The winning streak for Team Cormier continued on the latest episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Undefeated, with another lightweight pushing through to the next round of the tournament.
Yet before the fight got started, there was still plenty of business to handle between teammates during a pair of altercations that unfolded this week.
The first took place on a bus ride back to the house when Jose Martinez Jr., who was just days away from his matchup against Luis Pena, ended up in a shouting match with Dulani Perry.
Like many past competitors on the show, Perry has no problem getting a little extra camera time, so this week he was bragging about the money he's made and the expensive toys he's able to afford thanks to his lavish lifestyle. That didn't sit too well with Martinez, who fired back at Perry by suggesting that he's all talk and no substance. The incident continued to get more and more heated as teammates started to get a little uncomfortable during the back and forth exchange between the fighters.
Back at the house it was Team Miocic featherweight Jay Cucciniello who finally played peacemaker between the fighters so that the incident didn't bleed over into a training session later in the day. Perry ultimately apologized for the heated argument as he shook hands with Martinez to bring the argument to a close.
A second incident broke out later in the episode when Pena was in the throes of his weight cut and he ended up in a shouting match with a very boisterous Suman Mokhtarian, who was being a little bit too loud while making his breakfast in the morning. That led to a few harsh words being exchanged until Mokhtarian offered a hand of apology for getting on Pena's nerves as he was going through his weight cut just before his fight.
It's a general rule of thumb amongst fighters that weight cutting is probably the worst time to approach them and it's almost a given that they will probably lash out for the smallest annoyance until being fed and happy again.
That was definitely the case for Pena as he stepped on to the scale and made weight for his fight, as did Martinez, with the next lightweight clash about to begin.
Pena was ultra confident in his abilities going up against Team Miocic's latest lightweight in the tournament.
"I'm coming to dominate, bell to bell," Pena said to Martinez. "I'm coming to win this fight and there's nothing you can do about it."
With that said, it was time to see if Pena could back up his words as he took on Martinez in the third fight of the season.
RELATED LINKS: TUF: Undefeated - Ep.2 Recap | Get to know TUF Cast: Luis Pena
LUIS PENA VS. JOSE MARTINEZ
Martinez is very aggressive out of the gate, throwing a barrage of shots and landing several hard right hands in a row. Pena is able to work his way back to the center, where he begins landing some strong strikes of his own. Pena begins using his reach to keep Martinez at a distance with his kicks and then hitting him with some hard knees when they get locked in the clinch on the inside. Pena is eating Martinez up with his kicking game as he digs to the legs and the body. Martinez finally rushes forward in an attempt to get a takedown, but Pena reverses him on the way to the mat before working back to the feet. Martinez seems a bit flustered with Pena landing the better shots, but he keeps moving forward and manages to land a big inside elbow against the cage. Pena is unfazed as he separates from the clinch before taking back control in the center before pressuring Martinez to the cage again, where he unloads several stinging knees to the body and head. Pena is just tearing Martinez up at distance when he unleashes his long straight punches. He even manages to drop Martinez to one knee with a beautifully timed counter shot with about a minute to go in the round. Pena really pours on the damage in those final exchanges to close out the first round as Martinez is swinging and missing with haymakers.
Martinez opens round two very much like the first as he tries an aggressive game plan, moving forward with a barrage of shots, but Pena avoids most of his punches before circling away from the cage.
Pena's ability to control the distance is really giving Martinez trouble. Martinez is throwing wild, winging shots rather than controlling his combinations, and he's paying for it when Pena returns fire. Pena is showing good patience to land his best punches as Martinez continues to push forward. Pena begins establishing a stiff left jab that snaps Martinez's head back as he follows through with several more punches behind it. Martinez is beginning to really wear this fight on his face while Pena looks as fresh as when he walked into the Octagon. Pena just always seems to be just out of the way when Martinez rushes forward with a big combination. In return, Pena is punishing Martinez during every exchange, whether in the distance or in the clinch. Pena is digging underneath and then coming back over the top while Martinez can only play defense with his hands up guarding his face. Pena's ability to land at will while Martinez struggled with stopping his best shots really told the story of this entire fight.
Official result: Luis Pena def. Jose Martinez by unanimous decision (20-18 on all cards) It was a very strong showing for Pena as he got the win to punch his ticket into the next round of the tournament while following through with his prediction of a dominant victory over Martinez.
"Luis is very confident and he showed today why he is a favorite in this competition," Cormier said about his fighter. "It's a tough situation going up against a friend, but he went out there and acted like a professional. He's long and mean and he got it done. He showed why he has the confidence that he does. I'm excited to see what he does for our team moving forward in the competition."
With the win, Cormier got the next fight selection as he moved back to the featherweight division, selecting Bryce Mitchell from his team to take on Team Miocic fighter Jay Cucciniello.
Mitchell was Cormier's second overall pick, so obviously he has faith in him to get the job done, while Cucciniello has the unenviable task of trying to stop the bleeding for Team Miocic to get their first win of the season.
Who wins in this next featherweight matchup? Tune in to The Ultimate Fighter: Undefeated next Wednesday night to find out.
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