Bellator’s Fight Master returned Wednesday night with its sophomore effort, continuing the process of qualifying round fights and fighter selection of coaches/teams. By the end of the first episode, five fighters had won their fights and chosen their destiny by picking a coach to work with for the rest of the season. In episode two, the number of fighters to take that step would increase.

Entering the episode, Team Shamrock has the most fighters so far, with Chris Lozano and Nick Barnes both chosing Frank Shamrock as their coach. Greg Jackson’s team picked up Tim Welch, Team Couture got A.J. Matthews and Team Warren acquired Eric Scallan. Each coach will have four fighters on their team, and the open spots on each team will begin to dwindle down as we go along.

The show opened with a bout between Mike DuBois and Rob Mills. DuBois is a repo man outside of the cage and Mills is a counter-terrorist agent from the United Kingdom.

Mills had good power on the couple of strikes he threw, then slapped on a guillotine when DuBois shot for a takedown. DuBois escaped and threw some solid ground-and-pound. After a scramble, DuBois secured a guillotine choke of his own to earn his way onto the show.

Shamrock lobbied hard for DuBois, despite strong interest from Randy Couture and Jackson. DuBois took the bait and became the third member of Team Shamrock, joining Lozano and Barnes.

The next bout featured Tom Gallicchio and Eric Bradley. Bradley has actually trained with Couture before, and Couture was surprised when Bradley walked through the door and into the cage. Obviously, “The Natural” was instantly interested, should Bradley come away with the win.

The show opted for a montage of the first round, where Bradley used a takedown to get Gallicchio to the mat. After some nifty grappling from both men, the round ended on the feet with Bradley looking like the victor. The second round was more of the same, with Bradley controlling the fight with wrestling and decent combinations when they were on the feet. Bradley took a unanimous decision after two rounds, and most of the coaches were impressed.

Going into the pick, Bradley admitted he was already leaning towards Couture. Couture gave Bradley advice about his submission grappling, saying his camp probably isn’t the best to pick. Jackson seemed like he wanted Bradley, whereas Shamrock was more reserved in pursuing Bradley. Joe Warren liked Bradley because he was a fellow collegiate wrestler, and Warren sold himself pretty well. But in the end, Bradley went with Jackson.

The next fight saw Evan Cutts take on Brent Nakamura. Cutts is most famous for his victory over Reagan Penn, the brother of UFC legend B.J. Penn.

Nakamura looked to be the better striker early on, but Cutts hit him with a solid knee that backed him off a bit. After an exchange, Cutts took Nakamura’s back easily and slapped on a nasty rear-naked choke. The coaches were complimentary on his skills.

Shamrock did not seem interested in Cutts, though, trying to tell him to pick Jackson as his coach. Jackson also wasn’t completely sold on him. Warren and Couture had the most interest when talking to Cutts. When all was said and done, Cutts chose to take his talents to Warren’s squad.

Next up, a pair of men who shared the same last name, but no relation, squared off when Joe Williams took on Cole Williams. A montage of the fight was shown with coach’s commentary. Joe was the more aggressive of the two and pushed most of the action. Warren commented that the opening frame was the closest round so far. Cole opened up more in the second round with his strikes, while Joe fished for more takedowns. A third overtime round was needed for this fight. Cole continued to be the better striker, dropping Joe with a right hand. However, Joe recovered and took Cole down, but Cole would get back to his feet. In a very close fight, Cole Williams walked away the victor.

Warren pitched hard for Cole, as did Couture with his “we’re here to win” pitch. Again, Shamrock told Williams to go over to Jackson’s camp, to which Jackson said he would love to have him. By this point it’s clear that every time Shamrock doesn’t want a guy, he tells the fighter to go to Jackson’s camp. Williams ended up choosing Couture, much to Warren’s dismay.

The next bout was between Jacob Ortiz and Jason Norwood. In another montage, we saw Norwood use takedowns and power punches to stifle Ortiz in a dominant first round. In the second round, Ortiz came back, but Norwood was relentless. Ortiz looked for a guillotine choke and spent some time with top control, but Norwood’s cardio and power carried him to a unanimous decision.

All of the coaches were very impressed with Norwood due to his explosiveness and relentlessness. Warren jumped early to get him. Couture, not sure if he was the right fit, was more general with his pitch. Even Jackson stated that Warren may be the best fit for Norwood. However, Shamrock also really wanted him. Norwood wanted to know how religious each guy was, which hurt Warren’s stock because he didn’t care much for it either way. That didn’t matter, however, as Norwood still chose Warren.

The last bout of the night was between teammates Steve Montgomery and Cristiano Souza. Souza is from Brazil, but both men trained at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla. Souza threw some nasty kicks and then nailed Montgomery with some brutal punches. Not long after he connected, the ref stepped in as Souza pounded his defenseless opponent.

Every coach was gunning for Souza. Warren campaigned hard, pushing his wrestling to make him the complete fighter. Jackson sold himself as the maker of champions. Couture echoed the other coaches, while Shamrock claimed Souza had the best chance to win under his tutelage. Souza eventually went with Couture, his hero as an MMA fighter.

And with that, six more fighters have qualified for the next round. With 11 fights in the books, there are five bouts left in the elimination round. Surprisingly, Team Jackson has the most spots left for the remaining five winners.

Photo: Fight Master Logo (Spike.com)

About The Author

Riley Kontek
Staff Writer

Riley Kontek is a Chicago-land native that has been an addict of mixed martial arts since the first Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz encounter. He has been writing on MMA for the last year and is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. In addition to that, he used to host a weekly radio show on MMA. Though he has no formal training in mixed martial arts, Riley is a master in the art of hockey fighting.