An injury to Justine Kish has resulted in the re-entry of one the season's early favorites, Tecia Torres, into The Ultimate Fighter 20's bracket.
Kish (4-0), the No. 9 seed of Team Pettis who has battled lingering knee issues throughout the course of the show, was discovered to have a torn ACL by doctors on Wednesday's episode. An undefeated 26-year-old who owns a win over fellow TUF 20 castmate Randa Markos and was scheduled to fight No. 8 seed Bec Rawlings, Kish's injury ultimately forced her to drop out of the competition to undergo reconstructive surgery.
"I'm not going to be able to continue this tournament, and that's just what I worked really, really hard for," said a tearful Kish. "I'm really disappointed I don't get to compete for the title. If I'm going to go out, I'd much prefer losing, at least competing, and not having to walk out like this."
Rather than allowing Rawlings a bye into a second-round match-up against No. 1 seed Carla Esparza, UFC President Dana White instead elected to bring back No. 3 seed Torres, Team Melendez's number-one pick and the highest-ranked fighter to lose thus far on the season.
Torres (4-0), a 25-year-old Invicta FC veteran with wins over Paige VanZant, Rose Namajunas, and Felice Herrig, was considered to be one of the early favorites to win the entire show before being upset via unanimous decision by unheralded Team Pettis No. 14 seed, Randa Markos, in the very first episode.
Due to her re-entry into the contest, Torres was forced to switch over to Team Pettis and will now be slated to fight Rawlings (5-3), with a potential match-up against new teammate, Esparza, looming in the second round.
"I didn't know exactly what Dana had in mind," said Torres. "But for him to allow me a second opportunity, I want to make sure when I get in the ring again with Bec, that I'm coming in there with a vengeance."
The Ultimate Fighter 20 airs Wednesday nights on FOX Sports 1. The winner of the season will be declared the inaugural UFC strawweight champion at The Ultimate Fighter 20 Finale on Dec. 12 at Las Vegas' Palms Casino Resort.