Tonight’s installment of “The Ultimate Fighter 18” recaps the season up to this point, summarizing the show’s first seven episodes.
The season begins with a bang when Ronda Rousey fears she has been replaced. The UFC women’s champion is greeted by Miesha Tate instead of Cat Zingano, who suffered a serious knee injury that kept her from coaching. Rousey and UFC President Dana White had gone through a dispute prior to the show, and the UFC women’s champion is none too happy about being kept in the dark.
“Miesha even said that she was supposed to be purposely vague and let me reach my own conclusions,” Rousey says in a confessional. “So, that wasn’t very nice.”
The elimination round comes next, followed by the team selections. Tate picks Julianna Pena, Sarah Moras, Raquel Pennington, Roxanne Modafferi, Cody Bollinger, Chris Holdsworth, Josh Hill and Tim Gorman, while Rousey selects Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, Peggy Morgan, Jessica Rakoczy, Chris Beal, Davey Grant, Anthony Gutierrez and Mike Wootten. As Tate was given the first fighter pick, Rousey was allowed to pick the first fight, selecting Pena and Baszler to clash.
“The battle of the sexes begins” the next morning, when Gorman announces he wants to take it easy on the female competitors in training. Moras then promises to tap him out, and the fighters have a laugh over the good-natured challenge.
After Rousey boots Team Tate from the gym when they spill over into Team Rousey’s practice time, Gorman gets the boot after the fight doctor tells him that he has badly torn his hamstring. Louis Fisette takes his place as a member of Team Tate.
In the show’s first fight, Pena upsets Baszler by using her powerful hands and tiring the veteran out, and Rousey becomes upset by what she considers to be excessive celebration from Tate. The coaches then mix it up during a social outing and bicker over Bryan Caraway’s infamous tweet in which he threatened to knock Rousey’s teeth down her throat. Holdsworth then submits Beal to close out Episode 3.
After winning two straight bouts, Tate selects the experienced Modafferi to take on Rakoczy. Team Rousey’s Edmond Tarverdyan and Tate’s guest coach Dennis Hallman threaten to go “UFC 1” on each other after squaring off in the hallway, but the tension is diffused by White. Rakoczy manages to stay away from Modafferi’s ground game and knocks her out to earn Team Rousey’s first win of the season.
The next day, Rousey brings in her mother, Ann Maria DeMars, to help coach her team. A former judo world champion, DeMars critiques the team’s ground work and gives them a pep talk. Later, Team Tate continues to stir the pot by leaving Tarverdyan an eyebrow wax coupon in the locker room. Team Rousey’s Grant mows down Fisette to even the score at 2-2.
Rousey then selects the wiry Duke to take on Team Tate’s Pennington, who is the first openly gay fighter to compete on “TUF.” The women throw down hard and put on the best fight of the season so far. The bantamweights beat the hell out of each other for 15 minutes, and Pennington earns the decision victory.
The UFC champion brings Father’s Day gifts to all the dads in the house. In an unrelated act, Tate decides to play another prank on Team Rousey while White tries to keep the peace. Hill faces Wootten to close out Episode 7, and the Brit outlasts his more explosive opponent to earn a unanimous decision.
With the score tied at 3-3, the final two quarterfinal bouts will take place next week, when Gutierrez meets Bollinger and Moras faces Morgan.