TUF 23 REPORT 6/1: Penick’s thoughts on episode seven of “Team Joanna vs. Team Claudia” season

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Another Wednesday night means it’s time for another episode of The Ultimate Fighter on Fox Sports 1. Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s team has yet to score a victory thus far, and they’re hoping Jamie Moyle’s got it in her to get past fellow Invicta vet Amanda Cooper. On to the recap!

-Dana White thinks Jedrzejczyk’s trash-talking in light of a lack of wins is an attempt to play the mental game, but Jedrzejczyk believes Moyle to be the better fighter.

Moyle on Jedrzejczyk: “I’m really looking forward to making her happy.”

-Gadelha does not agree with Jedrzejczyk’s statement. Weird. She says she wants to run the table, something which – as White noted – has not been done on this show before.

-We get another guest coach with Team Joanna, as she brings in former UFC Bantamweight Champion T.J. Dillashaw for a session. Moyle said Dillashaw showed a lot of things that would work for her, and said he’s one of her favorite fighters to watch in the UFC. Team Joanna has confidence in her grappling ability, and think that’s where she’s going to win this fight. Moyle says she doesn’t know a ton about Cooper’s style and hasn’t seen many of her fights. That may not be the best way to go into a fight.

-We get more comments from White trying to lay out the possibility for fighters to come back into the competition as in year’s past, and urging those who have been beat to keep a positive attitude with the possibility, however slim, that they could get back in.

-It’s a hard day for Rountree, whose namesake father passed away when he was young. It would have been his father’s birthday – a former road manager for a number of well known acts – but the elder Rountree was murdered in a robbery when Khalil was just two years old.

-At Team Claudia’s training session, Gadelha said she believes Cooper needs simply some minor improvements on the ground and in her takedown defense to make this one her fight, but Cooper believes her ground game is quite on point already into the fight itself. She believes this team can sweep the fights to make history on the show.

-Cooper has a series of letters with her in the house from friends and family that she brought with her, some semblance of communication with the outside world that she says are motivating. We get some background on her as the daughter of a former boxer.

-The fighters get a night out in Vegas for a little leisure time. They get a party bus, with both coaches joining along in the festivities. They made it a point to highlight Ashley Yoder on the bus’ stripper pole. They went to see a show called “Absinthe,” which culminates in a couple of the guys doing a strip tease for Moyle. Harmless fun and entertainment.

-Cooper gets herself dressed up for weigh-ins, because she says it’s something she enjoys. Not often you see a fighter in a dress and heels for weigh-ins.

Cooper: “I always say I look like Jane but fight like Tarzan.”

-Cooper’s dressing down for the weigh-ins draws the expected juvenile reaction from a couple of the guys there. White talks up the attributes of both fighters into their showdown, and then it’s on to final fight day prep.


ROUND ONE: Jedrzejczyk was directing Moyle to keep her pressure on and to move from side to side from the outset. Cooper connected on some jabs at range. Moyle got in with a few strikes as she drove Cooper back to the cage. Moyle got the best of a few exchanges in a row. She shot in for a takedown but got stuffed at the cage. Cooper turned her around and landed a knee. She stuffed another shot attempt and got in another knee. Moyle continued to stay heavy on her in the clinch, but Cooper finally circled out and broke free with a couple strikes. Cooper landed a solid counter and held off a rush. Cooper came forward with a couple of solid strikes. Moyle landed a nice combination, but Cooper fired back well. Both landing at a comparable clip. Cooper landed a big right hand. Moyle briefly clinched and landed a knee. Cooper got in two hard strikes, but Moyle timed a counter takedown well and got her down. Cooper tried to attack off her back, but Moyle escaped and passed. Cooper tried to attack for a kimura from the bottom. She lost it, and Moyle tried to advance. Cooper nearly swept her, but Moyle recovered mid-attempt and adjusted to remain on top. Cooper tried to lock her down, but Moyle got free and landed several strikes through to the end of the round. Tough round to score, could go either way.

ROUND TWO: Cooper connected first with a couple of solid combinations. Jedrzejczyk was unhappy with Moyle being a bit passive and didn’t want her backing up. Moyle then pulled off a solid takedown, taking top position in half guard. She had plenty of time with which to work, and slowly tried to advance position while staying busy enough. Moyle stood as Cooper got her back to the cage, and avoided some upkicks. Cooper worked her way up, then grabbed for a single leg attempt of her own. She let it go and it was a clinch battle. Moyle went for a throw, but they wound up back on their feet. Cooper landed a big knee. She got in several hard punches and elbows in against the cage as the clinch battle continued. She backed off and landed a couple more. Moyle went for a shot, but Cooper reversed and got top position. Moyle was bleeding badly from around the left eye, and Cooper went to work as Moyle tried to regain guard. Cooper passed to side control. She went for mount, failed, but then smashed Moyle with several more elbows. Moyle started covering up as Cooper’s ground and pound attack was getting through. She covered up more and got it back to guard, but Cooper passed out and threw down more strikes. Cooper stood over her and dropped down with a couple strikes. She continued the attack to the horn. Definitely Cooper’s round, but could bring a third round.

-No third round, and Jedrzejczyk thinks the judges were going to be giving it to Moyle. That doesn’t seem like the case given how that second round played out. Both coaches believed there were things their fighter could have done better in the fight. Dana White believed a third round was warranted with a Moyle first round and a second to Cooper.

WINNER: Cooper by majority decision

-One judge wanted to see a third, and there was a case for Moyle in the first, but it wasn’t so decisive that Cooper getting the first round is indefensible. That doesn’t stop Jedrzejczyk from being completely pissed off, asking a “f***ing idiot” judge how they could do that to Moyle. Moyle says she doesn’t feel like she got robbed.

Moyle: “If I really wanted the fight I should have finished it.”

-Gadelha’s team is now up 6-0, and the final matchups are now set regardless given there are only four fighters left. Jedrzejczyk said again that Cooper didn’t win, interrupting Gadelha before she could announce the Abdel Medjedoub vs. Josh Stansbury fight for next week. They continue to play up the sweep narrative into next week’s bout, which has an added layer of intrigue with Stansbury having appeared on the show before, breaking his leg during TUF 19 to take him out of the competition before he really began.

-That’s all coming next week! Thanks for joining us here tonight, we’ll be back next Wednesday for episode eight on this 23rd season!

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