Last up to fight for a spot in the semi-finals were Kate Jackson and Ashley Yoder. I thought this was a good match up – both tall, strong fighters. That being said, I had every confidence in my teammate Kate to win.
Even though I haven’t known Kate a long time, I knew who she was before we went into the house and it soon became clear that she is a true martial artist. She loves the details, the principles, being methodical and critical… maybe a little too critical and hard on herself at times. She is an intelligent fighter and I liked that about her.
Ashley came across as an easy-going, fun girl. I would have liked to get to know her more as well – the girls were great this season! She had told me briefly how she got into MMA but hearing the full version made me shed a tear. Martial arts has saved so many people from self destruction.
Meanwhile, Cory Hendricks was still in a bad way. It was tough to see and we all felt for him, but he never moaned about it. We would just see him laid up against a wall all the time and leave him be. I was the girl who always had food on her so sometimes I’d share some snacks with him while he was laid out.
Coach Rafael Vinicius was the man behind all our strategies. You got to hear a snippet of him speaking to Kate in Portuguese, giving her words of encouragement and confidence. Sometimes his words made me cry. Others would probably think, ‘What is this guy going on about?’ But to me he was brilliant and I almost welled up listening to him speak again to Kate.
At the weigh-in Ashley stood on Kate’s foot during the staredown. Kate, calm as a cucumber, wasn’t bothered. Claudia, however, took offence. Turns out Ashley didn’t do it on purpose but then didn’t want to remove her foot mid-staredown and got embarrassed and apologized after, which was sweet. She really does seem a lovely girl.
Now onto the fight!
Round one: Kate stuck to the plan, circling away from Ashley’s back leg kick but it ended up backing her up towards the fence. There was an exchange then Kate rushed Ashley to the ground where she spent a lot of time defending an armbar attempt. While doing so though she managed to land some heavy strikes and mark up Ashley’s face. Kate was not happy about the illegal up kicks, and rightly so. I had this round to Kate.
Round two: There’s some more strikes exchanged back and forth. Ashley again goes for the armbar but is unable to complete it. They then get stood up by the referee and Kate keeps the pressure on, landing some good strikes to close the round and the fight.
I thought Kate had won but you can never be sure who the judges will give it to, so I was happy to see her get the decision.
Now onto the fight picks, and as all of us girls on Team Claudia won our fights we now have to face each other! I’m matched up against Amanda Cooper. Make sure you don’t miss that one!
As always, thanks to my sponsors: Mindsport Consulting, Upgraded Grappler, SL Sports Massage, Steffan Abel Chiropractor, Functionsl Self, Revgear, LED supply and fit and My Protein.
UK fans can watch The Ultimate Fighter at 3am (BST) every Thursday morning on BT Sport (repeated at 10pm later that same day). The show is available on Fox Sports in the US (check your local listings).