‘TUF 23’ Recap: Episode 8

By Mike Sloan Jun 8, 2016
Tonight’s episode of “The Ultimate Fighter” begins with a Team Claudia training session. Coach Claudia Gadelha is confident that her team can complete its season-long sweep against her hated rival Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s squad. The Brazilian feels that Abdel Medjedoub, who will fight by this episode’s end, can win the entire show. In the meantime, Cory Hendricks suffers a training injury to his left shoulder and neck, and it looks problematic to say the least.

Medjedoub’s opponent, Josh Stansbury, is psyched about having the entire team’s fate resting on his shoulders and is extremely focused on getting Team Joanna’s first win of the season. Coach Jedrzejczyk is instructing him to be wary of his foe’s striking and is pushing him hard in training. Stansbury reveals to the camera that he feels as though the Canadian will come into the fight with heavy emotions because of what he went through recently and feels as though that might work against Medjedoub.

Two days later, Gadelha walks into her team’s dressing room, only to find Hendricks in the turtle position because of the pain he’s in. He reveals to the camera that he can’t sleep without pain, can’t relax with agony and obviously can’t train. Hendricks is tough and says he’ll fight through it, but his real-life teammate at Syndicate MMA, Jamie Moyle, expresses her concerns to the audience at home.

An Asian medicine specialist comes to the house at night and puts Hendricks through a myriad of techniques. Gadelha and the rest of her coaches come to the house to see how Hendricks is doing, saying she couldn’t go to sleep without seeing him. After a lengthy session, he is feeling much better.

Later on, however, Hendricks is in a physician’s office, and he’s in agony so intense that he can’t even stand up with excruciating pain. Dr. Jeffrey Davidson is seeing him, and during the tests, Hendricks says that literally everything the doctor does to him causes pain. He’s swiftly tossed into the MRI machine.

After both light heavyweights hit the scales, it’s fight time.

As soon as the fight starts, Medjedoub comes right out and drills Stansbury with a left-right and then a low kick. Stansbury shoots in and gets his foe off his feet, but it’s only for a second or two before the Canadian pops back up to his feet and clinches. Medjedoub has the American pressed up against the cage, defending Stansbury’s throws. They trade some knees on the inside and when they separate, Stansbury nails him with a beautiful flurry to the head. An errant low blow from Stansbury halts the action briefly and when they resume the brawl, it’s like two rams slamming into each other. Stansbury misses another throw, which allows Medjedoub to crack him with an overhand right to the cranium.

Medjedoub ties up his opponent again after trading leather, grinding the action to a halt with two minutes remaining. Medjedoub misses a single-leg takedown and avoids the ensuing standing guillotine attempt before pressing the taller fighter into the cage again. With a minute left, Medjedoub continues to search for the takedown before referee Herb Dean splits them up to restart. The final 30 seconds of the frame see the men exchanging punches to the head and kicks to the legs. It’s an extremely close stanza but the nod has to go to Stansbury based on landing cleaner punches. 10-9 Stansbury.

Round two begins with Medjedoub slamming his left shin into his foe’s ribs. They quickly tie each other up, but this time it’s short-lived. They circle out in the center of the Octagon where Medjedoub launches a straight right to Stansbury’s jaw. He takes it well, but Medjedoub’s confidence is starting to mount. A right to the head, followed by a left hook to the gut from Medjedoub leads to a clinch against the cage.

Stansbury fishes for a takedown and misses it but when Medjedoub backs away, he is dropped by a head kick. Medjedoub is rocked badly and Stansbury pounces on him, looking to get Team Joanna its first win of the season. In desperation, Medjedoub turtles and then scrambles to his feet, but Stansbury is relentless. A series of punches ricochet off the Canadian’s head but Medjedoub is there trading with him blow-for-blow until Stansbury punches himself out. With two minutes remaining, they are exhausted. Stansbury drills his counterpart with some hard kicks to the body and sporadic punches up top. Medjedoub needs to go for broke with 60 seconds left on the clock but he has no stamina left. Medjedoub clinches yet again and forces the American into the cage, holding on until the clock nearly expires. They split up one final time and go to war; it’s a phone booth fight until the horn with both men trading knees and punches. This is an easy round to score: 10-9 Stansbury.

After two rounds, the verdict is in. Stansbury wins it via majority decision with scores of 19-19 and 20-18 (twice), giving Team Joanna its first win of the season.

At the fight announcement, the only fight for Joanna to make is her own Ashley Yoder taking on someone named Kate Jackson, who literally hasn’t been seen or heard from since the first episode of the season.

Next week will see Hendricks receiving the MRI results and both coaches begin preparations for their fight against one another on July 8. Also, Dana White announces all of the semifinal matchups.

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