‘TUF 23’ Recap: Episode 7

By Mike Sloan Jun 1, 2016
This week’s episode of “The Ultimate Fighter” begins with controversy spilling over from last week, when coach Joanna Jedrzejczyk said that her fighter, Jamie Moyle, would have an easy time against Amanda Bobby Cooper.

The fallout from the trash talk is running amok in the “TUF” gym, and both camps are abuzz with the smack talk. Claudia Gadelha’s team is laughing it off, ready to prove the UFC women’s strawweight champ wrong. Team Joanna is focused and serious because they believe it to be true.

Former UFC bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw makes an appearance at Team Joanna’s training session. Apparently, Dillashaw is a fan of Jedrzejczyk, and he reveals that he is honored to help her team. Moyle is excited to be working with Dillashaw because she says that his style is similar to hers. Moyle admits that she’s been working on nothing to use against Cooper; instead she’s working only on her own game. The Syndicate MMA fighter is determined to get Team Joanna its first win of the season.

At night, Khalil Rountree is outside in the backyard, crying into a lawn char. It’s his father’s birthday and he’s been deceased since Rountree was a child; obviously, Roundtree is emotional. According to the fighter, his dad used to manage R&B artists like Boyz II Men, New Edition and others. In 1992, he was on tour and was going back to his hotel when criminals found out where he was staying, lured him out of the hotel and robbed him, shooting him dead in a senseless murder.

Meanwhile, Cooper is amped and says that she really wants to fight Moyle, who is working on keeping the fight standing even though she is a purple belt in jiu-jitsu. Later that day, Cooper is back at the house, reading a bunch of letters that her friends and family gave her to her before she left for “TUF.” She reflects that her father used to be a professional boxer and these letters cheer her up.

It’s time for the fighters to hit the town in Las Vegas. UFC President Dana White says he loves this group of fighters and decides to give them some freedom; Gadelha and Jedrzejczyk join them. The group is taken to the show “Absinthe,” which is an acrobatic comedy show that plays out in front of Caesars Palace in the Roman Plaza. Josh Stansbury starts getting picked on by the main star of the show, who eventually brings Myron Dennis to the stage as well. Stansbury has to strip -- sort of -- in front of everybody, as does Dennis, but the fighters keep it PG-rated. Not surprisingly, considering this cast of fighters, nobody gets hammered or becomes a drunken jackass.

After a seamless weigh-in and scenes of both women prepping for the fight, it’s time for the leather to fly.

The fighters circle early but Moyle strikes first, cracking Cooper with a few rights and lefts early, but Cooper retaliates with some shots of her own. Cooper is backing away but she is eventually pressed into the cage less than a minute into the bout. Moyle is trying hard for the takedown but the more powerful Cooper is fending it off nicely. They trade sporadic blows around the cage while Cooper keeps her distance. Moyle is starting to wing sloppy overhand rights and lefts, allowing the smoother striking of Cooper to take over at the midway point. A pair of rights to the head bounce off Moyle, but she isn’t hurt and continues to charge right at her. A crisp left-right to the face lands cleanly from Cooper, but Moyle ducks under and lands the single-leg takedown. Cooper quickly pulls guard but her opponent is relentless. After a scramble, Cooper threatens a kimura from her side but abandons it. “ABC” misses a sweep but pops the local girl with a few punches from her back. Cooper lands a few decent rights to the head as time expires. It’s a very close round that could easily go either way, but Cooper’s better striking barely wins it 10-9.

Cooper reels off a series of jabs as soon as the second stanza begins before drilling her opponent with a right. Moyle wants none of it and quickly shoots in, dragging the fight to the canvas. Moyle is in half guard on top, looking to pass to her left. Nothing happens for about 90 seconds until Moyle finally passes to side control, but rather than pound away from a dominant position, Moyle opts to stand up and try and slam strikes onto her foe. Cooper springs to her feet but she is wrapped up in a clinch against the cage. Moyle misses a throw, allowing Cooper to rake her with uppercuts and overhand rights within the clinch. Cooper slams a knee to the body and a pair of elbows to the head, opening a nasty three-inch gash around Moyle’s left eye. Moyle desperately takes the brawl to the ground again, but Cooper lands on top and cracks her with scattered punches. Cooper dives down into side control and pounds away with rights and lefts. Moyle is covering up while referee Mark Smith implores her to fight back. Cooper is relentless but she can’t finish her before the clock runs out. It’s all Cooper 10-9.

After two rounds, both teams believe they have won the fight. Moyle’s cut is deep and nasty when the camera zooms in. It appears as though the contest will go to a “sudden victory” round. However, the official verdict is that Cooper wins the fight via majority decision.

Jedrzejczyk is pissed and is trying to talk to the judges but she gets nothing in return. The entire red team is miffed about it, while Team Claudia is celebrating the win by dancing and singing. White thinks the fight should have gone to a third round.

At the ensuing fight announcement, Gadelha tells both teams that there are no easy fights, taking a jab at her rival, which elicits a rolling of the eyes from Jedrzejczyk. Gadelha goes with the final pairing of men, which is Abdel Medjedoub against Josh Stansbury.

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