The Ultimate Fighter 20.12: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

By Nathan McCarter

The 20th season of The Ultimate Fighter came to a close with two semi-final fights. In the first fight, Carla Esparza defeated Jessica Penne by unanimous decision. Esparza entered as the favorite to win it all as the Invicta FC Strawweight Champion. Penne came in as the #4 seed, and the former Invicta FC Atomweight Champion. The two are very good friends, but were on the same side of the bracket.

In the second semi-final, Rose Namajunas defeated Randa Markos to advance to the title fight. Both Namajunas and Markos were unexpectedly semi-finalists. Namajunas finished the fight via kimura, which made her the only fighter to finish all of her opponents.

That takes us to Friday’s finale, but here is the final good, bad, and ugly for TUF 20:

The Good:

  • We have seen friends refuse to fight even for the UFC gold, but that wasn’t going to be the case for The Ultimate Fighter. Esparza and Penne had to fight, did so, and remained friends. It showed that friends shouldn’t hold back when gold is on the line. Take a page out of their books, guys.
  • Coach Anthony Pettis gave Markos a phone to talk to her family on her birthday. It was a nice gesture.
  • All credit to Namajunas for her performances this season. Another finish. She is a well-rounded fighter who has a high ceiling. She still showed some deficencies this season, but was still able to finish her opposition.

The Bad:

  • Esparza vs. Penne wasn’t a great fight. Esparza won going away. Was it “bad?” No, but it’s here because it wasn’t “good” either. It was just…there.

The Ugly:

  • TUF 20 was an exciting concept, but it failed on execution. Is there one “star” that comes off the show? The UFC may sell Namajunas to you, but it’s not the case. TUF 20 barely moved the needle, and to those that watched it, became a chore by season’s end. The fights themselves were lackluster at times, the in-house drama was a turn off for the vast majority of people, and add that to poor ratings and you get a failed season. The 115-pound division still has a bright future, as well as potential stars (Namajunas is one), but they will get there on their own. TUF 20 didn’t elevate them. Their performances and interviews will be the reason they succeed, not this show.

The Ultimate Fighter 20

Carla Esparza vs. Jessica Penne: Carla Esparza defeats Jessica Penne by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).

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The Ultimate Fighter 20

Rose Namajunas vs. Randa Markos: Rose Namajunas defeats Randa Markos by Submission (Kimura) at 2:44 of round 1.

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