The theme of the 27th season of The Ultimate Fighter is “undefeated,” and the premiere saw one fighter’s perfect record disappear in a flash.
Lightweight Joe Giannetti, representing Team Cormier, needed less than 20 seconds to choke Team Miocic’s John Gunther unconscious in the first fight of the season. As soon as the bell sounded, Gunther moved in to put the pressure on Giannetti, pressing him against the cage, but he left his neck open for the 22-year-old Giannetti to lock on the fight-ending guillotine submission.
The loss was extra bitter for Stipe Miocic, who is an associate of Gunther’s at Strong Style MMA in Ohio. Gunther came into this fight with a 3-0 professional record.
Giannetti sports a 6-0 pro record, with all of his previous fights taking place in the Massachusetts-based Cage Titans Fighting Championship promotion.
“Snatchin’ necks and cashin’ checks,” Giannetti said afterwards, after imploring a cageside Dana White to reward him with a bonus for his fast finish.
All of this season’s fighters enter the show with an unblemished record and will technically remain that way until the finale on July 6, due to TUF bouts being classified as exhibitions.
Earlier in the show, Miocic and opposing coach Daniel Cormier worked out the lightweight and featherweight cast before selecting their teams. Cormier won a coin toss and chose to pick the first fighter, meaning Miocic would pick the first fight (the ill-fated Gunther vs. Giannetti pairing).
The draft went as follows (listed in the order they were shown on the broadcast, with Cormier going first and the picks alternating from there):
- Tyler Diamond (FW)
- Bryce Mitchell (FW)
- Richie Smullen (LW)
- Luis Pena (LW)
- Joe Giannetti (LW)
- Brad Katona (FW)
- Thai Clark (LW)
- Ricky Steele (FW)
- Kyler Phillips (FW)
- Suman Mokhtarian (FW)
- Mike Trizano (LW)
- John Gunther (LW)
- Jose Martinez (LW)
- Jay Cucciniello (FW)
- Allan Zuniga (LW)
- Dulani Perry (FW)
Here are the first-round results so far:
Joe Giannetti def. John Gunther via technical submission (guillotine choke) in Round 1
On next week’s episode, Team Miocic’s Kyler Phillips fights Team Cormier’s Brad Katona in a featherweight bout.
Season 27 of The Ultimate Fighter is being coached by UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic. Cormier challenges Miocic for the heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 226 on July 7 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The finalists of the TUF 27 lightweight and featherweight tournaments will compete for a six-figure UFC contract on July 6, also in Las Vegas.
Here is the TUF 27 roster divided by team:
Advancing to Round 2: Giannetti