Who's Next: Submission Fighter Challenge presented by Tezos

Big Dan's Scheme Puts Izaak vs Adam First | Who's Next Ep. 2 Recap

Big Dan's Scheme Puts Izaak vs Adam First | Who's Next Ep. 2 Recap

Big Dan earns the right to select the first match for the Red Team, pitting first pick against last pick in the first match, which confuses both squads.

May 25, 2022 by Corey Stockton

The second episode of Who’s Next: Submission Fighter Challenge presented by Tezos begins with a test of grip strength and strategy as the two teams square off in a king of the hill style arm wrestling tournament.

The Red Team, coached by Tim Spriggs puts their massive 270 lb ringer, Dan Manasoiu up first, hoping that he can take down each of Craig Jones’ Blue Team members sequentially. 

Big Dan does just that, taking out Mike Rakshan, Rene Sosa, Andrew Tackett and Izaak Michell, and earning the coveted first match choice for his team.

Spriggs leaves the selection of the first match to Big Dan, as it was on his shoulders that the Red Team won the challenge. Dan makes a pick which confuses both teams equally, pitting the Blue Team’s first round pick, Izaak Michell, against the Red Team’s last pick, Adam Bradley. Bradley is fresh off of a three-hour match. He fought Tristan Overvig in a grueling match in episode one, and while he eventually came away victorious, Bradley sustained a wrist injury, a sternum injury, and was physically devastated by the marathon battle.

Athletes from both squads questioned the scheme behind Dan’s choice. Bradley suggested that Dan may be trying to put the two toughest athletes against each other first in order to get one of them out of the way for Big Dan later on in the tournament. Others speculated that the choice was motivated by Big Dan’s New Wave affiliation with Gordon Ryan, who has a public disdain for Bradley. 

Whatever the motivation, Bradley would enter the match with a severe disadvantage, injured ahead of the match.

The teams finally arrive at the fighter house, where they sprint for bedrooms on a first come, first serve basis. A middle child in a family of athletes, Andrew Tackett is the first off the bus. But other athletes have better tactics. Bradley secures the large bed in the master bedroom, and Kyle Chambers finds the only solo room.

Big Dan ends up on the smaller bed in Bradley’s room, and Bradley offers a rock-paper-scissors match for the better of the two choices. Dan wins; and Adam — who has a tattoo of rock-paper-scissors and the word “honor” on his ankle, concedes the bed reluctantly.

The teams split off for training at Six Blades Jiu-Jitsu in Austin, where the Blue Team finds an uncovered sewer drain. After giving a heel hook demonstration, Craig Jones brings in a special guest instructor, dressed in track pants, a rash guard and donning a fanny pack. Some of the athletes expect a lesson from John Danaher, but soon recognize the guest to be the Sewer Rat, Spencer Fossier, who has been invited to stay on after losing his first match to act as an assistant coach for the Blue Team.

The Red Team soon takes over the mat space, kicking the Blue Team out of Six Blades.

Bradley and Michell take the mat in the WNX arena, and Bradley offers his best fight, but is too injured to offer any offense against Michell. Michelle Swarms him, taking his back and spamming face-smothering techniques. Ever the escape artist, Bradley survives for 45-minutes. Though Tim Spriggs taunts Michell and Craig Jones for Bradley’s durability, Michell eventually earns the submission, a rear naked choke. Izaak Michell is the first of the eight men to move ahead to the semifinals. 

Watch the full 45-minute match between Bradley and Michell here.