Episode No. 2 of “The Ultimate Fighter 18? opens with the cast of male and female fighters arriving at the house in transport vans and immediately the athletes begin to map out sleeping arrangements for their new living quarters.
Everyone is settled in, and the women opt to relax with a trip to the hot tub. Team Tate’s Chris Holdsworth admires the situation and debates the possibility of sexual relationships as the season progresses. Julianna Pena then debunks that notion, saying she didn’t come on “TUF” looking for a boyfriend.
The sun sets with a group of competitors discussing how training sessions will play out when members of the opposite sex spar and grapple with one another.
The discussion heats up with the women insisting they would be insulted if the men take it easy on them. Team Tate’s Tim Gorman is the most vocal of the male fighters, saying that regardless of circumstances he will not go 100 percent in training.
We’re off to the “TUF” gym where it’s time for Team Tate’s first training session of the season. Coach Miesha Tate talks about the difficulties involved with overseeing such a large group and gives the option for a relaxed day of training since everyone is fresh off their elimination bouts.
Coach Tate notices Tim Gorman training at a less-than-optimal speed and raises concern about a potential injury. She talks to Gorman, who admits to a hamstring injury and shows a gruesome bruise on the back of his leg. Gorman will visit a doctor to determine the severity of his injury.
As Team Tate’s training session comes to a close, UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey storms into the gym and tells all opposing fighters and coaches to leave immediately as their training time is over.
With the first Team Rousey training session underway, Coach Rousey gives her team a speech about cutting corners and the importance of minor details.
Back at the house, there’s more discussion about potential relationships between cast members, but the women continue to state how seriously they are taking the competition and nothing will interfere with that.
At the next Team Tate training session, UFC President Dana White arrives at the gym and is accompanied by a doctor who holds the results of Gorman’s MRI test. It’s bad news, as the doctor reveals a tear to Gorman’s hamstring.
Gorman is crushed by the news and White pulls him from the competition. Gorman’s replacement on Team Tate is Canadian Louis Fisette, who was submitted by Holdsworth in the elimination round after a highly entertaining battle.
We move on to weigh-ins where both Baszler and Pena come in on point for the 135-pound bantamweight limit, making their fight official.
Members of both teams speak candidly about the matchup, saying the far more experienced Baszler should have her way with Pena.
The fight is here, and in the final moments before the cage door closes, Baszler talks about her path as one of the most experienced female fighters in the sport. The 33-year-old is highly confident going into the quarterfinal matchup, calling Pena an unworthy opponent who doesn’t deserve to be in the same cage as her.
Strong words. Can she back them up? We find out now.
TEAM ROUSEY’S Shayna Baszler (15-8) VS. TEAM TATE’S JULIANNA PENA (4-2)
Round 1 – Referee Steve Mazzagatti oversees the fight. Pena comes forward early with a big flurry of punches and clinches Baszler against the cage. Baszler works her way out of the position and secures a takedown. Pena quickly gets back to her feet, but is taken down again, this time into side control. Baszler takes the back and works for a rear-naked choke to no avail. Pena brings it back to guard and Baszler throws big punches and elbows from top position. Pena eventually escapes to a standing position and goes for a takedown of her own. Several scrambles ensue on the ground and both fighters exchange turns in top position, but neither is able to inflict any significant damage. The round ends with Baszler in Pena’s half-guard throwing strikes.
Round 2 – Pena appears to be the fresher of the two fighters and opens the round by connecting with a straight right hand. A firefight breaks out on the feet with heavy strikes going both ways. Baszler repeatedly clinches in an attempt to get a takedown, but Pena shrugs it off and presses forward with strikes. Pena clinches Baszler against the cage where she remains active with knees and punches. Pena completes a takedown and continues to hit a now bloodied Baszler, who is quickly losing the little steam she has left. Baszler gives up her back and Pena capitalizes by locking in a rear-naked choke, flattening Baszler out on her stomach and forcing the tap-out.
Julianna Pena def. Shayna Baszler via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2
The “TUF” gym reacts to the major upset and Pena reflects on her stunning victory, saying she shouldn’t be underestimated due to her good looks and she has just as realistic a chance of winning the entire competition as anyone else.
A moment backstage shows Rousey comforting an extremely upset Baszler. Rousey reminds Baszler that while she may have lost her opportunity to win the six-figure UFC contract, many “TUF” cast members have gone on to do big things in the UFC and the experience of being on the show is still significant.
In confessional, Rousey talks about her failure to coach Baszler to a win and voices her displeasure with how opposing coach Tate reacted to Pena’s win, saying, “When I looked across and saw Shayna hurting like that, then I looked over and saw Miesha just smiling at her pain – she’s going to pay for every f—ing smile she smirks today.”
It’s time for the next fight announcement, and with Baszler’s loss, control switches over to Team Tate, who must now pick the first matchup between male fighters.
After Rousey went after Tate’s top female pick in week one, Tate decides to flip the script by selecting the champion’s top pick. The matchup will see Team Tate’s No. 2 pick Holdsworth go up against Team Rousey’s top selection Chris Beal, who earlier in the episode had complained about an injured hand.
Tate explains the reasoning behind her selection, saying, “We wanted Chris Beal quickly because we noticed he had a hand injury and at this point any kind of advantages like that you want to take advantage of. So I know he’s a pretty heavy-handed fighter and it kind of takes away 50 percent of his game.”
An enraged Rousey reacts, saying, “She specifically picked Chris because they know he has a hurt hand. It’s some p—y ass bulls—. Chris is going to beat him with one f—ing hand, I know it.”
The episode closes with both teams leaving the gym and as Rousey walks by Tate, she angrily whispers, “Just so you know, you smiling at my girl’s pain today is one more reason I’m going to f—ing destroy you again.”
Catch new episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter 18: Team Rousey vs. Team Tate” every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on FOX Sports 1. MMAjunkie.com recaps each episode of the reality series.
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