The Best of The Season…So Far

Previously on The Ultimate Fighter…

After winning a thrilling back-and-forth battle with Jessamyn Duke, UFC President Dana White tells Rocky Pennington that she has the potential to win the whole competition.

Knowing several of the male fighters in the house are missing their families, Team Rousey stops by with Father’s Day gifts for everyone, including Team Tate’s Cody Bollinger, who talks about being away from home while fighting his emotions.

Team Tate continues their attempt to get under the skin of Team Rousey, postering the training center with pictures of a character from the movie Dodgeball whom they’ve named "Edmond Rousey."

Before Team Rousey hits the gym to discover the pictures, Dana White is tipped off to the "prank" and arrives to take them down, saying that Team Tate is trying to "pick another fight and then blame Team Rousey."

Unfortunately, Dana missed the poster in the sauna, leading Edmond to leave the training facility, and Ronda to once again voice her frustrated thoughts on Team Tate’s passive aggressive actions.

In the third fight on the men’s side of the competition, Team Tate’s Josh Hill takes on Team Rousey’s Michael Wootten. After Hill dominated the first round with his grappling, Wootten leveled the score in the second before edging out the tiring Canadian in the "sudden victory" round to once again even tie the series at three wins each.

Team Fake Nice vs. Team Real Mean

Going into this season, we expected that the tension and animosity between Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate would likely overshadow everything else that happened. While that hasn’t exactly happened, seeing how these two talented athletes at opposite ends of the personality spectrum interact has become must-see TV every Wednesday night.

After flipping off Team Tate when they came to shake hands for a second consecutive week, Ronda gave her take on the two, describing this season as "Team Fake Nice vs. Team Real Mean" and it seems like a fairly valid assessment thus far.

Despite being told to keep the focus on the fighters and knock off the fighting between coaches, Team Tate kept pressing things with their mockery of Team Rousey coach Edmond Tarverdyan. As much as Ronda has come off looking bad at times so far this season, there is something genuine about her approach and demeanor that could turn the tables in this "Good Guy vs. Bad Guy" reality TV battle going forward.

Six Fights Down, Two More Remain

Right now, Team Rousey has a 2-1 edge on the men’s side of the competition, while Team Tate carries a 2-1 edge on the women’s side of things, with neither team being able to maintain any real momentum to date.

For the ladies, Team Tate’s Julianna Pena and Rocky Pennington are through to the semifinals along with Team Rousey’s Jessica Rakoczy.

Each women impressed in their respective quarterfinal contest Pena stormed back to submit Shayna Bazsler in the second round, Rakoczy stopped veteran Roxanne Modafferi, and Pennington earned the victory in what was easily the "Fight of the Season" to date against Jessamyn Duke.

All three are primarily strikers, which could make for some potential fireworks in the semifinal round depending on the match-ups. It also makes the one remaining match-up on the women’s side "Team Tate’s Sarah Moras versus Team Rousey’s Peggy Morgan"€“ extra interesting, as Moras is the lone grappler standing for the ladies.

As for the men, Chris Holdsworth stands as the lone Team Tate fighter through so far, with Team Rousey’s British tandem of Davey Grant and Michael Wootten having punched their tickets to the semifinals as well. Holdsworth earned a first-round stoppage win over Chris Beal, while the Brits each took out a Canadian…Grant dominating Louis Fisette, Wootten ousting Josh Hill.

Much like the women’s side, things are fairly even in the men’s draw with one fight remaining, and the outcome of the upcoming bout between Team Tate’s Cody Bollinger and Team Rousey’s Anthony Gutierrez could potential force two members of Team Rousey to square off for a place in the finals.

Where Do We Go From Here?

First and foremost, we have one more quarterfinal fight for the men and the women on the schedule before we find out the semifinal pairings and eventually crown two new Ultimate Fighters.

But let’s be honest: this is a reality TV competition, and while everyone is looking forward to the competition in the cage, there is the distinct possibility that the reality TV component gets cranked up a notch or two (or seven) down the home stretch.

These coaching staffs really do dislike each other, and the dynamic between Ronda and Miesha will only continue to heat up as the competition draws to a close.

As great as this season has been already and it has been a revelation when measured against recent seasons something tells me the best is yet to come.