With the recent news that would-be title challenger Cat Zingano may have suffered another injury setback, you have to wonder how different this season would be if she was a coach on TUF 18 instead of Miesha Tate. The narrative would be completely different and the show would likely become a showcase for the relatively unknown Zingano as opposed to revolving around the blood feud between Tate and Ronda Rousey. I doubt the alternative could be as compelling as what we’ve seen so far. This is one of those bad breaks that actually turned out better for the UFC (see also: Grant, TJ). Best wishes to Zingano on a full recovery.
We open on Jessica Rakoczy getting back to what she does best: taking care of everyone, starting with the woman she nearly drove through the mat, Roxanne Modafferi. That’s got to be a mind f**k, eh? Later, Roxy is found hiding in the yard and crying, which is a total bummer. She forces herself to brighten up when the camera crew tracks her down and it’s actually kind of creepy.
This is what I call a typical Saturday night.
On a happier note, David Grant is fighting for love! He wants enough money to get married and provide for his kids. If everything he says is to be believed, he’s found the perfect woman who steered him away from the dark side and who also agreed to stay home and take care of their kids while he went out and chased his dream. Men, feel free to hate this guy.
Just like with Robert Whittaker last year, hearing Grant speak is giving me pleasant TUF: The Smashes flashbacks. He also seems a little too nice. When Edmond Tarverdyan tells him to break everyone in the house, he just laughs it off.
The episode takes a moment to look in on Raquel Pennington having a discussion with Shayna Baszler about being a gay professional athlete. Pennington says it changed her relationship with her parents, at first for the worst but later for the better. I’m surprised that they didn’t wait for the episode where she fights to focus on this aspect of her life, but I’m also relieved that they’re keeping it short and sweet. Much like how the WWE has handled the recent revelation of Darren Young’s homosexuality with tact and respect (the last thing I expected from that organization), it’s becoming more and more commonplace to show admiration for someone’s willingness to be open about their relationship choices while also realizing that it isn’t and shouldn’t be a big deal.
See how mature I can be? Now let’s take a moment to check in on Chris Holdsworth and the out of context dialogue of the week:
Holdsworth: Oh my God...so good, Julianna.
Holdsworth: So far it’s been pretty hard and it’s just going to get harder from here on out.
The man gets his enchilada.
Truth or dare! I can’t remember if this has ever been done on TUF before. If it has, I’m sure it was never this memorable. Sarah Moras says that Anthony Gutierrez is the hottest guy in the house, which draws an OMGZ EWWW!!!11!! reaction from Julianna Peña who says that his personality makes him ugly.
We all know Juli only has eyes for one man.
Josh Hill picks "dare" and he has to use a cheesy pick-up line on Modafferi. It goes something like this:
Hill: Nice shoes. Wanna f**k?
Hill is a professional fighter and a model. You should not try this. Also, Modafferi is working on her Japanese blog.
Because of course she is.
Gutierrez takes this opportunity to call out Louis Fisette as the weakest link. Fisette tries to stay cool though he’s clearly offended and he refuses to drop the issue. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the men are cattier than the women on this show.
Fisette: What makes you think I’m the weakest link?
Gutierrez: I honestly don’t think anybody here is weak but if I had to call somebody the weakest I think it’d be you.
Fisette: Okay, what’s the reasoning?
Gutierrez: ‘Cause you’re the only one that tapped out.
This leads in nicely to the Fisette portion of the broadcast. He claims to be Mr. Nice Guy and explains that he was never the type to pick fights or get into bar brawls. He couldn’t be sounding more Canadian right now. Aware that he’s the underdog, he says that he has nothing left to lose. I hate when people say that. Unless you’re dead, there’s always something left to lose.
Rousey’s infamous mom makes a guest appearance and I’m not gonna lie, she looks a little cray cray.
Like mother, like daughter.
Mama Rousey makes like Sergeant Slaughter and whips the troops into shape. She demonstrates an arm bar on Baszler, making this the first time someone on the show has been beaten up by a grandmother. If only Tim Gorman was still around. Rousey speaks fondly of how dearest mother would send her to tournaments even if she was injured. It sounds like we have another Marv Marinovich on our hands. Nevertheless, her maternal instincts prove to be just what Grant needs to keep him mentally tough. She reminds him that if he was standing between his opponent and his children, there’s no way he would let them down so how can he lose?
The next day, Team Tate executes a prank based around Tarverdyan’s resemblance to a vampire. Tate initially just says "The Count" so I’m assuming we’re talking Count von Count here. Now I can’t stop imagining Tarverdyan going One punch, two punch, ah ah ah! when his team hits pads. Along with the doll there’s a coupon for an eye brow waxing which is mean, but funny. Even Rousey knows better than to tell Tarverdyan about it. Armenians are not known for their sense of humour.
I’m a sucker for weigh-in drama (don’t ask) and the earlier discussion about unhealthy food and Grant’s size makes me think there will be some anxiety here, but both guys make weight without incident. Fisette still refuses to remove his shades!
Friends and roommates forced to duke it out! It’s Grant who rushes in first, contrary to Tate’s belief that Fisette would be the aggressor. After some cage work, Fisette attempts some sort of flying knee or guard pull (?) that ends up with Grant on top. Grant is fine with working from inside guard and his ground and pound work eventually opens up a cut on Fisette’s forehead. Fisette attacks the leg, but this only results in him giving up half guard and then side control. He can’t muster up any significant offence and Grant takes the first round, 10-9.
Fisette is a bloody mess. Rousey remarks that he was "saved by the f**in’ bell". She might be right. The second opens with Grant slamming Fisette down again and moving to the back. Grant gets a tap-out via rear naked choke about a minute in. Great effort from both guys. Fisette is a warrior and he handles defeat with class, carrying Grant on his shoulders afterwards.
Next week: A match that both coaches were aiming for, Jessamyn Duke v. Raquel Pennington. Also, I stop making jokes about how Fisette lives with his parents.