The UFC spoiled themselves when it came to the first fight on Season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter Wednesday night.
After all 16 spots were filled in, it was announced that Tecia Torres from Team Gilbert Melendez would face Randa Markos of Team Anthony Pettis in an opening round contest. Instead of each coach selecting eight fighters, a pre-determined seeding had been done.
That meant when either Pettis or Melendez selected one fighter, the already-selected opponent went to the opposing team.
During the selection meeting, the bracket revealed more than just the announced pairing of Joanne Calderwood vs. Emily Kagan. Markos had moved on to the quarterfinals even though the match up had yet to be announced for that episode.
Markos, the overall No. 14 seed in the tourney, has just five pro fights to her credit. The 29-year-old Canadian, though, used her wrestling and ground game to control Torres – a heavy favorite to advance not only through the opening round, but deep in the bracket.
“Nobody knows anything about me,” said Markos, in an interview with FOXSports.com. “They only know about my loss to Justine (Kish) and just going in there and seeing that I was No. 14 just made me want it more.
“This is my show, now I need to show them what I can do. I had to prove to everyone what I could do. Everyone probably thought she was going to walk right through me.”
Torres, nicknamed “The Tiny Tornado” and the three-seed behind Carla Esparza and Calderwood, is a perfect 4-0 in her pro MMA career and 7-0 in amateur fights. The bouts on TUF do not count towards fighter records until the finals.
“It’s amazing how awesome and talented this season was and unfortunately we can’t win them all,” Torres posted on Facebook after the fight aired. “I promise to come back strong and at my best. Please continue to watch the show as it was an experience of a lifetime for me! Congrats to Randa.”
This marks the first-ever TUF season to feature an all-female cast, and the first that will result in the crowning of a champion. Markos will face the winner of Felice Herrig and Heather Clark in the quarterfinal round.
Other match ups include Esparza-Angela Hill, Bec Rawlings-Kish, Aisling Daly-Angela Magana, Jessica Penne-Lisa Ellis and Rose Namajunas-Alex Chambers. The Ultimate Fighter 20 Finale is set for December 12 in Las Vegas.
Thanks to FightLine reader Archie Gow for pointing out the mistake.