On Wednesday, Sept. 17, the UFC aired the second 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 second bout of the season, coach Anthony Pettis selected No. 2-ranked Joanne Calderwood to face off with No. 15-ranked Emily Kagan of Team Melendez.
Calderwood came out firing kicks to establish her range. Kagan stayed just out of range and looked to score with counterstrikes. After Kagan landed with a pair of left hands, Calderwood initiated the clinch and connected with a series of knees and elbows. Kagan was able to break free, but her face reflected the damage of Calderwood’s strikes. Late in the round Calderwood looked for a takedown briefly, but abandoned it.
Kagan delivered a left straight to kick off round two, but Calderwood quickly closed the distance along the cage. Kagan tried to wrestle, but found herself getting controlled in the clinch once again. Calderwood scored with a takedown and dropped elbows from side control. As Kagan tried to work her way back to her feet, Calderwood attacked her left arm with a kimura. Kagan tried to stand, but landed in a reverse triangle choke. Despite the troublesome position, Kagan continued to fight. Calderwood scored with elbows and punches from her back, as she refused to release the triangle hold.
Two of the three judges scored the bout in favor of Calderwood after two rounds.
On episode three, No. 4 Jessica Penne will face off with No. 13 Lisa Ellis.