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TUF 23: Episode 1 Recap

Jordan Killion

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Welcome to TUF season 23, a new incarnation of the long running UFC “Star Search” that pits fighters from smaller organizations against each other, in order to win a six figure UFC contract. This season will see the Light Heavyweights (205), and Women’s Straweights (115). Helmed by Women’s Straweight Queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk and #1 contender Claudia Gadelha. The two coaches will rematch for the Women’s Straweight during the live finale of the series. The first episode of the “most intense competition in MMA” sees 32 potential cast members fight to get into the house.

Episode Recap:

As the two women who will be coaching the teams this year enter the UFC Gym, we’re reminded how much they do not like each other. A plotline so consistent throughout the show’s life that you may call it’s performance “Mighty Mouse-esque, Joe”. UFC President Dana White joins the women to observe the initial fights to get into the house.

Fight Results:

Mellony Geugjes vs. Amanda CooperCooper wins via submission (Armbar) Rd.1

 

Eric Spicely vs. Kenneth BerghSpicely wins via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Rd.1

 

Ashley Cummins vs. Lanchana GreenGreen wins via TKO (Strikes) Rd.2

 

Khalil Rountree vs. Muhammad DereeseRountree wins via TKO (strikes) Rd.2

 

Alyssa Krahn vs. Jamie MoyleMoyle wins via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Rd.1

 

Myron Dennis vs. Jamelle JonesDennis wins via TKO (Strikes) Rd.1

 

Ashley Yoder vs. Jodie EsquibelYoder wins via Split Decision

 
Norman Parisay vs. Elias UrbinaUrbina wins via Unanimous Decision

 

JJ Aldrich vs. Kristi LopezAldrich wins via Unanimous Decision

 

Abdel Medjedoub vs. John Paul EliasMedjedoub wins via Unanimous Decision

 

Tatiana Suarez vs. Chel-C BaileySuarez wins via Unanimous Decision

 

Phillip Hawes vs. Andrew Sanchez Sanchez wins via Unanimous Decision

 

Irene Caballo Rivera vs. Kate Jackson Jackson wins via TKO (Strikes) Rd.2

 

Cory Hendricks vs. Marcel Fortuna Hendricks wins via Unanimous Decision

 

Amy Montenegro vs. Helen HarperHarper wins via Submission (Armbar) Rd.1

 

Josh Stansbury vs. Trevor CarlsonStansbury wins via Submission (Americana) Rd.1
After the conclusion of the fights, Dana, Joanna, and Claudia gather all the winners together to pick teams. Claudia wins the coin toss and is offered the choice of first pick, or first fight selection. She chooses the first pick. Dana explains that the choices cannot alternate gender. Therefore, if Claudia picks a female, Joanna’s pick must also be a female.

TEAM PICKS

   TEAM CLAUDIA                                                         TEAM JOANNNA 

1.Tatiana Suarez                                                          2.JJ Aldrich

      3.Andrew Sanchez                                                       4. Josh Stansbury

5.Kate Jackson                                                             6.Jamie Moyle

7.Eric Spicely                                                                8.Khalil Rountree

9.Amanda Cooper                                                      10.Ashley Yoder

11.Abdel Medjedoub                                                     12.Myron Dennis

13.Lachana Green                                                        14.Helen Harper

15.Cory Hendricks                                                       16. Elias Urbina

 

Since Claudia won the coin toss and selected the first fighter, Joanna now has the option of picking the first fight of the season. Her pick: Khalil Rountree vs. Cory Hendricks.

Based on elimination round performances, MMA Latest favorites going into the season are:

Men: Khalil Rountree – Eric Spicely (tie)
Women: Tatiana Suarez

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Stephen Thompson wants Rafael dos Anjos in contender eliminator bout

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Over the weekend, Rafael dos Anjos defeated Robbie Lawler at UFC Fight Night: Winnipeg, in dominant fashion via unanimous decision. The main event of the Canadian event was Dos Anjos’ third victory in as many fights at welterweight. The former UFC lightweight champion moved up in weight after suffering two consecutive losses. First, relinquishing his championship title to Eddie Alvarez, then falling to current interim lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson. Although the Brazilian had fought at the 155-pound weight limit exclusively in his career, his weight cut in order to reach the lightweight limit is admittedly brutal.

When talking with FloCombat, the top welterweight contender claimed, “It is not worth it [the weight cut] considering the amount I’m earning today. This was one of my motivations to change to welterweight. I don’t need to kill myself and earn this salary.” He further explained the agony of making the weight limit, “I want to avoid those last 15 pounds. That is terror and panic. It’s almost death. I don’t need to face that anymore. I want to fight well and happy, get in there strong and in good shape”.

Now that Dos Anjos has arrived at welterweight with such success, he believes he deserves a shot at Tyron Woodley and the 170-pound belt.

This is a sentiment that UFC president Dana White seems to agree with. At the Toronto press conference, White fielded a question on whether or not the winner of the Lawler vs. Dos Anjos match-up would yield a title contender, “Yup,” he responded. Later in the press event, White further clarified Dos Anjos’ position in the welterweight ranks, “(RDA) just had a great win to get himself back into contention and a win over Robbie Lawler obviously would do it”.

Yet, another top-ranked welterweight does not agree. Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson wants a third crack at welterweight gold, and he believes Dos Anjos is his ticket back to title contention.

