The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 2 airs on UFC FIGHT PASS on Wednesday, September 9
As a professional fighter, reality can deal out a cruel fate at any time or any place, and all the competitors on the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America learned that harsh lesson a week ago when they saw what happened to Marco Olano from Team Escudero.
Before Olano really had much of a chance to battle Erick Montano from Team Gastelum, he was thrown to the ground on a takedown, and when he rolled over his forearm looked like a lightning bolt instead of a straight line. Olano braced himself for the impact of the takedown and his arm broke in an instant, which not only caused a stop to the fight but obviously eliminated him from the competition entirely.
The injury looms large as we pick things up in the latest episode this week, as the fighters are still haunted by the image of Olano's arm while he sat in excruciating pain on the canvas. A loss in a fight as important as this is devastating enough, but when a freak injury happens, it feels a hundred times worse.
Injuries happening on The Ultimate Fighter are nothing new, but then again it's never easy to watch a young competitor's dream come crashing to a halt thanks to something out of their control. Going back all the way to season one, Nate Quarry was a favorite to do some serious damage in the competition but he injured his ankle just a few weeks into the competition and never actually got a chance to fight while on the show. In season two, Josh Burkman won his opening round matchup against Melvin Guillard, but suffered a broken arm during the fight and was forced to leave the show as a result. The same thing happened in season three after Matt Hamill won his fight but suffered a broken nose and was unable to continue. Olano is just the latest victim of fate after barely getting a chance to show what he could do as his Ultimate Fighter dream comes to an end.
Olano's arm snapping doesn't help Horacio Gutierrez's mental mindset much going into this week because he was already handed a harder road to the finale when he rolled his ankle in training and Team Gastelum picked him to fight next. He now faces Danny Salas in a matchup to determine who moves on to the next round of the tournament and Gutierrez is already running at well less than 100-percent. Regardless of the injury, he refuses to make excuses or allow this hindrance to rob him of his dream to fight in the UFC, so Gutierrez guts it out and gets ready to perform.
To help Gutierrez prepare for his upcoming battle while also giving pointers to the rest of the team, top-ranked women's bantamweight Miesha Tate joins the show this week to help out Team Escudero as they prepare for the season ahead. Tate is a veteran of some of the biggest fights in women's MMA history and she's been around the sport from the early days until now, where she's one of the top fighters in the sport.
Tate is also a fountain of information when it comes to grappling and wrestling techniques as she comes from an extensive background in both arts and her insight will definitely help get Team Escudero prepared for what's ahead. Her help will be particularly useful for Gutierrez, because he believes deep down that Salas will want to take him to the ground to win this fight, and any advice or techniques he could learn to counter his attempts will be crucial in coming away with a victory.
When it comes down to the matchup this week, Salas has to be considered a favorite not only because he has a huge experience edge over his opponent, but he also trains with one of the top teams in all of Mexico while sporting a 14-5 record overall. When he's at home, Salas works with a top-notch group of fighters, including UFC welterweight Augusto Montano and his brother, who is also on the show, Erick Montano.
The majority of Salas' wins have come on the ground, where he's able to apply a solid grappling pedigree with a mix of submissions on his record. Salas has been knocked out during his career and lost a few decisions, but he's never been submitted, so if this fight hits the ground, it's exactly where he wants it to be.
As for Gutierrez, he actually trains in Chicago when it comes to his MMA career, so he's well versed with some of the top fighters from the area who work out of his gym. Gutierrez only holds a 2-1 record overall, so he's still largely an unknown when it comes to his style of fighting and the way he likes to finish opponents. From his own admission at the start of the show, Gutierrez is primarily a striker and he knows that with an injured ankle, Salas will almost certainly look to shoot in and test just how quickly he can react while hampered with an injury.
If Gutierrez can't subdue the pain from the ankle, he could find himself on his back, begging for air with Salas on top. Then again, adrenaline can act as a mighty powerful pain reliever, and considering the kind of excitement Gutierrez has shown throughout his time on Team Escudero, there's no counting this youngster out until the final bell sounds.
Who wins in the third fight of the season - Danny Salas from Team Gastelum, or can Horacio Gutierrez from Team Escudero overcome his injury and get the job done? Tune into the new episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America on UFC FIGHT PASS this Wednesday to find out.