Teammate versus teammate has been a staple of The Ultimate Fighter since the first day coaches Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture stepped foot in the gym and picked sides for a group of light heavyweights and middleweights where fate would be decided by punches, kicks and submissions.
Inevitably, one side would eventually gain control over the other and that would mean by sheer numbers that two fighters that spent an entire season training together would then be forced to turn around and face off, with one moving on in the competition and the other having their dreams shattered when it was all said and done.
On this week's episode of The Ultimate Fighter, Team Rousey training partners David Grant and Anthony Gutierrez join Sarah Moras and Julianna Pena as teammates who have been forced to face off against each other during this season of the show. Grant was dominant in his first round matchup to get to the semifinals, but he's facing a little different animal this time around.
Gutierrez never actually fought a quarterfinal bout due to Cody Bollinger missing weight, so while he did have to trim down and make the 135-pound weight limit, he never actually fought, so he could be the fresher of the two fighters.
Before the fighters square off, it's time for the coaches to do so as well in the infamous coaches’ challenge. Much like teammate versus teammate, the coaches’ challenges have provided some of the best moments in the history of the show because the rivalries between two fighters will get amped up no matter what game is chosen to decide the competition.
Season five showcased just how intense ping-pong can get when coaches BJ Penn and Jens Pulver faced off against each other, while season 14 pitted heated rivals Michael Bisping and Jason 'Mayhem' Miller off in a rousing game of air hockey. Needless to say, putting two of the best fighters in the world against each other in any competition is going to result in some pretty heated exchanges and it's safe to assume that watching Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate take each other on in a rock climbing competition will only further spur on their rivalry. Luckily, both fighters compete with safety harnesses or Rousey versus Tate could easily deteriorate into the two top bantamweight women going American Gladiator on each other, with scaling the wall turning into which one doesn't get tossed off by the other.
Following the coaches challenge, Grant and Gutierrez will finally face off, but not without even more controversy happening in the gym. While details will be sketchy until Wednesday night, UFC president Dana White's reaction could only be described as stunned by what goes down.
"This has never happened ever in the history of The Ultimate Fighter," White states in the preview of the show.
So who has the advantage between the two bantamweight fighters?
Grant is a heavy favorite to not only win this fight, but move on to face Chris Holdsworth in the series finale. The British-born fighter is a big 135-pounder, but he's also one of the most skilled participants on the show. Grant mixes up his attacks with a varied blitz of both standup and wrestling, and he used those weapons to absolutely maul Louis Fisette in his last fight to make it to the semifinals.
Gutierrez will be the fresher of the two fighters of course after not having to fight a quarterfinal matchup, but it may not go in his favor this time around. Gutierrez was forced to make weight the last time despite Bollinger dropping out of the competition, but never actually got the chance to compete, and he has now been sitting out for the better part of six weeks waiting for a fight to happen.
On paper, the fighters are both very well-rounded, which makes for a compelling fight. Gutierrez may be the class clown on the show, but that doesn't negate his skills inside the cage. In his four fight career, Gutierrez has won by a variation of finishes, with either TKOs or submissions, finishing all of his opponents, but Grant will be the toughest he's faced.
Expect Grant to go out and impose his will on Gutierrez the same way he did against Fisette. He's a strong boxer, but as he has shown thus far in the competition, he's also got an arsenal of takedowns and submissions to keep opponents guessing. Grant should be able to dictate the pace against Gutierrez and keep him out of any kind of comfort zone over the course of the fight. Eventually, Grant should be able to force Gutierrez into a bad spot and get the stoppage before the final horn sounds. With a slew of submission wins to his credit, Grant getting the tap out is the most likely outcome of this fight.
But it could all change in this single episode given White's ominous tone in the preview, where it sounds like some bad news is coming. Whether it affects Grant and Gutierrez's fight remains an unknown until Wednesday night when the show airs and we all find out just how crazy things are about to get.
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