Bellator MMA's 'Fight Master,' episode No. 1 recap


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fight-master-bellator-mma-cast.jpgAs the opening scenes of ‘Fight Master’ get underway, the premise for the show is laid out to the audience. Thirty-two fighters travel to New Orleans to compete in a tournament. They’ll start by picking a coach to assist them in their journey. Four options are available: Randy Couture, Greg Jackson, Frank Shamrock and Joe Warren.

The prize for the winner is $100,000, a spot in an upcoming Bellator MMA tournament and the title of ‘Fight Master.’

The coaches seem both excited and a bit nervous to see how things are going to play out. After all, what if no one wants to be on their team? As it turns out, each camp can only have four fighters, so no coach will have to worry about being left out. After a win, fighters are allowed to ask the panel a few questions before ultimately deciding on their team.

The rules are familiar for the fights. It’s two five-minute rounds. If there’s a draw, a third “overtime” round is implemented to decide a winner.

FIRST ELIMINATION FIGHT: Chip “The Surgeon” Pollard (7-4) vs. Tim “The Ginga Ninja” Welch (9-4).

The pair trade jabs to open, feeling out the distance as they move well around the cage. Pollard looks the faster fighter to open, but Welch lands clean with a right-left combo that sends Pollard to the floor. Welch pounces with a few follow-up shots, and he’s awarded the first-round knockout.

COACH SELECTION: Welch elects to become the first member of Greg Jackson’s team.

* * * *

SECOND ELIMINATION FIGHT: Eric “Easy E” Scallan (11-4) vs. Chris “The Action Man” Curtis (7-3)

Scallan kicks the body early as Curtis is trying to touch gloves. Curtis answers immediately with a flash knockdown on a straight and another on a knee shortly after. But Scallan answers back with several takedowns in a round that’s aired in highlight form. The second frame is also shortened, but it shows Scallan again working to control the positioning. At the end of two rounds, Scallan is awarded a majority decision.

COACH SELECTION: Behind the scenes, Joe Warren admits he’s not sure Scallan is a proper fit for his squad. Unaware of that concern, Scallan elects to become the first member of Warren’s team.

* * * *

THIRD ELIMINATION FIGHT: Brendan “Tiny Shorts” Tierney (10-5) vs. Nick “The Phoenix” Barnes (6-0)

An aggressive Barnes opens with a flurry and drives through a takedown on his larger opponent. Tierney turns for a leg, and while the submission won’t come, he does escape to the feet. Barnes fires punches on the restart, but Tierney moves to a Thai clinch and drops his foe with big knees. Tierney immediately moves to the back and looks for a series of submissions. Barnes somehow survives the tight hold and sweeps to the back, where he earns an impressive rear-naked choke finish.

COACH SELECTION: Frank Shamrock offers up the hard sell, and Barnes bites. He’s the first member of Shamrock’s team.

* * * *

FOURTH ELIMINATION FIGHT: Darryl “Devastating” Cobb (6-6) vs. A.J. “Pinoy Punisher” Matthews (6-2)

Cobb opens with a power-based game, firing heavy strikes and driving in for a takedown. Matthews answers back in the second frame with hard kicks on the feet and nearly securing the back. With the score even, the pair moves to a third frame. Matthews gets a key takedown and spends much of the frame there, earning him the fight by decision.

COACH SELECTION: Matthews hears positive feedback from all four coaches but ultimately elects to become the first member of Randy Couture’s team.

* * * *

FIFTH ELIMINATION FIGHT: Josh “Quay” Quayhagen (6-1) vs. Chris “The Cleveland Assassin” Lozano (10-3)

Lozano seems to outmuscle Quayhagen in the opening frame. A tired Quayhagen tries valiantly to answer, but Lozano takes him to the floor and pummels his face until the final bell in a brutal beatdown.

COACH SELECTION: All four coaches have positive words for Lozano after the impressive performance. Greg Jackson has an inside track with past experience training Lozano, but the fight elects to get a new look and chooses to become the second member of Shamrock’s team.

The debut season of Bellator MMA’s “Fight Master” airs on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET.

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