Episode 11 Preview: Fighting emotions and teammates
NOV 09, 2013 9:24p ET
Previously on The Ultimate Fighter...
Following Cody Bollinger's dismissal for missing weight, Ronda Rousey brings fast food to the house. As the team chows down, Ronda cautions semifinalist Anthony Gutierrez about cleaning up his diet.
A number of the Team Tate fighters say they feel like Miesha Tate and the coaches are playing favorites, devoting greater amounts of attention to Chris Holdsworth and Julianna Pena.
In the first men's semifinal, Chris uses his superior grappling to earn a first-round submission win over Team Rousey's Michael Wootten, advancing to the finals.
Here's what to watch for in Episode 11 as the semifinals continue.
An Awkward Situation
The first women's semifinal of the season is set to test Miesha Tate and her coaching staff's abilities to manage their team, as two of their own, Julianna Pena and Sarah Moras are set to face off.
Members of the team, including Sarah, have already voiced their frustrations with the amount of attention Miesha and the rest of the coaches seem to be devoting to Julianna and last week's winner, Chris Holdsworth. Now with Julianna set to face off with another member of Team Tate, it will be interesting to see how Miesha opts to handle this potentially volatile situation.
Making things even more complicated is Julianna was Miesha's first selection and the two have trained together in the past. We've seen coaches and fighters maintain friendships, most recently in last season as Jon Jones coached fellow Team Jackson-Winkeljohn member Bubba McDaniel. But never has there been a case where that fighter was matched up with another member of their team, forcing the coach to make a difficult decision.
Julianna versus The World
All season long, everyone in the house (for the most part) has expressed how much they dislike Julianna. For whatever reason, she's been the odd woman out and the isolation has increased over the season.
It can't be an easy thing to deal with, even if you don't care about making friends, wanting to do your own thing and being actively excluded from things feel very different. As she prepares for what is easily the biggest fight of her career thus far, the tension of being "The Hated One" can't be fun for her to deal with.
Will that impact her performance?
Julianna Pena (4-2) vs. Sarah Moras (3-1)
Julianna and Sarah have both been impressive on their respective marches to this point in the competition.
In the qualifying round, Julianna scored a decision win over Gina Mazany to earn her way into the house before submitting Team Rousey's first pick, veteran Shayna Baszler, in the second round of the initial bout of the season.
Moras, meanwhile, earned a victory over a prominent veteran fighter to punch her ticket into the competition, defeating Tara LaRosa in the qualifying round before making relatively quick work of Team Rousey's Peggy Morgan in the final fight of the quarterfinal round.
This match-up is a study in contrast, as Moras has shown nothing but confidence throughout this season, while Pena â by her own admittance and seconded by her coaches â constantly questions her own skills and struggles with the mental side.
What makes this bout even more intriguing is that Julianna and Sarah have fought once before.
The two faced off in the main event of a regional show in Washington back in April 2012. Sarah was 1-0, while Julianna sported a perfect 4-0 record. The bout was stopped after the second round with Sarah earning the victory after having caught Julianna in a deep armbar. Though she refused to tap, Julianna was not allowed to continue fighting, her arm having been severely damaged.
So not only do these two Team Tate members have familiarity with each other from training side-by-side throughout the competition, but they've spent 10 minutes in the cage together, all of which has the potential to change the way one or both fighters approach their semifinal match-up.
Regardless of the winner, Team Tate will have one female through to the finals. We will find out whether it will be Sarah "Cheesecake" Moras or "The Venezuelan Vixen," Julianna Pena when these two face off on the next episode.