Slight change in the opening credits from season past — it’s almost all fight footage. Very little from the gym. It’s as if they’re sending a message that the fights this season are going to be as impressive as we saw last week.
Rare bit of trivia: The house is 15,000 square feet.
“We ate and ate and ate and ate,” they say of their early time in the house. John Dodson is manning the grill.
Draft day — we see Miller’s rankings. Dodson (bantamweight) and Diego Brandao (featherweight) are No. 1.
The coin toss goes awry when “we have a roller,” in Dana White’s words. Bisping wins and opts to take the first pick rather than first fight. That suits Mayhem, who’d rather have the first fight.
In a change from years past, they draft each weight class separately. Bantamweights first:
Bisping: Louis “Green Hair” Gaudinot
Miller: John Dodson
Bisping: TJ Dillashaw
Miller: Johnny Bedford
Bisping: John Albert
Miller: Dustin “Sterling in the House!” Pague
Bisping: Josh Ferguson
Miller: Roland Delorme
Wait, seriously? Delorme, who looked like a jiu-jitsu monster in the prelim fights, went last?
“We tried to pick the guys who had skill sets most evenly matched with my coaching,” Miller says. And he may have lucked out with Delorme.
Bisping: Diego Brandao
Miller: Dennis Bermudez
Bisping: Akira Corassani
Miller: Bryan Caraway
Bisping: Marcus Brimage
Miller: Dustin Neace
Bisping: Stephen Bass
Miller: Steven Siler
Bisping says he got his first through fourth picks, while Mayhem picked eight through five. Bisping isn’t enough of an idiot to have Bermudez and Caraway in his bottom four, so he’s probably just building his team’s confidence.
Trash talk #1: Miller says some guys on Bisping’s team look unhappy. Bisping confessional: Why wouldn’t they be happy? I won The Ultimate Fighter. He’s a “Strikeforce reject.”
Mayhem seems to be a fully engaged coach, entertaining and informative. Siler bangs up his nose and gets a bandage wrapped around his face. “Don’t worry,” Miller teases. “You can’t feel as dumb as you look right now.”
Bisping’s first session is “very technical,” Brimage says. Bisping’s assistants seem to be taking a greater role than Mayhem’s, though they could be a trick of editing.
A car screeches up to the house. It’s Mayhem with some “compression suits” that Lance Armstrong supposedly uses. Dodson describes it as getting his blood pressure taken all over. They supposedly help recovery.
Fight announcement, brought to you by Dodge. Mayhem sends out Caraway and his tons of experience (13 submission wins in 20 fights) against Brimage and his tons of confidence.
After the ad break — want a technical look at weight-cutting? Bisping teaches Brimage his method.
Mayhem, meanwhile, says Caraway is his own worst enemy. Bit of a head case or something. Then he and his team take the tires they flip in their workouts and move them into Team Bisping’s dressing room, rigging the last one to block the door.
Dana White says Brimage has a huge advantage on the feet. If it hits the ground, “who knows,” he says. We know, Dana. Caraway by submission.
Akira leads an Army-style chant at the weigh-ins. “Darkness gonna knock you out / big mistake to call him out.” The rest is more profane. “At first it was cute, but then they personally attacked me,” Caraway says later.
Bisping discovers the tires and destroys one of the UFC Training Center’s ever-flimsy doors. They’re like the boards the 4-year-olds break to get orange belts in karate.
Ad break. Apparently, I’d be more of a man if I drank Miller Lite. Spike has yet to figure out that I’m secure in my masculinity. Or at least too old for such nonsense.
Steve Mazzagatti is our ref, and we’re off. It’s 10:43, so I’m guessing a second-round stoppage. Within 25 seconds, Caraway has a takedown. Then into half-guard. He punches Brimage with unobstructed lefts. At the 3:45 mark, Caraway gets his back. Then both hooks. They move to doubles luge position, very bad for Brimage, who just flings punches back in Caraway’s general direction while resigning himself to spending three minutes defending a rear naked choke. It does seem to be taking Caraway a lonnnng time to get it. But with 1:20 left, he gets a good attempt. Brimage manages to pull his hand off. They roll — Brimage is turtled, and Caraway still has both hooks in. But Brimage is going to surive the round.
Caraway looks tired and perhaps ready to suffer the upset. Or not, since he gets another takedown 30 seconds into the second. They move quickly to doubles luge position. How does Caraway get those hooks in so quickly? But Brimage escapes this time. Caraway lands a knee, but then Brimage lands a hard one to stuff a takedown attempt. Caraway gets the takedown but can’t hold it. He lies on his back to entice Brimage down. Marcus is no fool, but he wastes some time kicking at Caraway’s legs before taking Bisping’s (and Mazzagatti’s) advice to back up and force him up. Caraway shoots again, and he again gets Brimage’s back. This time, Brimage offers a little less defense, and Caraway gets the rear naked choke. Tap.
Single strangest comment Dana White has ever uttered on this show: If you go by damage, you have to give Brimage that first round. What? You spend 4:45 in someone’s body triangle fending off a choke, and you win the round? No.
Better comment: “He fought a great fight against a guy who could knock you out.”
Bisping’s comments consist mostly of “stupid.” Bisping isn’t a bad TUF coach — he outfoxed Dan Henderson pretty well — but he’s at a loss here. Maybe picking the first fight rather than first fighter really is the key.
Next week: It appears Brimage gets pissed off in training and Bisping has to step in. And someone plays a prank on Akira, who responds by saying he can land a one-punch knockout. Is that any way to settle our differences?