The Ultimate Fighter: American Top Team vs. Blackzilians or The Ultimate Fighter 21 will be the first time the show will be a gym vs. gym format. The twist is that each gym owner will not know whom the other gym owner has picked to fight until the weigh-ins. This is the first time the show has ever left Las Vegas and is now taking place in Miami. All fights are being held at welterweight, 170 pounds.

Dan Lambert is the owner of American Top Team.

Glenn Robinson is the owner of Blackzilians.

They do not like each other, plain and simple.

The first episode started out explaining the rivalry between American Top Team and Blackzilians. Lambert says that Robinson just buys his fighters and sets the tone for the season.

Dana White then explained the point system they will be using in this season:

25 points for the first four fights
50 points for the next four
100 points for the last four

The team with the most points at the end of the twelve fights will win $200,000. Following those 12 bouts, the finale will award the winning team $300,000. The fighter the team chooses to represent their team has to have fought twice in the show to fight in the finale.

The rosters were then announced:

American Top Team: Marcelo Alfaya, Steve Carl, Nathan Coy, Michael Graves, Hayder Hassan, Sabah Homasi, Uros Jurisic, Steve Montgomery.

Blackzilians: Valdir Araujo, Carrington Banks, Luiz Buscape, Jason Jackson, Vicente Luque, Andrews Nakahara, Felipe Portela, Kamarudeen Usman.

“I hate this man, He is garbage.” – Lambert on Robinson

The fighters then moved into a huge mansion on the water. Dana White gathered the teams together and explained the season. Dana White delivered a speech that had me ready to fly to Miami to fight for one of the teams, and expressed how this season is all about the team. Dana then flipped a coin for a home gym advantage; the Blackzilians won the coin toss and got home gym advantage for the first fight.

“Gentleman, welcome to the Ultimate Fighter.” –Dana White

The episode took an awesome turn and showed the Blackzilians cheering on Anthony Johnson fighting Alexander Gustafsson. It was actually a really cool moment to see Blackzilians cheering on their teammate.

American Top Team chooses Michael Graves to fight first and represent their gym. Graves is 4-0 in his career and won his last fight at Titan Fighting Championship 31 by submission (rear-naked choke). Graves has finished all four of his opponents and is regarded as the best fighter American Top Team has for the show.

The Blackzilians chose Kamarudeen Usman to fight first and represent their gym. Usman is 5-1 in his career andhas won all five of his fights by TKO. The Blackzilians feel confident that he can break any of the fighters American Top Team throws out at them.

Weigh-ins seemed to be a very intense situation and the teams got together before.

Both teams announced whom they have chosen to fight and they stepped on the scale. Graves weighed in at 170 and Usman also weighed in at 170. Both teams had tons of confidence in their respective fighter and the fight was set: Graves vs. Usman.

Both fighters were preparing for one another and talked about the other fighter. They both talked about what they have to do to win the fight and it really set the mood for the first fight of the season. The atmosphere of the fight looked awesome and Dana White talked about how it was the classic wrestler vs. striker.

Round 1:

Usman started very active with his strikes and then took Graves down early. Graves used some nifty moves to get up, though, and then started throwing some solid strikes. Usman once again took Graves down to secure his second takedown of the fight. Graves again got up, though, and Usman did not do any damage on the ground. Graves started to show he was the better striker, but Usman looked surprisingly good throwing his hands. Usman easily took round one, but it was a really entertaining and energetic first round of the show.

Round 2:

Again, Usman showed that he could throw his hands and landed some pretty good shots early. Graves is clearly the better striker, but that did not stop Usman from showing he could stand with him. Usman took Graves down once again and looked to be controlling the fight. Graves got back up to his feet, but that was short-lived as Usman took him down once again. Usman did not do any damage and Graves got back up. Graves then utilized solid takedown defense and he got Usman’s back and things got intense. Both sides were screaming for their fighter. Graves looked like he was going to end the fight with a rear-naked choke, but then Usman threw him over his head and got in top position. It was a very impressive move and easily won Usman the round.

I wish the fight would have went three rounds because it got really good there at the end of the second, but it was obvious that Usman won both rounds. He surprisingly won by majority decision as one of the judges had the bout 19-19.

The Blackzilians won the first fight and kept home gym advantage.

If this episode showed anything, it showed that this season is going to be epic. This new format is awesome and the intensity is amazing. However, Dana White was not happy with the fight. He said that the fight frustrated him and set the tone for what he wanted in the second fight.

Next episode is April 29. See you then!

About The Author

Jeremy Klump
Interview Coordinator / Video Manager

Jeremy Klump is a Sport Media major at Ithaca College and has been writing about Mixed Martial Arts for over a year now. He interned at MVC Sports Management and AMA Fight Club. While interning at MVC and AMA, Jeremy found out that he had a true passion for writing about Mixed Martial Arts. He has interviewed and wrote articles on top UFC fighters while also having knowledge of regional fighters and the top new comers. He looks to grow as a writer and expand his knowledge of Mixed Martial Arts while being a proud member of The MMA Corner team.