The Ultimate Fighter season 20 airs Wednesday, November 5 at 10pm ET on FOX Sports 1
The team dynamic on The Ultimate Fighter is always a funny thing.
As UFC President Dana White often has to remind fighters who appear on the show, while they are matched up with other competitors for the sake of training and appearance, this is still ultimately a winner take all tournament. Your best friend today could be your opponent tomorrow.
Still, at the same time, over the course of six or seven weeks spent living in the house and working towards a common goal, fighters learn to depend on each other. Nobody really goes into a fight alone and it takes an entire team to get ready for what's about to happen inside the Octagon.
On the next episode of The Ultimate Fighter, there are two teams divided for very different reasons. Team Pettis is currently 6-0 in the competition, and with only two fights remaining the time is winding down until these "teammates" will soon become rivals. What makes it even tougher is the fact that the winner this season isn't just walking home with the six-figure UFC contract and some free swag. The winner this year will be the first ever UFC women's strawweight champion.
UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis knows his fighters are going to be facing off sooner rather than later, so this week he tries to get a jumpstart on what will inevitably cause a split amongst his squad.
On the other side of the gym is Team Melendez. They are sitting in a hole at 0-6 and at best they can only get two people through to the next round. That's a tall order as well considering their No. 1 pick Tecia Torres got eliminated in the first fight, then got brought back, only to be placed on Pettis' team instead.
The team is also split internally when it comes to the politics in the house. It's been clear all season long that Angela Magana and Bec Rawlings weren't going to invite Heather Clark to play their reindeer games and the tension just gets ratcheted up in the next episode.
This week's episode will also welcome in two of the ladies from the U.S. National Women's soccer team, who just recently brought home the CONCACAF title after defeating Costa Rica 6-0 while also punching a ticket to the next women's World Cup event.
The best part about the two women joining the show this week -- Sydney Leroux and Megan Rapinoe -- is that they are both big mixed martial arts fans.
The two championship women's soccer players will meet the team, answer questions and in the end they might even get recruited for a future season of The Ultimate Fighter. Tune in to find out what happens.
ROSE NAMAJUNAS VS. ALEX CHAMBERS
The matchup this week pits No. 7 seed Rose Namajunas, who is arguably the best fighter on Team Melendez, against No. 12 seed Alex Chambers from Team Pettis.
Namajunas is well known in the MMA world for her crazy submission skills and willingness to put her body on the line to ensure she finishes the fight. Her first bout was against fellow teammate Emily Kagan, who she tapped out with a rear naked choke in the third round while earning Submission of the Night honors in Invicta FC. In her second fight, Namajunas pulled off one of the quickest submissions in MMA history when she launched a flying armbar to win in just 12 seconds while also earning yet another Submission of the Night bonus with what was considered one of the best finishes of the entire year.
Namajunas is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she actually used to train with Pettis and his team at Duke Roufus' gym. She's also engaged to former UFC heavyweight Pat Barry and now the two fighters reside in Denver, Colorado while traveling to several other gyms in the area and across the country.
Namajunas was likely placed as a No. 7 seed due to her 2-1 overall record because in her last fight before the show started she fell to defeat against another Ultimate Fighter cast mate, Tecia Torres. The reality is Namajunas might be ranked in the middle of the pack, but she may be the most dangerous fighter in the entire competition with her wiry frame, long reach and nasty jiu-jitsu arsenal. She's not looking for the judges to ever get involved in her fights and that finishing attitude will certainly make her a fan favorite.
Her opponent, Alex Chambers, comes to The Ultimate Fighter by way of Australia, where she actually graduated college with a degree as an astrophysicist. While her love of the stars got her involved with science, Chambers' desire to fight eventually won out and now she competes in MMA full-time. Her background did earn her the nickname "Astro Girl," which she still uses to this day.
Chambers is 4-1 overall with a varied mix of finishes by both TKO and submission. At 36 years of age she's the oldest competitor on The Ultimate Fighter, but with age also comes maturity and experience. While this type of tournament can be taxing on the strongest of fighters, Chambers has the mindset and mentality to handle it all.
Before she can handle anything else, however, she first has to deal with a very tough first fight against Namajunas. She's going to walk into the Octagon as the underdog, so Chambers definitely needs to exert her control early if she plans on moving Team Pettis to 7-0.
Is it possible that Team Pettis could sweep the entire competition and go a perfect 8-0? Can Rose Namajunas get her team on the board and prove that she should have been picked by her former coaches? The only way to know for sure is to tune into The Ultimate Fighter this Wednesday night at 10pm ET on FOX Sports 1.