On Wednesday, Sept. 24, the UFC aired the third episode of the 20th season of its famed reality show, The Ultimate Fighter.
The show is serving as a title tournament for the first time in its history, showcasing the 115-pound, women’s strawweight division.
The roster for The Ultimate Fighter 20 started to take shape late last year when the promotion announced its acquisition of a number of strawweight fighters from the Invicta FC roster, including reigning champion Carla Esparza, unbeaten Tecia Torres, Bellator veteran Felice Herrig, undefeated Scottish fighter Joanne Calderwood, Australians Bec Rawlings and Alex Chambers, Rose Namajunas and Emily Kagan.
On April 28, the UFC held tryouts to find eight additional cast members who would join the Invicta imports and round out the field of 16 on the show. On July 3, the promotion revealed those additions: Heather Jo Clark, Aisling Daly, Lisa Ellis, Angela Hill, Justine Kish, Angela Magana, Randa Markos and Jessica Penne.
The season filmed for six weeks beginning in July. The season was coached by former Strikeforce champion and UFC title challenger Gilbert Melendez and current lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. Pettis and Melendez will fight for the 155-pound title following the show’s conclusion.
For the show’s opening round fights, the fighters were ranked from No. 1 to No. 16 by UFC matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby and matched accordingly. Team Pettis won the coin flip and opted to pick the first fighter. When a fighter was selected, their opposing-ranked fighter was automatically put on the other team.
For the third bout of the season, coach Anthony Pettis selected No. 4-ranked Jessica Penne to face off with No. 13-ranked Lisa Ellis of Team Melendez. The pair met previously at Invicta FC 1 in April of 2012, where Penne earned a third-round TKO.
Penne looked to establish her jab early, but Ellis quickly shot for a takedown. She got Penne to the mat, but only for a moment as Penne exploded to her feet and delivered knees from the clinch. Ellis looked for a hip toss, but Penne defended it well. Ellis again went for the toss, but Penne landed on top in the half guard. Ellis powered into the top position, but Penne swept to the mount. Ellis gave up her back and Penne secured both hooks. Ellis tried to stand, but could not escape Penne’s control. Penne locked in a rear-naked choke and Ellis was forced to tap.
On episode four, No. 1-ranked Carla Esparza will face off with No. 16-ranked Angela Hill.