Tournament of Champions III: First round battles to watch

Host Guy Fieri, as seen on Tournament of Champions, Season 3.
Host Guy Fieri, as seen on Tournament of Champions, Season 3. /

For many sports fans, the first couple weeks of the NCAA Basketball Tournament are some of the most fun. Lots of games, lots of action and the occasional stunning upset are part of what make March Madness incredible. The same thing can be said of Food Network’s Tournament of Champions.

In just three seasons Tournament of Champions has become the foodie version of March Madness. And with the third season doubling the field of chefs from 16 to 32, it’s going to make the first round battles all the more interesting.

With the number of chefs being doubled, that means the brackets have been doubled as well. Both the West and East Coast are now made up of an A and B bracket, both with their own top seed. That’s a long way of saying that some of the best, most intense battles could occur in the first round.

We decided to take a look at the brackets for the opening round of Tournament of Champions III and give you a heads up on which ones you might want to make sure you don’t miss. The ones that might contain a shock or two or might set up a battle in the second round foodies will be talking about for years.

These are the Tournament of Champions Round 1 battles you shouldn’t miss.

No. 4 seed Chris Cosentino vs No. 5 seed Elizabeth Faulkner

Taking place in the West Coast B bracket, this one could get really serious, really fast. Both Faulkner and Cosentino competed in the Wild Card play-in during Season 2 with neither making it to the main tournament. Look for both to go into the first round with a chip on their shoulder and something to prove. Our prediction is Elizabeth Faulkner will walk away with the win but it won’t be easy.

No. 2 seed Amanda Freitag vs No. 7 seed Madison Cowan

As everyone remembers, after going to the Championship in Season 1 and losing to Brooke Williamson, Amanda Freitag was sent home in the first round of Season 2 at the hands of Tiffani Faison. However, unlike another chef who was sent home in Round 1, Freitag is back and with a vengeance. I almost feel sorry for Cowan that he has to be the one that is going to get run over.

Adding another layer of intrigue is that when (not if) Freitag wins and if Faison takes out Bryan Voltaggio, the two will face off in Round 2. And that could be epic.

No. 4 seed Aaron May vs No. 5 seed Brian Malarkey

Both Malarkey and May lost in the first round of Tournament of Champions II with neither really putting up much of a fight. May lost to Jet Tilla and Marlarkey to Antonia Lofaso and it wasn’t even close in either battle. So both come into Season 3 not wanting to suffer another early exit and it could make for a compelling battle.

Of course, the winner will likely face Brooke Williamson, so any victory will probably be short lived.

No. 2 seed Christian Petroni vs No. 7 seed Tobias Dorzon

This battle is mostly interesting from the standpoint that you know Petroni’s only goal is to win the East Coast B bracket so he can face his nemesis Maneet Chauhan, who won Tournament of Champions II. The two have created one of the best rivalries on the series and every foodie would love to see them face off yet again with a trip to the Championship on the line.

And there you have it. Four first round battle you need to see. So get ready and fill out your bracket because Tournament of Champions III begins in a few weeks on February 27.

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What do you think Guilty Eaters? Are you looking forward to any particular Tournament of Champions III first round battles? Leave a comment below and let us know or join the conversation on our Twitter and Facebook pages.