Friday, September 12, 2014

Review of The Ultimate Fighter 20 episode 1

It took an extra day but I now have episode one of The Ultimate Fighter 20 mostly for foreign viewers who don't get to see it live. Now that I know where I can find it, there shouldn't be any delays in the future. For the first time in TUF history, the TUF winner will be a champion, the UFC Women's Strawweight Champion. Eight of the sixteen fighters are from the Invicta buy. The rest came from tryouts. I think the talent level is a lot higher than the women who were on TUF18. The team coaches are Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez. The previous TUF format was set up kind of like a schoolyard. The coaches would alternate picks based on a coin flip. The UFC has decided to change this into a more traditional tournament format with seeds, brackets and set matchups. So when Pettis won the coin toss, he picked number one seed Carla Esparza and Melendez got number 16 seed Angela Hill. Though some seem to like this change, I don't care for it for two reasons. For one thing, it takes away a lot of the strategy in picking fighters for the team and for matches. It's also way too easy to manipulate the seeds and set up certain matches and even potential upsets. For example, there is no way in hell that Aisling Daly should be ranked #5. She's lost three of her last four fights. I also cracked up when Felice Herrig vs Heather Jo Clark was announced as one of the matches considering that we all know how much they hate each other. It's too convenient for me. The randomness has always been part of TUF. It's not something that needed to be fixed. For the first match, we got #3 seed Tecia Torres vs #14 seed Randa Markos. Melendez says that the UFC sprung the whole seed thing on the coaches and he didn't like it either. Tecia is the only top five fighter on his team and he thinks Randa was ranked too low. So there may be some sandbagging going on because the UFC wants upsets and Tecia was one of the favourites to win the whole thing. In round one, Tecia landed strikes but Randa got a takedown. Tecia was active enough from the bottom that I think she won the round. Tecia's lack of takedown defense proved to be her undoing in round two as Randa controlled her and landed strikes. So now we go to an extra round. I didn't think either performed very well but a late round takedown won the round for Randa. She moves on to the next round. Melendez said yesterday he thought Tecia won the round. But I think it was very close and Tecia needed to fight with a lot more urgency. I think she beat herself. And she needs to work on her takedown defense. And remember she's from Milwaukee and has trained with the guys on Team Pettis. She would have been better off on that team because they know her well. So the UFC got the upset they wanted in the first episode and now the girls can settle into the house and annoy each other. Next week's match will have Joanne Calderwood of Team Pettis vs Emily Kagan of Team Melendez. Joanne is the favourite but one never knows. Enjoy the video!

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