The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) combat sports reality show was back on FOX Sports 1 last night (Weds., April 27, 2016) for episode two of season 23, titled "Friends and Foes," coached by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and division No. 1 contender Claudia Gadelha.
If you missed last week's two-hour season premiere get up to speed right here.
We kick things off at the TUF house and as with every season, the contestants -- most of whom are living paycheck-to-paycheck -- are starstruck by the luxurious living quarters provided for the duration of the season. Well, right up until Abdel Medjedoub (both married and Muslim) realizes the only bed that wasn't taken resides in a room full of girls.
Fortunately, Corey Hendricks steps up and agrees to take his place.
Speaking of Hendricks, his feet got roughed up in the elimination fights but a medical exam reveals contusions, not fractures, so he's good to go for his light heavyweight elimination bout against Khalil Rountree later in the show (equal to six days in TUF time).
Coach Gadelha rounds up her team and opens with a pep talk and the designation of coaching assignments. "Claudinha" breaks up the 205-pound guys and 115-pound gals and they go right into hard training. This appears to be a no-nonsense squad.
As Claudia leaves the gym she runs into Coach Jedrzejczyk and oh shit here we go it's nose-to-nose and quickly devolves into pushing and shoving. Some of the cast members separate them (boo!) and Gadelha calls Joanna a "bully."
Joanna says she is clever and making her opponent play her game.
Now it's time for Team Jedrzejczyk to hit the gym and everybody gets right to work. Most of the female fighters are jazzed to be training with the champion of their weight class and as a striker, Joanna helps her squad work on the hands (and feet).
Helen Harper, regrettably, is on the bench with bronchitis.
Back at the house, Hendricks and Rountree discuss their upcoming fight which pits teammate vs. teammate (Syndicate MMA). Also from that Las Vegas-based gym is Jamie Moyle, who seems to be taking it harder than either of the men, but all three recognize it's not personal, just business.
Hendricks talks about his history as a collegiate athlete (basketball) before transitioning to MMA. His foot is still an issue so they work on jiu-jitsu moves, which is convenient because he's not looking to stand-and-bang anyway where his opponent has the advantage.
Speaking of which, Rountree gets his profile and opens up about losing his dad early on, and how his brother helped him find MMA by going to a local gym. Not only did it help him lose weight, it gave him a path and purpose in life. Let's see if it works out for him.
Before the weigh ins, Joanna starts talking shit to mess with Claudia's boxing coach but since he doesn't speak any English her efforts are fruitless. Then the coaches get into another argument but most of the talking points have stayed the same and all it does is hurt my ears.
Both fighters make the 205-pound limit without incident.
Later that night, Harper starts to shake and break down (appears to have a bad fever) and Rountree helps her get herself under control. After a trip to the hospital and some IV fluids, she looks to be on the mend and anticipates getting back into training.
UFC President Dana White announces that $100,000 in bonus money will be given away this season: two performance bonuses ($25k/25k) and fight of the season ($25k per fighter). The idea is that UFC creates incentive to not just win, but win big.
I'm sure someone will lay and pray anyway.
205 lbs.: Khalil Rountree (Team Jedrzejczyk) vs. Corey Hendricks (Team Gadelha)
Round 1: The fight gets underway and Hendricks opens with a nice body kick. I guess he's not afraid to throw those feet. Rountree answers with a low kick then cracks his teammate with a punch to the jaw. Hendricks eats another and has seen enough of the stand up, landing a nice single-leg takedown to get the fight south. Rountree with a couple of horrible downward elbows to the spine that draw a warning -- just as he escapes to his feet. Hendricks tries to box him and gets smashed in the face so he changes levels for another takedown. This time it was sloppy and out of desperation and he gets stuffed. Hendricks on his back but Rountree lets him up. Coach Gadelha calling for Hendricks to change levels. He does and shoots causing a mad scramble -- one that ends with Hendricks jumping on his opponent's back and looking for a standing rear-naked choke. Rountree falls backward and looks to be in a world of trouble and a few seconds later, the tap ends the fight.
Final result: Hendricks def. Rountree via submission
Here's where we stand after episode two:
Cory Hendricks (w)
After the fight, both guys hug and White admits he was very impressed by their performances. Coach Jedrzejczyk appears to be a sore loser -- or maybe she's just miffed her "pick the injured guy" strategy blew up in her face. Now the control of the fights goes to Team Claudia.
She picks Tatiana Suarez to fight fellow strawweight J.J. Aldrich. Two No. 1 picks! Who will emerge victorious?
Find out in seven days!