The Ultimate Fighter (Team Rousey vs. Team Tate) – Season 18 Episode 2 Review, Thoughts

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The first episode after the elimination fights is always an interesting one because it’s the first time everyone is in the house, etc. You start to get a feeling about how everyone in the house is going to be portrayed; the very first episode is the one where everyone who’s going to matter in the long run gets the initial feeling out.

So far it looks like Anthony Gutierrez (if I remember correctly) is thinking with his little fighter and not his big one so far. That’ll be interesting to see how it plays out; that’s the one downside of putting in eight guys with women in the house. At least one will be a douche bag. I’m kind of disappointed it’s the second episode in and they’re already doing the Real World crap that I had hoped they’d avoid.

The episode was fairly perfunctory in building to the fight.

Tim Gorman is the first fighter in some time to get tossed off the show because of an injury. He’s torn a hamstring and he’s off to heal it up. Taking his place is Louis Fisette, who looked good during his elimination loss. He’d be the one I’d have guessed to be brought back in case of an injury (or shenanigans).

This week’s fight – Shayna Baszler versus Julianna Pena

This is an interesting matchup. Pena’s a great prospect who should be in the UFC already, or at least one win in Invicta away. Baszler definitely should be in the UFC at this point; ideally she’d be only be one or two wins away from a title shot as soon as she stepped into the UFC. Both were good, logical #1 picks for this season but here’s the thing.

One of these girls wasn’t going to be in the final.

That’s most likely Pena, as the second best fighter in the house is Peggy Morgan. So this is essentially a semifinal bout happening early. Both women are on weight; Baszler gave her a Queen of Spades card during the weigh-in. Baszler was pretty arrogant going in, too. She reminds me a lot of Mac Danzig on his season; he was a class above everyone on that show and Baszler is as well. So I have a feeling this will be a one sided beating with Baszler swinging the hammer.

Round 1 – Pena comes out swinging for the fences and ultra aggressive. She gets Baszler against the cage but Baszler manages to get her to the ground. Mat return and Baszler takes back, rear naked choke attempt fails and she takes top. Pena is active off her back, nearly finishing an armbar from bottom, but Baszler is in control. Pena is up and gets Baszler down; Baszler up and returns Pena to the mat. This is pretty sloppy WMMA from Baszler, who’s usually more crisp than this. Pena gets the reversal and Baszler is on her back. She lands some big strikes but Baszler with the reversal, finishing a takedown as the round ends. I got it 10-9 Pena … but this was a closer round than I thought. I could see it 10-9 Baszler, as well. If it goes the distance it’ll be a very interesting scorecard.

Round 2 – Pena really loves throwing and moving in. Baszler’s game is a bit off because Pena is really imposing her will. Baszler goes for the takedown and can’t finish it; Pena looks really good so far. Reverses position against the cage and we’re into some cage dancing. Pena is landing some big shots on her and gets the takedown with 3 minutes to go. Pena grabs back and a RNC with 2 minutes to go. BASZLER TAPS AT 1:52 OF THE SECOND ROUND.

Wow … what an upset. I had Baszler pegged to win it. Thank God I don’t gamble. That’s an impressive win from Pena, wholly unexpected.

Next week’s fight – Chris Holdsworth vs. Chris Beal