This week we reached the half way point in the opening round of the championship tournament. Team Pettis is trying to go for 4-0 this week as they picked the next match-up: #1 Carla Esparza vs. #16 Angela Hill. Let’s first cover the #16 Angela “Overkill” Hill who is only 1-0, she fought this past April for the first time and won via TKO punches in Round 2. Pretty simple that she is very much a rookie and it will be hard to judge her talent going into this fight. Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza on the other hand has been fighting since 2010 and is currently 9-2. That isn’t all, Esparza is currently the #13-ranked pound-for-pound female MMA fighter in the world by MMARising.com and the #3-ranked female strawweight according to the Unified Women’s MMA Rankings. Esparza was also the first Invicta FC Strawweight Champion and also competed in Bellator Fighting Championships’ first women’s tournament. Just by Esparza’s #1 seed, UFC must have high hopes for her.
This week Urijah Faber stopped by to help coach Team Pettis, and of course a few women had to bring up that they thought Faber is good looking. OK ladies keep your eye on the prize not the coach. At one time Faber was my favorite fighter, but I feel that ever since he lost his title in WEC he just hasn’t been as good as he was. I know he still wins fights from time to time, but he just isn’t “the face of the company” like he was in WEC. Anyway, with Faber’s experience in TUF it was probably a good thing for him to show up and I think he really did help out the team. Faber was especially impressed with Joanne Calderwood, I was too a few weeks back, lets see how she does in round 2.
Fight time, will we see a huge upset? Basically, Carla Esparza owned Angela Hill in this fight. Hill got in a few decent moves, but the entire fight was Esparza. Esparza showed why she was the veteran and Hill showed why she was the rookie. It is still way to early in Hill’s career to say if she has what it takes for the UFC but if she keeps working at it I don’t see why not. This fight ended in Round 1 by rear-naked choke, and Esparza was looking for some type of submission early on so it was no surprise when she finally got one locked in. Esparza is the #1 seed, so every female in this tournament has to be gunning for her. Esparza will either fight #8 Bec Rawlings or #9 Justine Kish in the next round, so ladies you have 2 fights you need to be working for at the moment.
Team Pettis has now clinched the 4-0 record and want to stay undefeated this season. Next week we will see #6 Felice Herrig vs. #11 Heather Jo Clark. Herrig seems like a unique fighter, I have noticed her early on in the season, she is very beautiful and seems to have a lot of confidence and tries to be as intimidating as possible. This week in practice Heather Jo Clark hyperextends her knee during practice, she complains about it so much her teammates lash out. Felice is ready to be the one who shuts up Clark. Clark has a record of 6-4 with a fight history starting in 2010. She does have some KO/TKO’s in her record, but I am focused more on the amount of decisions making me think she doesn’t have what it takes to end the fight in the cage. Herrig currently holds a record of 9-5. Herrig is also the #9-ranked female strawweight fighter in the world according to the Unified Women’s MMA Rankings. Like Clark, I see a lot of decisions in Herrig’s background, more than I want to see. After 2 weeks of fights ending in the cage I have a feeling next week will go the distance. Hopefully I am wrong and the women bring it all and settle it all in the cage.
Here’s where we stand after episode four:
Heather Jo Clark
Elimination Match ups:
Carla Esparza (No. 1) vs. Angela Hill (No. 16)
Randa Markos (No. 14) vs. Tecia Torres (No. 3)
Joanne Calderwood (No. 2) vs. Emily Kagan (No. 15)
Alex Chambers (No. 10) vs. Rose Namajunas (No. 7)
Jessica Penne (No. 4) vs. Lisa Ellis (No. 13)
Felice Herrig (No. 6) vs. Heather Jo Clark (No. 11)
Justine Kish (No. 9) vs. Bec Rawlings (No. 8)
Aisling Daly (No. 5) vs. Angela Magana (No. 12)
Semifinal Match ups:
Randa Markos vs. TBA
Joanne Calderwood vs. TBA
Jessica Penne vs. TBA
Carla Esparza vs. TBA