Two Team Pettis fighters faced off as the first semifinalist emerged on the ninth episode of The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned.
Team Pettis Splits Into Two Groups, Sort Of
With only one Team Melendez fighter left in the competition, six members of Team Pettis are matched up against teammates in the quarterfinal round.
“Team Pettis moving into the quarterfinals, we have seven ladies moving forward,” said Coach Anthony Pettis. “Besides Joanne (Calderwood), the rest are going to be fighting their teammates. The only one I’m going to be cornering is Joanne.”
The team essentially spit into two groups with separate training sessions. One group will train in the morning while the other trains at night. But it limits all of them to one training session a day, and that didn’t set well with Randa Markos who faces Felice Herrig in the first quarterfinal bout.
“I’m not going to change my schedule for somebody else. I’m here for myself,” said Markos. “I don’t mind training with Felice in the same class as I am. I just need more training and to absorb as much as I can.”
“I don’t feel like I should have my practice time taken away just because they want the whole gym to themselves,” added Markos. “I’m here to train. I’m not here to sit in the house all day and only get an hour and a half of training.”
Herrig and Carla Esparza verbally attacked Markos in the van ride to the morning training session. They called her a coward and rude and mocked Markos.
“An agreement was made. I was there. I saw it. Everybody said, okay, that’s fine. We’re going to divide the practices. We’ll switch it up. And Randa showed up this morning,” said Coach Pettis. “It was kind of an agreement, but not really. This isn’t a team sport anymore. It never was. These ladies are fighting for a championship, so if they feel like they need to train twice a day I can’t say, no, you can’t come.”
Opposing coaches, Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez went head-to-head in the coaches’ challenge. Their knowledge of UFC history was put to the test in a trivia contest. “The Voice of the Octagon,” Bruce Buffer, hosted the challenge that was set up like a game show.
“Anthony has a bad knee, he’s coming off knee surgery, so this season we did UFC trivia,” explained UFC president Dana White. “This is the first season ever that we didn’t do a physical competition.”
Melendez proved to be well versed in UFC history, winning by doubling Pettis’ score heading into the sudden death round. They both missed the final question, but Pettis risked all of his points while Melendez wagered none. Melendez earned $10,000 as well as $1,500 for each of his team members.
“I was excited. That’s kind of fun,” said Melendez after the challenge. “I want to beat him in the octagon, but I want to beat him at everything as well: the coaches’ challenge, the match ups.”
The Fight: Felice Herrig vs. Randa Markos
There was a lot of animosity between the two leading up to the fight. Things had progressed from being just a competition to something personal.
Herrig felt that she had the edge in the striking department and wanted to keep her distance and stay standing. Markos planned to clinch and get the fight to the ground.
Herrig worked to establish her jab in the early going, but Markos quickly initiated the clinch. Herrig delivered knees to the body while Markos worked to trip her to the ground. She secured a trip, but Herrig gained top position. Markos immediately got to her feet and continued to pressure Herrig. Herrig took Markos down, but Markos rolled her over gaining dominant position. The Canadian isolated an arm and applied an arm bar. Herrig quickly tapped out.
As the No. 14 seed, Markos has taken out the No. 3 and No. 6 seeds on her way to being the first semifinalist of the season.
“I got an arm lock. I pulled it back. I should have pulled further to break it, but I didn’t because I’m too nice. But it feels great to get that win,” said Markos following the submission victory. “I’ve been dealing with a lot of (expletive) from her and I hope this shut her up for good. If not, I’ll fight her again. I don’t give a (expletive).”
“It’s tough going out there and knowing that you’re winning and getting caught like that. I can’t make excuses. I think you can’t be a sore loser. You have to be gracious in your win and it’s all about professionalism. I don’t take anything away from Randa,” said Herrig after being eliminated from the tournament.
On next week’s episode, former Invicta FC atomweight champion Jessica Penne takes on fellow Team Pettis member Aisling Daly.