UFC’s reality TV show, “The Ultimate Fighter,” returned on Monday night with the beginning of its 30th season.
The episode kicked off a 12-week series that will see UFC Bantamweight Champion Julianna Pena and former titleholder Amanda Nunes lead teams consisting of flyweights and heavyweights.
The first episode focused on the drafting process of the cast, along with the first heavyweight fight of the season.
The draft saw Nunes and Pena pick four flyweights and heavyweights each.
Nunes drafted Claire Guthrie, Brogan Walker, Katlyn Neil, and Kathryn Paprocki for her flyweight roster.
On the heavyweight side, Nunes opted for Eduardo Perez, Chandler Cole, Mitchell Sipe, and Nyle Bartling.
Pena’s four flyweights were Helen Peralta, Juliana Miller, Hannah Guy, and Chantel Coates.
Her heavyweight team consists of Mohammed Usman, Zac Pauga, Jordan Heiderman, and returning veteran Bobby Maximus.
Pauga Takes Decision Over Bartling
The first fight of the season saw Zac Pauga beat fellow undefeated prospect Nyle Bartling.
The stand-up skills of Pauga allowed him to take both rounds of the fight and win via unanimous decision.
Bartling found himself in trouble early in the bout, going to the ground after Pauga connected with a series of punches on the feet. Pauga came close to closing out the fight in that round, scoring a series of hammerfist strikes on the ground that caused the referee to warn Bartling to defend himself.
Bartling had a moment later in the round, taking Pauga down and landing some of his own strikes.
Pauga continued to succeed in the second round, out-landing Bartling on the feet and continuing with damaging blows when the fight hit the ground.
Before entering the current season of “TUF,” Pauga put together a flawless five-fight record of wins on the regional scene, including appearances in LFA and Cage Warriors.
The first flyweight quarter-final fight of the season will air next week, as Helen Peralta and Katlyn Neil will face off.