TUF 20 Episode 11 Recap: Carla Esparza, Rose Namajunas AdvanceTop seed Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza advanced on to the semi-final round with a Majority Decision victory during tonight’s 11th episode of The Ultimate Fighter 20: “A Champion Will Be Crowned.” Esparza edged out rival Tecia “The Tiny Tornado” Torres to move on in the gruelling title tournament.

Also during tonight’s episode, Team Melendez’s lone remaining competitor, “Thug” Rose Namajunas, earned her spot in the semi-final round with a slick submission victory over Team Pettis standout Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood. Both semi-final fights will take place during next week’s 12th episode.


Esparza (9-2-0 pro, ranked #1) and Torres (4-0-0 pro, ranked #3) exchanged punches early on and Torres fought off a pair of takedown attempts. Esparza latched onto her leg and eventually dragged her to the mat, then took Torres’s back as the fight returned to the feet. Esparza landed knees to the body and she used a headlock throw to get Torres back down. Torres scrambled up, but Esparza planted her again with a double-leg takedown and finished the round with punches from top position.

Torres stuffed a takedown early in round two and she landed a hard right hand that backed Esparza up. Esparza dove at Torres’s lead leg until she was able to trip her against the cage. Torres stood and pulled her leg free, but Esparza was relentless and she took her down once more. The fighters stood and Esparza landed more knees in the clinch. Torres attempted a takedown of her own, but Esparza defended well and she took Torres down one final time before the bell.

After two rounds of action, one judge scored the fight even at 19-19. The remaining two both had it 20-18 for Esparza, who advanced on with the Majority Decision victory. She next faces friend and training partner Jessica Penne (11-2-0 pro, ranked #4) in the semi-final round.


Namajunas (2-1-0 pro, ranked #7) immediately put Calderwood (8-0-0 pro, ranked #2) on the defensive by landing front kicks and lead left hooks in round one of the fourth and final quarterfinal bout. She jumped into a flying triangle choke, but Calderwood escaped and she postured up with punches from Namajunas’s guard. Namajunas sprung back to her feet and tried unsuccessfully for a flying armbar. She landed knees to the body and the fighters traded takedowns. Namajunas attempted a heel hook from her back and she used a kimura to sweep into top position late in the round.

Calderwood knocked Namajunas down with a kick to the body in round two, but Namajunas quickly regained her footing and she landed a lunging left hook. Calderwood pinned her against the fence and landed knees to the body in close. Namajunas responded with punches and she pulled Calderwood to the ground with a kimura. Calderwood initially defended well, but Namajunas adjusted her grip and wrenched on Calderwood’s arm until she was forced to submit at the 2:05 mark of round two.

With her big win during tonight’s episode, Namajunas now moves on to face Randa Markos (4-1-0 pro, ranked #14) in the semi-final round. The winner of that bout will then advance on to the championship final at The Ultimate Fighter 20 Finale on December 12th in Las Vegas, Nevada. While the tournament final remains to be determined, six fights were announced tonight for The Ultimate Fighter 20 Finale.

Emily Kagan (3-1-0) faces Angela “Overkill” Hill (1-0-0), Aisling “Ais The Bash” Daly (14-5-0) takes on Alex “Astro Girl” Chambers (4-1-0), Tecia “The Tiny Tornado” Torres (4-0-0) battles Angela Magana (11-6-0), Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (8-0-0) welcomes Deep Jewels Featherweight Champion Seo Hee Ham (15-5-0) to the Octagon, “Rowdy” Bec Rawlings (5-3-0) clashes with “Hurricane” Heather Clark (6-4-0), and Lisa Ellis (15-8-0) meets Felice “Lil’ Bulldog” Herrig (9-5-0).

The Ultimate Fighter 20: “A Champion Will Be Crowned” airs every Wednesday night on FOX Sports 1 and Sportsnet 360. The winner of the gruelling competition will become the inaugural UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion.



(Photo Credit: Esther Lin, AllElbows.com / InvictaFC.com)

  1. Rose and Carla in the finals…Carla will take Penne down at will…she is way too strong for Penne. Rose will outclass Randa on the feet and on the ground…but not by much.

