TUF 17 Recap, Week 1: A New Take Rejuvinates Ultimate Fighter Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit

TUF 17 Logo Team Jones vs. Team SonnenThe Ultimate Fighter returned on Tuesday night with a two-hour premier, narrowing the 28 welterweight hopefuls down to the 14 fighters that fought their way into the house.

The essence of the series is primarily the same as past seasons. There are 28 fighters trying to win a spot in The Ultimate Fighter house via a series of elimination bouts in the opening episode. The winner goes in the house; the loser goes home.

The series will see the 14 competitors fight their way through a series of tournament bouts, while shacked up in close quarters for six weeks.

The overall winner at the TUF 17 finale earns an automatic six-figure UFC contract and the title of The Ultimate Fighter.

Where the Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen series immediately sets itself apart from past season – at least if the premier episode is any indicator – is in the production.

Yes, there are some good fights and promising athletes, but the production in the first episode is geared much, much more towards storytelling than past seasons.

We didn’t get to see every second of every fight, much of it being highlights, but with 14 bouts crammed into two hours, it wouldn’t make sense to try and do that. Just take a look back at the TUF Live season where the premier’s elimination bouts left people feeling flat and discombobulated.

TUF 17’s stronger storytelling mix does what it should; it gives the viewer a chance to make some sort of connection with the fighters.

From the single dad trying to make a better life for his kids following an emotional custody battle to the kid raised in a marijuana grow house or the kid who was always misunderstood and picked on that found martial arts as his way out to the struggling fighter trying for the fourth time to make it onto the show.

Without the background behind the fighters, you just have a bunch of fighters that you don’t know going at it in the cage. For hardcore fans, that might be enough, but to succeed on television, The Ultimate Fighter needs a bigger audience than the hardcore fans provide.

A strong aspect of the storytelling that set TUF 17’s premier episode apart from seasons past was the inclusion of family and friends. Each of the fighters was allowed to bring some of their family or friends to watch the elimination bouts, cheering them on.

That small adjustment alone allowed for more intricate storytelling and livened up the atmosphere around the Octagon when the competitors fought.

In the end, the fights, regardless of how heartbreaking a fighter’s story was, are what determined who made it into the house, and when all was said and done, we had 14 hopefuls.

TUF 17 Elimination Bout Results:

-Adam Cella def. Jake Heun by Submission (Armbar)
-Zak Cummings def. Nik Fekete by TKO (Strikes)
-Kevin Casey def. Eldon Sproat Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
-Tor Troeng def. Scott Rosa by Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
-Clint Hester def. Fraser Opie by Decision
-Bubba McDaniel def. Ryan Bigler by TKO (Strikes)
-Josh Samman def. Leo Bercier by TKO (Strikes)
-Kelvin Gastelum def. Kito Andrews by Decision
-Jimmy Quinlan def. Mike Persons by TKO (Strikes)
-Uriah Hall def. Andy Enz by Decision
-Gilbert Smith def. Eric Wahlin by Submission (Arm Triangle)
-Luke Barnatt def. Nicholas Kohring by Decision
-Dylan Andrews def. Tim Williams by Decision
-Collin Hart def. Michael Jasper by Submission (Rear Naked Choke)

Jon Jones vs Chael Sonnen TUF 17Before coaches Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen selected their teams following the elimination bouts, UFC president Dana White took care of a couple of housekeeping items.

He let the fighters know that with seven fighters per team, this season would see the return of a Wildcard bout. Of the fighters eliminated in the opening bouts of the tournament, White, Jones, and Sonnen will select the two they feel most deserving to come back and fight a wildcard bout. The winner of the wildcard bout earns new life in the tournament and moves on to the next round.

Knockout and submission bonuses are once again in effect, so any fighter that wins via a finish scores a $5,000 bonus.

There will also be Knockout, Submission, and Fight of the Season bonuses, with the winners of each category awarded $25,000 at the end of the season.

Coach Sonnen won a coin toss and opted to select the first fighter, leaving Coach Jones to set up the first fight.

Team Sonnen (in order of selection):

Luke Barnatt
Uriah Hall
Zak Cummings
Tor Troeng
Jimmy Quinlan
Kevin Casey
Kelvin Gastelum

Team Jones (in order of selection):

Clint Hester
Josh Samman
Bubba McDaniel
Gilbert Smith
Collin Hart
Adam Cella
Dylan Andrews

Following the picks, the coaches deliberated with their teams and assistant coaches before Jones matched-up the first fight.

