Season 17 of "The Ultimate Fighter" kicked off Tuesday night with 14 elimination-round fights. Here are some quick thoughts on each:
Adam Cella vs. Jake Heun
Cella withstood a wild array of punches and kicks from Heun, then held on through the slam and won by armbar submission. Impressive display.
Zak Cummings vs. Nik Fekete
Cummings threw one punch in the opening four seconds that floored Fekete, who said he worked security in Las Vegas nightclubs. Cummings then landed two lefts to the floored Fekete to win by TKO in eight seconds. Yeesh.
Eldon Sproat vs. Kevin Casey
Was secretly hoping Sproat (the guy in the cowboy hat) would win, so I could do a weekly thing about life in his hometown of Molokai, Hawaii (small island, try the hot bread!). Alas, Casey won by rear naked choke. However, he suffered a big cut over his eye which makes things interesting for him this season. Remember that while this season plays out over the course of three months, it was filmed in six weeks. One note: if the fight was so quick, as the coaches said it was, why didn't we get to see the whole thing?
Scott Rosa vs. Tor Troeng
Spelled Tor, pronounced Thor. Perhaps that's why he won via rear naked choke. Two other possibilities: 1) Rosa said he trains mainly in his buddy's garage; 2) Rosa said he does 90 percent of his training on his own.
Clint Hester vs. Fraser Opie
Coach Jon Jones actually got up from his seat and started coaching Hester a bit. That was the second indication who Jones' first draft pick would be. The first? Massive body shots he landed. Hester won by decision, then in his camera confessional, said this about being in the TUF house: "I've never been to federal prison, but I think it's gonna be like federal prison. Because I heard you get whatever food that you like, whatever food you wanna eat. But, it's just all dudes in the house. But I mean you get to train, so, it's gonna be good."
Ryan Bigler vs. Bubba McDaniel
Again, Jones gave instruction to a contestant. Quite possibly because McDaniel is a Greg Jackson fighter and a training partner of Jones. McDaniel won by TKO, but the final editing sequence gave us the family screaming and some funny banter with Chael Sonnen.
Josh Samman vs. Leo Bercier
Given Samman's antics during this fight, the guess here is that he'll be featured somewhat prominently in the "reality" portion of the program. As he gained mount on Bercier's back and pounded away, he yelled out "Are you guys ready?", then threw double-fisted punches. He eventually got the TKO. Sonnen seemed amused by it as Samman is now 1-for-4 in trying to make it onto the show.
Kito Andrews vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Gastelum won by decision in a fight you barely got to see, thereby eliminating one of the better human interest contestants. Andrews just won custody of his two boys.
Jimmy Quinlan vs. Mike Persons
Quinlan, we're told, wrestled his way to a first-round TKO via strikes to head after mounting Persons.
Uriah Hall vs. Andy Enz
The Manhattan-based Hall (pictured above) displayed a well-round game in beating Enz by decision. Hall, whose only two pro losses came to Chris Weidman and Costa Philippou in Ring of Combat, landed kicks and punches, hit a few takedowns and showed a good ground game.
Gilbert Smith vs. Eric Wahlin
This fight gave us an amusing moment, at least for those not named Eric Wahlin. After Smith choked out Wahlin, they cut to Wahlin, whose legs were flailing/seizuring. Referee Herb Dean clearly watched his share of pro wrestling growing up because he knew enough to "hook the leg" to get the pin. As Wahlin's friend said, "Yeah, it was pretty bad. You're gonna be on some highlight reels, buddy."
Nicholas Kohring vs. Luke Barnatt
Barnatt dominated Kohring, using his length and reach to earn him the No. 1 overall pick.
Dylan Andrews vs. Tim Williams
Williams got clocked right away, but fought through it. Still, Andrews won by decision.
Collin Hart vs. Michael Jasper
Dana White's best line of the night came as this fight was about to start. Not re-printable here, but funny nonetheless. Hart, a bar bouncer in his spare time, dominated Jasper to win by rear naked choke.
TEAM SONNEN: Josh Barnatt, Uriah Hall, Zak Cummings, Tor Theong, Jimmy Quinlan, Kevin Casey, Kelvin Gastelum
TEAM JONES: Clint Hester, Josh Samman, Bubba McDaniel, Gilbert Smith, Collin Hart
Adam Cuell, Dylan Andrews.