The all-welterweight cast of The Ultimate Fighter 16 entered their temporary home for the first time in this episode. The fighters picked rooms and inspected the house. A Harley-Davidson motorcycle is displayed in the home as an added incentive to win. The kitchen is noticeably packed with alcohol which will no doubt play a part in dramatic, in-house confrontations to come. It wasn’t long before the friction began.
Matt Secor made a comment about the color of Julian Lane’s pink mowhawk and the two exchanged a few words of annoyance towards each other in the confessional interviews. This foreshadowed more confrontations between the two, and also how Lane may be an early favorite as the one who will stir the pot the most in the house.
The training sessions began with Shane Carwin’s team. He explains his approach to training and his credentials of holding two degree’s in engineering. “I pursue things both academically and athletically” Carwin explained. Carwin brought coach Trevor Wittman and fighters Nate Marquardt and Pat Barry for his teams’ first training session.
Roy Nelson’s training session was shown next and the differences in the coaches’ personality and work ethic are clear. Even a few of the fighters from Nelson’s team admit they train harder outside of Nelson’s plans for them. To Nelson’s credit he explained the relaxed pace for his guys was to gauge their skill level and not get injured by going hard in the gym. “My thing is to sweep the first day’s fight. After that I already know we’re in the finale. It doesn’t matter” Nelson explained.
Nelson won the coin toss in the previous episode and picked the first fight. Team Carwin fighter Neil Magny had a birthday on the show and Nelson decided to gift him with being the first fighter picked to fight. Nelson chose jiu-jitsu coach Cameron Diffley to represent his team.
Back at the house, Secor and Lane bicker at one another again. Lane criticized Secor for looking so beat up from his fight to get into the house and they loudly argued in the kitchen. They shared an awkward situation in not getting along because they share the same room and sleep next to each other.
Team Carwin fighter (and blogger for The MMA Corner) Bristol Marunde echoed Dana White’s sentiment about Nelson’s appearance, calling his look “sloppy.” He went on to criticize Nelson’s work ethic in the same light. It seemed Carwin’s serious approach to fighting was rubbing off on his guys.
When night fell on the house it was Lane who kicked off the house hi-jinks. He positioned a plastic container of flour on top of the front door for an unsuspecting member of Team Carwin. Mike Ricci was the first to enter and was doused in the white powder. The event happened in good fun and nobody seemed angered by it, with most of the house sharing a laugh.
The next day it was time for Magny and Diffley to square off in the first fight since the moving into the TUF house.
In the opening Magny walked Diffley down with punches for the first minute. Diffley backpedaled throwing single punches, but was eating more shots from his opponent. Diffley threw a kick which Magny caught and used it as an opportunity to pull guard. Magny did not take the bait however, and decided to back away and keep the fight standing. After a few attempts, Diffley shot in for a takedown and dragged Magney into his guard. He took hold of a leg and threatened with a kneebar and heel-hook but Magny stayed busy defending. Diffley held top position for the last minute of the round but could not make anything happen.
The second round saw Magny hit Diffley with a crisp one-two combination and Diffley returned to pulling guard on his opponent. The fight found the feet again and Diffley became more aggressive. Magny moved backwards and landed clean punches against the Team Nelson member, who had no answer for his opponent’s striking. Diffley scored with a takedown with a minute-and-a-half left but Magny defended and found his way back up. He continued to pick Diffley apart with striking. The fight was competitive but the judges saw enough to make a decision. Magny won the stand-up and actively defended Diffley’s attempts to win the fight on the ground. He took the unanimous decision.
With that, Carwin’s team moved into the early lead. Dana White summed it up with “Absolute easy win for Carwin. Nelson picked the first fight and he blew it.”
Photo: Neil Magny (R) battles Cameron Diffley (Al Powers/Zuffa, LLC)