The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) combat sports reality show was back on FOX Sports 1 last night (Weds., June 29, 2016) for episode 11 of season 23 titled "Bump in the Road," 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.
With Andrew Sanchez advancing in the light heavyweight division, the semifinals continue as Amanda Cooper fights Lanchana Green for a spot in the strawweight finale, which takes place on July 8, 2016 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
More on that card here.
Since Team Claudia "ran the table" in both weight classes, most of the combatants will be facing off against the same fighters they've been training with all season. That includes Cooper and Green, but they get a little outside help when UFC women's bantamweight champion Miesha Tate stops by for some coaching.
As a wrestler, she of course schools them on grappling technique.
Unfortunately not everything is going according to plan for Cooper, who fought not too long ago and is now struggling to get back down in the 115-pound range, especially after spending most of her career at flyweight. Expect this to be a factor later in the show.
In a "bath salts" sort of way.
Back at the house, the remaining contestants set up a homemade bowling alley to pass the time, because nobody wants to hit the bottle and end up like Junie Browning. The level of camaraderie in the house is impressive, considering how late we are in the competition.
Somewhere in the control room, a producer weeps.
As expected, Cooper is in all kinds of trouble in regards to her weight, so it's the day of the weigh ins and her team is breaking out all the awful tricks, like the stationary bike in the sauna, the mummy towel wrap, and lots and lots of swearing.
UFC President Dana White says this kind of
near-death experience mental test is what TUF is all about.
It's time to hit the scale and not surprisingly, Green sails through without incident. Cooper, however, is 1.5 pounds over and has one hour to cut the remaining weight. If not, she will be removed from the competition and her opponent will advance via forfeit.
After an hour of water torture -- and the debut of the birthday suit -- Cooper makes her mark.
115 lbs.: Amanda Cooper (1-1) vs. Lanchana Green (2-1)
Round 1: No touch of gloves and both fighters bob and weave while trying to establish their range. Green and her epic back tattoo land first and Cooper tries to walk her down. Big head kick from Cooper glances her opponent's head, then she follows up with a solid right. Green changes levels and gets slugged for her efforts. They get close to the fence and Cooper shoots for a takedown. She has it and Green tries to tangle her up from the bottom. Cooper postures up and jumps into side control. Two minutes to go and Green needs to make something happen. Cooper landing intermittent ground-and-pound. Cooper postures and repositions, forcing Green to scramble and give up her back -- only to get flattened out. The choke is not long to follow.
Final result: Cooper def. Green via submission (rear-naked choke)
Here's where we stand heading into the final episode:
TUF 23 semifinals:
205 lbs.: Andrew Sanchez vs.
115 lbs.: Amanda Cooper vs.
205 lbs.: Josh Stansbury vs. Khalil Rountree
115 lbs.: Tatyana Suarez vs. Kate Jackson
After the fight, Green breaks down in the locker room but Cooper rushes in to console her and compliment her skills. We get a quick preview of episode 12 and White is there to make sure we know how amazing it will all be. Hey, two fights in one episode? Sign me up!
See you in seven.