TUF 18 episode 4 recap: “Use the force”

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The episode begins with Team Rousey fighter Jessica Rakoczy telling her team that she is the one to turn the team’s fortunes around. Coach Rousey agrees, once again taking the opportunity to criticize Tate’s strategy for picking fights.

Team Tate brings in UFC veteran Dennis Hallman as a guest coach who immediately has beef with Ronda Rousey’s coach Edmond Tarverdyan, picking up from last episode’s confrontation between coaches. Hallman lets Edmond Tarverdyan know that the confrontation can escalate anytime and anywhere, including right then and there at the training center. UFC president Dana White steps in to calm the situation down, reminding the coaches that the show is about the fighters, not about long standing feuds.

The Team Tate training session gets underway with Raquel Pennington showing frustration with teammate Roxanne Modafferi, who is calling to slow down the training pace as her fight approaches. Pennington voices her desire to train with the guys, and that’s what happens with several of the women as Sarah Moras gets in on the guy on girl training, escalating the intensity as the session wears on.

Back at the house, Team Rousey fighter Jessica Rakoczy is described as the “mother” of the team, and is shown keeping the house in a much cleaner condition. Her shoulder injury quickly becomes the main topic of conversation, as she admits that the injury has held her training back but will not be a factor in the fight against Modafferi.

Roxanne Modafferi is known as “The Happy Warrior” and it’s easy to see why. Modafferi is always smiling, and her kindness extends beyond her team’s boundaries. Team Rousey fighter Shayna Baszler spends time brushing up on her Japanese with Modaferri, while other fighters in the house talk about the positive attitude that always emanates from her.

Jessica Rakoczy relives her past for the viewers, talking about the tragic loss of her mother. Rakoczy explains that after leaving that situation and losing her mother, her anger and pain led her to a gym where she found boxing, which she credits with saving her life.

At the weigh-ins, both fighters make weight and take the opportunity to have a little fun with props before getting to business with an intense stare down.

Team Rousey – Jessica Rakoczy vs. Team Tate – Roxanne Modafferi

Round 1 – Modafferi flashes her jab to start. Rakoczy leans in and scores with a tight combination. Nice right hook from Rakoczy. Modafferi is using good head movement and feints to avoid damage. Modafferi changes levels and puts Rakoczy on her back. Rakoczy kicks off but Modafferi is relentless. Rakoczy throws her legs up for a triangle attempt while landing punches from her back. Moadafferi lands with a right hand as she dives into the guard of Rakoczy. Moadafferi moves to sidemount and this is where she is tough. She has Rakoczy flat on her back but so far has done little damage from the top. Rakoczy is warned for grabbing the cage and tries to sweep but Moadafferi maintains top control, pinning an arm in the process. Rakoczy rolls to her knees, but can’t shake Modafferi. She finally gets the sweep. Modafferi is fishing for an arm and it may be over. She has the armbar but Rakoczy manages to pull free. Rakoczy lands a big right hand but nearly gets her arm caught again in an armbar attempt. Her corner is screaming for her to get to her feet. Modafferi is working for a triangle now. Rakoczy postures out and gets back to her feet. Spinning backfist from Roxy just misses. She throws a right hand then dives in for another takedown. Rakoczy fights it off. Modafferi keesp working in the clinch, landing a big knee on the cage before getting a late takedown. End of 1. PMN scores the first round for Roxanne Modafferi.

Round 2 – Modafferi again starts with the jab but eats a stiff jab from Rakoczy. She closes but can’t get the takedown. Rakoczy lands a flush left hook that drops Modafferi. She quickly gets back to her feet but eats another combo. Modafferi pulls guard but Rakoczy wants none of the ground game. Moadafferi dives in for another takedown but gets peppered from a series of Rakoczy strikes. She works for a takedown but Rakoczy grabs the cage again. The referee stops the action and warns her about the cage grab, saying he will take a point for the next infraction. Moadafferi finally gets the takedown but quickly gets swept. Modafferi locks up her guard, but then gets elevated and slammed viciously to the mat. She looks to be out!! Rakoczy lands another punch and it almost looks like Modafferi wakes back up. That may have been a flash KO. Modafferi is trying to recover but she still looks hurt. She is in trouble. Rakoczy dives in with another huge right hand and it’s all over.

OFFICIAL DECISION: Jessica Rakoczy def. Roxanne Modafferi by KO (strikes) Rd 2

With the win, Team Rousey gets into the win column and seizes control of the fight picks. Coach Rousey chooses Louis Fissette from Team Tate to face Team Rousey fighter David Grant, as she tries to even up the score 2-2 next week.

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