Episode three of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rousey vs. Team Tate aired with lower ratings than the previous weeks, but it was jam-packed with scenarios that we have never seen on previous seasons of TUF. The men and the women of the TUF cast interact in a much different way once inside their dwelling. We also see the first fight of the men for the series with a battle between Chris Beal (Team Rousey) vs. Chris Holdsworth (Team Tate).
Team Tate’s Ricky Lundell recaps the episode, giving his unique perspective on how things are shaking out.
MMAWeekly.com: Did you choose Beal to fight because he was injured?
Ricky Lundell: Let’s start by saying that capitalizing on Chris Beal’s injury wasn’t our (Team Tate’s) main focus, at all. We knew that Holdsworth had the submission skills to be able to take out his opponent, and we wanted to hold back on some of our other guys in order to set them up for better fights. Beal’s injury was a by-product of his previous fight, but we had no knowledge of his status when we selected him for the fight, and our team was unanimous on the decision to choose him.
I know that Team Rousey seemed to think that was why we chose him; had we known, absolutely, we would have capitalized on it, but we weren’t aware. Of course, in this (competition), the road to victory is you take out the easiest seed, and an injury would have made Beal the easy seed, again, HAD we known about it.”
MMAWeekly.com: What did you think about Chris Holdsworth’s performance in the fight? Any lessons learned?
Ricky Lundell: Holdsworth did a lot of things right in the fight. He pressed (Beal) to the fence, as we wanted; he pummeled inside, etc. However, his third shot was a bad shot; he didn’t change levels correctly. Future with him is to make sure that he continues to stay consistent with the game plan, even when he gets tired. He trains with Chad Mendes; he can learn from that guy’s consistency. He will definitely get better in his future, and I look forward to working with him in the future. Again, we just need to sharpen up his wrestling game, and then he’ll be tough to stop.
MMAWeekly.com: How did you prepare Holdsworth for the fight?
Ricky Lundell: As far as training Chris Holdsworth on the show, we knew that Beal wouldn’t be able to hang with him on the ground. Holdsworth has such an incredible ground game. From start to finish, he had the ability to hit any armbar, chokehold, and submission. The key for this fight was mainly about working on his takedowns. We spent a lot of time going from takedown to immediate submission, some of his chokes, and grinding down Chris Beal. Our biggest thing with Holdsworth was “start fast, finish fast,” which he did really well.
Also, Chris (Holdsworth) did have the benefit of having his personal nutritionist there. I think it gave him a friend. (The guy who yelled at him for having biscuits that morning is his nutritionist on the outside.) Miesha Tate also uses him as her personal nutritionist, which is why he was there. Chris wasn’t getting special attention.
MMAWeekly.com: Did Chris have any trepidation going into training?
Ricky Lundell: Holdsworth wanted to train – a lot. He wanted to make sure that he was getting enough training. He is a super-confident individual. I’m sure you could tell from the show. He only had a week between this and his last fight, and, still, I had to pull him off of the mat.
From the beginning, he was really excited to see that I was on the coaching staff, and he wanted to work with me. This is much different from the response I got from Julianna Pena, who didn’t care about why I was there until she found out who I worked with outside of TUF, since I wasn’t a “fighter.”
Yeah, it was kind of insulting. One of my UFC fighters was not happy and wanted to come on the show to breakdown my career for her, kind of the way you did in the first article, but on camera.
MMAWeekly.com: There was an obvious flirtation between Pena and Holdsworth throughout the episode. After Holdsworth’s victory, Chris was quoted as saying, “I have Julianna making me enchiladas tonight,” with a smirk. What’s going on there?
Ricky Lundell: Well, yes, it does seem that they (Holdsworth and Julianna) have a “friends with benefits” type of relationship on the screen, doesn’t it? However, from what I know personally, they didn’t do anything on the show. I did think it was funny watching Julianna cooking breakfast for him, in her robe, and wishing him luck as he left that morning. That was pretty awesome. I posted a picture of his win, and the most noticeable thing is Julianna’s smile. It was the biggest, like, “Joker-Smile” you have ever seen. So, yeah, she was obviously excited that he won.
MMAWeekly.com: What about the massage from Roxanne Modafferi?
Ricky Lundell: As far as Roxy (Modafferi) giving him a massage, well, I just think that she’s, culturally, in a different mindset. She has been living in Japan. I don’t think it was a subservient type of thing, I think that Roxy was just being genuinely nice. She comes off a little awkward, but she’s like me, an MMA nerd type. That’s just her.
MMAWeekly.com: Do you think we are starting to see the drama people were concerned about by incorporating both men and women into the show?
Ricky Lundell: I think it’s exciting to watch the dynamic of the men and the women. However, I share Dana’s point of view where instead of a “frat house” with men peeing in salads, you get to see the guys coming home relaxing trying to pick up on their roommate. I mean, the fighters did a great job of keeping some of the relationship stuff hidden from even the coaches during filming. We didn’t see all of it, but I do know it definitely does get crazier than what you’ve already seen. I mean, some of the fans are betting on the first “TUF baby,” but a baby cannot come from some of the relationships you’ll see.
MMAWeekly.com: Another thing we haven’t really experienced before with The Ultimate Fighter is the accusations of “selling out” information to the rival team. Episode three alleges sabotage within Team Tate with fingers pointing at last week’s winner, and friend of Tate, Julianna Pena. She was being accused of giving the perspective match-up information to Team Rousey. Can you give us some insight into that?
Ricky Lundell: You know, while we were filming, we were being told that people were giving out information to the other team. It was looked like it was probably Julianna doing it, yes, by me also. Am I certain? Eh. Everyone on the team suspected that it was Julianna. We started to set-up a “sting” to catch the person, but it didn’t get completed. It started to cause awkwardness, and cut out the fighters from any decisions involving our picks for fights. As the show progresses, you will see that this definitely caused a problem.
MMAWeekly.com: What about Pena throwing her teammate Modafferi under the bus?
Ricky Lundell: I think that she merely blamed Roxy to shift the blame. I don’t think it had to do with Holdsworth, the way it almost looked watching the episode. When Roxanne was accused, I don’t think anyone really believed it. Bollinger said, “Roxanne is a Samurai, and that is good enough for me.” You could drop a wad of money on the ground, and she would put an ad online to find the owner.
MMAWeekly.com: Why do you think the problems are happening? Do you think it’s gender-related?
Ricky Lundell: I don’t know why (Julianna) would try to sabotage our team, much less her friend Miesha, as they are very good friends. I don’t think that she fully thought through things. We think that she was telling the fights of the other fighters of the team. Notes were being written and thrown in trashcans that were being retrieved by the opposite team. It was crazy. I don’t know if it’s because they are females that it happened. I know that last season, if we were to have found out, I think the men on men would have handled it a lot differently inside the house. As the show progresses, I hope more comes out about it.
Coach Lundell is very enthusiastic about what’s to come on the show, so be sure to tune in on Wednesday, and check back in with MMAWeekly.com for this week’s breakdown.
Ricky Lundell, Assistant Coach for Team Tate, will be checking in with MMAWeekly.com readers each week as the season progresses. Be sure to follow him on Twitter and Instagram and let him know your thoughts.
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