On the last show, we saw Barb Honchak solidify her spot in the next round of competition by beating Gillian Robertson via TKO. Then, the next fight was announced: Melinda Fabian against Rachael Ostovich-Berdon.
At the beginning of filming, the press tour for Mayweather/McGregor was underway and [UFC President] Dana White couldn’t make it out to the house. When he did make it, it was great! Everyone was super excited to see him. Hearing him talk about the evolution of female MMA and his change in mindset really put into perspective what we were doing there.
He also brought his super-sweet car. I’m not much of a car person, but it was impressive. Most of the girls got into the car. I did what any awkward person who doesn’t live by normal social rules does: I gave the side of the car a couple quick hip thrusts. Yes, you read that right, I humped the side of Dana White’s expensive car. If you’re surprised, you really don’t know me well then. My team was probably just glad it wasn’t them for once.
Rachael was on Team Gaethje, but she’s one of the people that I knew before the show. I fought on a couple of Invicta cards with her and had some light chit-chat in passing. Rachael is a tough wrestler who doesn’t give up. Obviously, her game plan was to take the fight to the ground to utilize her wrestling and judo against a striker like Melinda.
I’ll be honest, I did not know anything about Melinda before getting to the show. I remember the first time I saw her, I was like, “Hot damn!” Those were the exact words that went through my head. She was this beautiful badass and, honestly, quite intimidating. Getting to know her, though, she was still a beautiful badass, but she is one of the sweetest people I have ever met.
It was rough to see Melinda struggling with an injury while trying to compete in this competition. She is a very talented fighter. I remember sparring with her once, and I felt something hit my head and I was really confused, because I was watching her hands the whole time and they didn’t move. What I didn’t see was her sneaky ninja kick that came up, lightly tapped my head and made it back down before I even noticed. Yeah, she was a sneaky Hungarian ninja.
Having her leg injury really took a toll on her. It was hard to move, but she came to fight — not just for herself, but for the pride of her home country. When she talked about us not really knowing that she was from Hungary, that’s true. I honestly didn’t know until a week or so into filming, but I can be completely oblivious to things at times!
Weigh-ins were interesting. Ha! I remember sitting there, and when Rachael stripped down, everyone apparently saw something in the corner of the room and one of our coaches completely turned around in the bleachers. As for me, yeah, I was watching. Hey, she has the assets and looked damn good, so flaunt what you’ve got, girl. Both made weight without issue.
The fact that Melinda could get in that cage and fight was amazing. She was in an extreme amount of pain, but she is one tough cookie. She went in there and fought as hard as she could. Had she not been hurt, would the outcome have been different? No idea. You can’t deal in what-ifs, and this fight was Rachael’s. Rachael came out and executed her game plan perfectly and got the win.
Team Alvarez lost another fight. Melinda’s reaction after the fight is something I understand, though. When you lose a fight, you want to know what to do so you don’t feel that way ever again. But, like Eddie Alvarez said, while you’re still in the cage with your gloves on is not that time. Take the night to straighten out your emotions and get up the next day and work on being better for the next one.
Now we’re at the last preliminary fight, Emily Whitmire against Christina Marks. Their faceoff was intense. Everyone else’s seemed lighthearted compared to it. You could feel the intensity even from where we were standing. Check out Sarj’s face as it was going down, haha. That single second might be my favorite moment of this week.
Stay tuned to next week to see Emily and my girl Christina get their shot in the competition!