And a common theme is emerging. You’re out of luck if you ended up on Team Nelson.
Here’s a look at this week’s storylines:
Nelson Throws Away First Pick, Picks Bad Matchup
After opting to put together the first fight instead of taking the first overall pick, coach Roy Nelson literally gave a “birthday present” to Team Carwin’s Neil Magny, matching him up with the smaller Cameron Diffley, a one-dimensional submission specialist.
Nelson would have been well-advised to consult with some experts and strategists before flushing his first pick down the toilet.
Predictably, Magny was the vastly superior striker, keeping Diffley at the tail-end of his jab, while overpowering him on the ground.
Diffley was not a complete pushover, as he threatened with a number of submissions, including an armbar, a kneebar and a heel hook.
However, Magny earned the well-deserved decision after two rounds, putting Team Carwin ahead 1-0.
Coaches Carwin, Nelson Adopt Polar Opposite Training
Early on in the season, it’s already apparent that Carwin not only selected a stronger team, he’s also dead serious about quality training.
Sam Alvey, one of the early favorites, called Carwin’s training spot on.
It’s obvious Carwin isn’t doing this for the attention. He won’t be in the corner of his fighters this season, instead relying on his experienced coaching staff that includes Grudge Training Center head coach Trevor Wittman.
On the other hand, Nelson is more concerned about his fighters listening to his every word as he was frustrated with Cameron Diffley for not using his kneebar attempt to sweep into top position.
And the biggest concern for Nelson’s team? Training is seemingly an afterthought.
Even Nelson’s own team members were confused about his decision to limit training to once per day. In fact, Colton Smith and Julian Lane were visibly concerned about the nonchalant training sessions and the lack of time for strength and conditioning.
Nelson is really depriving his team of the same world-class training being offered to members of Team Carwin. We’ll see how it impacts all the fights this season, but Carwin already has an obvious edge in more ways than one.
Canadian Cast Members Unite
Although Canadians Mike Ricci and Michael Hill will take opposing paths to a possible six-figure UFC contract with Ricci representing Team Carwin and Hill being a member of Team Nelson, they are already bonding.
Both fighters have trained closely with UFC welterweight sensation Rory MacDonald and they are both taking this opportunity seriously.
Ricci is obviously more mature than some of the other cast members this season. He said he couldn’t maintain conversations with his housemates.
Based on discipline alone, the Canadian pair should have a good season, particularly Ricci, who appears to be an obvious early favorite.
While Matt Secor and Julian Lane childishly bicker over hair color and plan pranks for the season, the Canadian UFC hopefuls are focusing on what really matters.
Ricci can’t let the annoyances get to him, as he was pranked by a bucket of flour falling on his head as he walked through the front door.
If Ricci and Hill stick together and stay level-headed, their aspirations of clashing in the finals could come to fruition.