Season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter has been hyped and discussed by MMA fans both hardcore and casual, and will likely be the most popular season ever with a much more experienced cast, coupled with the drawing power of Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson.
In the opening scenes of Episode 1, viewers are introduced to the tension that has been brewing between opposing coaches and rivals Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Rashad Evans. The trash talk begins immediately with both guys breaking down each other’s past losses, and predicting what will take place when they finally face off to settle their own score.
As the coaches continue their banter, the Heavyweights begin to appear through the doorway into the training center, and both coaches comment about the size of the “giants” that will make up the cast.
With the TUF contestants now in the training center, Rampage starts back in on Rashad talking about the Machida fight, with Dana quickly intervening to introduce the coaches and to reveal the 16th cast member.
Dana White brings in the controversial Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson much to the surprise of the other fighters in the center.
“Rampage” quickly claims Kimbo for his team, eliciting a quick “[expletive] him” from Brendan Schaub.
Former IFL champion Roy Nelson is visibly irritated as “Kimbo is announced, thinking that HE was the big announcement that Dana White would be announcing.
Dana introduces the coaches, and explains that their are no elimination bouts to make it into the house, and that the training will begin immediately with the coaches evaluating, followed by the teams being selected.
The fighters gear up for evaluations, and Coach Evans introduces his main assistant coach and expert strategist, Greg Jackson. Evans reveals that he is looking for guys that are mentally tough and admits that his focus will be on his “Team Jackson” teammates and cast members, Brendan Schaub and James McSweeney.
“Rampage” offers up a different philosophy for evaluating his team saying, “Bags don’t hit back,” and gets to the full contact sparring for his evaluations.
“We’ve decided to make the guys spar each other, and wrestle live,” said Jackson, “basically pretty much the stuff that they are really going to be doing.”
Viewers now get a glimpse of “Kimbo” in training starting with his stand up. The footage proves what most already know about “Kimbo’s” ground game, but Coach Jackson touts his take down defense during evaluations.
The coaches and their assistants pour over their notes in order to make their selections, and Dana is out quickly for the coin toss.
Coach Evans wins the toss and immediately picks his teammate James McSweeney.
True to his word Coach Jackson picks “Kimbo” with his first selection.
Rashad counters with his other team mate Brendan Schaub, and then selects PROMMA.INFO blogger Justin Wren.
When all was said and done, this is how the teams ended up:
Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson
Back at the training center, Coach Evans reflects on his own time on the show where his UFC career started back on Season 2, and how he is now back as a coach, replying that “now the circle is complete.”
Coach “Rampage” will be selecting the first fight, but first put his team through some “cardio” tests to see where his guys were cardio wise.
“Rampage” announces that the first fight will be between Team Rashad fighter John Madsen and Team “Rampage” fighter Abe Wagner.
The size difference is obvious as the two face off, but Rashad quickly “thanks” “Rampage” for matching up a guy with no ground game against the much smaller Madsen who has a strong wrestling background.
Wagner is fairly certain that Madsen will immediately shoot for a take down, and that his jiu jitsu is good enough to keep him out of trouble on the ground.
It’s fight time!!
A touch of gloves to start.
Madsen throws a left hand, changes levels, and gets the take down just as scripted.
Madsen postures up for some ground and pound with punches and grinding elbows, with Wagner looking to work a high full guard.
Wagner is now controlling Madsen’s posture for the time being with nice head control. Coach Rashad is heard from the corner calling for body shots.
Madsen is listening to his corner now, delivering body shots, and alternating with punches to the head of Wagner.
“Rampage” and Tiki can be heard yelling to “sweep or get up” from their corner. Wagner takes a big elbow and is now spurting blood onto the canvas.
Wagner is eating big elbows now and the blood is literally pouring onto the canvas in puddles.
Wagner looks to sweep but Madsen controls his body, forcing him back to the mat as the blood continues to flow.
This is easily the bloodiest fight ever on “TUF”. Dana White agrees, and now it’s time for Round 2 of the first elimination bout of season 10.
Despite the loss of blood, Wagner survives the first round and makes his way back to his corner.
Wagner DOES make it out for the 2nd round, and quickly finds himself on his back again after Madsen gets the easy take down.
Within seconds the bleeding begins again, and after a stall in the action, the referee stands them back up.
More of the same after the re-start with Madsen taking the fight to the ground and pounding on Wagner.
Once again the fight is stood back up, and once again Madsen gets an uncontested take down. Madsen advances to half guard now and is visibly tired. Madsen isn’t doing much offensively, but at the same time, Wagner isn’t doing anything to reverse or improve his own position.
After another stand up, and another take down, the fight ends as a one-sided affair and the official announcement is made:
John Madsen defeats Abe Wagner via unanimous decision (20-16, 20-17, 20-17)
Stay tuned to PRO MMA (promma.info) every Wednesday night for The Ultimate Fighter 10: Heavyweights, re-caps, news and stories. Also follow TUF 10 fighter and PRO MMA blogger Justin Wren here, as he blogs about his experience on the show every week.
by Denny Hodge