The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 2 airs on UFC FIGHT PASS on Wednesday, October 14
It's time for the final quarterfinal matchup this week on The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America, and it’s the last chance for Team Escudero to get a welterweight into the next round before the semifinal bouts are announced.
This season has been a tale of two weight classes, with Team Gastelum ruling the welterweight side of the bracket while Team Escudero has already punched the tickets for three of their fighters in the lightweight division. Team Gastelum did manage to get Cesar Arzamendia into the next round as a lightweight, but he's going to be the only one with that part of the tournament already completed.
That leaves the pressure on Team Escudero fighter Vernon Ramos to get the job done this week against Team Gastelum welterweight Wilmer Fernandez or his team will go into the next round of the competition without a single competitor making it through. As humiliating as that might seem for Team Escudero, it also creates some real internal problems for Team Gastelum because if they do end up with four fighters in the semifinals, it means it's going to be teammate versus teammate for the rest of the tournament.
As for Ramos, he comes to the show from Panama with a perfect 3-0 record and a background primarily in groundfighting and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He also joined the show three years after losing his dad in a bizarre twist of circumstances that continues to haunt the UFC hopeful to this day.
According to Ramos, his father was a huge UFC fan and a big supporter of his son living his dream of competing in the Octagon, but in 2012 he returned home one day, walked into his son's room, gave him a hug and told him to “take care of your mother.” Ramos says his father walked out that day and never returned. Authorities never found Ramos' father after he disappeared and the horror of the situation is that he may have been murdered, but not having any answers is impossibly tough for the young welterweight and his family.
As that tragedy looms overhead for Ramos, his opponent Wilmer Fernandez is going through an equally tough time after he was forced to deal with the loss of his mother just days before he left to do The Ultimate Fighter this season.
Fernandez, who hails from Honduras, lived through his mother's battle with liver cancer for several years. Just three days before he was expected to report to Las Vegas to begin filming on the reality show, Fernandez's mother finally succumbed to the disease and he's been carrying a heavy heart ever since.
There's little doubt that these two fighters will both be competing with something bigger in mind when they finally step into the cage this week.
When it comes down to the matchup, these two fighters are as opposite as it gets on the show this season.
As previously mentioned, Ramos is a well-versed stylist with a history of submission grappling and a good pedigree on the ground. He's put two of his previous opponents away on the mat with his jiu-jitsu, locking up one opponent via armbar and another by triangle choke. Ramos' third victory also came on the ground when he forced an opponent to tap out due to strikes. In other words, Ramos is plenty fearsome if he gets this fight the ground and maybe even more so if he's the one on top.
Fernandez, on the other hand, is primarily a striker who loves to throw fast, hard combinations, usually ending with a knee or a kick. Fernandez is deceptively quick on the feet and he'll want to use that against a fighter like Ramos, who is going to be the bigger fighter in this welterweight matchup. Ramos isn't nearly as good on the feet, but by size alone he packs a punch, and if Fernandez gets too lax in his defense, he could catch one punch that could change the course of this fight forever.
At the same time, Ramos' size could play to his detriment if Fernandez can take advantage of his speed by simply hitting and moving for two rounds and never giving the Team Escudero fighter a chance to come back.
Once Ramos and Fernandez wrap up their fight it will be time for the semifinal matchups to be announced.
As previously mentioned, the lightweight division is already wrapped up, with three fighters from Team Gastelum - Horacio Gutierrez, Marco Polo Reyes and Enrique Barzola already set, while Cesar Arzamendia will be the lone representative from Team Gastelum at 155 pounds.
In the welterweight bracket it's almost the exact opposite, with Team Gastelum already putting three fighters into the next round - Enrique Marin, Erick Montano and Hector Aldana. If Fernandez finds a way to win this week, it will be an all Team Gastelum welterweight semifinal and a guarantee that one of them will fight on November 21 with a chance to win the entire show. That being said, Ramos is more than capable of spoiling those plans and becoming the dark horse to wrestle his way into the next round and if he does, then it’s one more win until he's in the finals.
It will be interesting to see how the matchup plays out this week and how the coaches, along with UFC President Dana White, will decide to then match them up once this fight is wrapped and it's time to dole out the semifinal bouts which will determine the finalists for this season of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America,
Tune in to see if Team Gastelum can finally get a welterweight into the next round or if Team Gastelum really is the superior squad on the latest episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America, only on UFC FIGHT PASS.