One house, 16 fighters. It might not seem all that daunting, but each season, The Ultimate Fighter’s format takes a toll, both mentally and physically, on the fighters seeking to snag that six-figure contract. While we await for The Ultimate Fighter 19 to get into full swing, the third installment of the Brazilian version of the UFC’s landmark reality series continues to keep on rolling.

This week, on the seventh episode of the show, coaches Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen picked up where they left off last week, in a manner of speaking. On one hand, Silva selected the first two middleweight bouts of the season, as well as the first two heavyweight bouts. Therefore, it fit that Silva would select the third middleweight bout while seeking a fifth consecutive victory in the tournament, with Paulo Costa representing Team Wanderlei to face Márcio “Lyoto” Alexandre Jr.

On the other hand, Silva and Sonnen faced the consequences of their actions in the infamous brawl, with UFC President Dana White reminding both men to keep things on a professional level. In the same setting, White also requested for Team Wanderlei’s Muay Thai coach Andre “Dida” Amade, who landed a blow to the back of Sonnen’s head in last week’s brawl, to leave the show. Unfortunately, Amade was not the only person who had to leave the show this week.

Job Kleber suffered an injury in last week’s bout with Richardson Moreira, and subsequently, could not train with the team. Sonnen and his team advisor Hortencia delivered the bad news to Kleber that, per the rules of The Ultimate Fighter, Kleber had to leave the house. Though Kleber said his goodbyes, he did not leave without saying an inspiring and spirited few words to motivate his team to score their first win of the season.

At the weigh-ins, Team Wanderlei got itself some help in the form of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Costa himself felt starstruck at Rua’s presence, but knew he must keep it together and focus on the fight with “Lyoto.” Earlier in the show, Sonnen predicted that this battle would likely turn in the closest encounter in the competition so far. Only time would tell.

Middleweight Fight: Paulo Costa (Team Wanderlei) vs. Márcio “Lyoto” Alexandre Jr. (Team Sonnen)

Costa took control of the first round from the onset. “Lyoto” tried to  clinch early, but got taken down after eating a hard elbow, and despite getting up from a variety of shots, he found himself controlled on the ground by Costa. Costa remained active with submission attempts, though he couldn’t find the finish, but he still did enough to secure the round in his favor.

Round two worked better for “Lyoto”, primarily due to a more striking-based offense. Costa stuffed takedowns, but was unable to stop his foe from landing effective strikes throughout the round. As the round went on, Costa tried going on the offensive with takedowns, but Alexandre Jr. fended them off. The judges scored it one round apiece at the end of the second round, so the fight went on to the sudden-victory round.

“Sudden victory” began with both men fatigued, but Alexandre Jr. kept up his striking-based game plan. The 22-year-old Costa tried again for takedowns, but got denied at every turn. Alexandre Jr. ended the round on top after breaking down Costa. One of the judges scored the fight for Costa, while the other two judges scored the tilt for Alexandre Jr.

Márcio “Lyoto” Alexandre Jr. def. Paulo Costa by split decision

Despite Team Wanderlei’s first actual loss in the competition, Silva predicted that Costa will still make his way to achieving great things in the sport, as he is still very young. Additionally, Team Wanderlei received a chance to keep control of the competition by way of what was known as  the “Wrapped Up Challenge.” This challenge saw a total of four members of each team covered in plastic wrap with their arms pinned to their body. All four fighters had to find a way out of the wrap, get back to their feet, and ring the bell to win the challenge. Team Wanderlei got all four of their guys to their feet before even one of Team Sonnen’s men could escape the plastic wrap.

Though Team Wanderlei could not create a clean sweep in this tournament, Team Sonnen still cannot take over. Will all of that change next week, after Team Wanderlei goes to select the sixth fight in the competition? Find out next Sunday as The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 continues in search of future champions!

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.