Following Walter Zamora's decision victory over rival John Bedoya last week on The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, the next matchup was announced, as Team Liddell's Ilianovich Chalo was matched up with Team Griffin fighter Miguel Villegas.
Just after the fight was announced, the two competitors met in the center of the gym for the customary faceoff, but that's when things turned volatile. Chalo stood flat footed, just ready to stare his opponent down, but Villegas came charging forward and eventually came forehead-to-forehead with the Team Liddell fighter. A moment later, the aggressive head butt turned into pushing and shoving as the two teams erupted to pull the fighters apart before the fight started a few days early.
Even coach Chuck Liddell got in the middle of the fray as he pulled Villegas out of the pile and shoved him back away from the crowd as he reacted with anger after the situation nearly went haywire thanks to just a little bit too much testosterone flying through the air. As the new episode picks up, the fighters are still fuming from Villegas' actions.
This isn't the first time a faceoff has gotten nasty — in fact, it seems like a regular occurrence in the UFC, especially when you get two fighters together who are not particularly fond of each other. The staredowns between rivals like Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz have become legendary, and everyone pauses for a moment when they come face to face just to see what might happen next. In this particular case, it was unclear if Villegas was just that excited to fight and he allowed the moment to overwhelm him or if he was legitimately trying to intimidate his opponent.
It's clear, Chalo doesn’t really care and isn't buying either excuse.
"That kid will not get into my head," Chalo said.
Chalo is the more experienced fighter going into this week's matchup as he faces off with the 21-year-old Villegas, who hails from Tijuana, Mexico. Chalo is from Venezuela and enters the competition with a 5-1 record, including four wins in a row. Chalo was raised by his mother and grandmother and didn't discover martial arts until later in life, but once he experienced the enjoyment he had in the ring, there was no chance he was ever getting out again. Chalo came on to the show with another purpose as well — to honor his brother Boris, who passed away six years ago due to a tragic motorcycle accident.
As for Villegas, he's one of the youngest competitors on the entire show and enters with a 3-1 record, with all of his wins coming by way of knockout or submission. Villegas trains out of one of the better known gyms in Mexico, where he worked alongside several notable fighters, including former Ultimate Fighter Latin America competitor Rodolfo Rubio, who participated in season one of the show but fell short in his attempt to win the tournament after he was eliminated by featherweight star Yair Rodriguez.
Villegas obviously walks on to the show with a ton of enthusiasm, but he also has to control that short fuse, because stepping into a fight with a ton of aggression can certainly work sometimes, but it can also backfire in a bad way, depending on the matchup. Villegas is a fairly well rounded fighter, but his specialty remains on the ground, where he prides himself on being a slick Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner. Villegas will be giving up some size to his bigger opponent in this particular matchup, so it would probably be in his best interest to drag Chalo to the mat to take away his considerable reach and power advantage on the feet.
For Chalo, the key this week will be not allowing the faceoff to fuel his own anger going into the fight and instead use good technical boxing to take Villegas apart on the feet. Chalo is a big fighter for this competition, so he's going to have a lot of strength on his side and he's got plenty of knockout power in his punches and kicks. So as long as he doesn't get too aggressive and give up an early takedown, Chalo will likely be head hunting for the knockout while staving off any attempts by Villegas to get this one to the ground.
Outside of the fight this week, Team Griffin will be at odds with Team Liddell about the cleanliness of the house they share after only a few days living together. It's an age old story when it comes to The Ultimate Fighter that there are going to be those competitors who are impeccably clean and others who refuse to pick up anything they leave behind. In this case, it appears Team Liddell is allergic to doing dishes and that's not sitting well with the fighters from Team Griffin.
Chuck Liddell will also stop by the house this week to visit the fighters and share some of his best stories from his time as one of the best fighters in the world. Liddell has seen it all during his Hall of Fame career and he'll try to pass along some of that knowledge and advice to the newest crop of UFC hopefuls on the show this season. At the end of the episode, however, Liddell drops some shocking news to his team that will leave everyone on a bit of a cliffhanger.
While Chalo and Villegas get the attention early on, another matchup will also take place this week after their fight with a double dose of action for the third episode of the season. Two fights and a very interesting ending make the latest installment of The Ultimate Fighter Latin America can't miss television — only on UFC FIGHT PASS this Wednesday.