Tonight marked the premier of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Lesnar vs. Team Dos Santos, the thirteenth season of the long running series. Brock Lesnar and Junior dos Santos both came in with a no nonsense take on coaching. After the intro, we were treated to the always expected pep talk from Dana White, where he urged the fighters to try and maintain the same level excitement over the weeks they spend in The Ultimate Fighter house. From there, the coaches evaluated the fighters, preparing to decide who they would pick to fight for their team. When the evaluation was through, Lesnar and Dos Santos met with Dana White, where White flipped a coin to decide who would get first pick. Lesnar opted to pick first fighter, rather than the first fight. Lesnar let the cameras know that even if they didn't get the cream of the crop with the picks, he'd "Make chicken salad out of chicken s@&!."
As we got a look at both team's first training session, bad news hit for team Lesnar's Myles Jury who had injured his knee during evaluations, and after an MRI, it was revealed that he had a 100% torn ACL, and would not be allowed to fight. After Jury saw his way out of the house, and Chuck O'Niel saw his way in, we were treated to more training and then the first fight announcement. Dos Santos sent his first pick in against Lesnar's last, with Shamar Bailey to face Nordin Asrih. Team Lesnar's Asrih is primarily a striker, and going up against the well rounded Shamar Bailey, the focus was on Asrih avoiding take downs and making Bailey pay. On paper though, Bailey greatly outmatched Asrih.
The fight went just as Team Dos Santos had expected. Bailey blanketed Asrih from bell to bell, landing sparse amounts of ground and pound from top position. Dana White summed up the bout as Bailey laying on top of Asrih for ten minutes, and then claimed that it wasn't the most exciting fight in the history of The Ultimate Fighter. That's an understatement. Lesnar then told his team that wrestling is powerful in mixed martial arts, sage advice from such a dominant wrestler. The ending highlight stayed true to TUF's past, showing angry fighters, acts of silliness, and Lesnar using his "Chicken salad..." line. Overall, not a very memorable premiere, and there's no "Will Kimbo return!?!?!" to keep viewers tuning in week after week. I'm interested to see what the ratings turn out to be, but I'm not confident they will be anything worth soiling ourselves over.
Myles JuryChuck O'Niel
Team Dos Santos: