Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez meet in this season’s coaches’ challenge. | Photo: Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog.com
This week’s episode focuses on the first quarterfinal fight of the season between Felice Herrig and Randa Markos.
Rose Namajunas talks about the bittersweetness of being the only member of Team Melendez to make it through the opening round. The team celebrates Namajunas’ victory by drinking some alcohol, Angela Magana and Bec Rawlings in particular. The shenanigans turn into a slumber party, which upsets Tecia Torres, who is trying to sleep. She officially moves into another room with Lisa Ellis.
Anthony Pettis discusses how training is different now that seven of his team members have advanced and are still training with one another. Pettis has decided to step back and will not corner anyone but Joanne Calderwood.
Herrig looked at the bracket ahead of time and was aware that, if she advanced, she would end up fighting Markos. This is why she tried to avoid training with her during the leadup to the quarterfinals.
Carla Esparza suggests to the coaches that the women who are fighting against each other should spar at different times of the day. The team votes and they decide on alternating between day and night sessions, so that no advantages are gained.
This year’s coaches’ challenge will take place in a game show format based on the two coaches’ knowledge of the UFC. The choice to not do a physical challenge is because of Pettis’ injured knee. The winning coach takes home $10,000 and each of his team members receives $1,500.
After three rounds of trivia, Gilbert Melendez defeats Pettis by a score of 1,800-0 to win this season’s coaches challenge.
Markos discusses the toughness of Herrig. She is prepared for a standup battle, but she hopes to take the fight to the ground and nullify Herrig’s work inside the clinch.
After a couple training sessions in the new arrangement, Torres, Markos and Calderwood feel as if they are being cheated out of practice time. The coaches approach the topic again, but the girls that originally wanted to be separated take offense.
The situation explodes later in the evening at the house. The highlight of the argument is Herrig calling Markos a “coward.” The next day, Esparza confronts Markos in the van regarding attending their training session, which breaks the agreement that was in place.
Weigh-ins become heated when, during the staredown, Herrig blows a bubble with her gum that Markos pops. It seems as if they both are in each other’s head a bit. The other girls in the house consider the theatrics a sign of weakness on Herrig’s part.
The fight opens up slowly, with Markos doing as she said, closing the distance and avoiding the clinch. The moment that she opens up a bit by throwing a flurry of punches, Herrig takes advantage and presses the fight against the cage. Markos manages to turn the tides and presses Herrig against the cage, and Herrig throws knees to the gut. The pair grapple around the fence before Herrig trips Markos and winds up on top. Markos manages to get back to her feet. After a moment of grappling, Markos takes Herrig to the ground with an explosive takedown. Markos immediately gets in position for an armlock and forces the submission from Herrig.
After the fight, Esparza makes it known that she hopes to fight Markos in the future. Herrig doesn’t say anything negative about Markos in the post-fight interview, giving her opponent credit for what she accomplished.
Next week’s episode will revolve around Aisling Daly and Jessica Penne.