On Wednesday, Oct. 22, the UFC aired the fifth 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.
*Due to the ACL injury suffered by No. 9-ranked Justine Kish, Kish and Torres switched teams.
For the fifth bout of the season, coach Anthony Pettis selected No. 6-ranked Felice Herrig to rematch bitter rival No. 11-ranked Heather Jo Clark of Team Melendez.
Herrig came out looking to attack Clark’s lead leg with kicks. Herrig got in deep on a takedown attempt, but Clark countered with a guillotine choke attempt. Clark walked Herrig to the fence, but was unable to finish. Herrig scored with a takedown and went to work from the half guard. As Herrig looked to pass, Clark powered into the top position. From her back, Herrig looked for a triangle choke, and then transitioned to an armbar. Clark escaped and tied up Herrig with a figure-four of her legs. Late in the frame Herrig regained the top position.
Round two began much like the first as Herrig threw kicks before changing levels for a takedown. She pushed Clark against the cage and dragged her to the mat with double underhoooks. Herrig took Clark’s back with both hooks. Clark worked to escape, but Herrig was able to maintain position. Clark methodically worked free and moved inside Herrig’s guard. The referee stood up the fight with 90 seconds left, but Herrig quickly closed the distance. Clark failed to drag the fight to the mat. A right hand and a knee from Clark landed late in the fight, but Herrig scored with a takedown and moved into mount. She took Clark’s back a final time as the final bell sounded.
On episode six, No. 5-ranked Aisling Daly will face off with No. 12-ranked Angela Magana.