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The Ultimate Fighter

Episode 9 Recap | The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes

Relive The 9th Episode Of The 30th Season Of The Ultimate Fighter Where Team Peña vs Team Nunes Fight To Determine The Next Stars Of The UFC Flyweight And Heavyweight Division

Previously on The Ultimate Fighter…

In the opening fight of the season, former Houston Texans running back Zac Pauga punched his ticket to the heavyweight semifinals with a win over Team Pena’s Nyle Bartling. In the final heavyweight quarterfinal pairing, Jordan Heiderman forced a third round against Chandler Cole and earned the finish.

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The semifinal pairings were set, and now, the Team Pena fighters meet in with a place in the finale on the line.

This is The Ultimate Fighter: Team Pena vs. Team Nunes!

At the house…

Team Pena rolls back into the house as the Team Nunes fighters hang out in the living room, wondering aloud how the semifinal matchups were made while Helen Peralta fixes herself a drink.

Pauga expresses in a confessional interview that he knew fighting one of his teammates was going to be a real possibility, but he’s still curious to know how he ended up facing Heiderman in the semifinals. Heiderman acknowledges that the situation sucks in his own confessional interview, and tells Pauga he was the last guy he wanted to fight, noting that the two men are going to do their best to give each other space in the days leading up to their fight.

Four Days Until the Fight…

RECAP TUF 30: Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5 | Episode 6 | Episode 7 | Episode 8

Team Pena goes through a training session at the UFC APEX.

Pena explains that she told her charges at the start of the competition that her dream scenario was winning every quarterfinal pairing and knocking Team Nunes completely out of the competition, and while that didn’t entirely happen, Team Pena does have three of the four remaining heavyweights and two of the flyweight semifinalists as well.

Pena recalls her own experiences from her season of The Ultimate Fighter, where she had to fight Sarah Moras, a former opponent whom she was sharing a room with, as a flashback to them sharing a cold tub runs. They both agreed to take opposite sides of the gym while working as part of Team Tate, and she hope Pauga and Heiderman can make things work the same way she and Moras did.

Zac Pauga prepares for his semifinal bout against Jordan Heiderman on episode 9 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Zac Pauga prepares for his semifinal bout against Jordan Heiderman on episode 9 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


Elsewhere on the mats, flyweight semifinalist Juliana Miller is working with Peralta in a grappling drill, and Peralta is pretty lazy in her efforts, allowing Miller to take her down easily and as she’s not working much from bottom, it draws Pena’s ire.

The bantamweight champion says in a solo interview that she could smell alcohol on Peralta when she arrived at training and that it was brought to her attention that she was drinking. Pena and assistant coach Wayne Gregory discuss how to address the situation with Peralta, agreeing on a diplomatic approach.

Missed The First Few Episodes Of TUF? Find Out How You Can Catch Up Here

Pena says she’d prefer that if Peralta was going to drink, that she just stay home because she could hurt herself or others. Peralta knows she’s in trouble as she strolls over to sit down with Pena, who is understanding and empathetic with the flyweight.

Peralta says she was drinking because she was upset following the announcement of the semifinal matchups because she felt she was supposed to be advancing to the next round. “I worked so f****** hard and I’m supposed to be — I’m the best fighter in this f****** house,” she says through tears. “Yeah, today f****** hurts!

“Yeah, I had a few shots, but it wasn’t like I was f****** drunk,” Peralta continues. “I could have still smashed them. That’s what pisses me off. Nobody here can beat me — nobody — not on my team, not on the other team, and I’m out of the competition? F*** them!”

Zac Pauga walks to the Octagon for his semifinal bout against Jordan Heiderman on episode 9 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes.

Zac Pauga walks to the Octagon for his semifinal bout against Jordan Heiderman on episode 9 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


Pena listens dutifully and handles the situation well, expressing in a solo interview afterwards that she gets where Peralta is coming from, and advises Peralta to focus on herself and getting better, rather than comparing herself to other people.

Back at the house…

Peralta is in the kitchen with teammates Laura Gallardo and Hannah Guy, and Gallardo asks her, “What do you mean snitches get stitches?”

“You don’t tell on people,” answers Peralta.

Get To Know Jordan Heiderman

“You mean that I told Julianna that you came drinking?”

Peralta acknowledges what Gallardo asked and says, “I was upset about the picks ‘cause I wasn’t in them. That’s all.”

