The opening round of The Ultimate Fighter season 20 is over and the quarterfinals kicked off Wednesday night with a matchup between Felice Herrig and Randa Markos. The fight was a true grappler vs. striker matchup, and featured the most impressive finish of the season thus far.
Things started as one would expect, with Herrig looking to pepper Markos with punches, and Markos attempting to neutralize Herrig with clinchwork. The strategy backfired, however, as Herrig used her formidable Muay Thai skills to land short, powerful elbows and knees against the cage.
Herrig, surprisingly, took Markos down and briefly worked in half-guard. Markos would get back up, however, and dragged Herrig down with a head-and-arm throw. From there, she isolated Herrig's arm with her legs as though she was moving to a mounted-crucifix position. Instead, however, she used the position to set up a strange, modified, straight armbar to get the tap just minutes into the first round. Check out the highlights here to see the crafty submission.
The win moves Markos into the semi-finals, where she will face the winner of Joanne Calderwood vs. Rose Namajunas.
|Felice Herrig vs. Randa Markos||Markos def. Herrig|
|Carla Esparza vs. Tecia Torres|
|Aisling Daly vs. Jessica Penne||Next Week|
|Joanne Calderwood vs. Rose Namajunas|
Notes and Observations
- After eight episodes of serenity, the fun times are over for Team Pettis. A great deal of the episode was dedicated to a rift in the team forming over the awkwardness of training alongside opponents (seven of the eight quarterfinalists are from Team Pettis). A tentative agreement to split up practice was broken by Randa Markos, drawing a great deal of ire from Felice Herrig and Carla Esparza. Esparza's attitude and belligerence were panned thoroughly on Twitter during the show's airing.
- While much of this episode was dedicated to drama in The House, the real story is Markos' incredible rise up the division. Markos was largely unknown entering the season, but she has knocked off one of the top picks to become champ in Tecia Torres, and one of the best-known fighters in Felice Herrig.
- Last week, Angela Magana led a crusade to force Tecia Torres and Heather Clark out of the shared Team Melendez room. Torres and Clark made the move, and all parties will hopefully sleep easier (which, fingers crossed, will result in less petty drama).
- Following the fight, Markos walked over to the rest of Team Pettis and flatly said "maybe that will shut her up?" Stone cold!
- The coaches' challenge was this week! Rather than an athletic challenge, Gilbert Melendez and Anthony Pettis competed in UFC trivia. Melendez, for the most part, dominated the challenge, winning his team $1,500 apiece.
- On Fox Sports Live's "TUF Talk" segment, Markos and Esparza got very, very catty with one another. You can check out the extra-long segment here. If both of these ladies fall short of the finals, look for them to get paired off in the grudge match of the season.
- Next week, Aisling Daly faces off with Jessica Penne. The episode will also function as an infomercial for Harley Davidson (can we all discuss how silly it is that the UFC actively encourages its fighters to ride motorcycles when we've seen multiple champions injured biking?) and will feature an appearance by Conor McGregor, who will cheer on Daly.