The confidence that Team Vítor’s first victory brought is evident. Even though each fighter still has to make his own way and advance in the Ultimate Fighter Brasil competition, a good portion of the former UFC light heavyweight champion’s staff seemed to have a huge weight taken off their shoulders with the split decision victory of Godofredo Pepey over Wagner Galeto in last week’s episode. The pressure is now on the shoulders of the rival team, which, according to coach Wanderlei Silva, was expecting to take control of the action at this time.
Instead, Belfort’s team holds all the cards heading into this week’s bout. Much has been said that in the opening fight in the middleweight division, Vitor would put Cezar Mutante (his protege, according to Wanderlei 's team) to face Leonardo Macarrão - who still shows the visible signs of his previous fight in the qualifiers - or Francisco Massaranduba.
But looking at the vibe and excitement of Daniel Serafian, Team Vítor chooses to pick him. The man from São Paulo made his remarks to avoid a confrontation with Delson Pé De Chumbo, and he opens up to the possibility of facing Macarrão or Renee Forte.
At the time of the fight selection, the contrasts between the two coaches become even more visible, which should sharpen the rivalry leading up to their own rematch this summer. While Vítor tried to pass a good message to the opposing team, Wanderlei gave his thoughts and among them he said, "The guy asked to be boring, and entered three times in line ... So I leave the question which rules the world, ‘does the annoying person know he's annoying?’"
Vítor surprised the opposing team by choosing Renee, who stood waiting for Mutante, but instead received Daniel Serafian as an opponent.
In the house, Pé de Chumbo, one of the most experienced men in the competition, brings up the subject of being serious from now on. According to him, the ideal is to regulate the routine more and separate the teams in the rooms as well, since the teams are already defined. This decision divides opinions.
Without letting him pass unnoticed, here comes Gasparzinho, "the most discreet athlete of the house," who is still doing pranks with both teams. Some of the jokes were not well accepted, and even teammate Rodrigo Damm told him about the thin line between pranks and lack of respect.
The differences of the teams are not only in the color of their jerseys, but also in their pre-fight approach: Team Vítor relied on faith, while Team Wanderlei stepped on the gas when it came to fooling around. In addition, a special visit from the heavyweight champion, Junior "Cigano" dos Santos, gave a special excitement to both teams before the moment of truth.
A combination that ended with a low kick from Serafian was the first moment of action in the fight against Renee. A left hook followed by a straight right gave an answer, and both went to the fence. Renee pushed and came up with two more right punches, and Daniel wanted to get the Thai clinch, but ended up taking the fight to the ground, staying on top. The pupil of Belfort tried to work, but the fight was a battle of positioning, and they soon returned to the feet. Serafian caught a knee, but apparently had more gas than his opponent. Renee remained a little hesitant in front of Serafian, and in the last 10 seconds, Serafian almost got the mount, but the bell rang, marking the end of the first five minutes.
Between rounds, Renee was told that it was time to get moving in the second round, since he had lost the first. The message seemed to have put an extra pressure on the fighter, who froze and saw Serafian grow even more. Oozing determination, the man from São Paulo used his standup game more easily and then got a takedown. He went on to dominate, and in a beautiful move, he took advantage of the opening provided by Renee’s decision to stand back up to take his back and get a choke.
An injury early in the fight explained the passivity of the defeated.
"He (Renee) told me that he kicked Serafian in the beginning and injured his foot; he felt a lot of pain in his foot," said Wanderlei.
Vítor saw things differently.
"He defended well, and Renee is a very strong fighter, very talented. Renee needs guidance, I think."
"If it was an event in the UFC, he surely would have won the Submission of the Night,” Cigano exalted.
With his team now down 2-0, Renee said he felt the pressure put on him by the team, and one of the trainers, the super talented Rafael Cordeiro, could not contain himself, shouting, "It wasn't good, you didn't fight well, let's be real about it. It wasn’t good, it was a s***** fight. Let's face it, your fight was terrible. We won’t cover the sun with a sieve, you didn't do 10% of your potential."
Vítor is still calling the shots of the fights after his team’s second straight win, and Wanderlei needs to start winning or another defeat could shake the structure of all the team. Will this responsibility on his shoulders bring extra motivation or discourage him? Wait for the next few weeks to find out.
Episode Three Recap
Read on for a recap of the third episode of The Ultimate Fighter Brasil..
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Watch Episode 3 Now
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Saturday, December 3
Las Vegas, Nevada