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TUF 23 – Episode 8 thoughts

Team Joanna is in danger of being swept on TUF 23. They are down 0-6 with two fights left. Team Joanna’s Josh Stansbury takes on Team Claudia’s Abdel Medjedoub. Can they break through?

Joanna says they will focus on speed and the takedown for the fight. “Make it real,” she says.

Stansbury thinks Abdel will be emotional, which he intends to capitalize on by weathering the storm and then picking him part afterwards. He’s glad Abdel was able to straighten things out with his family, but it’s time to take care of business. He has to provide for his family too. “I’m not only fighting for myself, I’m fighting for them.”

Hendricks has some problems. His neck, back, shoulders, arms and elbows are paining him.  He’s seen stretched out on the floor several times. He tries acupuncture. The team is obviously concerned, including Team Joanna’s Khalil Roundtree, who is an Alliance MMA teammate of Hendricks.

Abdel still has his wife on his mind. He puts pictures of her on his bedroom wall. His background is boxing, so it seems likely he will want to keep the fight with Stansbury standing. He talks strategy with Claudia, who agrees he needs to stand.

Hendricks finally sees the doctor. C6 or C7 vertebrae pain is what the doctor thinks. An MRI is performed.

Abdel reveals his idol is Georges St-Pierre, who he watched fight BJ Penn around 1996. He went to Tristar to train and learn from his idol.

Stansbury is Team Joanna’s last light-heavyweight fighter, so if he loses, Team Claudia is guaranteed a win there. No pressure, Josh.

Stansbury weighs in 204 lbs, while Abdel comes in at 204.5 lbs.

Stansbury has  a 2-inch height and a 1-inch reach advantage.



Abdel comes out swinging. Shot by Stansbury stuffed, but he pins Abdel against the cage, reversed by Abdel. Abdel clinches with knees, Stansbury returns. They try to throw each other down, but no one budges. 3:40 left. Then Stansbury lands a flurry, Abdel complains to the ref Herb Dean illegal blow.Dean stops the fight, says he didn’t see anything. The fight continues. Stansbury with a big knee, and they both scramble on the ground. Back up, Abdel clinches against the cage. Stansbury lands another knee, Abdel tries to return  a right hand. Stansbury misses a knee, and Abdel uses it to clinch against the cage.  2:00 left. Ref warns Abdel to work. Stansbury defending well and goes for a standing  guillotine, stuffed.  He uses Travis Browne elbows. Claudia barks Abdel doesn’t need to take Josh down. Ref warns Abdel again to work. Ref breaks it up. 30 seconds left. They both swing and land. Stansbury lands a spinning backfist as the horn goes.

I thought Stansbury landed more shots and narrowly took the round.


Joanna orders Stansbury to be first. Abdel clinches against the cage. Josh with knees. A break, Josh takes the centre. Abdel lands a right hand that backs up Stansbury. Abdel is the one coming forward. He swings and gets the clinch against the cage again, reversed byJosh.  He goes for the takedown, misses it, but lands a left headkick to the head that drops Abdel. He goes in and swarms.  Abdel gets back up, but Stansbury lands a bevy of strikes first. Josh clinches Abdel against the cage. 2:10 left. Abdel reverses, but he needs something big here. Abdel lands a right hand, and Stansbury’s strikes are wild. He lands another right hand, but Josh lands some kicks. Abdel connecting more, but the shots don’t have as much juice on them. Abdel clinches against the cage.  30 seconds left. Ref warns Abdel to work. Josh lands a knee and Abdel lands a combo as the horn goes.  They end up exchanging in the clinch as the horn goes.

I thought Josh won that round too. Abdel came back, but needed more.


Team Claudia says Abel didn’t stick to the game plan, which Abdel admits afterwards. “I think I defeat only myself.” He was still thinking about his wife. Team Joanna is elated, having broken through with their first win.

TUF 23
Courtesy UFC/Zuffa LLC.

Team Joanna wins their first fight and get to pick the next matchup. Joanna picks Ashley Yoder to take on Kate Jackson, whom we haven’t seen much of on the show.


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

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