TUF 23 REPORT 6/9: Penick’s (delayed) thoughts on episode eight of “Team Joanna vs. Team Claudia” season

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

We’re up to episode eight on this latest season of The Ultimate Fighter, and Team Joanna has just two chances left to get a fighter out of the quarterfinal round. On to the report! (Note: This week’s report is late due to DVR issues, and will be more truncated than usual).

-Dana White pushes the narrative of Claudia Gadelha’s team looking to make history by sweeping all of the fights, but another potential semifinal opening could come in the form of an injury to Cory Hendricks in training.

-First up though is Josh Stansbury, who was Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s first pick for the light heavyweight tournament, and takes on Gadelha’s Abdel Medjedoub, who was allowed to leave the house for a few days to settle something at home before returning to the competition.

-Hendricks’ shoulder injury is getting worse, and it could very well open up a spot for one of Jedrzejczyk’s light heavyweights. However, he believes it won’t stop him from fighting and instead will just hamper his performance. As Dana White puts it, fighters at this point in the competition don’t want to go to the doctor for fear they’ll be told they can’t fight. An acupuncturist comes to the house to get some blood flow to inflamed areas. They spend a lot of time this episode on the injury, and it’s not seeming like it’ll have a good outcome for him.

-Gadelha believes Medjedoub to have the style to stifle and take apart Stansbury’s game, and thinks he can beat Stansbury anywhere.

-Hendricks finally has to go to the doctor to get the shoulder injury checked out. He just looks miserable with the pain, which continues to get worse. The doctor wants to get an MRI to get a closer look at what the issue might be. Hendricks is hoping it’s not something which will keep him from competing, but they save that reveal for later.

-At weigh-ins Dana White talks about Stansbury, and says had he not blown his knee out on TUF 19 he’d probably already be in the UFC. Stansbury believes he’s the clear better fighter as well.


ROUND ONE: They traded strikes early, with Medjedoub getting in a nice overhand right. He then shot in and tried for a takedown, but got thrown down before coming up into a clinch. He held Stansbury at the cage, but Stansbury defended well and got in some offense of his own. Stansbury got in several knees to the body and broke out with a huge flurry of strikes. He then landed an accidental kick to the groin that stalled things out. Stansbury scored a huge step in knee to the jaw, then pulled off a throw, but Medjedoub popped up to his feet to clinch again. He failed dragging Stansbury to the ground, but scored on a couple strikes as they separated. Stansbury mistimed a knee and wound up clinched at the cage again. Not much happened there, and they wound up separating again. They threw some strikes late, with Stansbury getting in a solid spinning back fist before the horn. Stansbury’s round.

ROUND TWO: Jedrzejczyk wanted Stansbury to attack first, and he came out throwing a high kick. It was blocked, and Medjedoub backed him up with a rush. Stansbury worked well again with his back on the cage, getting in a few knees and punches and avoiding Medjedoub’s takedown attempts. He backed out and reset. Medjedoub connected on an overhand right. Stansbury stepped in with one of his own. Medjedoub got in a hard kick to the body and followed with a few strikes in combination to clinch up. Stansbury then turned him around and went for his own takedown. He lost it, but then immediately dropped Medjedoub with a head kick on the break. He tried to finish it on the ground, but Medjedoub managed to survive to get to his feet. Stansbury peppered him with a ton of strikes but Medjedoub refused to be put away. He survived in the clinch, and Stansbury missed a spinning back fist that put him on the cage. He separated again and looked to reset. Medjedoub still looked hurt but he was throwing strikes back. Stansbury landed a few punches, but he was slowed down a bit. Medjedoub pressed him back and went to the clinch. Stansbury briefly grabbed a headlock but lost it. He got in some knees to the body. They traded clinch strikes, with Stansbury scoring with a few knees while Medjedoub landed to the body. They continued to trade in that clinch spot through to the horn. Should also be Stansbury’s round for the win. With Herb Dean calling it with a decision in that’s almost assuredly going to be the case. Team Jedrzejczyk is going to avoid the sweep.

WINNER: Stansbury via majority decision

-Gadelha said Medjedoub’s clinch game was not their gameplan, and she was upset with him not following what they’d worked on.

-Jedrzejczyk looked so relieved they’d finally scored a win. It was just visible on her when the decision was announced and backstage.

-Medjedoub’s foot was injured after, and he said his head wasn’t where it needed to be. He said he tried to convince himself he was all there but it wasn’t the case. He said he hopes the UFC gives him a chance to show what he can really do. Gadelha said Medjedoub did everything wrong in that fight.

-Next week the quarterfinals in the women’s tournament wrap up as Ashley Yoder takes on Kate Jackson. What’s interesting there is Jackson is a former opponent of Jedrzejczyk’s, with Joanna Champion beating her up for ten minutes in 2013 until she couldn’t come out for a third round. We’ll be back to cover that next week!

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