlessly until he was declared the winner.
Wrestling back and fourth seems to be the trend throughout this episode. It could be that the contenders are trying too hard to hold onto what could be the most rewarding victory of their careers, and don't want to leave themselves open to loss, or it could simply be that the hype and excitement prior to their fights has taken it's toll and caused our fighter's to enter the octagon tired and eager. Either way, the last fight of the night is a refresher for everyone as Leo Kuntz takes on Sam Alvey, a fighter who grabbed the judges attention due to his inability to stop smiling as he enters the octagon. A fight that looked like it would turn into a slug-fest ended after a whopping 44 seconds due to a huge right hand delivered to the chin of Kuntz that had Carwin out of his seat.
"Remember how I told you this was the most important fight of your life?", asks White. "I'm sorry but I lied to ya. In this business every fight is the most important fight of your life." These words will set the tone for the rest of the season, as our contenders are faced with what will surely be the largest fence they've ever climbed. This will not be an easy feat, and the long road of The Ultimate Fighter has only just begun.
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