For the first time in a little while, there will be no qualifying fights during a season just to get fighters into the house. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is coaching a team for the second time on this show, while the opposing team will be coached by Rashad Evans. Remember, this season's focused weight division is heavyweight. Here are this season's contestants:
Marcus Jones (former #1 NFL Draft pick)
Roy Nelson (former International Fight League champion)
Just before the first commercial break, Rashad said this: "Nothing against Kimbo, but I'd probably think there's a few other fighters on there that's probably more well-rounded than Kimbo."
Early on in training, Matt said "This was expotentially more difficult, physically, than NFL was." Marcus later says something similar.
The team captain who won the coin toss gets the option of either picking the first fighter on his team or booking the first two fights of the season. If the latter option is taken, that team must win both of their fights in order to maintain control of making the matches. In this case...Team Rashad wins, and decides to start filling out his team (as you can see above). That means Team Rampage gets to make the first fight.
PRELIMINARY ROUND FIGHT #1: Jon Madsen vs. Abe Wagner
Referee: Steve Mazzagatti
TALE OF THE TAPE:
Hometown: Omaha, NE
MMA Record: 6-1
Hometown: Granite City, IL
Both fighters are 29 years old.
Round 1: Madsen gets off to a good start with a good takedown in just 13 seconds. Madsen then controls Wagner on the ground for the remainder of the round; Wagner's bleeding as time goes on. By the time the round ends, Wagner's left arm is mostly covered in blood. 10-8 Madsen.
Round 2: Madsen starts off a round with a takedown in just four seconds this time, although not as strong. Near the end of this round's first minute, the ref stands both fighters up after both have been on the ground for most of this fight. Madsen then takes down Wagner again at the end of the first minute. Referee Mazzagatti stands both fighters up again just as the second half of this round was about to start. The rest of this round was more of the same, with both being stood up one more time with :25 left in the fight.
Madsen wins this unanimous decision easily- I had him winning 20-16. One judge agreed with my scores, while the other two had it 20-17 apiece. Evans then said "You know, that really wasn't about Rampage, but it did feel good to beat him". In defeat, Rampage said "I was very disappointed in the fight, but it was my fault. We should've chosen a different matchup".
To end this episode, we see Wagner getting medical help; he was also bleeding around his left eye.