The first episode of The Ultimate Fighter Season 31: Team Mcgregor vs. Team Chandler has now aired and is in the books. If you haven't seen the episode or want to refresh your memory for episode two, which airs June 6th, let's recap everything that happened in the first episode.
The episode started with the first meeting between the coaches, former two-division UFC Champion Conor Mcgregor and former 3x Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler. The two discussed their bout, and Chandler, who Mcgregor called "Mystic Mike," said he'd win the bout via second-round KO.
Dana White accompanied the coaches to the UFC APEX, where we were introduced to the sixteen fighters of this season. The two weight classes this season will be Lightweight (155 lbs) and Bantamweight (135 lbs), and each weight class consists of four UFC veterans and four prospects. First, White flipped a coin, which landed on Mcgregor, allowing the Irishman to choose between the Lightweight veterans or the Lightweight prospects, of which he chose the prospects. Chandler was then allowed to choose between the Bantamweight veterans or prospects and chose the veterans, creating an all-veteran side on Team Chandler and an all-prospect side on Team Mcgregor.
The second day started with Team Chandler's first training session, where Chandler assessed his team. We were also introduced to his coaching team, which includes the current Bellator Heavyweight Champion and TUF 8 winner Ryan Bader, the 2005 94kg World Jiu-Jitsu Champion and 2007 Absolute ADCC Submission Wrestling World Champion Robert Drysdale, Chandler's striking coach Jason Strout, and the 3x NCAA Division I Wrestling Champion Greg Jones.
Mcgregor opted for a more intense introduction session, putting his team through some hard sparring rounds and even sparring himself. His team consists of Mcgregor's long-time coach John Kavanagh and striking coach Owen Roddy.
The coaches were then asked to rank their teams one through four for the Lightweights and Bantamweights. White explained that the #1 ranked fighter would face the #4 ranked, leaving #2 and #3 to fight each other also.
The teams, rankings, and matchups are as follows:
Lee Hammond: Lightweight prospect, 5-0, ranked #1
Nate Jennerman: Lightweight prospect, 16-5, ranked #2.
Aaron McKenzie: Lightweight prospect, 11-2-1, ranked #3
Landon Quiñones: Lightweight prospect, 7-1-1, ranked #4
Mando Gutierrez: Bantamweight prospect, 8-2, ranked #1.
Trevor Wells: Bantamweight prospect, 8-3, ranked #2.
Carlos Vera: Bantamweight prospect, 12-3, ranked #3.
Rico DiSciullo: Bantamweight prospect, 11-2, ranked #4.
Jason Knight: Lightweight veteran, 23-7 (4-5 UFC), ranked #1.
Austin Hubbard: Lightweight veteran, 15-6 (3-4 UFC) ranked #2.
Roosevelt Roberts: Lightweight veteran, 12-3-1NC (4-3-1NC UFC), ranked #3.
Kurt Holobaugh: Lightweight veteran, 19-7-1 (0-4-1NC UFC), ranked #4.
Hunter Azure: Bantamweight veteran, 10-3 (2-2 UFC), ranked #1.
Brad Katona: Bantamweight veteran, 12-2 (2-2), ranked #2.
Timur Valiev: Bantamweight veteran, 18-3-1 (2-1-1NC UFC), ranked #3.
Cody Gibson: Bantamweight veteran, 19-8 (1-3 UFC), ranked #4.
Lightweight (155 lbs): #2 Nate Jennerman vs. #3 Roosevelt Roberts
Batamweight (135 lbs): #2 Trevor Wells vs. #3 Timur Valiev
Lightweight (155 lbs): #3 Aaron McKenzie vs. #2 Austin Hubbard
Bantamweight (135 lbs): #1 Mando Gutierrez vs. #4 Cody Gibson
Bantamweight (135 lbs): #3 Carlos Vera vs. #2 Brad Katona
Lightweight (155 lbs): #1 Lee Hammond vs. #4 Kurt Holobaugh
Lightweight (155 lbs): #4 Landon Quiñones vs. #1 Jason Knight
Bantamweight (135 lbs): #4 Rico DiSciullo vs. #1 Hunter Azure
The first fight is Nate Jennerman vs. Roosevelt Roberts—both Mcgregor and Chandler train and gameplan with their respective fighters. On weigh-in day, Mcgregor didn't show up to support Jennerman, displeasing Chandler. Roberts weighed 156 lbs, and Jennerman weighed 155.5 lbs.
Result: Roosevelt Roberts def. Nate Jennerman via TKO (punches) at 0:09 of round 1.
Division: Lightweight (155 lbs)
Referee: Mark Smith
The fight was over before it even began. Roberts immediately asserted himself in the center of the octagon and landed a right hand on Jennerman. He followed up with a quick combination, catching Jennerman with a right hand on the temple, and followed up with hammer fists before Smith waved the action off.
Roberts moves on to the semi-finals with one of the fastest finishes in TUF history. Next week the fight will be Trevor Wells vs. Timur Valiev. The episode comes out on June 6th, so be sure to check out the episode and the recap right here.
What did you think of the first TUF 31 episode? As a member of the Verdict Community, let us know your thoughts in the comments below.