The Ultimate Fighter season 20 airs Wednesday, November 12 at 10pm ET on FOX Sports 1
There's been an uneasy tension festering inside Team Melendez all season long and things only get worse on the next episode of The Ultimate Fighter.
The bad blood has been felt internally for a big chunk of the time since the fighters moved into the house several weeks ago. It started with dissension amongst the ranks when a couple of the fighters immediately clashed with teammate Heather Jo Clark. It escalated week by week, whether it was fighting over an ice bath or arguing about training time when one fighter or another was claiming injury.
Like every season of the reality show, certain fighters move off into their own packs or cliques like it's high school all over again. Whether these ladies are in the teens or in their 30s, this is just life in The Ultimate Fighter house and it all boils over on the next episode.
The catalyst this week is returning fighter Tecia Torres, who was drafted No. 1 overall by Gilbert Melendez, but fell to Canadian Randa Markos in the opening round of the tournament. It was a close fight, but still went Markos' way. There was no denying it was an upset, considering Torres was an early favorite to potentially win the entire competition while coming into the house with some very good wins in her career, including victories over Felice Herrig and Rose Namajunas.
The problems with Torres this week go beyond the training room as she experienced last time when Team Pettis gave her an icy welcome when she was forced to switch teams when UFC President Dana White allowed her to return to the competition. Because she was facing Australian Bec Rawlings in the elimination round matchup, she had to switch sides after weeks upon weeks of training with Team Melendez.
If that wasn't hard enough, Torres will now face an angry mob, as her roommates at the house decide they want her out as Rawlings prepares for the fight. It's undoubtedly awkward living in the same house as your next opponent, but sleeping three feet away from them? There's no telling how awkward those sleepless nights would become in the days leading up to the fight.
LIFE'S ABOUT SECOND CHANCES
Tecia Torres was met with a ton of blowback a week ago when she was allowed to return to the competition following a knee injury to Justine Kish that forced her off the show and into surgery. It's a double-edged sword when looking at a returning fighter in a tournament such as The Ultimate Fighter.
On one hand, injuries happen quite often and fighters have even left the show before, which causes a need for someone to step in as a replacement. In most of those situations it's somebody who has already lost and they are allowed to return to get back in the competition. Back in season 3 of the show, there were a huge list of changes that happened due to these very scenarios. One fighter (Noah Inhofer) left the show for personal reasons while another (Matt Hamill) was knocked out due to injury. Season 11 was also devastated by injuries and switches when fighters like Nick Ring were forced out of the competition. As a matter of fact, Court McGee was only allowed back after an injury and he went on to win the entire tournament.
Maybe those scenarios are the exact reason the women in The Ultimate Fighter house are showing concern considering that the winner of this tournament will walk out as the first ever UFC strawweight champion. The stakes have never been higher and most of the ladies agreed there should be no second chances. The UFC and Dana White thought differently and now Torres is back with the weight of the world on her shoulders, needing a win more now than ever before.
TECIA TORRES VS. BEC RAWLINGS
Whether the fighters on Team Pettis and Team Melendez agree with the decision or not, Tecia Torres will take on Bec Rawlings this week in one of the best possible matchups for the entire show. Torres is known for her kickboxing style, where she often throws big flurries of punches and kicks (thus her nickname “The Tiny Tornado”) while Rawlings is a long, lean striker with good boxing and heavy hands.
The first thing that will stand out when these two women face off is the tremendous difference in height. Torres is 5'1" while Rawlings will tower over her at 5'6". Five inches of difference is rare in the 115-pound division and with Rawlings’ boxing background, this could do wonders for her ability to stay out of Torres' range and land a jab to set the tone of the fight.
> Watch: Film Session with Bec Rawlings | Bec Rawlings Practice Highlights
The only problem is that Rawlings does tend to get a little wild in her strikes from time to time and she leaves openings for her opponents to find her jaw. She doesn't mind taking a punch to give a punch, but facing someone like Torres, who throws nothing but combinations, it could look really bad in regards to a potential judges' decision. Torres rarely throws any single punch or single kick unless it's setting up something else. She loves to dive in and put together three and four punch combinations with lightning fast speed.
Torres might have the fastest hands on The Ultimate Fighter and she's definitely not afraid to throw them. Rawlings has to use her tremendous size advantage to slow Torres down or she'll get peppered with six or seven punches before she even has a chance to breathe.
> Watch: Film Session with Tecia Torres | Tecia Torres Practice Highlights
What Rawlings has going for her is a will that's unbreakable. She once fought Carla Esparza on a week's notice, and while she didn't come away with a win, Rawlings gave the former Invicta FC champion everything she could handle and refused to quit until the final horn had sounded. Torres can keep swinging and there's no doubt Rawlings will be there with her every, single step of the way.
Can Rawlings hand Torres her second loss in the competition after coming in as the No. 3 seed overall or did Torres learn from her mistake and prove she really does belong amongst the best of the best in this tournament? The only way to know for sure is to tune into The Ultimate Fighter this Wednesday night at 10pm ET on FOX Sports 1.