The Ultimate Fighter 20.11: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

By Nathan McCarter

The quarter-finals of the 20th season of The Ultimate Fighter are finished. Carla Esparza defeated Tecia Torres by decision, and Rose Namajunas defeated Joanne Calderwood by submission to advance to the semi-finals. This sets up a semi-final episode next week featuring Esparza vs. Jessica Penne and Namajunas vs. Randa Markos.

With two fights there wasn’t much time to get into anything else, and that was a good thing. Since TUF did not wait to get to the action, neither should we. Here is the good, the bad, and the ugly from the latest episode:

The Good:

  • The obvious good of the episode is not one, but two quality fights. The remaining quarter-final bouts delivered some decent action, and with two fights scheduled, the in-house antics were minimal. That will always be a plus given how contrived the editing can be.
  • Rose Namajunas continues to impress. Her development has been impressive from the time she debuted to what we are now seeing. Her submission win over Calderwood cements her as one of the top 5 in the division moving forward beyond the season.

The Bad:

  • The Esparza-Torres fight wasn’t bad, but Esparza’s performance left a lot to be desired. It was a straight wrestling performance, and as the division rapidly improves, she will likely be left behind. Her stand-up is not great, and she does not have a great finish rate. If Esparza continues to win with her wrestling, it may hurt the strawweight division’s popularity.

The Ugly:

  • The ugly is that this season has yet to produce truly exciting fights, and has failed to put multiple talents over. There are good fights, but nothing yet that would captivate the broader casual audience. That is a big question mark moving forward in trying to make this a division that can headline shows. Top-ranked fighters like Carla Esparza have been near insufferable to watch. Others, like Calderwood, have lost. A season that had the potential to be exciting top-to-bottom and produce stars has essentially failed on both fronts.

The Ultimate Fighter 20

Carla Esparza vs. Tecia Torres: Carla Esparza def. Tecia Torres via majority decision.

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The Ultimate Fighter 20

Joanne Calderwood vs. Rose Namajunas: Rose Namajunas def. Joanna Calderwood via submission (kimura) in Round 2.

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