Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was back on FOX Sports 1 last night (Sept. 19, 2018) with episode four of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 28, featuring a split cast of men’s heavyweights and women’s featherweights.
If you’ve been following along, then you know Team Gastelum holds a 3-0 lead over Team Whittaker, which no doubt has “The Reaper” feeling desperate for a win. The pair will square off in early 2019 for the Aussie’s middleweight strap, but until then, their battle takes place inside the TUF gym.
We kick things off inside the TUF gym and Julija Stoliarenko is being billed as a “Lithuanian bareknuckle brawler” and coach Whittaker immediately talks about how good she is on the ground, so I guess the voiceover guy hasn’t compared notes with “The Reaper.” As with all fighters, we get a look at how Stoliarenko came up through the ranks in Visaginas, a small town in Lithuania where you can apparently eat random berries on any given trail. She studied to be a dental hygienist after school and I’m disappointed to learn her nickname is not “The Dentist.”
This is a big fight for Team Whittaker since they’re currently sitting in an 0-3 hole.
Her opponent is Marciea Allen, who talks about her decision to come out of the closet and the horrors she faced as a gay woman. She recently opened a boutique personal training studio, Midwest Performance, where she met her longtime girlfriend.
Allen trains under Mike Valle and says she does not “need” to be successful in MMA, but she “wants” to be. She insists it will be an advantage for her, since she does not have to fight and train out of desperation, though I’m sure you can flip that script and consider it a disadvantage, as well. We flash back to Allen’s tenure in Invicta FC where she won two bouts, part of a four-fight win streak. Her gameplan for Stoliarenko is to use her reach and look for the finish.
We get a commercial from Modelo featuring UFC heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic.
We’re back in the gym and Coach Gastelum introduces his assistant coaches. They suit up and hit the mats and talk about how they transformed Gassy from middling wrestler to championship title contender. Then out of nowhere they present him with his jiu-jitsu black belt, to a chorus of claps.
Coach Whittaker gets tired of training inside the stuffy gym and takes his squad out to the lake to do some paddle boarding, which quickly becomes a race to see who can not drown the fastest. The payoff is a morale boost and considering they have yet to win a fight, I’m sure they needed it.
Allen starts trolling Stoliarenko inside the TUF house and claims she got into her opponent’s head. They get on the scale and make weight without incident and despite the kerfuffle earlier in the day, the staredown ends with a handshake.
145 lbs.: Team Whittaker’s Julija Stoliarenko (4-2-2) vs. Team Gastelum’s Marciea Allen (7-2)
Round 1: Stoliarenko wants to touch gloves but Allen won’t oblige. Both fighters bobbing and weaving trying to find their range. Stoliarenko shoots and tries to get the takedown but instead gets stuffed and pulls guard. Allen jumps on top of her and unloads a barrage of hammer fists. She makes big karate noises with each blow. The referee issues multiple warnings to fight back and Stoliarenko ignores every single one of them. Stoliarenko, bleeding from the nose, slowly gets back to her feet, then immediately shoots. This time she’s able to get the takedown and works for side control. Allen gets warned for sticking her toes in the cage. Stoliarenko patiently works her way into a more dominant position and grabs the arm. Allen tries to sneak in a few heels to the face but the ref warns her that Stoliarenko is grounded. The armbar gets locked in and there is nowhere to go but Tapsville.
Final result: Stoliarenko def. Allen by submission
Here’s where we stand after episode four:
Anderson Da Silva
Juan Francisco Espino Diepa
Przemyslaw Mysiala Katharina Lehner
After the fight, Team Whittaker is all smiles and butt slaps because they broke into the win column. As for Team Gastelum, they don’t seem to be that broken up over the loss and Allen insists she just “got caught.”
Stay tuned next week as Josh Parisian battles Michel Batista in heavyweight action.
See you in seven!