The final week of elimination fights marked the third episode of Bellator’s Fight Master series. There were five spots left to take on the show with limited spots on the four coaches teams.

Heading into the episode, Greg Jackson had two spots left, the most of the four coaches. His two team members were Eric Bradley and Tim Welch. Coach Joe Warren’s team had Eric Scallan, Evan Cutts and Jason Norwood. Coach Frank Shamrock possessed Chris Lozano, Nick Barnes and Mike DuBois. Lastly, Randy Couture’s team consisted of Cristiano Souza, Cole Williams and A.J. Matthews.

The first fight of the episode came between Ismael Gonzalez and Marcus Aurelio (not to be confused with Pride and UFC veteran Marcus Aurelio). Aurelio showed off his world-class capoeira early on by throwing powerful, unorthodox kicks and using quick movement. However, it was a side kick to the body by Gonzalez that crippled Aurelio and earned the stoppage with some follow-up punches.

Randy Couture was very complimentary of his standup, but was unsure of Gonzalez due to them not seeing his ground game. Joe Warren campaigned based on the fact he needs wrestling (which Greg Jackson concurred with). Frank Shamrock claimed Gonzalez could win the tournament under his guidance. In the end, Ismael became the final member of Joe Warren’s camp, meaning the remaining fighters could no longer choose him as their coach.

The next bout was between Andy Uhrich and Dom O’Grady. In a first-round montage, O’Grady lit Uhrich up with his boxing, causing a cut. Uhrich got a takedown, though, taking O’Grady’s back to end the round. In the second round, O’Grady dropped Uhrich in the beginning of the round. Again, Uhrich got O’Grady down til the end of the round. Uhrich ended up taking a unanimous decision in a tough fight.

The cut over his eye seemed to be a concern, as the athletic commission could place a medical suspension on Uhrich. Jimmy Smith unfortunately informed Uhrich that was the case, as the cut caused him to earn said suspension. He was not allowed to continue in the competition. Nothing was stated as to who would replace Uhrich at that point.

Up next was a bout between Artenas Young and Bryan Travers. In a first-round montage, Young came out aggressive and looked to knock Travers’ head off. In the second, Young looked tired from the busy first round and Travers seemed more fresh. In the third round, Young was considerably slower, while Travers picked up the pace. When it was all said and done, Travers took a unanimous nod.

Travers wanted to know what coaches availability would be, to which Shamrock said he was the most available of everyone. Greg Jackson suggested Travers choose Shamrock, as he is the best coach for Travers’ skill set. In the end, Travers ignored Jackson’s recommendation to go to Shamrock’s team and went with the Albuquerque-based coach’s camp.

Next up was Gareth Joseph against Mike Bronzoulis. Bronzoulis showed great balance and takedown defense to keep Joseph standing. Joseph got a quick takedown and held him against the cage a bit in a close round. In the second. Bronzoulis tagged Joseph several times, as well as controlled him against the cage. Bronzoulis took the unanimous decision in a close fight.

Frank Shamrock did not want Bronzoulis and tried to push him over to Randy Couture’s team. Couture liked his style of fighting, since he did a lot of clinch work in his career. Greg Jackson also voiced that Bronzoulis should take a wrestling-based team (Couture’s team). With that, Bronzoulis did take Couture’s camp and became the last member of his team.

The final fight of the opening round was long-time UFC veteran Joe Riggs and Frank Carrillo. Before the fight, Carrillo hurt his shoulder, so the fight was called off. Bjorn Rebney had to find a replacement that could be medically cleared. Rob Mills, who had been eliminated from a first-round submission and taken little damage, was the first person to be mentioned, and the athletic commission said that would work.

Riggs measured Mills up for the first minute before slamming him with a couple of knees to the head. He then followed Mills to the ground and was methodical in his grappling approach. Mills used a guillotine to try and stand, but Riggs actually moved deeper into side control. Riggs used a kimura attempt to get Mills’ back. After a failed armbar attempt, Mills ended up on top. After a scramble, Riggs tapped Mills with a heel hook in the first round.

Greg Jackson says that they have always wanted to work together, so this may be perfect for Riggs to join him now. Frank Shamrock tried to sell himself while saying that Riggs needs to get his head together both inside and outside the cage. With no surprise, Riggs choose Jackson to become the final member of his team.

That ended the episode, leaving Frank Shamrock without a final fighter (do to Uhrich’s medical suspension). Next week, the fighters move into the house and begin their training with their new coaches.

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.