The first episode of season three begins with the sad news that the great Feather Hadden is retiring due to injuries aggravated and sustained against Shay Mazzato. This clears the way for a new champion. Some will miss Hadden, but others are happy to see her go. Maxine Frost [0-0] creates tension when she brings in a fighter from Mexico to challenge for the vacant title. The loudest protest comes from Andreea Vladoi who feels passed over. Mazzato, who played a huge role in Hadden’s retirement, will face off with a new addition to the LFC, the relatively unknown, but formidable, Monica Garcia.
Monica shows up at the training facility with plenty of swagger; a perfect fit for the Black Team. Some fighters display their frustration with the fact that she is fighting for the belt her first time out; however, Allie Parks and Monica become fast friends. What does she bring to the LFC? Asked Coach Leon Hater, he focuses on her ability to attack a punching bag with kicks so powerful that you will feel them through your screen.
Joel Kane, using an unorthodox training method, chases Serina Kyle around a field with a drone. Will this help in her preparation for her rematch against ‘The Prez’, Maxine Frost? You’ll just have to wait and see.
As we begin the preliminaries for LFC23, in Kansas City, KS, this episode features most of the fighters on the card. What would a LFC event be without drama? It would not feel right if all went off without some tension or dissension. Here, we begin with Jolene Hexx taking issue with Maxine Frost about having to fight an inexperienced opponent. Leon Hater argues on behalf of the inexperienced fighter, Danielle St. Pierre. To her credit, Maxine does not waver and sticks with her decision match the two.
Joel Kane trips everyone up with his newest fighter, Mona Jones. It is obvious to all but him that this Mona is not the Mona he drafted. At some point, he even manages to anger Jones over the nickname she will go by. Will Joel learn anything when Holly Mei dumps him in the shallow end of a pool, yet again? Probably not.
Monica Garcia and Andreea Vladoi head out to promote the event at a Spanish language radio station. Of course, our international star from Romania can speak Spanish. Maxine and her nemesis, Serina Kyle, call into the ‘Jay Thomas Show.’ Finally, Shay Mazzato gets her turn on the ‘Playmaker Show,’ another local program.
This episode opens with official weigh-in for LFC23. Both teams are contentious and willing to take it to the next level. There is pushing, shoving, and a heated dislike of each other. Cali Cat, who is usually laid back, is combative with her opponent, Julie Ginther. The more experienced, Jolene Hexx wastes no time in letting Danielle St. Pierre know who is the big dog. Mona Jones and Raya Ryans can easily be mistaken for lifelong enemies with drama going back to their middle school days. Serina Kyle does her best to keep it real, but that is a challenge with an opponent like Maxine Frost. The fireworks between the fighters in the title match are off the charts. Who do you think won the trash talk battle, Monica Garcia or Shay Mazzato? Garcia, at one point, challenges the entire Pink Team.
After Leon Hater calls out Joel Kane and criticizes his training ability, and Mona charges at Raya with a chair, a well needed calm arrives at the post weigh-in party. The dancing and positive vibe is infectious. The teams follow that with a meal, where the talk is all about strategy and fighters with knowledge of common opponents sharing their insights.
With just a few things left to get in order, we arrive at LFC23. Joel pressures Serina Kyle, stating that her match with Maxine Frost [0-0] is crucial to his survival in the league; Serina needs to win if Joel is to continue as coach of the Pink Team. Luckily, for Joel, Serina is probably the only person at the LFC who not only gets him but appreciates him.
Leon Hater, whose job is not on the line, has a meeting with Monica Garcia and Andreea Vladoi. The coach of the Black Team is genuinely concerned about the excessive partying that the two are known for. Garcia’s philosophy is, “you work hard, you play harder”, and that is what her coach fears. Vladoi, as usual, dismisses Leon and reminds him of her status as the only former Olympian with the company.
After having to share the same dressing room, as did the rest of the fighters, Natasha Rodriguez and Rochelle Rodgers get the call to the cage for the first match. The two fighters struggle with wardrobe issues, but more so Rodgers, who is obsessed with keeping everything in order. They have their chances, especially Rodgers, who is very strong and wants to keep Rodriguez from her first win. A rush to the finish line, via dual leg locks, brings the issue to a close.
