Check out the latest episode of The Ultimate Fighter Latin America on UFC FIGHT PASS on Tuesday at 12am ET
When The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America debuted it was hard to deny the amount of talent and experience sitting on the Mexican side led by UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez.
His squad of featherweights and bantamweights had far more fights than their Latin America counterparts against higher level competition, with many of the competitors regularly training at top gyms in Mexico, as well as many of them working with some of the best camps in America as well.
In other words, Fabricio Werdum's team was fighting an uphill battle from the first day the show started filming.
The fights have shown the experience and maturity of the Mexican team because they've gone 3-0 thus far in the competition. Even during last week's fight when Alejandro Perez took on former Olympian Fredy Serrano, the Latin Americans came up short on the final tally from the judges.
The losses have undoubtedly been demoralizing to the team because there's been no back and forth. There's been no up and down. There's only been the Mexican side dominating the competition in fairly one-sided fashion, and with the fourth quarterfinal round matchup coming this week, time is running dangerously short for the Latin American team to not only try to even up the score, but manage to get one or two fighters into the next round.
The same kind of situation happened on another international version of the show when Team Canada took on Team Australia on TUF Nations recently. The Canadians had far more big fight experience and training than the Australian side. It's as if they went into the show with every member of the team carrying a flamethrower while the Australians were rubbing two sticks together trying to create fire for the first time.
The great thing about fighting, however, is it only takes one.
One win from the Latin America side and it all turns around. Momentum is an important factor in MMA, just like in physics. Newton's first law of motion states that an object in motion will stay in motion until acted upon by an outside force. In other words, the Mexican team is rolling right now and they will become a dangerous locomotive barreling down the tracks, going faster and faster unless somebody from Team Werdum can stop the bleeding.
Before the fight gets going this week, however, some drama pops off in the house in traditional Ultimate Fighter fashion.
Food goes missing this episode and when there's nothing else to do but eat, sleep and train, having the right nutrients starts to become a pretty important part of everyday life. The team from Latin America begins to find more and more food missing between the two refrigerators the teams share both inside and outside of the house, and things get nasty in a hurry.
Now it has to be noted for those that are unaware about the shopping list the fighters get when arriving on the show and every day after that - the producers give them a list where they are able to put down whatever food they need for that particular day or week, and magically it appears in the house after a shopping trip.
It's a nice benefit that the fighters have to make sure they always stay on top of their nutrition, but what happens if your protein course goes missing all of a sudden? There's no way to just hop in a car and run down to the local market to pick up more, so the missing food problem tends to be a little more serious amongst fighters living in the house.
Another classic Ultimate Fighter moment that goes down this episode happens when one of the competitors fighting in the next matchup starts to get a little coaching from a team member on the other side of the aisle. No spoilers whether it's Team Velasquez or Team Werdum doing the talking, but needless to say these things never seem to end well once the rest of their teammates find out about a little dissension in the ranks.
When it comes to fight time this week, the featherweights are back in action, with Team Velasquez fighter Yair Rodriguez taking on Team Werdum's Humberto Brown.
This is one of the rare times this season where Team Werdum has the advantage on the experience side, with Brown currently holding a 4-4 record overall with a mix of submission and TKOs to his credit. Brown primarily trains out of his home gym in the United States, where he works alongside his brother Elton, who is also a professional MMA fighter.
Brown is a solid striker with fundamentally strong punches. He doesn't kick much because when he goes for the takedown, Brown likes to be the fighter on top. Brown doesn't tend to do well when he's the fighter on the bottom, although it's doubtful he'll have to worry too much about that factor in this fight.
Rodriguez is a high intensity, flashy striker who loves to throw spinning wheel kicks, Superman punches and flying knees, so he's going to be gunning for Brown's head as soon as this fight starts. Rodriguez has underrated jiu-jitsu skills as well, but he's not much for the takedown, so chances are if this fight hits the ground he'll either be playing guard or looking for the reversal.
Despite having more experience than his opponent, Brown will be yet another member of the Latin America side to step into the Octagon as an underdog because Rodriguez really could be one of the favorites to not only advance this week, but to win the entire competition. His dynamic striking is going to make him a popular fighter in the UFC, and he only needs one good combination to tag Brown on his chin and put an end to this fight.
Given the tendencies of both fighters, it’s not likely this one ever sees the judges' scorecards.
Can Team Velasquez continue their domination and go up 4-0 in the competition or can Team Werdum stop the momentum while taking out one of Mexico's brightest stars? Find out on the next episode of TUF Latin America.