This season, both the women’s strawweight division and the men’s light heavyweight division will be competing. At the end of the season if both Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha, they’ll be fighting on the TUF 23 Finale LIVE with Joanna Champion defending her strawweight title. First up though are the qualifying fights for the teams on TUF 23. Let’s do this!
115 pounds: Mellony Geugjes (0-1) vs. Amanda Cooper (1-1)
Geugjes is in the red trunks and Cooper the black. Geugjes claimed in her pre-fight interview that she got into MMA because people refused to fight her any more in kickboxing. Cooper certainly didn’t refuse. Geugjes jumps into her guard after tripping her 23 seconds in and it was a big mistake – Cooper quickly trapped an arm and rolled and tapped Geugjes at the one minute mark.
GEUGJES ADVANCES TO THE HOUSE VIA SUBMISSION.
205 pounds: Eric Spicely (8-0) vs. Kenneth Bergh (3-0)
Spicely is in the red trunks and Bergh the black. Other than his face there doesn’t seem to be an inch of Bergh’s body from the knees up that isn’t tattooed. Spicely quickly double legs him to the ground and takes his back – tapping Bergh out to a rear naked choke in 33 seconds.
SPICELY ADVANCES TO THE HOUSE VIA SUBMISSION.
115 pounds: Ashley Cummins (3-3) vs. Lanchana Green (2-1)
Cummins is in the red and is an Invicta veteran. Green is in the black and runs her own gym with her boyfriend in England. Cummins secures a takedown to side control and Green tries and fails to back her off, eating elbows to the face as they spin. Green tries to grab a leg and sweep but ends up eating left hands to the head. Cummins takes the back with hooks in at2:47 then winds up on top again in half guard. Green keeps surviving but she’s eating lots of rights and elbows. Cummins gets a full mount at 4:18 then takes the back again. Green survives the RNC because the horn saves her.
Green survives two takedown attempts and suddenly Cummins starts getting creamed with knees when she doesn’t break away cleanly from the fence. The ref warns her multiple times to fight back and finally steps in to save Cummins. It’s pretty much the story of Cummins career in a fight that doesn’t even officially count on her record. She always looks good until she makes a mistake – and then “Smashley” gets smashed.
GREEN ADVANCES TO THE HOUSE VIA TKO.
205 pounds: Khalil Rountree (4-0) vs. Muhammed Dereese (5-0)
Rountree has white trunks and Dereese is in the black. Dereese credits his Islamic background for why he’s a fighter instead of in jail. Rountree says MMA is what gave him direction and got him in shape. Dereese gets a takedown 12 seconds in and Rountree gets a warning for shots to the back of the head. Dereese hits a leg trip, takes the back, gets the back and Rountree escapes the submission. Dereese goes for the takedown again and Rountree is lighting him up. Wild action in round one.
Rountree lands a nasty head kick and pours it on with kicks to the body on the ground until the referee steps in and saves Dereese.
ROUNTREE ADVANCES TO THE HOUSE VIA TKO.
115 pounds: Alyssa Krahn (3-1) vs. Jamie Moyle (3-1)
Moyle is the second straight Team Syndicate fighter competing on the show (Rountree was the first). Krahn wants to represent women’s MMA in Canada. Krahn is in the red trunks, Moyle the black. Krahn outwrestles her early on but gives up her back late and gets taped out to a rear naked choke at 4:10.
MOYLE ADVANCES TO THE HOUSE VIA SUBMISSION.
205 pounds: Myron Dennis (12-4) vs. Jamelle Jones (6-2)
Dennis is in the red trunks and Jones the black. Dennis says he’s light-skinned dynamite. Jones says he was a three time collegiate All-American. Dennis lights Jones up standing until the ref stepped in to save him – which was the right call since Jones seemed uncertain where he was. Dennis tells Dana White to get his checkbook out because he’s not a cheap date!
DENNIS ADVANCES TO THE HOUSE VIA TKO.
115 pounds: Ashley Yoder (4-1) vs. Jodie Esquibel (5-1)
Yoder is a Team Quest fighter with Dan Henderson who discovered fighting after her brother passed away in an accident. Esquibel has been friends with Holly Holm for 16 years and her fiancee is former UFC star Keith Jardine – she’s also another Invicta FC veteran. Yoder is in the red trunks and Esquibel the black. Esquibel is landing big kicks and right hands and you can see her striking skill, but Yoder is getting advice from Hendo who tells her to get a single leg – and she does. She’s unable to get the RNC before the horn. After an action packed second round Dana White believes it’s going to a third, but “Big” John McCarthy says it’s over.
YODER ADVANCES VIA SPLIT DECISION – DANA AND THE COACHES ARE APPALLED.
