After an eventful start to the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, the opening round matchups will come to an end this week and the quarterfinal fights will be announced.
The final bout of the elimination round will pit Team Liddell fighter Fabian Quintanar against Team Griffin's Alejandro Martinez. Prior to this fight coming together on the show, Martinez had actually asked to face Quintanar on two previous occasions in a promotion they were fighting with in Mexico. On both occasions, Quintanar turned down the potential matchup and said that Martinez just wasn't the right fight for him based on records and accomplishments at the time.
Obviously, that didn't sit well with Martinez, who was trying to get a win over a veteran fighter so he could get noticed by a promotion like the UFC. Now that they are both on the show together, Martinez is happy to finally get his shot at Quintanar after missing out on the chance to fight him previously.
"Here, there's nowhere he can run," Martinez said
Martinez is a scrappy fighter out of Mexico, and at 25 years of age, he still has plenty of room to grow in his career. To this point, Martinez has amassed an impressive 11-1 mark as a professional and he possesses strong hands and knockout power on the feet. Growing up as a kid, Martinez actually tried to adapt to a different sport. Unfortunately, Martinez admits that he never quite got the hang of soccer and eventually he found his calling with MMA instead.
That career choice seemed to work out better for him as Martinez is now competing on The Ultimate Fighter.
As for Quintanar, he comes to the UFC with a 13-2 record, with a mix of knockouts and submissions. At 6-feet tall, Quintanar is a long, lanky fighter for the lightweight division, with good reach and a very effective ground game where he employs a crafty submission style, including a dangerous triangle choke from the bottom. Quintanar has fought a solid list of opposition during his career and he even faced current UFC lightweight Mike De La Torre back in 2010.
Quintanar's nickname, "Aniquilador," translated to "Annihilator," was earned after his third professional fight, when he was down and nearly beaten, but somehow managed to claw his way back and beat his opponent by TKO. At 29, Quintanar knows that there's no better opportunity in his career than the one staring him back in the face right now as he attempts to beat Martinez and move forward into the next round of The Ultimate Fighter.
In terms of the matchup, Quintanar will definitely enjoy a long reach advantage as well as a better technical skill set than his opponent Martinez. Quintanar has a great lead jab that he uses very effectively while trying to keep his opponents at a distance. Martinez has to know that getting inside that long reach is paramount to any success he might have in this fight. Both fighters are solid on the ground, although Quintanar seemingly has more experience with his submission game than Martinez. With those long legs and a nasty triangle choke, Martinez should be wary before jumping down into Quintanar's guard if this fight does hit the mat.
As far as Martinez goes, he's a very durable and hard hitting fighter who will be fueled by a lot of emotion going into this one. He believes that he should have already fought and defeated Quintanar if he would have accepted one of his two prior challenges, and now he knows this is his opportunity to prove he is the superior fighter. Martinez probably wants to turn this into a firefight, and if he can draw Quintanar into those kinds of big exchanges, he'll feast on any openings the 29-year old might give him.
Outside of the fight this week, the competitors on the show will also go through a challenge pitting Team Liddell against Team Griffin in a rowing match. The winners will be rewarded with a nice prize, but the losers will certainly not enjoy the alternative if they come up short.
Once the fight between Quintanar and Martinez is wrapped up, it's then time for Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin to begin talking about the quarterfinal matchups taking place this season. If Quintanar wins, he will even the sides up between the two teams, but if Martinez is successful, that means Team Griffin will have a 5-3 advantage. Of course, that also means two members of Team Griffin would then have to square off in the next round of the competition.
Pitting teammate versus teammate is never an ideal situation but, at the same time, it's a problem Griffin would probably like to have so his team would have a better shot of making it to the finals in November.
There have been several exciting fights and a few big finishes this year, so it's hard to say who Liddell and Griffin will want to see matched up with each other when the next round begins. The coaches both have their No. 1 picks remaining in the tournament, so it will definitely be interesting to see where Claudio Puelles and Martin Bravo end up for the next round.
Once Liddell and Griffin give their opinions, UFC President Dana White will make the final decision and the quarterfinal matchups will be announced.
Don't miss a minute of the action this week, with the grudge match between Quintanar and Martinez, as well as the announcement of the quarterfinal matchups, on the new episode of The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, airing tonight, only on UFC FIGHT PASS.