She states in a confessional interview that she was upset for getting called out by Pena, which means someone told Pena about her drinking, and she identified Gallardo as the person who told Pena.

“You could have waited until tomorrow,” Peralta says to Gallardo, drawing an “Until what? To tell her?” response, to which Peralta replies, “No, for me to get my own s*** together. It has nothing to do with you.”

“That is so low that I wouldn’t expect it from anyone, and definitely not Laura,” Peralta continues in her confessional interview.

“I know you’re there for yourself, but you’re also there for other people,” Gallardo tells her in response. Peralta says they haven’t trained together in weeks, and Gallardo reminds her of working on drills together earlier in the week.

Jordan Heiderman walks to the Octagon for his semifinal bout against Zac Pauga on episode 9 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes.

Jordan Heiderman walks to the Octagon for his semifinal bout against Zac Pauga on episode 9 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


“We’ve been training this whole time,” she says, to which Peralta responds, “And I’ve been drinking this whole time” with a laugh. Gallardo pushes back that Peralta hasn’t come to practice like that and her defensive teammate brushes it off.

“Seeing someone come to practice like that for me is very disrespectful,” Gallardo says at the beginning of a confessional interview. “I have had problems with drinking in my family, and alcohol is not good for your brain, it’s not good for your health. It just really hurt me for her to have to do that.”

“You’re always about being a good training partner,” she says to Peralta. “Was today a good example of being a good training partner?”

Get To Know Zac Pauga

Peralta says yes, stating that she didn’t hurt anybody, didn’t try to hurt anybody, suggesting that she essentially would have gone real easy with anyone if she had to in training because she knew where her head was at and the state she was in.

“I just thought I have a fight coming up and we’re a team, so help me,” Gallardo says in her confessional. “I came in here to fight. I came in here to go to the semifinals. I came in here to go to the finale. I came here to get that contract, and I don’t want to deal with these emotions.”

Peralta says, “I’ve gotta make weight in case somebody misses,” before finishing a shot. “So I can get my drunk *** in the cage and beat somebody.”

Zac Pauga steps into the Octagon for his semifinal bout against Jordan Heiderman on episode 9 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes.

Zac Pauga steps into the Octagon for his semifinal bout against Jordan Heiderman on episode 9 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


Mohammad Usman joins Peralta, Gallardo, and Guy in the kitchen, wanting to make sure things are good with the Team Pena fighters. When he mentions the situation, Peralta, pouring herself another shot, bucks.

Usman explains in a confessional interview that they’re all a team and he enjoys the camaraderie, and seeing the two people he likes talking with the most having issues doesn’t sit well with him.

“It’s not all about us, though; it’s about the team,” says Guy. “I lost, too, and I’m heartbroken.”

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“I know, but I wasn’t harming anybody but myself,” interrupts Peralta defensively. “So why the f*** would you go and tell the coaches behind my back? I just don’t get it.”

“Well I’m sorry if I made you feel unheard, and I’m sorry if I made you feel betrayed,” begins Gallardo, before Peralta interrupts again.

“You didn’t make me feel hurt; you made me feel like I trusted people that I shouldn’t have,” she says.

Gallardo apologizes again, handling the situation like an absolute pro, and Peralta finally says, “It’s my bad, so we’re good,” offering a handshake to her teammates.

Three Days Until the Fight…

Zac Pauga and Jordan Heiderman begin their semifinal bout on episode 9 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes.

Zac Pauga and Jordan Heiderman begin their semifinal bout on episode 9 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


Pauga goes through his fight prep, with Pena suggesting the fight between he and Heiderman has the chance to be the best fight of the season.

Pena says her and the coaches will stay out of the corners, advising Pauga that she’s going to reach out to their respective coaches from back home to work with them during the fight.

Pauga explains that he’s excited to have his coach from home in his corner, and that he feels good about the pairing with Heiderman, believing he can put his fellow Team Pena representative away. He expects a standup fight and a rangy, stick-and-move approach leading to an eventual finish.

UFC 276 COUNTDOWN: Adesanya vs Cannonier | Volkanovski vs Holloway 3 | Munhoz vs O'Malley | Full Episode

Heiderman does his prep on the other side of the gym, calling Pauga the toughest fighter in the house and forecasting a war. He expects Pauga to be his most dangerous in the opening stanza, which he says is always the scariest for him, adding that he gets better the deeper the fight goes.