  2. Hey guys! What did you think of the fights?
    FYI…that delusional biotch Pena is at it again…telling Maxim magazine that her next fight is already scheduled with Ronda. And those idiots printed it without even checking to see if it were true. That idiot will never get the chance to fight Ronda. Holm will beat her… Kaufman will beat her…Eye will beat her…hell, Jemyma betrian and Rose Namajunas will come up from 115 and whip her retarded ass. She is way too stupid to hold a title in anything, much less MMA. Beating Shayna Bazler (washed up) and a washed up 37 year old 115 lb boxer are not things that give your record and fighting status credibility. But it is julianna pena we are talking about. Brains on par with a lima bean.

  3. When Pena told the story, Josh Gow was a heavyweight (the guy that attacked her) and then we find out he is 125 lbs soaking wet. Lima bean.

  4. I just want to say something about all the wmma detractors out there….you know who you are….the ones complaining about the quality of the fights on tuf 20.
    Women are not as strong as men and will never be as strong…women will never have the fast twitch fibers necessary to pop punches like Uriah Faber. They can, however, be just as technical if viewed within the confines of these obvious physical impairments. Women don’t fight like men because they aren’t men! Please stop expecting them to be.

  5. hey Mike – wasn’t last night something though! I didn’t see Rose finishing Calderwood for the life of me, but you really called it. Esparza – Torres was unfortunately a pretty dry fight – I just don’t think either one had very much energy for some reason. But the Rose – Calderwood was absolutely unbelievable. Pure excitement from start to finish, and what a finish, what a performance by Rose. I’ve watched every Calderwood fight in Invicta, and I’ve never seen her dominated and completely overwhelmed like she was last night. Then after the fight, I looked closely at Rose’s physique, especially compared to the other girls, and physically, she’s almost perfect – I mean as a WMMA fighter goes, she’s totally ripped. And she’s only 22! It’s starting to look more like Rose is the “new” Ronda.
    Randa Markos will be a very tough out, probably tougher than whomever Rose fights in the finals, be it Penne or Esparza. I predicted Calderwood vs. Penne in the finals, so I’ll stick with Penne and say it will be Penne vs. Rose in the finals.

  6. Oh and did you see that there will be six strawweight fights total on the TUF 20 Finale? Almost everyone will be fighting! What a great great night for WMMA that will be. Second in significance only to Rousey – Carmouche in it’s importance as a landmark event in the history of WMMA. Can not wait.

  7. Accurate on all counts, andy. I couldn’t have said it better myself. If you look at some of the ‘stills’ that were shot during the fight…especially the perfect kick to Calderwood’s face, her physique really pops!! She is most definitely the next Rousey. If she makes the fight with Randa look that easy….wow…has she ever improved from the fight with Tecia in Invicta. And the FAB attempt!!!! It failed but she popped back up like nothing happened. Everything was on point for her…and as she so thuggily put it “I feel like I am in my zone now”
    Esparza-Penne…hmmmm??? I know alot of people are picking Penne but I am sticking with Carla. She is just too relentless on the ground. And her hands looked good too. I believe she could have stood and traded with Tecia and still won the fight.

  8. So…Rose vs Carla for the strap…December 12!!!!

  9. Great stuff Mike – and I just now saw that I was wrong above, there will actually be get this EIGHT Strawweight fights on December 12!! Every TUF 20 contestant (except for Justine of course with her bad knee unfortunately) will be fighting. EVEN THE SEMIFINALISTS WHO LOST WILL FIGHT EACHOTHER!! And it’s all FREE – it doesn’t get any better than this!

  10. One more quick thought — you have to admit that “Thug Rose” has to be one of the best nicknames ever for a fighter. If Rose can somehow win the Title, you’ll then have Rousey and Rose as the two figureheads of WMMA. I just think if Rose can come though, and it won’t be easy at all, but if she can, what an incredible boost it would be to WMMA. It could almost make WMMA a mainstream sport overnight. I mean “water cooler talk” mainstream where the audience basically doubles all at once. How exciting would that be? And then, with the Reebok sponsorship deal — WMMA would at last be a viable professional athletic career. After all these years. Finally.