The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) combat sports reality show was back on FOX Sports 1 last night (Weds., May 18, 2016) for episode five of season 23 titled "Battle of the Brits," coached by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and division No. 1 contender Claudia Gadelha.
If you missed last week's episode get up to speed right here.
We kick things off at the TUF gym where Team Claudia's Lanchana Green is previewing her upcoming elimination fight against Team Joanna's Helen Harper, also a Brit. Green got into mixed martial arts (MMA) after getting beat up on the streets as a young gal.
Coach Gadelha wants Green, who got mauled in episode one before mounting an epic second-round comeback, to work on her grappling where she will be at a disadvantage. Coach Jedrzejczyk, meanwhile, recruits former strawweight champ and past opponent Carla Esparza to help her squad with wrestling.
One of the main reasons Team Joanna opened to an 0-3 hole.
Harper, who learned how to fight after being stuck in an abusive relationship, has a lot to prove after a physical and mental breakdown over the past few episodes. To her credit, she looks very focused now that she actually has a bout to train for and isn't just wandering around the TUF house with nothing to do.
Coach Jedrzejczyk calls her a
tiny small tornado.
Shit gets kinda real when Abdel Medjedoub gets a call from his wife, with the cameras rolling, or course. She blows a gasket and most of her remarks are bleeped out but Medjedoub won't reveal why he's in so much trouble, only that he "did a bad thing" and is being ordered to come back to Montreal.
We don't find out if he stays or goes until episode six, but at least we still have our fight!
115 lbs.: Lanchana Green (Team Claudia) vs. Helen Harper (Team Joanna)
Round 1: Harper coming out fast and furious, not afraid to stand and trade and even initiating the exchanges. Green hops on her bicycle and doing a good job of counter punching. Harper backs her into the fence and gets beat up from her opponent's Muay Thai, but Coach Gadelha yelling to get off the fence to avoid the takedown. After a brief struggle for positioning, she circles out and they go back to the center of the cage. Harper starts chasing her down and now they are back to the cage jockeying for position. Green with knees to the bread basket. Harper lets her go and gets tagged. Now Green being the aggressor but Harper is able to pull guard. When Green lets her up, Harper drives her to the fence and tries for that elusive takedown. The referee is not impressed and tells them to work. Harper pushes off and eats a combination. Green with a low kick at the bell. 10-9 Green.
Round 2: Harper comes running out and it's a firefight, holy crap these gals are setting some crazy pace. Green is more successful with her strikes and certainly the more accurate puncher, but Harper is ultra-aggressive and runs Green into the cage. Both teams screaming advice. Green circles out and lands a combination. Harper ducks under and gets a big takedown. Fight just got very, very interesting. Coach Gadelha calling for a whizzer. Ref wants Harper to pick up the pace and she just kinda camps out in half guard. Now the punches start coming and Green not looking terribly confident on the ground. Ref again calls for more action and Harper rattles off some obligatory punches. Green wiggles out of half guard and right into mount. Not good. Green getting beat up now. Coach Jedrzejczyk screaming for elbows. Fight ends with Green getting smashed. 10-9 Harper.
Round 3: As soon as the round starts Coach Jedrzejczyk is telling Harper to shoot. Green keeps a low stance and throws punches -- with great success -- but can't keep Harper from tying her up and pushing her to the wall. She manages to break free and keeps the punches coming, along with a few kicks -- a risky move when trying to avoid the takedown. Harper runs in like a bulldozer and gets the action to the cage. After a protracted struggle for position she's able to lift Green up and take her down, a few times, but can't hold her there. Ref wants Harper to stop hugging Green and actually do something. Green shucks her off and lands a couple of punches, then a thudding leg kick. Harper looks to be slowing down but still pushes forward with offense. Green once again can't keep herself from getting bullied into the cage and succumbs to a late takedown. That folks, just cost her the fight. She gets up and tries to press forward, landing intermittent punches, but judges have a hard-on for takedowns. 10-9 Harper.
Wait! I'm wrong!
Final result: Green def. Harper via unanimous decision
Here's where we stand after episode five:
Myron Dennis Helen Harper
Tatiana Suarez (w)
Andrew Sanchez (w)
Lanchana Green (w)
Cory Hendricks (w)
Team Claudia leads 4-0.
After the fight, UFC President Dana White said he was impressed by both fighters. Green breaks into a weird dance in the locker room while Harper breaks down in tears, repeatedly telling everyone she's "not good enough." Coach Jedrzejczyk tells her to stay strong.
Coach Gadelha taps jiu-jitsu master Eric Spicely from her team to fight Team Joanna's Elias Urbina, who was picked last by Coach Jedrzejczyk. Upset special?
Find out in seven days!