Episode 6 Preview: All Square

Previously on The Ultimate Fighter…

A game of Truth or Dare led to Anthony Gutierrez singling out Team Tate’s Louis Fisette as the weakest fighter in the competition, and a dare leading to Josh Hill jokingly dropping a pick-up line on Roxanne Modafferi.

Still waiting for their opportunity to get in the cage, Anthony and Cody try to find a balance between maintaining their weight and indulging their cravings at the dinner table.

Team Rousey got a special guest, as Ronda’s mom, AnnMaria DeMars attends practice and offers some insights on training. The visit also helps shed some light on Ronda’s competitive nature and where she gets it, and shows a different, less salty side of the women’s bantamweight champion for the first time this season.

In the cage, roommates Louis Fisette and Davey Grant squared off in a match-up selected by Team Rousey, with Grant using his superior striking to batter Fisette in a one-sided contest that ends with a second-round submission.

After evening the competition at two wins each, Team Rousey maintains control, and tabs Jessamyn Duke to face Raquel ‘Rocky’ Pennington in the next match-up.

Here’s a look at what to watch for in Episode 6 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rousey vs. Team Tate.

Time for a Field Trip

Each season the contestants and the coaches head into the Las Vegas night to unwind and escape the grind of the competition, usually to watch a UFC event and have a couple adult beverages.

Rarely do these events come to pass without something happening.

Already this season, we had the ‘Get away from Bryan’ encounter at Red Rocks that turned into Team Rousey drudging up Bryan Caraway’s 18-month old Twitter comments, and now the two sides are heading out to a pool party/watch fights event just a couple days before Jessamyn and Rocky have to face off.

The chances of everything going smoothly and without incident: slim to none.

Opposite Ends of the Coaching Spectrum

Admittedly, this is an edited show, so it’s hard to know exactly how each team’s training sessions played out as a whole because we don’t see them in their entirety, but through the first five episodes of the season, Ronda and Miesha appear to be taking very different approaches to getting their fighters ready for competition.

On the Team Rousey side of things, it seems to be all about bolstering confidence and affirming the things each upcoming fighter does well – ‘You’re stronger here. This is where you can beat him/her. You’re too tough for him/her.’

Across the way, Team Tate appears focused on fight-specific game plans for each competitor – isolating the elements that can lead them to victory in their upcoming fight.

Though the competition is all square at two wins each, with both sides having a male and female fighter through to the semifinals at this stage, Team Tate’s athletes have looked more prepared and more dominant to date.

Perhaps that’s a function of choosing a superior squad at the start or maybe it comes down to the stylistic match-ups that have been made so far, but it could also be representative of the instruction and coaching the fighters are getting, and that could be something to keep an eye on going forward as the last two semifinal slots on each side are decided.

Jessamyn Duke (2-0, 1 NC) vs. Raquel Pennington (3-3)

As we heard in whispers at the close of Episode 5, this is the match-up Team Tate wanted as well, so we could be in for a good fight this week.

Both females are Invicta FC veterans, with all three of Duke’s fights coming in the all-female organization, while Pennington has fought under the Invicta banner three times, posting a 1-2 mark.

This is an interesting match-up on a number of levels.

Duke has limited pro experience, but is viewed as a fighter with high upside. Her size (5’11") and long reach can be problematic, and she’s shown an ability to make it work to her advantage in both the clinch and on the ground.

With just six professional bouts under her belt, Pennington is by no means a ‘grizzled veteran’, but she’s shared the cage with the more established and accomplished competition of the two.

Pennington, who went 7-1 as an amateur, already boosts a win over fellow Team Tate member Sarah Moras, and though she lost her last two bouts prior to arriving in Las Vegas, those fights came against veteran Leslie Smith, and the woman who was supposed to be coaching opposite Ronda this season, Cat Zingano.

Early favorite Shayna Baszler was bounced in the first fight of the season, and Team Rousey’s Jessica Rakoczy dispatched the competition’s other seasoned vet, Roxanne Modafferi two weeks ago. Things are wide open on the women’s side, and a strong performance from either fighter here could establish them as a favorite heading into the semifinals.