The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) combat sports reality show was back on FOX Sports 1 last night (Weds., June 8, 2016) for episode eight of season 23 titled "It's a Mental Thing," 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.
Team Joanna will send Joshua Stansbury into the final light heavyweight elimination fight against Team Claudia's Abdel Medjedoub. The former is trying to get the first win of the season for his red brethren, while the latter could get his squad one step closer to a sweep.
We kick things off at the TUF gym and Corey Hendricks goes down hard on the mats. It seems the Syndicate MMA product is suffering from an injured ... shoulder? Arm? Neck? Hard to tell. An acupuncturist comes to the house and turns him into a cactus with little-to-no reprieve.
Then he undergoes "cupping," which requires little glass jars and an open flame. Last but not least, he gets scraped by a Chinese soup spoon. I swear I'm not making this up. The pain gets bad enough that he can't stand up, so off to the doctor he goes.
His MRI reveals ... nothing! Producers are making us wait until next week for the results.
We switch gears and get a closer look at Medjedoub, who was allowed to fly home to save his marriage. Now he's back and ready to make good on his promise to win his next fight and move on to the TUF 23 Finale this December in Las Vegas.
His background is in boxing and his nickname is "Blade," an anagram for Abdel.
Time for the weigh ins and both fighters make weight without incident. Stansbury, who TUF fans may remember from his injury on season 19, has a significant size and reach advantage. His advice for Medjedoub? "Hands up, chin down, ass off the floor."
205 lbs.: Abdel Medjedoub (Team Claudia) vs. Joshua Stansbury (Team Joanna)
Round 1: Touch of gloves and YOWZERS both guys come out firing. A mad scramble has Abdel pushed into the cage but he reverses position. Knee from Abdel, followed by one from Stansbury. Again they exchange knees. Not much happening in this cage clinch. Referee Herb Dean doesn't seem to care. Stansbury pushes himself free and fires off a litany of strikes -- including one to the nutsack that Dean did not see. After a brief recovery it's game on. Gloves are touched and bombs are dropped, which leads to another cage clinch. Both fighters try to drag it to the floor, and both fighters are unsuccessful. They separate and Abdel lands a kick, but then it's right back to the clinch. Dean calls for some action. Obligatory knees are exchanged. Coach Gadelha keeps telling Abdel to abandon the takedowns but he's ignoring her and dropping levels anyway. All it does is get him more tired since Stansbury is too big to scoop and slam. Dean again calls for action and finally separates them. 30 seconds left and they trade sloppy punches. Stansbury with a spinning elbow at the horn. No idea how to score that round, Abdel by cage control I guess. 10-9 Medjedoub.
Round 2: Gloves touch and someone in the peanut gallery keeps yelling HEYYYY, HEY! Stansbury kicks high, Abdel kicks low. Abdel rushes in with punches and they go to the wall. They jockey for position and my eyelids get heavy. Stansbury spins free and they go back to the center of the Octagon to slug it out. Same shit as before: Abdel the "boxer" backs him up with punches then lays on him against the fence. Stansbury reverses position and tries for the takedown. Denied. Abdel pushes off and backs up, but gets tagged with a kick to the jaw. He crumbles and Stansbury pounces, raining down hammerfists. Abdel in survival mode and somehow gets to his feet. Stansbury pouring it on. Abdel manages to tie him up and Stansbury sticks a finger up his nose. Okay that was gross. Stansbury misses a spinning elbow and Abdel is able to reverse and lay against him on the wall. They separate and reset. Both guys tired. Heavy punches from each side and Abdel sort of falls forward right into Stansbury, which sends them both to the cage. Stansbury with a faux-guillotine. Dean wants them to work. They pick up the pace and Abdel dirty boxes his way to the bell. 10-9 Stansbury.
No round three, which is bad news for Abdel, the boxer who didn't box.
Final result: Stansbury def. Medjedoub via majority decision
Here's where we stand after episode eight:
Joshua Stansbury (w)
Jamie Moyle Khalil Rountree
Myron Dennis Helen Harper Elias Urbina
Tatiana Suarez (w)
Andrew Sanchez (w)
Eric Spicely (w)
Amanda Cooper (w)
Lanchana Green (w)
Cory Hendricks (w)
Team Claudia leads 6-1.
After the fight, Coach Jedrzejczyk congratulates her fighter and lets out a sigh of relief, avoiding the TUF 23 hall of shame. As expected, things are not as jubilant over at Team Gadelha, and Abdel -- who may have a broken foot -- now has to answer to his wife for the defeat.
He claims his head was not there, it was still in Montreal.
Time for the fight picks and Coach Jedrzejczyk (finally) has control. Not that it does her any good since there are only two fighters left, so by default she's forced to send Ashley Yoder to fight Team Claudia's Kate Jackson. They face off and scowl accordingly.
Coach Gadelha says Jackson is "bringing something special" next week. What could it be?
Find out in seven days!