What makes this challenge intriguing? The status of current welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley. Last week, Woodley announced on his TMZ show, The Hollywood Beatdown, he would be having surgery. The champion stated, “I’m going to go ahead and get this shoulder repaired. I’ve been saying, ‘You know what, I don’t want to get it cut on, I don’t want to get it repaired.’ But if there’s no fight that really makes a ton of sense for me to take the risk, to not be 100 percent with my shoulder, then I’m going to go ahead and have it repaired. They’re not going to do a full orthopedic rehabilitation, but they’re going to do a scope and they’re going to anchor down some sides. Then I’m going to get some PRP (platelet-rich plasma), some stem cells.” A timetable for his return is not readily available.

As the division stands, the truly deserving of the next welterweight title shot would be either Thompson or Dos Anjos. The recent credentials of both garner such status. Thompson most recently defeated rising contender, Jorge Masvidal at UFC 217. Before his early November victory over Masvidal, the undefeated kick-boxer challenged for the belt twice, consecutively. While he was unsuccessful in both attempts to earn the belt, each fight was extremely close. The first of which, scored a majority draw.

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Events

*Live Updates* UFC Winnipeg Official Results

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The UFC returns to Canada for the final Fight Night card of 2017. In the cold of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the UFC will host eleven of the originally twelve scheduled fights. Unfortunately, Tim Elliot will not fight in the north country. His scheduled opponent, Pietro Menga, a newcomer to the promotions roster, failed to make weight after taking the bout with just over a weeks notice.

An exciting main card will be capped off with a potential contender eliminator bout featuring, Robbie Lawler and Rafael Dos Anjos. The former champions (Lawler at welterweight, Dos Anjos at lightweight) both put together impressive win streaks which dispatched top contenders in their respective divisions. Elsewhere on the main card, Santiago Ponzinibbio takes on the outspoken Mike Perry.

The card begins on UFC Fight Pass at 4:30/1:30 ETPT.

UFC Winnipeg Official Results:

MAIN CARD – FOX – 8PM/5PM ETPT

  • #2 Robbie Lawler (28-11) vs. #4 Rafael Dos Anjos (27-9) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Rafael Dos Anjos def. Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
  • #3 Ricardo Lamas (18-5) vs. Josh Emmett (12-1) – Catchweight bout (148.5 lbs)
    • Result: Josh Emmett def. Ricardo Lamas via KO (punch) 4:33 round 1
  • #10 Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3) vs. Mike Perry (11-1) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Mike Perry via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • #3 Glover Teixeira (26-6) vs. #7 Misha Cirkunov (13-3) – Light Heavyweight bout
    • Result: Glover Teixeira def. Misha Cirkunov via TKO (punches) 2:45  round 1

PRELIMINARY CARD – FS1 – 5PM/2PM ETPT

  • #14 Jared Cannonier (10-2) vs #15 Jan Blachowicz (20-7) – Light Heavyweight bout
    • Result: Jan Blachowicz def. Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Julian Marquez (6-1) vs. Darren Stewart (7-2) – Middleweight bout
    • Result: Julian Marquez def. Darren Stewart via submission (standing guillotine) 2:42 round 2
  • Chad Laprise (13-2) vs. Galore Bofando (5-2) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Chad Laprise def. Galore Bofando via TKO (punches) 4:10 round 1
  • Nordine Taleb (13-4) vs Danny Roberts (14-2) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Nordine Taleb def. Danny Roberts via KO (head kick and punch) :59 round 1
  • John Makdessi (14-6) vs Abel Trujillo (15-7) – Lightweight bout
    • Result: John Makdessi def. Abel Trujillo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Alessio Di Chirico (10-2) vs Oluwale Bamgbose (6-3) – Middleweight bout
    • Result: Alessio Di Chirico def. Oluwale Bamgbose via KO (knee) 2:14 round 2

EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD – UFC FIGHT PASS – 4:30PM/1:30PM ETPT

  • Jordan Mein (29-12) vs. Erick Silva (19-8) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Jordan Mein def. Erick Silva via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)
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Fight Announcements

Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier Added to UFC Orlando

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The UFC has now added more bouts to the front end of their 2018 schedule. Gilbert Burns (13-2, 5-2 UFC) will face Olivier Aubin-Mercier (10-2, 6-2 UFC) in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.

Alongside a few other high-profile fight announcements, is the addition to the UFC Orlando, Florida card. The two lightweights will join Jake Collier and Marcin Prachnio, as the second fight set for the event.

It has been a while since the UFC hosted an event in the state of Florida. Last seen by the Floridians was UFC on Fox: Texeira vs. Evans, on April 16, 2016 in Tampa Bay. The card was a success, despite the cancellation of its planned main event between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Drawing a gate of $1.05 million and 2.13 million viewers.

Gilbert Burns signed with the UFC after accumulating an undefeated record of 8-0. His first loss came in his home country of Brazil, as Rashid Magomedov defeated him via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson 3, in November of 2015.

In his most recent bout, Burns defeated Jason Saggo by KO with five seconds remaining in the second round at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Branch.

Aubin-Mercier will come into the contest as a winner in his last three bouts. The Canadian fighter trains out of the Tristar gym, alongside legends such as Georges St. Pierre and head coach, Firas Zahabi.

In 2011, Aubin-Mercier was chosen to compete on The Ultimate Fighter: Nations. Competing in the welterweight bracket, he became a finalist by defeating both, Jake Mathews (unanimous decision) and Richard Walsh (rear naked choke). In the finale, Aubin-Mercier lost to Chad Laprise by split decision.

UFC Orlando will take place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.

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