On the latest episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 2, the fighters were treated to a night out in Las Vegas by a famous Mexican actress, the pranks between the two teams ratcheted up to a new level and Team Gastelum got another big win as Hector Aldana downed Alvaro Herrera in the welterweight division.
As the show got started this week, the coaches gave their thoughts on the matchup between the welterweight fighters, with Gastelum praising Aldana's pressure-first style, where he is unrelenting and aggressive from the moment the fight starts until the final horn sounds. He believed when this matchup was made that Aldana's style would give Herrera problems whether the fight lasted two minutes or two rounds.
"He can break Alvaro both mentally and physically," Gastelum said.
To get his team ready for the battle ahead, Efrain Escudero decides to unleash a new conditioning program that punishes the fighters' bodies to get them ready for what they are about to face inside the Octagon. Escudero knows you can't always control being the best boxer or the best wrestler or the best submission artist, but the one thing that's always within grasp is being able to outwork your opponent with superior cardio and conditioning.
Outside of training this week, Wilmer Fernandez from Team Gastelum finally took a measure of revenge against Team Escudero after they played a rather mean prank on him to start the season. Team Escudero lost a bet in the very first competition and were forced to serve a gourmet dinner to the fighters from Team Gastelum. Unfortunately, Fernandez became the butt of a joke where they spiced his soup with a number of peppers, making his food nearly inedible.
Fernandez wanted to get back at them, but he wasn't going to take the prank war too far, so he defaced Escudero's photo inside the gym and left a couple huge tires inside the other team's locker room. Of course, once the fighters from Team Escudero saw what happened, they opted to retaliate, even though they were the ones that started the prank battle in the first place.
Like always, Team Escudero took it up a notch and decided to dump anything and everything they could find in Team Gastelum's locker room while also pouring water all over the floor. Coach Escudero even got involved with some paint that he used to splash on Gastelum's poster in the gym just like they had done to his photo earlier.
When Team Gastelum arrived at the gym later that day, they walked into a disaster area when they were expecting to get ready for training. Some of the fighters from Team Gastelum are fed up, including Enrique Marin and a couple others, while Oliver Meza from Team Escudero was already angry when the fighters from the other side got so upset over a joke. Things got so heated that it looked like Meza might come to blows with someone from Team Gastelum, but thankfully cooler heads prevailed.
Back at the house, the fighters were surprised when famous Mexican actress Martha Higareda showed up out of nowhere to spend some time with them for a day. Little did she know she'd be walking into a pig pen where 16 fighters have made the house their personal trash can, so the guys were immediately scrambling to pick things up off the floor to make a good impression on the beautiful actress standing in their midst.
Things didn't go so well for poor Marco Olano, however, because he's been sleeping downstairs on the couch due to his broken arm, and that's where all of his laundry has ended up as well - including a pair of underwear that Higareda discovered while she was looking around the room. Olano's face turned about three different shades of red as he took responsibility for the underwear just randomly lying around the house.
After the fighters showed Higareda a few of their moves, she offered them a reprieve from life in the house with a night out on the town with her in Las Vegas. The fighters have now been locked up for about four weeks, so they are going stir crazy with no contact with the outside world, making a night out at a hibachi grill eating some food and having a few drinks being the perfect refresher to get everybody reset in mind, body and spirit.
The next day it was time for the fight and both Herrera and Aldana have plenty to fight for in their matchup to move to the next round of the tournament.
Herrera left his life in Mexico behind two years ago to move to Albuquerque to begin training under famed coach Greg Jackson and help further his MMA career. With no money and no fights, Herrera had to wash dishes and keep a number of odd jobs on the side while trying to make his UFC dreams come true.
"I've sacrificed a lot, so losing isn't an option," Herrera said. "No, I'm coming to win."
Aldana is in a similar situation after leaving his home in Mexico, where his girlfriend is currently pregnant with their first child. It was difficult for Aldana to convince himself to leave her during a time when his family was just about to start, but he knew that this was the opportunity of a lifetime and there was no passing it up.
"I think I'm sacrificing a lot right now," Aldana said. "I'll do my best so it won't be in vain"
Once the two fighters stepped into the Octagon, it was clear that they were both going to give everything to win and move on in the tournament. Aldana set the pace early with a nasty stiff jab that snapped Herrera's head back. Herrera countered by taking the fight to the ground, where he immediately transitioned to mount and it looked like he was about to take full control.
To his credit, Aldana stayed patient and showed good defense while never taking much damage at all until, with about 90 seconds left to go in the round, he capitalized on a huge error from Herrera when he attempted to take the back and the positions were reversed. Aldana stood up and began unloading huge shots from the top as he looked to inflict as much punishment as possible before the round came to an end.
Round two was all Aldana, as he came out strong once again and started to put the pressure on his opponent, just like Gastelum predicted, while Herrera could barely hold his hands up as his conditioning faded. Despite Escudero's best efforts to keep his fighters in prime physical shape, he may have pushed his conditioning program a little too hard close to the fight and Herrera was clearly affected.
When it was over, there was no question who won, as Aldana swept the fight with 20-17 scores across the board from the judges. Aldana will now move on to the next round of the tournament while Herrera is sent home with a defeat.
Once the fight was finished, Team Gastelum was back in control and up 4-2 in the overall competition as they selected Christihian Soto to face Marco Polo Reyes from Team Escudero in the final lightweight fight of the quarterfinal round.
Time is running out on Team Escudero to even up the score, so they will depend on Reyes to keep them in the game in a must-win situation a week from now.
Can Team Escudero turn it around or is it already too late? Is Team Gastelum destined to put a huge portion of their fighters through to the next round? Tune into The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 2 next Wednesday to find out.