‘TUF 18’ Recap: Episode 6

By: Mike Whitman
Oct 9, 2013

After gaining control of the fight pick with last week’s win, Ronda Rousey decides that Jessamyn Duke will do battle with the Miesha Tate-trained Raquel Pennington. Both Duke and Pennington are excited to lock horns, as they were initially booked to face off outside the house before Pennington’s coach pulled her from the contest.

Out of boredom, Julianna Pena plasters makeup on Pennington and Sarah Moras, who play along for fun. Pena recounts how her mother reacted negatively when she came out as a lesbian but relays that they eventually reconciled.

After walking around uncomfortably in a set of Pena’s high heels, Pennington goes to work in the gym. The powerful bantamweight plans to step inside of Duke’s considerable range and deliver hard shots while avoiding her foe’s dangerous Thai clinch.

The fighters and coaches are treated to a catered fight party at Green Valley Ranch Resort and Casino, but Duke does not attend in order to focus on her upcoming bout. When the fighters return from their excursion, Anthony Gutierrez makes it abundantly clear that he has been drinking by screaming at the top of his lungs and then diving into the girls’ bunk beds while Pennington is trying to get some sleep. Pennington vows vengeance for the indiscretion.

Duke works with coach Edmond Tarverdyan on maximizing her reach and using her jab to the best of her ability. Rousey expresses confidence in her charge, and both fighters hit the scales and make their final pre-fight preparations.

Duke appears serious about maintaining her reach advantage as she snipes from the outside to start the bout. Pennington catches a low kick and drives her foe against the cage, but Duke counters with a standing guillotine attempt. The hold is never close, however, and Pennington separates before driving forward with a hard one-two. Duke answers with a front kick, but Tate’s pupil begins to connect on the inside. Duke counters with a knee but eats a pair of right hands to close the frame.

Rousey’s fighter is bleeding from the nose, and Pennington continues to tag her by stepping into range. Suddenly, Duke stings her opponent with a knee to the face and follows up with several more from the Thai plum. Pennington rips back with a right hand and a left hook and swarms her foe with a combination against the cage. A game Duke retaliates with more knees, but she eats several hard shots with 60 seconds to go. Rousey’s bloodied pupil absorbs a front kick but once again fires back with knees to end the round.

UFC President Dana White informs the fighters that a third round will be required, and Duke methodically moves forward with jabs and front kicks before connecting with a right hand. Pennington answers with a low kick and a crisp one-two, followed by another sharp right straight. Another right lands for Pennington, and another. Duke backpedals against the cage but works her way off the fence and whiffs with an elbow before slapping Pennington on the ear with a high kick. Duke lands a pair of right hands, but neither of them deliver much power. Pennington then snaps her head around with another right cross. Duke suddenly drives forward at the end of the round and cuts Pennington over her right eye with a knee, though Tate’s fighter gives her a receipt in the form of another hard right.

The bout is lauded by fighters from both teams in camera confessionals, and White announces Pennington is the winner via unanimous decision. Tate attempts to shake Rousey’s hand after the bout. The UFC women’s bantamweight champion instead gives her future challenger the middle finger. An emotional Rousey consoles her fallen fighter, and they embrace backstage. Duke tells her coach that it has been an honor to be on her team.

White congratulates both fighters on a fantastic battle, and Tate is given control of the next pick. She selects Josh Hill to take on Team Rousey’s Mike Wootten next week.

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