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‘Fight of the Season’ — TUF 31 results video, full Ep. 11 recap | McGregor vs. Chandler

Kurt Holobaugh vs. Jason Knight, motherf—kers, because brain cells are for p*ssies.

Season 31 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) was back on the air earlier tonight (Tues., Aug. 8, 2023) on ESPN for Ep. 11 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) following each episode, or you can save yourself an hour and just read our complete recap below.

Missed last week’s episode? No problem! Get full results and recap videos right here.

We kick things off at the TUF house and Jason Knight expects a bloodbath in his semifinal fight against Kurt Holobaugh, because they’re both veterans and both have an inordinate amount of scar tissue. “The Kid” predicts they’ll “beat the piss out of each other” while Holobaugh anticipates a Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar-type battle. The over/under for total punches thrown is +/- 500. Knight says he doesn’t want to crush Holobaugh’s dreams and instead wants to help his buddy achieve those dreams. Losing would certainly go a long way in accomplishing that goal. Since both combatants trained under Coach Chandler, “Iron” and his assistant coaches will remain neutral for this bout. Holobaugh doesn’t want to get “suckered into a firefight” and promotes himself as a more technical brawler.

Before that fight gets underway, it’s time for the coaches challenge and the cast is stupefied because it’s being contested indoors (and at night) inside the APEX facility. Turns out Chandler and McGregor will be playing cold plunge trivia. That means Michael and Conor have to sit in a bath of 39-degree water while answering UFC trivia for three rounds. Winning coach earns $10,000 and winning team banks $1500 apiece. Bruce Buffer is there to emcee the challenge and one of the scantily-clad Octagon girls is posted up to keep Dana White company. Chandler admits he sucks at trivia and can’t retain any tidbits or facts. Getting punched in the head for a living will do that to you Mr. Chandler. Coach Connie says he’s well read on UFC history because he is UFC history. Let’s see if the scores back him up.

McGregor wins after three rounds by a score of 16-14.

Knight and Holobaugh make weight without incident (but with prayer). They get a chance to call home and talk to their families before the bout and if you have kids it may be hard to get through that segment without a lump in your throat (guilty).

Let’s fight!

155 lbs.: Jason Knight (23-7) vs. Kurt Holobaugh (19-7, 1 NC)

Round 1: Quick touch of gloves and Holobaugh presses forward punching to the body. Knight fires back to the head. They trade leg kicks. Holobaugh creams Knight and he stumbles into the cage. Holobaugh follows up with a clinch, then knees. Knight hits the canvas but gets back up. They are throwing bombs against the fence and eating every blow. Knight with a leg kick. Holobaugh circles out. Coach McGregor tries to shout instructions but can’t remember anyone’s name so he just stops talking. Body kick by Holobaugh. Knight busy with the jab. Holobaugh blasts him and then clinches. Knight slips and lands on his keister but jumps back up. Holobaugh controlling the pace but Knight not giving him much space to work thanks to furious counterpunching. Knight busier with the kicks, Holobaugh more accurate with the punches. They tie up against the cage and jockey for position. It doesn’t last. Back to the bomb dropping until the round ends. This was basically just five minutes of them whaling on each other but it appeared to be Holobaugh with the cleaner, more accurate blows. 10-9 Holobaugh.

Round 2: They pick up right where they left off in round one. Holobaugh starting to find his range. Knight getting lit up on the feet. Body kick by Knight is blocked. Holobaugh walks him down and Knight has his back to the fence. That seems to be the recurring theme here. Knight tries to kick his way out. I guess takedowns are outlawed for this fight. Nice Thai plum by Holobaugh followed by a series of head shots. Knight powers out with punches. Holobaugh creams him and Knight goes in reverse. Holobaugh pours it on. Knight lets out an audible groan. Referee warns him to fight back. Holobaugh send him to the floor with a barrage of blows. Knight turtles and eats elbows until it’s stopped. Violent fight. The kind that shortens careers.

Result: Holobaugh def. Knight by technical knockout

Here’s where we stand after Ep. 11:

TUF 31 Semifinals:

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

135 lbs.: Brad Katona (No. 2) vs. Timur Valiev (No. 3)
135 lbs.: Rico DiSciullo (No. 4) vs. Cody Gibson (No. 4)

TUF 31 Finals:

155 lbs.: Austin Hubbard (No. 2) vs. Kurt Holobaugh (No. 4)
135 lbs.: Brad Katona (No. 2) vs. TBA

After the fight, Holobaugh calls his victory a “dream come true.” That performance puts him against Austin Hubbard in the live finale later this year. The doctor orders Knight to be sent for a CT scan to check for facial fractures. “The Kid” gets carried away in the ambulance but insists he’s not upset because his friend gets to enjoy success.

Stay tuned next week for the farewell dinners from both coaches as well as the remaining bantamweight semifinal between Rico DiSciullo and Cody Gibson. Who will move on to the live finale to fight Brad Katona for a shot at the glass trophy?

Find out in seven days!

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