(Chicks. Pro fighters. Bar. Fighting. Sweet)
By Elias Cepeda
Last night’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter 18 kicked off with some delicious fatness as Coach Miesha Tate delivers treats to last week’s fighters. Her BFF Julianna Pena gets a milk shake and, remembering that she told her how much she loves cake, Miesha brings Team Rousey’s Shayna Baszler some chocolate cake.
Miesha keeps it classy and magnanimous, boys and girls. Though she doesn’t look too happy when Shayna, her former roommate, tells her that Ronda Rousey has won her over a bit.
Julianna doesn’t seem to be making many friends in the house. The underdog won big last week and helped her team, but almost everyone interviewed seems to say that she annoys them.
Maybe it’s the fake British accent she’s adopted and refuses to drop. This week, Julianna’s teammate Chris Holdsworth is taking on Chris Beal, who was chosen by Tate to fight next because he has an injured hand.
Ronda is still furious at the pussy-ass bullshit move and insists that Beal will beat Holdsworth with one hand. Before that can happen, however, Cody meets with Coach Tate and her mascot/assistant coach/boyfriend/manager/suitcase pimp/fellow UFC bantamweight Bryan Caraway to tell them that he believes there’s a mole on their team.
He thinks that it is Julianna. Bryan seems to agree.
Apparently Team Rousey’s Jessamyn Duke guessed all the matchups that Team Tate had laid out as their number one choices. Of course, this means that Julianna, who is friends with Tate and trains with her, told Team Rousey the plan.
Why? Well, she’s already fought so she doesn’t care about what happens to the rest of the team, according to Cody.
When he confronts Julianna with the accusation, which he somehow says isn’t an accusation, she denies it but when others pile on, she suggests that perhaps Roxanne Modafferi, who rooms with Team Rousey ladies, shared the top secret info.
Roxanne flatly denies it and her team jumps to her aid, one of them calling her “a fucking Samurai” who would never stoop so low.
The Part Where We Learn Chris Holdsworth is a Smooth Operator
The episode returns from a break and goes straight into the first co-ed massage of the season. Roxanne is rubbing Chris Holdsworth’s shoulders and neck. He says they should do this more often. She replies that all he needs to do is ask and does he want some more right now?
Nah, that’s good for now, babe but I’ll let you know when I need you again, he replies.
From there, we hear more from Holdsworth about his youth. His older brother, who he looks up to a great deal, was shot and killed when Chris was just eight years old.
His brother was a kick boxer and when he received his black belt posthumously at his funeral, Chris decided he too would get into martial arts. And now, here he is, fighting on national television in the world’s top MMA organization.
His brother “would be real proud of me,” Holdsworth says. No doubt.
Holdsworth is a Jiu Jitsu guy and Beal looked like a dangerous striker in his first bout. Tate thinks that Beal’s only weapon is his left hook and says that they are looking to capitalize on his over-committing on hard punches with take downs.
Back at the TUF house, Holdsworth continues to make time with the ladies poolside. He lays out in the sun next to Julianna. She says that Chris is a leader and starts asking him about his past relationships. Chris explains that he’s always had trouble finding a girl who can accept his fighter lifestyle.
Later, Holdsworth tells the camera that he might need a little company during this “lonely time.” Back at the pool, Chris floats the idea of “friends with benefits” to Julianna. She says that she’s “all about it.”
We have a consensus, then.
In her bedroom, Julianna apologizes to Roxanne for accusing her for being a mole. Roxanne seems to totally understanding and tells the cameras later that she just wants “peace and harmony” on their team. And that, folks, is why they call this woman The Happy Warrior.
On Team Rousey, Jessamyn denies even “knowing” about Team Tate’s match up preferences and says she was basically just guessing and trying to mess with them. She claims that she told this to the men on Team Tate but that they told her, no matter, they were going to use it to go after Julianna.
Julianna says “to hell with them all,” which seems like an appropriate attitude for a fighter to have.
We come back from commercial and Beal talks about appreciating running after nearly losing his leg to cancer. “I run to love now. I run six to seven miles every day,” he says.
We learn that Beal’s older brother was also shot and killed. Beal says he is motivated to show his own son that hard work is the way to succeed.
“I’m not going to let nobody take this away from me…I want this as much as I want to breathe,” he says to himself on the treadmill.
He also wants to “put a smile on Coach Ronda’s face.” Presumably because she scares the heck out of him and everyone else when she’s got her game face on. A competitor like Rousey can’t be fun to be around when she’s in a fighting mood.
Tension at the Watering Hole
The fighters and their coaches are taken to the Fertitta-owned Red Rock Hotel and Casino to watch a UFC event on television. Rousey decides to go to the bar to wet her whistle.