A.J. Kirsch impresses with his ability to speak Spanish, conducting a funny Q&A with Maxine Frost [0-0]. The Prez, who is fighting later on the card, is not amused by the cage announcer’s behavior. She needs to win her match against Serina Kyle because it will result in Joel Kane’s termination.
The first fight features Cali Cat taking on Julie Ginther in a battle of Californians. Cali is formidable and has a nervous energy before the fight, but Ginther comes out strong and pushes her around in the first round; a sight we had not seen before. The power of Ginther’s leg strength frustrates Cali, taking her by surprise. Between rounds, Cali is seriously trying to figure out what to do to turn things in her favor. Seeking to build on her first round success, Julie charges out to open the round and foolishly gives Cali the opening she needs. The ensuing arm bar is one of the most vicious we have seen in the LFC. How long will Julie struggle against the inevitable?
Our second match is between Jolene Hexx and Danielle St. Pierre. The contrast in their levels of experience is readily apparent and leaves little doubt about the outcome, but a confident Danielle leads the offense, taking Jolene down with a kick to the ribs. A close first round motivates Jolene to reset between rounds. The ease of the finishing hold, a rear naked choke, brings us to the inevitable outcome.
Raya Ryans is in shock when she sees the massive size that Mona Jones brings into the cage. Raya admitted that she was not training hard for the original, inexperienced opponent who backed out. Reality strikes when she feels the 45 pound weight advantage of the replacement; a tough match-up for anyone on the Black Team for sure. In spite of the obvious, Ryans, regardless of the circumstances, comes to fight. A back and forth struggle that sees a point taken away for a foul, while another harsher foul does not register with the referee. Watch as Mona takes Raya on a tour of the cage sides: three slams along the way for emphasis.
Next up is Andreea Vladoi vs. Holly Mei. Vladoi is usually the lighter one in the cage, but here she outweighs Mei by 12 pounds. Leading up to this fight, the Pink Team has won the first four contests. Does the endless drama between Holly and her coach Joel Kane affect her ability to focus? Is Andreea just too unstoppable? Tune in to find out!
The bet is simple and leaves little room for confusion. If Maxine Frost defeats Serina Kyle again, then Joel Kane is shown the door. If Maxine loses, then she must surrender step down as Prez of the league. One fighter, Jolene Hexx, admits that if she were Serina’s place, she would throw the fight.
Where Maxine is energized before the fight, Serina stays true to her playful nature and acts carefree. The first round is messy; both fighters look to take control of the pace. However, it is difficult to separate Maxine the fighter from Maxine as head of the LFC. What is most important to her at this point? Between rounds, Joel tries to inspire Serina, and Leon Hater pleads with Maxine to end Joel’s tenure.
Coach Hater, who at one time was with the Pink Team, takes responsibility for the text-book arm bar that Serina delivers early in the second round. Joel rejoices in the win, as Maxine storms off. Will the site of a petulant Maxine waking away be the last we see of her, or is she too valuable to the company to let go?
The time for crowning a new champion has arrived in this, the final episode of the season. Will it be the fighter from Mexico and new Black Team member, Monica Garcia, or will it be Shay Mazzato, the woman who drove Feather Hadden into retirement? A 43 pound weight advantage for Garcia is not something Shay can take lightly or can ignore for one second in the cage.
Shay’s teammates encourage her as she heads to the cage; Monica appears to be laser focused on her goal: winning! A disappointing showing for the Black Team makes this match even more important for Coach Leon Hater; his hunger for a win runs parallel with that of his fighter.
Monica bull rushes Shay, however ‘The Fox’ possesses enough speed to combat Monica’s full on assault. There are power slams, punches and submission attempts. Clumps of hair litter the ground, and the force of the punches has knocked out a contact lens. When the bell rings, a new champion is crowned and she proudly wears the belt as she jumps in to her coaches arms.