The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 2 airs on UFC FIGHT PASS on Wednesday, September 30
Through the first five fights of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 2, the competition has been a back and forth war, with Team Gastelum still enjoying a slight lead over Team Escudero going into the sixth fight.
It looked like Team Gastelum was going to get a big lead when the tournament started, but every time they got a leg up on the competition, Team Escudero managed to pull off a win, just like last week.
In the most recent bout, Team Escudero fighter Enrique Barzola was able to outwork Jonathan Ortega from Team Gastelum to give the advantage back to his side, while also moving forward in the lightweight part of the bracket. With the fight selection in his control, Efrain Escudero chose a battle of Mexicans in the welterweight division, with Alvaro Herrera representing his team against Hector Aldana from Team Gastelum.
Herrera and Aldana are two very explosive fighters, so this matchup could once again look dead even as they step into the Octagon to face off this week.
Before the fight kicks off, Team Gastelum decides to finally get a measure of revenge on Team Escudero for some pranks that have been played on them this season. Led by their coach, who was a member of the cast of The Ultimate Fighter season 8, which featured some of the most creative and ultimately vile pranks ever played on the show, Team Escudero has been messing with their foes from the other side ever since the competition started.
It was actually poor Wilmer Fernandez who got the brunt of the attack in the first week when Team Escudero lost a competition and was forced to serve a gourmet dinner to the fighters on the opposing squad. For some reason, Fernandez got targeted and Team Escudero served him some of the spiciest soup known to man. As Fernandez gasped to catch his breath with tears running down his eyes, he was plotting revenge, and this week he'll take a bit of that out on Team Escudero.
Unfortunately, one good prank - even if it is only taking revenge for another that's already been played - only forces the other side to retaliate. Team Escudero have been the antagonists with the pranks all season long, and once Team Gastelum opens that door this week, they go above and beyond to walk through it. Team Escudero ups the ante and it only serves to anger the fighters on Team Gastelum before things nearly turn violent in one particular altercation.
Aside from the pranks being played this episode, the fighters also get a special treat as Mexican actress Martha Higareda comes by to pay them a visit and spend a little time with the members of Team Escudero and Team Gastelum.
Higareda is a well-known actress from Mexico who has starred in several soap operas in her home country as well as crossed over for a few appearances in American movies and television shows, including the 2008 feature “Street Kings,” where she starred alongside Keanu Reeves. She's also appeared in several episodes of the USA original series “Royal Pains.”
This week she'll join the guys in the house for a brief tutorial on what it's like to be a UFC fighter before inviting the 16 participants to join her for a night out in Las Vegas. At this point in the show, the fighters have been cooped up virtually non-stop for about four weeks, so the chance to put on some nice clothes and join a beautiful actress for dinner in Las Vegas is like a birthday and Christmas all wrapped up in one.
Once the fighters enjoy their time out with Higareda, it's time to focus on the fight between Herrera and Aldana.
Prior to coming on The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America, Herrera had dropped everything he owned back home in Mexico to move to Albuquerque, where he began training under the tutelage of head coaches Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn. Herrera went to the United States with just over $100 in his pocket and a dream to one day fight in the UFC, so this is the culmination of a dream that he's held on to for the past few years while trying to land fights that would eventually end with his Octagon debut.
Now Herrera has his chance to prove he belongs with his first fight on the show.
As for Aldana, he's no stranger to sacrifice either, as he had to leave his girlfriend back at home while she is pregnant with their first baby. Aldana is obviously hurting with his new family back at home in Mexico waiting on him, but the opportunity to fight in the UFC was so great that it was worth leaving to pursue his dream.
The matchup between these two fighters is also as even as anything we've seen thus far on the show this season.
Herrera is a well-rounded fighter with 11 professional bouts on his record and an 8-3 mark. He's won his fights in various ways, including several submission wins as well as four knockouts or TKOs. Herrera is definitely a fighter who likes to control the pace of his fights, but if he's taken out of his comfort zone it could give Aldana just the opening he's looking for to apply his strong striking game.
Aldana will definitely try to keep this fight standing with his fast and powerful kickboxing attack. He's 4-0 so far in his MMA career and could be a very promising prospect for the UFC if he can make it out of The Ultimate Fighter tournament. While Escudero handpicked Aldana for this fight, he might actually be a sleeper on Team Gastelum to do really well in this competition and make a run at winning the show.
It's up to Herrera to stop him and prove that he's the man from Team Escudero to even up the competition and get a big win to take home to Mexico.
Who wins in this latest battle of welterweights between Alvaro Herrera and Hector Aldana? Tune in to the new episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 2 this Wednesday on UFC FIGHT PASS to find out.