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By: Yael Grauer, Special Guest Contributor
It's the first real episode of The Ultimate Fighter, and the group of fighters gets to go to the TUF house and pick out their beds. There's some hot tub action (okay, not really action) and Chris Holdsworth has to mention that there's a couple of attractive girls. I knew this was coming.
Next we've got Sarah Moras, Shayna Baszler, and Tim Gorman talking about how hard to go when you train with women, with Sarah pointing out to the camera that all the ladies in the house probably train with the guys back at home already. Gorman says he'd rather not go 100 percent with a girl because they'll get hurt, but of course Moras says if guys aren't going 100 percent, they'll get caught (Of course Tim Gorman says that no girl will submit him).
It's an interesting discussion. Obviously going super easy on female training partners is doing them a disservice, but since even bantamweight guys probably walk around at much higher weights than the women and are naturally stronger, I can see why going easier is a good idea. Then again, guys don't go balls to the walls on their male training partners every match either. So I think there's a false dichotomy here.
Next we get to see Tate coaching, kind of a light recovery day, and Tim Gorman pointing out that he has a bad injury; a torn hamstring.
Right at 6:00, Ronda comes in and kicks out Tate's team (we've all heard "It's 6:00, you know the schedule!" on countless previews), introducing Edmund Tavarian (her striking coach) and telling her fighters that every inch counts.
Next we have Anthony Gutierrez with his grand delusions of how everyone in the house is in love with him (there has to be one).
There's lots of build-up to the fight between a very confident Shayna Baszler and a worried Julianna Pena.
Baszler describing her first fights and how far women's MMA has come may be people's first exposure to that. Meanwhile Pena uses her time in the spotlight to discuss how you can be a fighter but also be feminine (That's something we all know because we've seen all those naked photos of Rousey and Tate, bro).
All right, now Tim Gorman finds out his hamstring muscle is completely torn off and he needs four to six months of rehab. Bummer. Louis Fissett gets brought back.
Shayna Baszler talks about how Pena should be coming to her seminars and learning from her. She even brings a queen of spades to weigh-ins and puts it in Pena's bra. Nice touch.
Obviously Baszler wants to get submissions and Pena's gonna try to keep it standing. Here we go.
In round 1, Julianna comes in with punches and the two fighters clinch against the cage. Nice couple of takedowns from the Queen of Spades, who gets back mount. Pena recomposes the guard and sets up an armbar; Shayna's punching over the top while Julianna punches from the bottom. Shayna lands another takedown but takes some elbows to the head. Really solid reversal from Pena. Shayna keeps half guard but takes some body shots and punches to the noggin' before finishing out the round on top. 10-9 Baszler.
Round 2 is a different story. Pena comes in with big punches. Baszler lands a knee but gets rocked; she looks tired and is overwhelmed by punches and knees. Pena gets her back and sinks in a rear-naked choke, and Shayna taps.
Long-time fans of women's MMA probably feel the same way I did. My heart sank. Shayna's arguably the best, most deserving fighter in the house, with years and years and years of experience, and I still believe it was just an off night for her. Pena - who most of us have never heard of - taking out arguably the best fighter in the house is depressing. I just wonder if some of these pioneers have missed their chance; they peaked when WMMA was still in its infancy and the opportunities weren't really there. For someone who's been following women's MMA for as long as I have, seeing Baszler lose to a n00b (no offense to Pena) is pretty devastating.
Anyway, Team Tate announced the next fight: Holdsworth vs. Beal, a fight they picked because of Beal's hand injury. Rousey said that was a pussy a** move, but all's fair in love and war, right? Who's to know she wouldn't have done the same thing? She also told Tate she'd beat her up even more for smiling at her fighter's pain. I think Tate was just celebrating her friend's win, but I can actually see where Rousey's coming from. It's hard to be so upset and see someone smirking about it.
Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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