The Ultimate Fighter: Season 12 – Episode 1: “Go For It”

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This season, 28 lightweights arrive to the UFC training center where Dana White introduces their coaches: UFC Welterweight Champ Georges St-Pierre and Season 1 TUF alum Josh Koscheck. Two of the most talented UFC fighters ever. They have fought once before, at which time GSP was victorious, and there is definitely no love lost between these two.

The premier opens with all 28 guys walking, in awe, into the training center. For them, this is just about as good as it gets. “It’s magic,” as one hopeful puts it. Dana introduces the coaches, and gives his usual “You better be here to fight” speech. He also mentions that the wildcard element will also be used again this season. The guys look as if they feel a lovely combination of terrified, excited and nauseous!

The next morning begins the first step of getting into the house.

Marc Stevens vs. TJ O’Brien
Within seconds, Stevens lands a huge overhand right that drops O’Brien. Stevens pounces and it’s over.

Stevens via TKO

Spencer Paige vs. Steve Magdaleno
Round 1: Big kick from Paige, but not much going on. Magdaleno then attacks with a couple kicks that drive Paige back. They exchange, Paige slips, but Magdaleno doesn’t take advantage. Several exchanges that leave both jockeying for control, and finally Paige gets Magdaleno on his back. Paige kicks him and punches repeatedly while down, and Magdaleno makes no effort to get up. Paige gets on top of Magdaleno, but Magdaleno rolls and ends up in control. The round ends with Magdaleno in Paige’s guard.

Round 2: Nice kick from Magdaleno, but Paige counters. They are both swinging for the fences and both taking a lot of abuse. Magdaleno takes Paige down by his leg and ends up with half mount. He tries to improve his position while also pounding his face. Paige works up the fence and reverses the position to get Magdaleno on his back. The round ends with Paige putting on a nice show of Ground-N-Pound.

Paige via Unanimous Decision

Nam Phan vs. Mike Budnik
Round 1: Big body kick from Budnik, but Phan is the aggressor even while taking leg kicks. Budnik then goes for and gets the takedown. They grapple and Budnik is chasing a submission. Back on their feet, Phan attempts a big head kick, but misses. Budnik goes for another takedown, but Phan is able to sprawl and defend. Against the cage, Budnik looks for a sweeping slam, but Phan stays on his feet. Instead, Budnik ends up on his back and Phan manages to get in nice shots to his face through his blocked arms. They get up momentarily and Budnik takes Phan down again. He looks for a choke, but Phan gets out and up. Back to standing, nice body kick from Budnik. Phan counters with a nasty body shot that rocks and drops Budnik. Phan pounces and finishes him.

Phan via TKO

(Winners in Italics)
#4. Brenton vs. Main — Back and forth fight that ended with Main submitting Brenton in an armbar.

#5. Weathers vs. Brookins — A wrestling tournament that goes to the second round, with Weathers being controlled by Brookins. Unanimous decision in favor of Brookins.

#6. Grear vs. Chivitchian — A grappling match, that showcased Chivitchian’s world-class Judo. (Eww, did not to see the repeated footage of Chivitchian puking. Thanks, Spike.)

#7. Lentz vs. Head — GSP already counted Lentz out, but Lentz proved him wrong by controlling the fight with fantastic GNP in both rounds (landing 14 unanswered blows), and topping it off with a Rear Naked Choke.

Paul Barrow vs. Alex Caceres
Barrow is the initial aggressor, trying to take Caceres down, but even in defense, Caceres controls the fight. Standing, Caceres kicks and slips but Barrow lets him up. Barrow gets Caceres against the cage for some dirty boxing. Instead Caceres gets Barrow nearly down. They return to the previous position and Caceres begins looking for submission, trying to get his legs around Barrow’s neck. He manages to mount Barrow’s back, and slowly works the hooks in for a RNC. Eventually gets the arm sunk under his neck and Barrow taps.

Caceres via Rear Naked Choke

#9. Garza vs. Johnson — Great standup and heavy hitting wins the fight for Johnson after 2 rounds.

#10. Wilkinson vs. Richman — Wilkinson fights his butt off with a nice ground game for the win.

#11. Duffy vs. Watson — Scrapper vs. Experience; Watson gets the fight to the ground and wins it with a RNC.

#12. Ambrose vs. Magakian — Not too often you see a kimura in a TUF premier, but it wasn’t enough for a win — Magakian via Unanimous Decision

Cody McKenzie vs. Amir Khillah
McKenzie strikes first with a big head kick, but catches air. Khillah immediately gets McKenzie down looking for an arm. They grapple a big, but Khillah doesn’t lose control until he gets McKenzie against the cage. McKenzie gets Khillah’s neck cranking and just keeps turning and squeezing until Khillah passes out.

McKenzie via Guillotine

Dane Sayers vs. Ariel Sexton
Round 1: Sayers comes out FLYING (literally) with a knee (though it doesn’t really land) and knocks Sexton back. Sexton tries to get up, but Sayers slams him back down. They get back up and start slugging. Sexton goes for the takedown, but Sayers defends. Again, they slug and both get tagged. These two are swinging HARD. A second flying knee from Sexton, and a second failure. Sexton ends up turtled with Sayers on his back, legs locked as the round ends.

Round 2: Both come out with several straight jabs, but Sexton gets the best of Sayers, tagging him several times. He then tries to take Sayers down, but they’re still standing. They exchange jabs and knees, but as they clinch, Sayers jumps on Sexton and gets the hooks for a standing choke. However, Sexton pulls out. Sayers then mounts Sexton’s back, this time sinking in the RNC. It’s not long before Sexton taps.

Sayers via Rear Naked Choke

So, folks, there you have it. There were definitely several impressive fights, and quite a few guys who looked like they have a lot of promise. Unfortunately, there are also a few guys who look like they are going to be the troublemakers of the house. It’s gonna be one of *those* seasons… just please don’t let there be a reincarnation of Junie Browning!

According to the previews, there are battles both in the house *and* in the cage — and not just between the fighters, but coaches as well. Let’s see who chooses whom next week!