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TUF 23: Episode 1 thoughts

It’s TUF 23 and the extended first episode is all about the fighters trying to get into the house. We see limited moments of the coaches Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha. Their reactions to the fights are cordial and they basically ignore each other and interact with Dana White only.

Amanda Cooper def. Mellon Geugjes via submission R1

Cooper starts off good with some strikes, but after falling down attempting a body kick, Geugjes tries to take advantage by getting top position. Cooper gets the wrist and ultimately flips her over to get the tap.

Eric Spicely def. Kenneth Bergh via submission R1

A quick fight with Spicely quickly taking the fight to the ground and getting the rear-naked choke.

Lanchana Green def. Ashley Cummins via TKO R1

Cummins dominated the first round, using her wrestling to take Green to the ground and working a rear-naked choke. I agreed with Dana that the first round was a possible 10-8 round. Then Green comes right back and beats Cummins up against the cage with a violent succession of knees that forces the referee to stop it. It was an excellent comeback by Green to take the fight by TKO.

Khalil Rountree def. Muhammad Derees via TKO R2

Roundtree escapes from a rear naked choke and defends the takedown for most of the round. Muhammad took the back was unable to advance the position for the choke. But Muhammad probably won the round.

The second round is slower and more cautious Roundtree had to figure he was down, as he went after Muhammad and broke him down with a headlock and soccer kicks to the body.

Jamie Moyle def. Alyssa Krahn via submission R1

Jaime Moyle tapped out Krahn in the first round with a rear-naked choke. Moyle fought in Invicta FC so she had an experience advantage over Krahn.

Myron Dennis def Jamelle Jones  (TKO) R1

Jones lands some leg kicks and gets a couple of takedowns, but then Dennis starts to cook. He lands a shot and stuffs a takedown and starts to work the body of Jones. He puts together a flurry against the cage that stuns Jones and the ref stops it. Dana thought it was an early stoppage, but it’s clear the the cobwebs in Jones brain were rattled.

Ashley Yoder def. Jodie Esquivel by split-decision

We see Keith Jardine – Esquibel’s fiancee – make an appearance before the fight. I thought Yoder won the first round, coming out guns blazing and controlling the fight on the round looking for the rear-naked choke. In the second round, Esquibel charged in and landed more, while Yoder tired. I thought the fight like Dana needed to go to the third round. Give Esquivel credit for admitting she should have not left it to the judges. I have a feeling we’ll see more of her later in the series. Both fighters were in tears after the fight. Can you blame them?

Elias Urbina IV def. Norman Paraisy via unanimous decision

We only see clips of this fight. This was Norman’s chance to redeem himself from quitting from the stool in his last TUF 11 tryout but gassed out in the third round.

JJ Aldrich vs Christi Lopez via unanimous decision

Again, only clips of this one. Aldrich essentially controls the fight to get the decision. Lopez is known as “The Soccer Mom” who was knocked out by Ilima-Lei MacFarlane.

Abdel Medjedjoub vs John Paul Elias via unanimous decision

In the clips we see, Abdel uses his wrestling to control Elias for the most part. Elias has his girlfriend, Miss Playboy October Carly Lauren to console himself with. Not the worst of situations.

Tatiana Suarez def. Chel-C Bailey via unanimous decision

Miesha Tate and Bryan Caraway big up their friend Chel-C before the fight and attend, but Suarez and her wrestling aggressiveness is too much. Bailey starts off quick, but then Suarez takes control. She takes Bailey down and mounts her, but cannot get the finish. Tate was measured in her comments of Bailey after the fight. “I think Chel-C did really great in the first round and she has a hell of a will. I think she did a good job,” she said.

Andrew Sanchez def. Phillip Hawes by unanimous decision

Only clips here. Sanchez landed strikes and stuffed takedowns en route to a unanimous decision. As Gadelha said, Hawes may be the better athlete, but Sanchez was the better fighter.

Kate Jackson def. Irene Cabello Rivera via TKO R2 

Only clips again. After a competitive first round, Jackson takes over in the second, which ends with Jackson in the mount reigning down strikes on Rivera.

Cory Hendricks def. Marcel Fortuna via sudden victory

More clips. Both fighters take a round, but in the third round, both guys went for it, despite being tired. Hendricks got the duke. Jedrzejczyk commented on the leg kicks Hendricks used.

Helen Harper def. Amy Montenegro via submission R1

Montenegro fought in Invicta so you would think she had the advantage.  But she got caught in a nice armbar by Harper. Pretty quick fight too.

Josh Stansbury def. Trevor Carlson via submission R1

Stansbury previously competed on Season 19 of TUF but a knee injury forced him off. A nice moment in the fight is when both fighters collide trying to execute a fight and Stansbury uses it to control Carlson and get the Americana submission.

It’s time for the team selection: Gadelha wins the coin toss and chooses the first fighter.

Team Gadelha:

Tatiana Suarez

Andrew Sanchez

Kate Jackson

Eric Spicely

Amanda Cooper

Abdel Medjedjoub

Lanchana Green

Cory Hendricks

Team Jederzejczyk:

JJ Aldrich

Josh Stansbury

Jamie Moyle

Khalil Rountree

Ashley Yoder

Myron Dennis

Helen Harper

Elias Urbina IV

Jedrzejczyk chooses the first fight:

Khalil Rountree vs Cory Hendricks who both train with each other at Syndicate MMA.

Good first episode.


Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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