Stunning Upset Highlights Ep. 3 of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’

Ariel Shnerer / September 30, 2012 - 9:12pm

With Team Carwin coming off a triumphant week that saw Neil Magny defeat Cameron Diffley, the momentum swayed in Team Nelson’s favor on the third episode after a surprising upset to put the teams even at 1-1.

On last week’s episode, we got a glimpse at the coaching methods utilized by both Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson and it became abundantly clear Carwin had the upper hand.

In the sport of mixed martial arts, however, one fight changes everything.

Team Nelson’s Rivera Stuns First Overall Pick, Teams Tied at 1-1

After regaining control of the matchups, Carwin selected Team Nelson’s seventh pick, Joey Rivera, to face heavily favored Sam Alvey, his No. 1 pick and the first overall selection.

Alvey, a confident 26-year-old product of Team Quest, entered the “TUF” house after back-to-back finishes of Lucas Lopes and Daniel Almeida, in addition to beating Bellator contender Karl Amoussou in May 2011. His first-round knockout of Leo Kuntz to earn his spot this season clearly impressed the coaches and UFC president Dana White.

One could argue Alvey was too confident, quickly pointing to his size and strength as assets, while smiling for the cameras and earning constant praise from coach Trevor Wittman. 

Rivera’s only professional loss was the result of a cut in July 2011. Still, the Apex MMA product was the obvious underdog against Alvey.

When push came to shove, Rivera was able to avoid Alvey’s rangy strikes and he successfully employed a wrestling-based approach to put his adversary on the defensive.

It was a dominant performance from Rivera, who took the majority decision on scores of 20-18 twice and one judge having it a draw. Alvey thought he did enough to win both rounds, but he may change his tune after reviewing the footage. It was the sharpest we’ve ever seen Rivera and this win now positions him as a viable threat this season.

Pranks Continue As Beef Between Secor and Smith, Herron-Webb and Ricci Heats Up

No season of “The Ultimate Fighter” is complete without some drama inside the “TUF” house.

Team Carwin’s Matt Secor and Team Nelson’s Colton Smith have already waged a war of words and it would only be fitting to have them eventually settle it inside the cage.

Neither fighter is a contender to win it all as Secor squeaked by a gassed out Max Griffin to make it into the house after a dismal 1-1 professional campaign, while Smith was harshly criticized for his takedown-oriented offense to beat Jesse Barrett to advance. His professional record stands at 3-1 and he was knocked out by Steve Montgomery in his last appearance this past February.

It’s no surprise most of the bickering is coming from the least seasoned competitors of the bunch as disciplined Team Carwin members Mike Ricci and Bristol Marunde remain focused on what really matters.

Everyone will react differently when instigated as Alvey didn’t seem too bothered by his bed being placed in the pool, opting to sleep on the couch the night before his fight. It didn’t single-handedly cost him the fight, but a good night’s rest could have helped.

Meanwhile, the soft-spoken French-Canadian prospect Ricci also prefers to keep to himself, but he took the stand on behalf of his team this week, confronting arrogant Alaskan Nic Herron-Webb for playing pool in the middle of the night.

Juvenile tricks may work on some, but differences will ultimately be settled in the Octagon.

With Team Nelson regaining control of the picks and tying it at 1 a piece, it will be interesting to see if he capitalizes on being the matchmaker this time around.

The first overall pick is officially eliminated, so we’ll see which remaining UFC hopeful clearly emerges as the cream of the crop.