‘TUF 18’ Recap: Episode 11

By: Mike Whitman
Nov 13, 2013

Two members of Miesha Tate’s squad are set to square off, with Sarah Moras battling Julianna Pena in the competition’s second semifinal.

Moras and Pena previously met in April 2012, when Moras picked up a second-round doctor stoppage after dislocating Pena’s elbow with an armbar. Pena is a former training partner of Tate’s, and Moras believes her coach is playing favorites by working more with Pena. An emotional Moras weeps in the shower, explaining to her teammates and coaches how she is feeling. Tate does right by Moras and decides to separate the fighters’ training sessions in an effort to keep the playing field level.

Back at the fighter house, Pena is irritated that she has become a pariah, and several of her housemates openly admit to disliking her in their confessionals. In the gym, Pena is upset that Tate will no longer roll with her one-on-one.

During Moras’ training session, “Cheesecake” accidentally gives Roxanne Modafferi a black eye while practicing her elbows from top control, but Modafferi is a good sport about it. Later that night, coach Ronda Rousey stops by the house to cut up everybody’s T-shirts and transform them into “Rousey originals.”

The next morning, Pena tries to extract information from Modafferi about Moras’ training session, but Modafferi will not divulge anything. Though Modafferi seems to be Pena’s only friend in the house, the veteran will not betray Moras’ trust, much to Pena’s chagrin.

With the competition winding down, emotions are running high, as evidenced by Pennington and Pena bickering over Pena’s noisy morning routine. Later, Caraway says that Pena’s biggest problem is her self-doubt, an issue which he and the coaches have tried to remedy during the show.

Both women make weight, and Moras wins the “best hair” competition by a mile. Seriously, even Bonnie Tyler would have bowed in reverence to Moras’ flowing follicles monsoon that day.

Tate and Caraway visit the fighters to give them final words of encouragement. Tate and Pena hash out the aforementioned concerns over favoritism, and Tate tells her pupil that she and Chris Holdsworth are the hardest workers on the team.

In a fight-day confessional, Pena admits that her feelings are hurt by how she is perceived by her housemates. Moras, meanwhile, confesses that there may be more pressure on her since everyone wants to see Pena beaten.

Moras fires two hard low kicks to start their bout, and Pena pursues with heavy right hands. Moras looks for a hip throw but bails on it and pulls guard, elbowing Pena’s head and cracking her with an upkick as she stands. Pena dives back into Moras’ guard, and “Cheesecake” meets her with more elbows off her back. Pena passes to half-guard and punches her way into side control, landing a slew of clean shots to Moras’ face and ears as the round expires.

Moras leads with more leg kicks to start round two, but Pena sticks two hard right hands in her face and then drives her into the cage. Pena scores with an outside trip, and “The Venezuelan Vixen” immediately passes to side control and punishes her foe with punches and elbows. Moras tries to scramble away, but Pena opens a gash on her forehead with a clean elbow and locks up a guillotine as Moras turtles. The hold is tight, and Moras is forced to tap.

An emotional Modafferi gives Pena a big hug and congratulates her on the victory. Talking through a bloody nose and with a massive hematoma on her forehead, a teary Moras apologizes to Dana White for her performance, but White tells her that it is “all good.” Pena is ecstatic over her victory and says she is very proud of herself.

Next week, Team Rousey’s Anthony Gutierrez will face teammate Davey Grant to decide which man will face Holdsworth at the live finale.

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