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TUF 31 results video, full Ep. 3 recap | McGregor vs. Chandler

Can Aaron McKenzie defeat Austin Hubbard and get Team McGregor into the win column?

Season 31 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) returned earlier tonight (Tues., June 13, 2023) on ESPN for Ep. 3 of the long-running combat sports reality show, featuring head coaches Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler leading respective squads of lightweight and bantamweight contestants. Remember, immediate replays of TUF 31 are available on ESPN+ (sign up here) right now, or you can save yourself an hour and just read our complete recap below.

Missed episodes one and two? No problem! Get full results and recap videos here and here.

We kick things off at the APEX facility with Conor McGregor trying to fire up his team, despite the fact they are down by two fights to start the season. Coach Connie is giving special attention to Aaron McKenzie as he prepares for his lightweight semifinal fight against Austin Hubbard. McKenzie (11-2-1), the LFA lightweight champion, is known primarily for his jiu-jitsu skills and ground work though his eight professional finishes are split evenly between knockouts and submissions at four apiece. McGregor tries to show McKenzie some bizarre mental tactic of purging the body of pain and it looks as goofy as it sounds.

Back at the TUF house, Hubbard explains how much his life has changed since his first stint with UFC. Not only did his brother die, his pregnant wife also had a miscarriage. Yikes. “Thud” (15-6) was a part of the UFC roster from early 2019 to summer 2021, racking up a record of 3-4, with his last appearance ending in a decision loss to Vinc Pichel as part of the UFC Vegas 34 fight card in Las Vegas. Hubbard, who was also the LFA champion before setting sail for UFC, currently trains alongside Justin Gaethje at Elevation Fight Team in Colorado. Coach Michael Chandler wants Hubbard to “start fast and be aggressive.”

McGregor invites a young fan to UFC headquarters to show off his “Notorious” action figures he makes by hand. He doesn’t mold the plastic or anything, but he does gather a ton of spare parts from different characters and snaps them together, Frankenstein style, then customizes them with detailed paint jobs. The little entrepreneur leaves the office with more than a grand in his pocket. McGregor is going to bring the figures home to his kids in Ireland, who will no doubt rip them apart, assuming they are normal kids who play with toys.

Both Hubbard and McKenzie make weight without incident. Let’s fight!

155 lbs.: Austin Hubbard (Team Chandler) vs. Aaron McKenzie (Team McGregor)

Round 1: McKenzie tries to touch gloves but it’s not reciprocated. Low kick by Hubbard, then another. McKenzie shoots but gets denied. More kicks from Hubbard. McKenzie answers. Hubbard gets a kick caught and eats a few shots before getting driven into the cage. McKenzie working hard for the takedown but Hubbard staying upright. Both fighters jockey for position. Referee warns for glove grabbing. McKenzie humps his leg like a dog (seriously). Hubbard slips out and reverses, but McKenzie does some spinning of his own and escapes. Back to the center of the cage and both fighters are winging punches. McKenzie catches a leg and it’s back to the fence. McGregor celebrates every little move like it’s a fight-ending knockout. Hubbard off the cage and creams McKenzie with an uppercut then a right hand. McKenzie drops for a takedown but he’s in big trouble. McKenzie can’t hold position and Hubbard gets on top with punches. McKenzie tries to isolate an arm but is basically in survival mode hoping to run out the clock. The strategy works. I have it 10-9 Hubbard.

Round 2: Hubbard breathing heavy. McKenzie busy to start. Hubbard eats a hard leg kick but fires right back with a right hand. Another leg kick lands for McKenzie. Pace has slowed in this round. McKenzie shoots and they go to the wall. Not much happens while both fighters adjust. Referee warns them for inaction. Hubbard spins out and gets the back and drags McKenzie to the floor. Hubbard landing punches but nothing particularly damaging. Short elbows from Hubbard. McKenzie butt scoots to escape and eats a massive elbow on the exit. Back to the feet and Hubbard tosses him back to the floor. McKenzie has nothing this round and there’s just a minute to go. Coach Chandler screams for Hubbard to stay busy to avoid a standup. McKenzie scrambling but Hubbard all over him. More elbows to the downed fighter. Time expires with a busted-up McKenzie on his back. 10-9 for Hubbard but you can argue a 10-8.

Fight is called.

Result: Hubbard def. Mckenzie by unanimous decision

Coach McGregor claims it was a “great fight” and with a little more time the result would have been “a lot different.” Not sure what fight McGregor was watching but it certainly wasn’t Hubbard vs. McKenzie. They take McKenzie to the hospital for a CT scan and he’s wearing a huge purple shiner. He can be seen weeping in the back of the ambulance which is sure to draw yet another criticism from this haughty lightweight.

Here’s where we stand after Episode 3:

Team McGregor:

135 lbs.: Mando Gutierrez (No. 1)
135 lbs.: Trevor Wells (No. 2)
135 lbs.: Carlos Vera (No. 3)
135 lbs.: Rico DiSciullo (No. 4)

155 lbs.: Lee Hammond (No. 1)
155 lbs.: Nate Jennerman (No. 2)
155 lbs.: Aaron McKenzie (No. 3)
155 lbs.: Landon Quinones Stewart (No. 4)

Team Chandler:

135 lbs.: Hunter Azure (No. 1)
135 lbs.: Brad Katona (No. 2)
135 lbs.: Timur Valiev (No. 3)
135 lbs.: Cody Gibson (No. 4)

155 lbs.: Jason Knight (No. 1)
155 lbs.: Austin Hubbard (No. 2)
155 lbs.: Roosevelt Roberts (No. 3)
155 lbs.: Kurt Holobaugh (No. 4)

Coach Chandler and his team of UFC veterans are up three fights to zero.

Here are the remaining elimination fights:

135 lbs.: Trevor Wells (No. 2) vs. Timur Valiev (No. 3)
135 lbs.: Brad Katona (No. 2) vs. Carlos Vera (No. 3)
155 lbs.: Lee Hammond (No. 1) vs. Kurt Holobaugh (No. 4)
155 lbs.: Jason Knight (No. 1) vs. Landon Quinones Stewart (No. 4)
135 lbs.: Rico DiSciullo (No. 4) vs. Hunter Azure (No. 1)

See you in seven days for Trevor Wells vs. Timur Valiev and the rest of Episode 4!

For more on TUF 31 and other recent McGregor-related bits, click here.

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