“It’s going to be a dogfight, and that’s what I like,” he says. “There’s going to be some heavy blows and it’s going to be a blood bath.”

Back at the UFC APEX for the Coaches Challenge…

Pena and Nunes go head-to-head in an axe throwing competition, with the winning coach getting $10,000 and every fighter on their team receiving $1,500 each.

Jordan Heiderman sits in his corner after Round 1 of his semifinal bout against Zac Pauga on episode 9 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes.

Jordan Heiderman sits in his corner after Round 1 of his semifinal bout against Zac Pauga on episode 9 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


Pena wasn’t particularly psyched about axe throwing, while Nunes was extremely confident. Pena wins the coin toss and elects to go second.

Nunes finds her rhythm quickly, and Pena struggles initially, with Nunes opening up a huge lead as the bantamweight champion falls behind 18-10 through four rounds. Pena needs three bull’s eyes in order to win heading into her final tosses, and when the first axe clangs to the floor, Team Nunes erupts in celebration!

Back at the house…

Pauga gets a birthday cake and serenaded with an off-key rendition of “Happy Birthday” from his flyweight teammates. He appreciated the card and the cake and the rap Miller delivered for him, and they all sat down to enjoy it together.

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Team Pena also ordered Silly String for his birthday and had a little playful fight in the house, letting off a little steam as they progress towards the semifinal fights.

Weigh-In Day…

Heiderman is up first and comes in at 247 pounds. Pauga steps on the scale second and clocks in at 244. The fight is official.

The teammates face off and shake hands.

Ultimate Fighter Flashback, presented by ZipRecruiter…

On Season 22, the Coaches Challenge featured Conor McGregor and Urijah Faber taking part in “The Watermelon Air Drop,” with the team competitors tossing watermelons from a helicopter, with Faber nailing a late bull’s eye to win the competition.

Before the fight…

Zac Pauga and Jordan Heiderman weigh in for their semifinal bout on episode 9 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes.

Zac Pauga and Jordan Heiderman weigh in for their semifinal bout on episode 9 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


Dana White explains that just like last season, all the semifinalists will get the chance to have a call with anyone they want before heading into the Octagon.

Pauga calls his wife and kids, expressing throughout that they’re the reason he’s doing all this, and that he wants to succeed for them.

Heiderman calls his girlfriend, sharing a sweet conversation with her and checking in on their dog, Gus.

Fight Day…

Both heavyweights head to the UFC APEX and are met in their dressing rooms by their coaches from home.

Heiderman gets taped up and receives some last-minute directions from his coach, Nick Norris, before the two do a little drilling to get loose.

Pauga goes through a shake-out with Vinny Lopez from the Elevation Fight Team, who calls the former NFL player one of the biggest surprises to come through the Colorado-based all-star camp.

And now all that’s left to do now is throw hands and chase down a spot in the finale.

Zac Pauga punches Jordan Heiderman in their semifinal bout on episode 9 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes.

Zac Pauga punches Jordan Heiderman in their semifinal bout on episode 9 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


Round 1: The speed and precision of Pauga is too much for Heiderman early, as the natural light heavyweight walks him down and lands at will to different levels, with Heiderman offering little in return. Midway through the round, Heiderman changes levels and runs Pauga back to the fence, securing a waist lock.

He spins Pauga to the floor, but he gets up right away and the two break into space without anything much happening. Pauga is a little less active with his hands and Heiderman looks like he’s settled into the fight a little more, just as he suggested.

Round 2: Pauga jumps into a left hook and follows it up with a clean right hand 30 seconds into the frame that staggers and drops Heiderman and the fight is over!

Massive finish for Zac Pauga!

Zac Pauga Reacts To His Win Against Jordan Heiderman | The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes
Zac Pauga Reacts To His Win Against Jordan Heiderman | The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes
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Official Result: Zac Pauga def. Jordan Heiderman by TKO

That’s one spot in the finale sealed up and three more to figure out!

Julianna Peña Reacts To Zac Pauga's Win Against Jordan Heiderman | The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes
Julianna Peña Reacts To Zac Pauga's Win Against Jordan Heiderman | The Ultimate Fighter: Team Peña vs Team Nunes
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