TUF 20 Episode 8 Recap and Reactions

Torres vs Rawlings

In the very first preliminary fight, Tecia Torres, the number 3 seed and first pick of team Melendez, lost to number 14 Randa Markos. It caused quite the controversy among team Pettis when Dana White announced that Torres would get a second chance in the competition due to Justine Kisch’s knee injury, Carla Esparza becoming the most upset.

TUF 20 Episode 8 Recap and Reactions

Torres may be seeking salvation but number 8 seed Bec Rawlins is looking to make her stepfather, who passed away during filming, proud that she stayed in the house. Both women have strong incentive for wanting to move on to the next round. Both Invicta FC alum, White will certainly be watching to see who steps up to the plate when the cage door locks.

In the house, tensions are running extremely high. Rawlins and Torres actually share the same bedroom, along with Heather Clark with whom Torres has gotten quite close since switching teams, both being outcasts of team Melendez. The other girls conspire behind the two fighters’ backs to get them out of the bedroom so Rawlins can be at peace without being afraid of any gameplan being discovered. However, they seem to be under the impression that Torres made the choice to go to team Pettis on her own, yet it was very clear when Kisch had to quit the competition that White made Tecia switch teams and in fact, she was quite unhappy about it at first.

Emily Kagan takes it upon herself to be Switzerland and approach Clark to let her know of their wishes for Torres and Heather to go and move into Lisa Ellis’ room. Clark makes it clear to her that having to move right before Torres’ fight and her weightcut is a completely inappropriate time. Later on, Kagan in fact approaches Tecia as well, who has already been filled in on the idea by Clark and Ellis while all the girls were allowed out of the house to go watch UFC on Fox at a casino’s spa. Torres becomes quite defensive and reinforces Clark’s point that she will not move or even consider the thought until after her fight. Angela Magana, who had planned to take one of the freed up beds, decides that she will make Tecia move but, fortunately, she does not seem to carry through with her plan.

At the pool party, team Melendez, minus Clark, leave after just a few fights giving Rawlins’ weight cut as an excuse but, it seems more likely that they just did not want to be around team Pettis. The entire episode just goes on about how much Bec does not want to be around Tecia and her teammates, especially Magana and Angela Hill, who would have taken the second freed up bed, really supporting her. It is touching then when the tone switches a little to why Bec decided to join the show. As a single mother of two young boys, age 5 and 3, Bec was in a very abusive relationship which she found the courage to leave with only a few pieces of clothing for her boys in tow. She left Australia to come to the Ultimate Fighter House to show her sons how important it is to follow your dreams and your heart. She expressed her concerns over the domestic violence they already witnessed at such a young age and thus perceived as normalcy. The young mother may be afraid of the lasting effects this abuse will have on them in the long term but, watching home videos of them playing and interacting with her and each other, she seems to be doing an extremely fine job at raising two jovial boys.

At fight time, both women may believe they have the other’s number since they trained together for most of the preliminary fights as well as seen each other fight in Invicta but their time in the cage tells a different tale. The first round was spent entirely on the feet, Bec wasn’t able to use her reach advantage very efficiently, being 5’6 to Torres’ 5’2, and although Torres was able to land a few flurries of punches in close range, she moved away very quickly as soon as she had done her damage taking away Rawlins’ ability to touch her. At the end of the round however, both corners seemed to believe the round had been tied and it did look that way from a viewer stand point as well.

The second started unfurling in similar fashion as the previous round until Rawlins scored a takedown. She certainly scored points in doing so but was unable to truly capitalize on her move. The women stood back up and resumed their mutual search for punches to connect. Torres was again able to do slightly more damage especially towards the end while they were in the clinch.

As the bell to the second round rang, both teams believed that a third would be taking place but the judges had made their decision and gave the fight to Tecia Torres. Team Melendez booed the victor which did not sit well with Joanne Calderwood for sheer lack of respect. Torres not only redeemed herself but she will now face number 1 seed Carla Esparza in the quarter finals.

The coaches announced all the fights for the next round and Rose Namajunas and Joanne Calderwood had quite an intense staredown yet, when speaking about their upcoming bout, they were the most respectful of one another.

Next week, Felice Herrig faces Randa Markos in an episode that looks to be the crumbling of team Pettis.


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