The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) returned to FOX Sports 1 (FS1) last night (Weds., May 2, 2018) for episode three of its first-ever “Undefeated” season.
Coaching the cast of 16 mixed martial arts (MMA) hopefuls — split between the featherweight and lightweight divisions — are UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and UFC 205-pound kingpin Daniel Cormier.
“DC” is jumping up in weight to challenge Miocic at UFC 226 in July.
Last week’s episode featured a majority decision win for Brad Katona (Team Cormier) over Kyler Phillips (Team Miocic). “DC” and his squad will try to make it 3-0 by sending Luis Pena into battle against fellow lightweight Jose Martinez.
Martinez considers Pena a friend and expected to fight him in the finals but alas, it was not meant to be. Coach Miocic, not surprisingly, picks his fighter — the 26 year-old Martinez — to win. Fairly handily, I might add. Martinez is sad that he has to be apart from his six year-old daughter and wished they could FaceTime. He also shares the story about his father, who died in his arms watching WrestleMania. I wish my dad could have gone that way! Martinez calls himself a technician inside the cage with each opponent — including Pena — being a problem to solve.
Dulani Perry is telling jokes in the TUF van and his fellow cast members are split on whether he’s funny or just a trash-talking douchebag. Martinez accuses him of not being a fighter (hungry for TV time) and wants him off the team.
The running joke is how Luis Pena, 24, looks like the late Bob Ross, the gentle painter from the 80s. Pena was born in Italy, was adopted, and grew up in the United States (Missouri). Being a 6’3” black man with a red afro (his words) led to some unusual interactions throughout his life. He also uses the word “juxtaposition” and talks about his life on the animal sanctuary where he lives. He currently trains at St. Charles MMA and dates a burlesque dancer. The gameplan is to “break” Martinez and become “Violent Bob Ross” painting a masterpiece.
Both fighters make weight without incident.
155 lbs.: Team Miocic’s Jose Martinez (4-0) vs. Team Cormier’s Luis Pena (4-0)
Round 1: No touch of gloves and Martinez comes out firing. Pena backs up and resets. Jumping knee from Pena misses but he follows up with a kick and a combo. Martinez shoots for a takedown and gets denied. Kicks from Pena, then Thai plum. Martinez returns fire. Lots of back-and-forth action. Pena jumps into the phone booth and Martinez tries to take him down. Pena reverses and dumps Martinez on the floor, but he quickly recovers. Back to the center of the cage. Martinez drives Pena to the fence and they battle for position. Pena breaks free and lands a few push kicks. More clinch work and Martinez eats a few shots against the fence. Coach Cormier calling for body kicks but doesn’t get them. Martinez backs him up with punches. They embrace against the cage. Knees from Pena. Martinez struggling to compensate for the size discrepancy. Long jabs from Pena. Martinez lunges in with punches but Pena evades and peppers him with shots. Pena with a straight left at the buzzer. 10-9 Pena.
Round 2: Martinez looks lost on the stool but comes out aggressive to start round two. Punches in bunches for Martinez. Pena covers up and fires back. Front kick from Pena finds the jaw. Martinez rushes in for the takedown and gets turned away. Pena using his footwork to stay out of danger and strike at range. Martinez ties him up and they go to the wall. Pena breaks free and lands a jab. Hard right lands for Martinez and coach Miocic decides to contribute some generic advice. Pena picking his shots. Martinez lands a series of unanswered leg kicks. They tie up and go to the fence. Pena with dirty boxing. Martinez circles out and more strikes in the center of the cage with Pena getting the better of the exchanges. Pena drives him into the wall then lets him go. Martinez starting to swing wildly in desperation. Pena misses a spinning back fist. Pena not throwing hard shots but his volume is pretty high. Martinez takedown fails. More punches exchanged at the buzzer. Cageside Dana White calls it a “great fight.” Martinez looks beat up, probably because he was. 10-9 Pena.
Final result: Pena def. Martinez by unanimous decision
Here’s where we stand after episode three:
Joe Martinez John Gunther
After the fight, Pena get some constructive criticism from coach Cormier and complains about an injured foot. On the other side of the locker room, Martinez and Co. mourn their loss. Time for the next match up and Team Cormier will send Bryce Mitchell to collide with fellow featherweight Jay Cucciniello.
See you in seven!