TUF 20: Randa Markos is there to win
I understand there is a lot of editing that goes on for TUF but for the start of the quarterfinals Felice Herrig and Carla Esparza seemed to be concerned with the wrong things. At one point before her fight Herrig even says she probably should not worry about it. Then all the talk about being a coward like they were not going to fight them or something. While they are allowing themselves to get caught up in the drama, Randa Markos keeps working, using it to help her focus and keeps winning.
The Days of TUF Lives
When you look throughout the history of TUF it is rare for the drama queens to win the show. It is looking that way this season. One by one they keep getting eliminated. Herrig can claim she is not a drama-mama but she constantly finds herself in these situations. If they are all her opponents fault then it allows her to always be the victim in these confrontations. Yet, during this episode it is often Herrig that is pushing the drama or even starting like she did at the weigh-in.
Herrig even contradicts herself in this episode. “I personally leading up to the fight would much rather like my opponents.” Then later on in the show she talks about how she fights better when she is angry at her opponent. Huh? If you fight better when you are angry at your opponent, why would ever want to be friendly with one?
I am sorry maybe I am missing some super subtle fight game-planning but if you fight better angry – would it not make sense to be angry at your opponent? To essentially hate them. That is like David Banner saying that while The Hulk is a badass I much rather prefer to fight the alien invaders as David Banner. Then the Avengers get their asses kicked and the movie sucks. It would make no sense and neither does wanting to like your opponent if you fight better hating them.
I do not think that means what you think it does
According to Herrig, she fights better angry and Markos was scared during the stare-down. Herrig may fight better angry but Markos was not scared during the stare-down or any point during the season. Why would she be? She had already beaten the #3 seed Tecia Torres who had defeated Herrig last year. Markos had also gone three rounds with teammate Justine Kish for RFA in January. Kish has some of the best Muay Thai in MMA. Not on the show but in MMA. She trains and spars regularly with Tiffany Van Soest. Once Kish recovers and gets to the UFC she will put on a show with her striking.
Markos did not out strike Kish in that close loss but she did keep it close on the feet. Then there was her performance in the win over Torres that showed Markos’ progression and growth since her fight with Kish. Coming into the house it seems that Markos was maybe overlooked due to her being less known here in the States and her low ranking. Now the other fighters are aware of how formidable of opponent she is for them and it has bothered them.
Herrig claimed that Markos was shaking and scared to fight her. I doubt she was shaking because it did not look like she was on a HDTV. I clearly saw her pop Herrig’s bubble twice. The first time at the stare-down and the second time in the octagon. It was very telling that Joanne Calderwood said that Markos was more focused and mentally tougher than Herrig. Calderwood is not friends or enemies with either one and was just giving a very clear picture of how she objectively saw things. It seemed to fit with what we were seeing on the TV screen.
Oh yeah there was a fight
The fight was competitive one with much of it spent in the clinch and on the ground. In the clinch part they exchanged some knees with Herrig having a slight edge. Her Muay Thai background really shined during those exchanges. Markos worked hard to get the fight to the ground and Herrig defended effectively. Finally, Markos got the fight to the ground but during the scramble as they went down it was Herrig who came out on top.
It showed the growth that Herrig has made in the grappling area during her career. She was not able to maintain the position for long though and really did not land any strikes from there. It did win her the exchange and put her slightly in the lead at that point of the fight. They got back to their feet and Markos kept her against the cage.
From there she got an over-under on Herrig and turned it into a hip-toss while maintaining the underhook when they went to the ground.
This prevented Herrig from being able to take her back and it isolated Herrig’s right-arm. She then bent Herrig’s arm back into her legs, secured the armlock and started to bend it backwards.
Herrig tapped and Markos became the first semi-finalists of the season.
It has been a very dramatical season so far
There were a lot of WMMA fans who were very bothered by this episode and talking about not watching the rest of the season. It is a shame that the drama of the show gets pushed more than the fights. The problem for this episode was that the fight was very anti-climatic and over quickly. They had to fill the time with something and unfortunately there was plenty of drama to display. The isolation of the house and the conditions of the show push the fighters to their limits and often brings out the worst in them. In this episode we saw too much of that.
I get the frustration. I do not mind a little drama between fighters because they can settle it in the octagon but it has been a little bit much this season. It is easy to see how some fans have been bothered by all of the drama being emphasized but at the heart of this season is a group of very talented and tough fighters.
Just ride it out
You made it this far so you should stick it out. I think there are three sick fights coming up and they will setup two great semi-final fights. I predict that at the end of the season it will be the last few fights coming up that will stick with us. For me the Rose Namajunas and Joanne Calderwood fight makes this season worth it. We also get to see the Esparza and Torres fight we have wanted since Esparza called her out last year.
Up next we get Aisling Daly and Jessica Penne. They both are tough, talented and well-rounded fighters. It will be a battle but I like Daly in this fight. Penne is very good and one my favorite fighters to watch but this is a bad matchup for her.
Penne has moved up from atomweight while Daly has moved down from flyweight. When two fighters meet in the octagon and they are similar skilled than it is often that the bigger fighter wins. In this case they are close in talent and Daly will be significantly bigger. It is hard to see Penne winning a standup battle nor will she have an advantage on the ground. I like Daly to take a tough decision and move on into the semi-finals.
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