205 pounds: Norman Paraisy (13-4-2) vs. Elias Urbina IV (3-0)
Paraisy was a competitor on season 11 of TUF who quit between rounds of his fight with James Hammortree. He says that mistake made him a better man and now he’s back to prove he can do better. He’s in the white trunks. His brother Hector is in UFC with a record of 17-9-1 (1-1 in two UFC bouts). This fight is cut down to highlights. Dana scores the first round for Paraisy, says the second round both guys were gassed, but Urbina did enough to get it to the third – and ultimately to the judges.
URBINA ADVANCES TO THE HOUSE VIA DECISION.
115 pounds: JJ Aldrich (2-1) vs. Kristi Lopez (2-0)
This is cut down to highlights of Aldrich (who is a training partner of Rose Namajunas) beating the snot out of Lopez over the course of two rounds.
ALDRICH ADVANCES TO THE HOUSE VIA DECISION.
205 pounds: Abdel Medjedoub (3-0) vs. John Paul Elias (3-0)
Elias’ wife is Carly Lauren – Miss October 2013 in Playboy. This one is also cut down to highlights. Dana White says Medjedoub took Elias down and smothered him for the entire fight. The judges agree.
MEDJEDOUB ADVANCES TO THE HOUSE VIA DECISION.
115 pounds: Tatiana Suarez (3-0) vs. Chel-C Bailey (2-0)
Suarez is a cancer survivor. She’s in the red trunks. Bailey is friends with Bryan Caraway and Miesha Tate, who are there to offer her advice and support for the fight. Bailey has black trunks. Grappling is the story of round one, allowing Suarez to control position and attack effectively. Even Tate seems pretty clear Bailey didn’t win the first round. Suarez is relentless with the takedowns in R2, and she’s got a full mount with some nasty strikes in the last ten seconds. The winner seems clear.
SUAREZ ADVANCES TO THE HOUSE VIA DECISION.
205 pounds: Phillip Hawes (3-0) vs. Andrew Sanchez (7-2)
Hawes is a training partner for Jon Jones. Sanchez was a four time All-American and apparently can play ukelele judging by the pre-fight clip. Even though the hype was on Hawes, Sanchez was able to outwork him over two rounds.
SANCHEZ ADVANCES TO THE HOUSE VIA DECISION.
115 pounds: Irene Cabello Rivera (6-2) vs. Kate Jackson (7-2-1)
JACKSON ADVANCES TO THE HOUSE VIA TKO.
206 pounds: Cory Hendricks (3-0) vs. Marcel Fortuna (8-1)
Hendricks is a WSOF veteran in the red trunks. Fortuna is the only Brazilian among the men and he’s in the black trunks. Hendricks stuffed almost all of the takedowns in the first round and landed a lot of hard leg kicks. The judges decide Fortuna did enough with takedowns in the second round for there to be a third.
HENDRICKS ADVANCES VIA DECISION – THEY DON’T SAY IF IT WAS SPLIT OR NOT.
115 pounds: Amy Montenegro (7-2) vs. Helen Harper (4-1)
Montenegro is in the red trunks and Harper the black. Harper says she learned martial arts as a survivor of domestic abuse. She goes for Montenegro’s back and trips her to the ground. Montenegro gets back to her feet and delivers a nice elbow to the face, then goes for a single leg of her own. She loses it and Harper gets the back with both hooks in. She goes hard for a sub, Montenegro gets on top and tries to power bomb her way out of it but is ultimately forced to tap.
HARPER ADVANCES TO THE HOUSE VIA SUBMISSION.
205 pounds: Josh Stansbury (7-2) vs. Trever Carlson (10-2)
Stansbury has been here once before but lost a TUF 19 elimination fight when he broke his leg. He’s in the red trunks. Carlson is in the black and works in a gold mine. Stansbury ends up on top pounding the heck out of Carlson 40 seconds into the fight, Carlson tries to roll to save himself as Herb Dean warns him about shots to the back of the head, Stansbury moves to side control and traps the head, but Carlson keesps on surviving. Eventually though he sinks in the americana and Carlson taps.
STANSBURY ADVANCES TO THE HOUSE VIA SUBMISSION.
Team Selections with Gadelha going first:
* Gadelha picks Tatiana Suarez.
* Jedrzejczyk picks JJ Aldrich.
* Gadelha picks Andrew Sanchez.
* Jedrzejczyk picks Joshua Stansbury.
* Galdeha picks Kate Jackson.
* Jedrzejczyk picks Jamie Moyle.
* Gadelha picks Eric Spicely.
* Jedrzejczyk picks Khalil Rountree.
* Gadelha picks Amanda Cooper.
* Jedrzejczyk picks Ashley Yoder.
* Gadelha picks Abdel Medjedoub
* Jedrzejczyk picks Myron Dennis.
* Gadelha picks Lanchana Green.
* Jedrzejczyk picks Helen Harper.
* Gadelha picks Cory Hendricks.
* Jedrzejczyk picks Elias Urbina IV.
First fight: Jedrzejczyk picks Rountree vs. Hendricks. Hendricks has a foot injury though and may not be able to compete. Interesting that the two Syndicate MMA guys have to face each other right off the bat next week.