Here we are, the start of another season of "The Ultimate Fighter." This has been the most pre-hyped season in quite a while. Let's jump in and see if it lives up to the hype.
Dana White starts the show by saying that this is the most exciting time in the history of the UFC for heavyweights. Before long, we get some trash-talking between Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Rashad Evans, and Rampage is already mugging for the cameras. They are interrupted by a parade of behemoths, as the heavyweights come wakling in.
As we saw in the preview, Kimbo Slice walks in after everybody else, and after Dana White gave him an introduction. Kimbo seems to not want to draw attention to himself, while Roy Nelson seems disappointed that he is not the biggest name in the room.
Before the fighter evaluations even begin, Rampage tells Kimbo that he will be picking him. Rashad has no problem with that. Rashad has legendary coach Greg Jackson helping him, and they are both keeping an eye on James McSweeney and Brendan Schaub, fighters who both train at Jackson's.
'Shake those things! Dance!'
When evaluating Nelson, Jackson can't help but notice his belly, and the, ahem, chest of Darrill Schoonover. Rampage uses a different word, though. Rampage sees that he has his work cut out for him with Kimbo, as his ground game is just ugly.
Rashad wins the coin toss for the first pick, and goes with his teammate James McSweeney. Rampage was hoping to win the coin toss so that he could steal away McSweeney. It doesn't work out, so he calls out for, "My boy! Kimbo Slice." This is a good place to point out that Kimbo Slice looks anything like a boy. In fact, he looks downright old. The teams shake out to be:
Team Rashad: James McSweeney, Brendan Schaub, Jon Madsen, Roy "Big Country" Nelson, Darrill Schoonover, Matt Mitrione and Mike Wessel.
Team Rampage: Kimbo Slice, Abe Wagner, Demico Rogers, Wes Sims -- who is pissed he didn't get picked earlier -- Scott Junk, Wes Shivers, Marcus Jones and Zak Jensen.
Jensen was the last guy picked, and of course, Rampage had to make a joke about him being the last kid picked, asking if he could pick a camera man over Jensen. Getting to the house, the main thing the guys talk about is Kimbo. For his part, Kimbo is well-aware of the target on his back.
At Rampage's first practice, Marcus Jones has a tough time keeping up with everyone else, but he says that he would have to be killed to quit.
The first fight is Jon Madsen vs. Abe Wagner. Rashad is quite happy about the match-up since Madsen is a good wrestler while Wagner has no ground game. Sims calls Abe the toughest computer geek that he has ever met. Considering that Wes has been living under I-55, how many computer geeks does he know?
Before the fight, as he predicted, Wagner pukes. He is confident in his jiu-jitsu. What he is not confident in is trash talking. "I don't really have a message for him," Wagner says.
Abe Wagner (Team Rampage) vs. Jon Madsen (Team Rashad)
Round one: Madsen goes in with an early takedown and lands some punches from on top. He pushes Wagner's face down, preventing Wagner from moving at all. Madsen lands some elbows, opening up Wagner's face and creating a sea of blood under his head. Rampage yells, "You've gotta do something, Abe." Great advice, 'Page. When Abe moves, more blood pours out, and the sea of blood turns into an ocean.
Between rounds, Stitch, the cut man, works a miracle in cleaning up Abe's face. His white towel turns red with Abe's blood.
Round two: This round starts with another immediate takedown from Madsen. After they don't do anything on the ground, referee Steve Mazzagatti stands them up. Madsen goes for another quick takedown, and opens up Abe's face again. Abe tries for a guillotine, but they are so slippery that Madsen pops his head right out. Rashad yells to Madsen to finish the fight, prompting him to try to land a few more punches.
Ouch, 20-16, 20-17, 20-17 unanimous decision for Jon Madsen. Rampage blames himself for the bad matchmaking. They show a close-up of his cut, and it's nothing short of gruesome. What a way to start the season!