While doing so, she gets too close to Tate’s boyfriend Caraway, according to Miesha who tells her to get away from her boyfriend/manager/assistant coach/henchman/etc. Rousey denies trying to make moves on Tate’s man saying, “I don’t think anyone with a half a brain would desire a man like that.”
And, it’s on.
Rousey insults Caraway’s pad-holding and coaching abilities. Tate says that Rousey doesn’t even know how to throw punches.
At this point Ronda calls her own head coach Edmond Tarverdyan over to tell him what the Tates are saying about her striking ability. Keep in mind that Edmond is a proud, successful fighter and coach himself. And that Caraway once threatened (on twitter, like a real man does) to knock Rousey’s teeth in. And keep in mind that Edmond is Armenian and looked pretty drunk at this point. But mostly, Caraway threatened to hit Rousey a while back, and that’s enough of a reason for tensions to escalate.
“As long as I live, no one’s going to break Ronda’s teeth,” Edmond says to Caraway, who stays sitting, looking down and saying nothing.
“There’s too much cameras here [but] I’ll get you some day.”
Edmond is pulled away and lil Bryan offers that he has already “apologized for that.”
As is the custom for courageous people everywhere, after Edmond walks away Caraway mutters under his breath. “Act tough now,” he whimpers.
“We are tough. Always,” Ronda responds.
“You act tough on twitter.”
Then she walks away. Hard to argue with the girl.
The argument continues with Edmond and the Tates across the room from one another. “She’ll beat you standing any day,” Edmond shouts at Tate. “Then, she’ll break your arm after that. You and your boyfriend. Both of you together,” he specifies.
Rousey says to Caraway, “You never say shit to my face but you talk on twitter. That’s fucking bitch behavior.” Again, the lady makes a strong case here.
As for Miesha, Ronda respects her abilities. “She’s a legit fighter,” she tells cameras later. “She’s got balls…but I don’t feel the least bit sorry for breaking her arm in half.”
Remember, that isn’t hyperbole. Ronda snapped Tate’s arm in half once before. It was nasty.
After it is all said and done, Ronda goes right back to the bar, next to Caraway and orders another drink. The girl is a gunslinger, plain and simple.
Both Chris H. and Chris B. make weight and it’s time to wait and fight now.
Rousey says that Beal asked her to fight first. Tate is confident that Holdsworth will take Beal down and submit him.
Back in the house, Holdsworth channels fourth grade boys everywhere and shares a private note that Julianna wrote to him. “I believe in you,” it begins.
“Believe in yourself…be primal but stay in control.”
It is read out loud by a roommate in a mocking voice and they all laugh and make sex jokes about cardio, being primal and enchiladas.
Julianna signs the letter, “VV,” prompting the former male model of the bunch to say, “she wants that PP.”
Chris promises to give Julianna “the best two minutes of her life.”
While Holdsworth and his buds have a good ol’ fashion sausage party, Beal is in a room, laying on the floor talking to himself. He talks to himself a lot.
Beal walks out to the cage. The mask is back.
Round one begins and Holdsworth kicks Beal low. He recovers and they are back on.
From the start, Holdsworth is the aggressor with Beal looking to slip and counter. Holdsworth lands the first big strike of the fight a minute in – a stiff right hand.
Beal follows with a hard left hook and jab. Holdsworth lands another right hand and then a double leg take down.
Beal gets back to his feet quickly but Holdsworth gets him down again. Beal immediately reverses positions but Holdsworth locks on a triangle then arm bar. Beal escapes and gets up. The two are back on their feet.
Big right hand from Beal. A one two from Holdsworth and the two lands. He tries for another take down and gets stuffed. He goes for another and gets stuffed again by Beal.
Holdsworth keeps pushing forward, undeterred. He lands another big right hand that drops Beal to the mat. Holdsworth jumps on him and then locks up an arm-in guillotine and pulls guard.
Beal taps out.
I’m not sure but I’m pretty sure a Team Tate male member then shouts out, “That’s what you get for eating biscuits at breakfast!”
I have no idea what it means but I plan to use that phrase as much as possible from now on. Unless it was a racial thing. In which case, I’ll write a column criticizing Chael Sonnen for something shortly.
Chris Holdsworth earns five grand for the submission and a home-made enchilada dinner from Julianna. All he has to show for the effort is a small shiner under his left eye. And just like that, Team Tate is up 2-0.
In the Team Rousey locker room, Beal apologizes to his coaches for his first ever loss. He calls Holdsworth the better man that day.
Fight pick time and Team Tate has dibs. Miesha chooses to have Rousey’s Jessica Rakoczy fight her own Roxanne Modafferi. Who ya got, ‘Taters?
Team Rousey Women
Shayna Baszler (eliminated by Julianna Pena in the quarterfinals, episode 2)
Team Rousey Men
Chris Beal (eliminated by Chris Holdsworth in the quarterfinals, episode 3)
Team Tate Women
Team Tate Men