The Ultimate Fighter 14 Review: Episode 1

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It’s hard to believe that we are in the 13th season of the UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter, or the show that saved the UFC.  The latest installment of the widely popular reality series will feature 14 welterweight hopefuls fighting it out for a coveted UFC contract.  Coaching this season’s competing teams will be former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar and heavyweight contender Junior dos Santos.  While it wasn’t the most drama-filled season premiers, life just seems better when TUF is on. 

Some random observations from the season premier:

- I’m a fan of Junior dos Santos as a fighter, but, I’m not sure that I can get emotionally vested with a coach who’s English is so bad.  While I commend him for taking this assignment despite the language barrier, you have to fear that his chance at American fandom will be limited as we won’t get to fully see Dos Santos’ personality shine.

- On the other hand Brock is, well, Brock is Brock.  Say what you will about the former heavyweight champion but he undoubtedly has some series swagger.  In the battle of personalities Lesnar is clearly the frontrunner so far. 

- I have to say that I miss the fighters fighting for a spot in the house.  Granted, this opened up the fighters to a number of injuries but there was just an intensity to it that cannot be replicated.  This season’s premier seemed pretty vanilla by these standards.

- Coming of the genuine animosity between TUF 12 coaches Josh Koshcheck and Georges St-Pierre the genial relationship exhibited between Lesnar and Dos Santos seems jarringly weird.  For the sake of drama I hope that tempers boil over at some point.

- The season’s first fight pitted Shamar Bailey against Nordin Asrih.  Bailey (Team Dos Santos) won the fight in unimpressive fashion by utilizing the always popular “lay and pray” tactics that put people in a comatose state.  Bailey seems to have an engaging personality; you just hope that his fighting style eventually mirrors this.  As for Asrih, well we really didn’t get to see much of his personality in the season premier.  However, he does and look and sound like a man who would sell you tainted ecstasy in the men’s room of a Berlin nightclub.