Felice Herrig is one of the best-known competitors “TUF 20.” | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
After a two week hiatus, “The Ultimate Fighter 20” returns with the season’s fifth preliminary matchup between Felice Herrig and Heather Clark.
Herrig will try to keep things rolling for Anthony Pettis’ squad, who have won four in a row, while Clark looks to claim the first victory for Gilbert Melendez’s team.
The show opens with Clark explaining why she doesn’t particularly like Herrig. The disdain stems from Herrig initially turning down a fight against her in Invicta Fighting Championships. They did eventually end up competing, with Herrig earning a split decision.
Melendez wishes he had more of an opportunity to train with Clark, but “El Nino” is nursing a knee injury. This leads to Angela Magana bringing up the fact that Clark sits out during training often and how it is upsetting the rest of the team. Magana says it is going to be hard for the team to cheer for Clark against Herrig.
Pettis has confidence in Herrig heading into the bout. He plans on reviewing the girls’ first fight and building a game plan for the rematch around it.
Justine Kish continues to deal with a knee injury. She visited a doctor who recommended an MRI to double-check everything. Her results reveal that she has a tear of her ACL ligament, which led the doctor to advise surgery. She will be forced to leave the tournament. Kish apologizes to Bec Rawlings, who she was lined up against.
UFC President Dana White turns up at the gym to rectify the whole situation. White made the decision to bring back Tecia Torres and send her over to Team Pettis. Torres will now face Rawlings.
Melendez spoke up to White about how he felt the decision wasn’t fair. White doesn’t pay the complaints much mind, bringing up the fact that the show isn’t a team sport. In the end, all that matters is the one woman walking away with the belt. The women of Team Pettis are equally unhappy with the decision, as they said that it would be hard for them to train with Torres.
Herrig is growing frustrated about the upcoming fight. She feels as if she has all the pressure on her because her team is undefeated and the entire cast of the show wants her to beat Clark. Both women are amped heading into their fight due to the personal level of the beef.
The scrap opens with both women using their boxing to keep distance. Melendez calls multiple times for Clark to establish her jab. Herrig shoots in for a takedown and Clark immediately attempts a guillotine choke. There are a few frantic moments for Herrig, who manages to move the fight up against the cage and enter into the clinch. Herrig starts working her knees, then scores a takedown. After a minute or so, Clark gains top position, but Herrig immediately starts working for a triangle choke, which then changes to an armbar. The two are tangled in a web of submissions, each looking for a better position. Herrig explodes and winds up on top. She begins throwing punches to the head as the round draws to a close.
The second frame opens with Clark securing the clinch and throwing some heavy knees to the gut of Herrig. The fight ends up against the cage again, and Herrig is able to throw Clark to the mat and takes her opponent’s back. She sinks in her underhooks, then throws right and left punches to Clark’s head. Clark is struggling to remove herself from the body lock Herrig has going, but she is slowly shaking Herrig loose. Clark finally gets on top with 90 seconds remaining. After a bit of a stalemate, the referee stands up the pair. Clark presses against the cage desperately looking for a takedown, but she is unable to score. Both women are drawing deep breaths as the fight winds down, Herrig digs deep and scores one final takedown as the second round ends.
All three judges score the bout 20-18 for Herrig. With the win, Team Pettis remains undefeated. After the fight, Clark says her knee was the difference in the fight, as she was unable to throw any kicks. After the fight, Clark apologizes to Herrig for judging her and clears the air. Herrig accepts her apology and the two embrace.
Next week’s matchup features Angela Magana against Aisling Daly.