“The team came with me with a list (of who they wanted to fight and when),” said Jones. “I saw Gilbert wanted to fight Chael’s number one pick. I thought it would be a huge morale boost for our team if we could take Luke out in the very first fight.”

With that reasoning, the first tournament fight will be Team Jones’ Gilbert Smith going up against Team Sonnen’s Luke Barnatt… and Sonnen appeared to like the pairing as much or more so than Jones.

“Luke vs. Gilbert is about as good of a match-up as we could ask for,” declared Sonnen as the show came to a close. “Luke is gonna win this fight and we’re gonna take control of the competition.

“And when I take control, I don’t give it back.”

Be sure to Like MMAWeekly.com on Facebook and Follow @MMAWeeklycom on Twitter.

view original article >>

Related News

  • 27 days ago
  • 34 views

There's a double header of UFC content again this week, although this one is spaced far more apart than the previous attempt. We'll have a show from New Zealand in the very early morning here stateside followed by a Fox Sports 1 show headlined by a featherweight clash between Cub Swanson and Jeremy Stephens. There are a few other decent fights sprinkled in between the two cards. Glory 17 and Last Man Standing (technically speaking, two different shows) are in the books. Artem Levin looks to simp more

  • 27 days ago
  • 28 views

Tonight, Cory Anderson takes on Team Edgar broski Patrick Walsh. It's almost over. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns with episode 11 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19, coached by Frankie Edgar and BJ Penn, later this evening (June 25, 2014) at 10 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1. Click here if you missed episode 10. Tonight, it's round two of the semifinals as Cory Anderson collides with Team Edgar stablemate Pat Walsh, but what would TUF be without a little reality show drama? Here's where we more

  • 26 days ago
  • 37 views

Didn’t have a chance to catch the 11th episode of “The Ultimate Fighter 19: Team Edgar vs. Team Penn” on FOX Sports 1? Check out a quick recap of what you missed.Filed under: News, UFC more

  • 20 days ago
  • 65 views

Final episode! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns with episode 12 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19, coached by Frankie Edgar and BJ Penn, and this is the last hoorah before this weekend's live Finale on Sunday night (June 6, 2014) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Who will advance to the final round? We'll find out tonight, as Dhiego Lima takes on Roger Zapata in middleweight action, while Matt Van Buren battles Daniel Spohn at light heavyweight. Already moving on to the Mandalay Bay is Eddie Gord more

  • 19 days ago
  • 50 views

Episode No. 12 of "The Ultimate Fighter: Team Edgar vs. Team Penn" opens with Team Penn's middleweight semifinalist [autotag]Roger Zapata[/autotag] discussing his desire to defeat Team Edgar's [autotag]Dhiego Lima[/autotag] and reach the final. more

  • 16 days ago
  • 33 views

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, for tonight's (July 6, 2014) third (and hopefully final) meeting between The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19 coaches Frankie Edgar and BJ Penn, in addition to crowning TUF champs in the middle and light heavyweight divisions. But first, Fight Pass and FOX Sports 1 are offering up six "Prelims" fights to whet your mixed martial arts (MMA) appetite and we have a full breakdown of those contests below. Ch more

  • 15 days ago
  • 5 views

Read on to find out who took home bonuses at The Ultimate Fighter Finale. more

  • 15 days ago
  • 58 views

Bloody Elbow recaps the three big fights from TUF 19 Finale last night in Las Vegas. Here, we look at the two Ultimate fighter finals, the first between Eddie Gordon and Dhiego Lima and the second between Corey Anderson and Matt Van Buren. The Ultimate Fighter season 19 finals lasted a total of 2 minutes and 12 seconds, as Eddie Gordon and Corey Anderson dismissed their respective opponents in dominant fashion. Eddie Gordon wasted little time in his UFC debut, as he overwhelmed Dhiego Lima to be more

  • 15 days ago
  • 40 views

Bloody Elbow recaps the two big fights from TUF 19 Finale last night in Las Vegas. Here, we look at the main event between Frankie Edgar and BJ Penn. The long awaited return of B.J. Penn took place on Sunday night, as the two-division champion made his featherweight debut against Frankie Edgar in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 19 Finale. It marked his first and last fight at that weight class. The third instalment of the Edgar vs. Penn rivalry began the way the second one concluded four more