Namajunas vs. Chambers and USA Soccer Superstars
Team Pettis is flying high with a 6-0 record so far in the house, but can Namajunas defeat their hopes for a sweet? The young fighter earned herself the admiration and awe of many fans when she won her Invicta FC 5 bout against Kathina Catron by flying armbar in just 12 seconds! It was by far one of the most impressive win ever witnessed in this organization or any other. Team Melendez might just earn themselves a first victory in this matchup. On the same night of Rose’s blink and you’ll miss it victory in 2013, Alex Chambers had also won her fight against Jodi Esquibel in only 90 seconds.
Tuf 20 ep. 7 Recap
The week starts with an emphasis on the divide since Torres was put into Pettis’ team. It is further enhanced by the fact that many of the girls on team Pettis realize that they will face one another very shortly. In the house, Tecia has found companionship amongst Heather Clark some of the international girls, except for Bec Rawlings, her next opponent.
Lisa Ellis comments on the fact that it feels like high school with outcasts and popular kids, enhancing that idea is Angela Hill who explains how team Melendez has nicknamed themselves the Scrapettes, as they are being trained by scrap pack members Melendez and Nate Diaz, while the girls on team Pettis, in the other team’s eyes, are the Chompettes. A big weight is lifted in the house however, when Heather Clark’s MRI comes back with the result that she has a fully torn ACL. Many of the girls had accused her of faking her injury when she started complaining that her knee was bothering her very early on and they are silenced and apologetic with the arrival of the news. Clark tries to make light of the situation, stating that she did quite well overcoming it since the start but it is hard not to noticed that her coach, Melendez, isn’t fully behind her positivity.
Kron Gracie visits the Melendez mats and Namajunas has the chance to spend time rolling with him. Training with someone so experienced makes the young aggressive fighter realize that she does not need to put immense amounts of pressure on herself while training, that outside the cage it is ok to lose. From this realization her mind opens up and the walls ‘thug’ keeps up start coming down a little. She does break down in the gym letting tears of pent up stress relieve her and the editors make a good segway to Rose’s video diary about her past. The fighter opens up, hoping to reach others who might have lived through similar horrors, about growing in the midst of violence, sexual harassment and abuse. She voices how one very often keeps silent about such experiences as they are made to feel guilty in the midst of them. It is a powerful and truthful confession that is hard to hear and absorb but which carries such importance.
–> I rarely give a personal input but feel it is needed here. The UFC Ultimate Fighter editors finished her confessional segment by zooming in to her eye brimming with tears. This move was vastly exploitative and unneeded.
Meanwhile, Pettis feels very confident in his fighter. Alex Chambers, at 35, is over 10 years Rose’s elder. She also has more fights and the Duke Roufus team behind her to instruct her on how to beat her opponent. Namajunas now trains out of Colorado with her fiance Pat Barry, however she started out with Roufus and the Pettis boys as she is originally from Milwaukee. Pettis might not have been training with her in the past 5 years or so but was there when her foundations were laid and, as in any sport, the basics one learns when they start stay with them. He is well aware that her kicks can be dangerous, surprising, and unusual, and that she is extremely crafty on the ground especially in the few seconds following a takedown. It almost seems like an unfair advantage for him and Chambers to have so much insider information. Nevertheless, Rose has grown a lot since leaving their team, going from an amateur circuit teenager to a well regarded professional young woman.
When the women enter the cage, Alex explains how she feeds from her nerves, skill that demands maturity which is acquired with age, while Rose tries to calm herself down so she can focus and not be overwhelmed by every thought entering her head. The bell rings and the women circle each other clearly observing how the other is moving and calculating how to properly attack. Rose comes out with a big side kick that topples her opponent back to the cage wall where Chambers manages to land a big right hand. Instead of reacting too quickly, Rose takes a step back to the middle of the octagon, to safety.
Alex is rocked from that kick and her confidence has clearly diminished as she rejoins ‘Thug’ in the middle. Rose meanwhile, starts using her kicks to calculate her range, in the same way that most fighters use their jabs. Chambers manages to stifle Namajunas’ first takedown attempt but, a few moments later, finds herself with her back against the wall clinched up with the younger fighter and Rose trips her to the canvas. Namajunas gets her hooks in quickly and starts moving towards a win finally taking Alex’s back with only a few seconds left in the first round and taps her out with a rear naked choke.
Rose breaks down immediately after the fight, the emotions she had repressed before entering the cage overwhelming her and the reality of her dream nearing her grasp making her realize that all the work she has been doing is truly worth it.
Chambers readily admits that she dominated and, although disappointed, does not seem to consider this to be the end of the road for her. The women put on what has perhaps been the best fight yet this season so Chambers may well be right on her outlook.
Namajunas will face Calderwood next, two very impressive fighters which should be a tough matchup for both.
Next week,team Melendez’s Bec Rawlings will get the chance to let her anger out against new minted team Pettis’ Tecia Torres for the last preliminary fight