The show opens with drama as Brian McLaughlin and Karn Grigoryan both have fractured noses after undergoing MRIs after their preliminary fights. Both Brian and Karn are worried about being sent home due to fractured noses and both want to stay in the house.
The official team selection is next up with Dana asking both Karn and Brian to step forward and indicating to both fighters that neither of them can go forward in the process because of their fractured noses. He informs the two fighters that the NSAC has put them on a 180 day suspension and tells them that they have to leave the competition. Both fighters are visibly upset and Dana once again tells them that they have to leave. He then announces that they’ll be bringing back Kyle Kingsbury at 205 lbs. to take Karn Grigoryan’s place and that the 155 lbs. fighter to replace McLaughlin is having to be flown back into Las Vegas to join the squad. It’s determined that whoever has the last pick will take the mystery fighter.
Mir wins the traditional coin toss and takes first pick. With his first pick he takes Krzysztof Soszynski with his first pick. With Nogueira’s first pick he takes Ryan Bader. The rest of the team picks are as follows:
- Krzysztof Soszynsk
- Vinicius Magalhaes
- Elliott Marshall
- Tom Lawlor
- Junie Browning
- Shane Nelson
- Dave Kaplan
- George Roop
- Ryan Bader
- Shane Primm
- Kyle Kingsbury
- Jules Bruchez
- Phillipe Nover
- Efrain Escudero
- John Polakowski
- Lightweight TBA
The teams are now picked and everyone seems happy with their selection with the exception of Vinicius Magalhaes. He can’t believe that Nogueira did not pick him second and says that Nogueira made the biggest mistake of the entire show.
Training begins and Mir introduces us to his coaching staff which is composed of world renowned striking coach from Striking Unlimited, Ken Hahn, as well as Abu Dhabi champion and jiu jitsu coach at Xtreme Couture, Robert Drysdale.
Back at the house, Junie has already found the liquor supply and started drinking. Soszynski identifies Junie as this year’s “Chris Leben.” Junie is pounding Red Bull and vodkas and letting his teammates whip him in the back. He’s breaking stuff already and they haven’t even been in the house for very long. He’s calling out the red team, asking his teammates if they’re going to lose to a red jersey and telling them he’s ready for a fight right now. After Soszynski tries to go out to the pool and calm Junie down, Junie breaks down and cries and says he has nothing to live for. The kid obviously has some issues. He went from happy, to sad, to happy again in a matter of hours.
The next morning the mystery lightweight shows up and it’s none other than Roli Delgado who was eliminated in the second episode by George Roop. He is the final fighter on Team Nogueira.
At the gym we get introduced to Nogueira’s coaches, Daniel Valverde for grappling and 67-year old Al “Stankie” Stankiewicz, for his standup coach.
Now that teams have been selected and we know who the coaches are, Nogueira gets to pick the first fight because Mir elected to pick the first fighter. Nogueira chooses Ryan Bader to take on Tom Lawlor in the first 205 lbs. matchup. Nogueira feels that Bader has a distinct advantage over Lawlor in every aspect of the game.
Lawlor feels that Team Nogueira is underestimating him and thinks that they made the wrong decision having their top guy fight Lawlor so early. Lawlor is hoping to shock the world.
Before the fight, Soszynski and his teammates get some industrial strength saran-wrap and play a joke on Team Nogueira while they’re at practice, specifically focusing on Ryan Bader. They wrap all of Bader’s underwear around his mattress with saran-wrap and cover it up with his sheets. They also take all of Team Nogueira’s underwear and saran-wrap it into a big ball.
Team Nogueira comes home to find the underwear ball wrapped to the diving board by the pool and after searching for a while, Bader finally realizes his bed is covered in saran-wrap as well. Soszynski can hardly contain his delight at watching Bader unwrap all of his personal belongings. Soszynski says he hopes that Team Nogueira retaliates in a friendly fashion and hopes they can have a friendly prank but Bader reminds everyone that all it takes is one thing to escalate it and before you know it you’re peeing in someone’s bed or taking a dump in their pillow.
The night before the fight, Nogueira and his coaches come by the house to spend some time with the team and form a sense of camraderie between the teammates, having dinner and hanging out with them. Junie doesn’t like what he sees and talks some garbage about how these fighters didn’t have as rough a life as him and how these coaches are temporary coaches and his real coaches are back home. Overall, Junie has come off as a complete asshole over the course of the show so far. Just an observation.
Both fighters make weight no problem, and it’s fightin’ time.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Ryan Bader (Team Nogueira) vs. Tom Lawlor (Team Mir)
Bader and Lawlor come out aggressive in the first round, both throwing punches but mostly missing. Bader tries a couple of upper body takedowns near Lawlor’s hips and Lawlor shrugs him off easily. Bader is eventually able to score a double leg takedown and moves immediately into half-guard, working for position and scoring some punches from the top. Lawlor is eventually able to get out of bad position and work back to his feet. Lawlor rushes in real aggressive on Bader when the fight gets back to the feet and Bader ducks under his combination and plants him on the floor again with a double leg. Ryan once again moves into half guard and scores with little punches and elbows. Lawlor puts his feet on Bader’s hips and tries to shove him away but Bader flies in with a lunging guard pass and throws a right hand with it that catches Lawlor square on the jaw, knocking him unconscious with just over a minute left in the first round.
Winner: Ryan Bader via TKO, round one
Team Nogueira goes up 1-0 in the competition and Bader moves onto the quarterfinals. Next week’s preview shows Junie getting drunk, Junie getting in a fight, and Junie possibly getting kicked off the show. Oh, and Dana White calling Junie a “sick f—k” and telling him he’s “lucky he didn’t get killed.” Drama on the fourth episode of TUF. Tune in next week for another recap and more coverage of TUF: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir.