TUF 18: Julianna Pena Upsets Shayna Baszler In A Heated War

TUF 18: Julianna Pena Upsets Shayna Baszler In A Heated War


Last week’s episode of TUF 18: Rousey / Tate was a ho-hum affair to say the least. For all intents and purposes it was a two hour snooze fest, which featured few fights and a whole lot of highlights and warm fuzzy, family moments.

The show itself did poorly in the ratings and garnered only 762,000 viewers; an historical low for a season premier.

That said and in my opinion, the series premiere episode has never been much of a fan rousing event or riveting television. The show simply tries to pack too much into its debut and wastes too much time on fighters (16 of them) that don’t make it into the house.

Last night, episode two of TUF aired on FOX Sports 1 and what a difference a week makes.

If you missed last night’s broadcast then you missed a great episode and more particularly, a great fight between the number one and two female picks, Julianna Pena and Shayna Baszler.

Pena is the younger and considerably less experienced fighter, and at age 24, has but six professional fights to her credit (4 & 2). She is a personal friend and training partner of Miesha Tate’s, and as such, became Ronda Rousey’s first target.

As Rousey won the coin toss last week and opted to pick the first fight, she selected her number one choice, Shayna Baszler, as the fighter to take out Tate’s friend. The 33 year old Baszler has considerably more experience than does Pena (18 & 5) and as such, was a heavy favorite to not only win the bout with Pena, but to also win the whole tournament.

In lead up to the fight, Baszler was nothing but confident and even remarked how Pena didn’t belong in the same ring with her; that ostensibly, she viewed a fight with Pena as an insult.

For her part, Pena seemed to be unsure of herself and a little tentative about taking on a fighter of Baszler’s status and record.

However, with words of encouragement and a game plan from Tate, Pena stepped into the ring to face the wrestling savvy and submission happy, Baszler. Her instruction from coach Tate was to go out and punch Baszler in the face; to be aggressive from the get go and keep the pressure up.

On the other hand, Baszler had no game plan from Rousey. Rousey didn’t see the need for one, as Baszler had been trained for different scenarios and as such, would simply react to whatever transpired in the ring.

The bell rang and Pena came out executing her game plan and masterfully. She immediately took the center of the Octagon and began punching the more experienced Baszler in the face, and Baszler didn’t like it.

What ensued was just a great bout. Back and forth they went, with Pena trying to be the aggressor and Baszler doing her best to have none of it. As the round traveled from cage to canvass, Pena more than held her own and definitely got Baszler’s attention, but by round’s end Baszler had won the five minutes.

As the second round broke Pena appeared to be the fresher and more confident fighter. With wild and heavy punches, Pena once again came forward and took the fight to Baszler, and in doing so, was landing the more punitive shots. In an effort to tie it up, Baszler went for the clinch, but Pena reversed her on the fence and took her down. Once there, Pena controlled and dominated the tiring Baszler. After a minute or so on the ground, Pena took Baszler’s back and submitted her opponent by rear-naked choke, at 1:52 of the second round; upset victory, secured.

With that, there was a scream of “are you ****ing kidding me” from coach Rousey and nothing but smiles and jubilation from Tate. Her fighter had beaten her nemesis’s number one choice and the sting of it was obvious on Rousey’s face.

In exiting the gym, Rousey passed Tate and remarked “Just so you know, you smiling at my girl’s pain today is one more reason I’m going to f—ing destroy you, again.” With a smile, chuckle in her voice and a buoyant stride in her walk, Tate simply laughed and said “She’s my friend”.   

In synopsis, Baszler lost because she looked past her opponent and Pena won, because she didn’t. She demonstrated true heart and determination in her victory, and now becomes the odds on favorite to win the 135 pound (women’s) tournament.

Up next in the house is a bout between two more number one (men’s) picks, as Chris Holdsworth (team Tate) takes on Chris Beal (team Rousey).

Finally and on a sad note, fighter Tim Gorman has been removed from competition due to a nasty, pre-existing hamstring injury and has been replaced by Louis Fisette. Fisette hails from Canada and took a submission loss to Chris Holdsworth in episode one.

All in all, it was a good show and a great fight, and the most enjoyable TUF episode I’ve seen in years.

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  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/dropkickmurphy dropkickmurphy

    Julianna must have missed Braszier's seminar on "How to not finish a rear-naked choke"

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/enjoylife321 enjoylife321

    When I saw Julianna enter the cage without make-up I thought I was seeing Fallon Fox.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

      I don't know, man. She looks pretty hot in that picture.

      PS: I predict no *** in the house, this season.

      • http://lowkickmma.com/author/enjoylife321 enjoylife321

        take away the makeup Brian and I think you would find not much more than a tight body.

        But if she makes you launch an APOLLO rocket in your pants than I say fuel that shuttle.

        • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

          Enjoy, take away the makeup of a lot of women and you'd be lucky to be left with a tight body.

          Is she Gina Carano or Miesha Tate? No, but then again few are.

          In terms of her raising my interest….yeah, in that photo dude, she would. :-) Probably would for a lot of other guys, too.

          • http://lowkickmma.com/author/enjoylife321 enjoylife321

            Gina Carano has both a tight body and cute face. I would give Gina Carano a 10/10 if comparing only mma chicks. I would give Pena a 8/10 for body and 6/10 for the face.

            I've admired GINA for too long….Nothing has come by so far that has upstaged her IMO. But I can see why people would want to spank it. All in good fun.

          • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

            Gina is the best. There's no question on that; my only complaint about her is her retiring. I think that was a dumb move and to be blunt, I don't think its worked out for her. I have no idea as to any roles she's in or what she's up to.
            She should be back in MMA and she'd become a huge star, now that the UFC has a women's division.

            Second runner up, Ms. Miesha Tate. She drives me nuts; killer body, killer hair and I love her face, and personality. There's nothing not to like on her account.

            And don't get me wrong on Pena. I think she's cute with makeup on, but I'm not building any monuments to her. :-)

          • http://lowkickmma.com/author/enjoylife321 enjoylife321

            @Brian…..well said. I'd rather take meisha for dinner than Rousey…more feminine IMO…Rousey opens her mouth and my steak shrivels like its shoved in freezing ice cold water.

          • http://lowkickmma.com/author/enjoylife321 enjoylife321

            also…your right, gina could be cashing in with her beauty….Dana would sign her faster than a run back to his hotel room to screw one of the ring girls…

            I could see gina getting on a main card straight away and being fed some easy meat to destroy before finally getting a big name like tate or Rhonda….It would be worth Gina coming back to make an easy million…I don't think Hollywood is buzzing over her

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/thexperience1 thexperience1

    Great episode… !

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

      It was indeed.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/highkick12 highkick12

    What a sweet win, Ronda and her whole team were so cocky going in to that fight it had upset written all over it.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

      You could smell the upset coming in that fight. I was laughing my *** off when she secured the choke. It was brilliant.

      I think Rousey is really coming across like a *****…and the tears, come on. The tough face…I'll get you back for that…I was laughing at all of it. She reminds of a spoiled child and when she doesn't get what she wants, she pouts. On the other side of the coin, when she gets what she wants or wins, she gloats.

      I feel about her, pretty much the same way I did about Silva. I used to really like the guy, but his attitude go to a point I just wanted him to lose. I feel that way about Ronda, now. I really liked her when she showed up and she's talented and of that, but I would like to see her lose and knock her ego back a step or two.

      • http://lowkickmma.com/author/matt1926 matt1926

        I totally agree Brian. I actually have never liked Ronda and after seeing the way she acted last night makes me dislike her even more. Did you see her ridiculous little swagger walk?? And not only being pissed that Miesha was smiling when Julianna won but then getting pissed that she picked on her fighter with an injured hand?? Seriously? The worst part is that I don't think it's an act. I think that's who she really is. She's a bit of a douche. She sure can fight though.

        • http://lowkickmma.com/author/falcon4917 falcon4917

          She acts like Tate is such a b*tch for picking her fighter with a sore hand and yet she started it all by trying to knock off Tates friend first.lol. I love that she and Shayna got what they deserved.lol

          • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

            Falcon, it was poetic. Again, you could just see it coming. It's easily one of the best fights, I've seen on TUF.

            Is it just me, or is there something great, even special, about seeing people with big egos get dumped on?

            Go Irish.

        • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

          Yeah Matt, I couldn't agree more. She's acting like a spoiled brat. It's like all the praise, glory, money, opportunity, the belt, everything, has just gone to her head.

          Did you catch her cracks about "pushing" Tate's team around, but conversely, her and her team are not to be pushed around? Pathetic.

          The bit about the fighter and his hand, I've seen this play out on TUF a million times. A coach decides to pick another fighter, because the fighter is carrying and injury. This is standard stuff, man. This is business. It's not personal.

          As a coach, to cry and complain about a loss or a fighter with an injury being picked, is ridiculous and shows a stunning lack of maturity.

          I don't question her talent or her heart, but her personality really needs some work and that's not good for someone who wants to be a movie star.

          • http://lowkickmma.com/author/thexperience1 thexperience1

            Yeah man real talk…. it's like Miesha said… If the camera's are on you non stop for such a long period of time it's gonna be very hard to hide your true personality. Eventually it will show one way or the other and that's what we're seeing now with Rousey… It's The B*tch coming out party!!!

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/GoldenBibi GoldenBibi

    Great Episode…Awesome Win For Julianna Pena…

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/Akordas Akordas

    I start to not like Ronda… And her expresion about Miesha Tate is ridicoulus. If your team mate won why you should not smile.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox


    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/thexperience1 thexperience1

      Exactly…. not to mention SHE picked that fight to f*ck with Miesha and now that it backfired Miesha can't be happy about it? She needs to have a coke, a smile and STFU… !!

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/cranestyle cranestyle

    I never thought I'd enjoy watch women fight, but I admit I was 100% wrong. That fight was epic. It goes to show that you should always respect your opponent, no matter how much better you think you are.

    As far as Rhonda goes, it's good thing you don't need to like people to enjoy watching them fight, because she not very bright, always angry, a sore loser and looks to be more of a cheerleader than a coach. People will end up watching to cheer against her.

    The reason why Pena was in the ring was because Rousey picked her to fight Shayna, so the whole "she doesn't deserve to be in the ring/breathe the same air as you" was ridiculous.

    The biggest danger Shayna had to deal with getting over confident, and instead of saying things to bring her down to earth, she just inflated her ego more.

    Rhonda is an amazing fighter, but she might be the female version of Ken Shamrock as a RUF coach.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/cranestyle cranestyle

      Ah, I meant TUF coach.

      • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

        If RUF stands for, Ronda Unprofessional Female coach, then it's not a typo and needs no correction.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

      Spot on Crane. Spot on. I think that sums it up.

      I agree with you totally, about women's MMA, too.

      I wasn't so sure about it at first, but I'm completely on board with it, now and that fight was great. I've come to the conclusion that gender has no bearing on heart, skill, talent, passion, determination, chin or delivering exciting fights.

      I think the fight that really sold me on that was the Alexis Davis / Rosie Sexton bout. That was 3 rounds of non-stop scrap.

      Bottom line, if women put on matches like that or the Davis / Sexton bout, I'd watch a whole card of it.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/TheRealDeal TheRealDeal

    Pure case of complete over-confidence by a fighter and lack of respect for an opponent, plus Baszler is pretty much a dude so great job Pena!

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

      True, dat.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/TheRealDeal TheRealDeal

    On another note…. watching Rousey play it up for the camera is unbearable. She is an A$$ CLOWN who is a complete drama queen. Tate is completely out-classing her on the show. O.K Rhonda, we all get how bad a$$ you are, not drop the stupid act and show some respect and decency. No wonder most people can't stand her.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

      She had no game-plan for her fighter. I thought that was a little bogus and yeah, she's not only coming across like a drama queen, but also a bad actress.

      • http://lowkickmma.com/author/thexperience1 thexperience1

        You know what.. i don't even think she's acting. I'm starting to think that that's who she is and if that's the case it's even worse!

        • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

          Could be a combination of both. To me, I've caught her "posing" a few times, like that near slap to Tate's face, kicking the door to the gym open, crowing off about how they're going to push the other team around….it's all posing, to me.

          Tate comes across as the more relaxed and genuine person, and a good coach, too.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/Cpt.Paranoid Cpt. Paranoid

    The fight was great, hope the guys put on great fights like the women so far. And I hope Ronda learned some humility or that she walks the walk if she talks the talk and does not smile if her fighters win.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

      That would be something if the girls put on more exciting fights, than the men.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/TheWhat The What

    Can't stand Rousey. No urge at all to watch this season.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/GSPfan GSPfan

    I really think Rhonda is showing how she really is. There is no way that she would put on an act like that and make herself look that bad. I would hope not anyway. I really liked Rousey too, but seeing how disrespectful she is towards Tate is really making me not like her at all. I don't care how much you dislike someone, respectable people don't act that way. Also, Rousey acts like her #1 goal is to show Tate up and that's it. She is making it all about her when it should be about the fighters on her team. I know Rousey is the champion, but to be honest, I think she is jealous of Tate. Here you have the 1st UFC Women's Champion who has already beat Tate and broke her arm, but outside of the UFC, Tate is getting just as much exposure because of how good she looks. You know that eats Rhonda up. Let's all be honest. Everyone knows that Tate is 10 times hotter than Rousey, and Rousey knows it too lol and it's driving her crazy. Everyone knows that with most women, it's a beauty contest. FTR, I hope Tate finishes her when they fight. Tate just seems like a more genuine person and Rousey comes across as a spoiled teenager who throws fits when she don't get exactly what she wants and THINKS she deserves