‘TUF 23’ Recap: Episode 9

By: Mike Sloan
Jun 15, 2016
After highlights from last week’s episode and some brief footage of the two teams training, Cory Hendricks walks gingerly into the gym and he seems to be a little bit better after seeing the doctor for his neck and shoulder injury. He won’t do any contact training at all to be safe and instead is doing mostly kicks and cardio. He is discouraged but soldiering on as this is the chance of a lifetime. Dana White is worried about him, too, and is just waiting for the results of his MRI to come in, but needs to warn the other available fighters to be ready to fill in just in case Hendricks can’t continue.

In the next segment, Ashley Yoder is sitting around telling some of her housemates about how her brother was killed in a car wreck. She says that while she was driving on the highway, there was a motorcycle that was completely charred and there was a body with a sheet over it. Right then, she reveals, she knew in her gut that it was her brother who was under that sheet. She went to the hospital and found out for sure she details and, naturally, it’s a brutally-emotional time while she tells the story.

Yoder is now gearing up for her fight with Kate Jackson at the end of the show and she looks pretty fluid. Also, Joanna Jedrzejczyk is revealing everything she knows about her pupil’s foe, from her fight to get into the house and, most importantly, her own experiences in fighting her.

Next up, Jackson is training and she’s talking about the fight she had with Jedrzejczyk back in 2013, where she lost via TKO after two rounds in Professional League of MMA promotion. Whilst highlights of the Brit’s training plays, Coach Claudia Gadelha details how strong she is and that she needs to take this fight to the ground.

Finally, Dr. Jeffrey Davidson walks into the locker room to see Hendricks and has the results of the MRI. He is showing him the images on his smart phone and says there is not an actual herniated disc. He tells the local fighter to keep doing his physical therapy and within four days, they’ll have a better answer as to whether he can continue or not, so there is some hope.

White then tells the audience at home that the two coaches will be fighting each other on the show’s finale, which, of course, segues nicely into clips of the two stars in training mode. First up is the Brazilian running in the outskirts of Las Vegas and training at Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts. Gadelha briefly chronicles her struggles in her younger days and how hungry she is to be the best, also gnashing her teeth at how she feels she was robbed when she first fought Jedrzejczyk.

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The scene shifts to Jedrzejczyk taking a break from training and eating an enormous feast at Robert Drysdale’s house with her real-life team. From there, the focus is the Pole’s training, which takes place at Drysdale Jiu Jitsu on the other side of town from where her hated rival is. “Bitch, I’m going to cut your head. July 8. Be ready,” Joanna barks into the camera.

After both women weigh-in, the two are prepping in the morning and after several montages of their pre-fight warm-ups, it’s time to throw down.

In the opening round, the two exchange a few meager strikes briefly before Yoder misses a knee, is tied up and immediately taken to the ground. Yoder throws a series of up kicks from her back, landing one of them to Jackson’s face but since the Brit’s knees are down, the strike is illegal, though no point is deducted. Yoder fishes for a triangle and then a sweep, but the Jackson powers out of it and slams down a couple of hammerfists. Yoder sucks her back into her closed guard but once she opens it, she is forced to swallow some more punches. Yoder traps her foe’s left arm and then the right, looking for an armbar, but nothing comes from it because Jackson figure-fours her own arms to fend it off. The two women stay in this position for a few minutes, prompting “Big” John McCarthy to ask for some action. Jackson is bleeding from her nose after being popped by a punch from the bottom, but it’s nothing to worry about. The round ends with Jackson losing the armbar and eating a left hand. 10-9 Jackson

They trade punches as soon as the second frame begins, but Yoder backs away when a knee slams into her belly. They clinch again, allowing the U.K. fighter to land another pair of knees, but she misses a single-leg takedown. It’s back to the clinch, with Jackson shoving her opponent into the cage and eventually dragging her down, but Yoder quickly slips out and traps Kate’s left arm. Jackson stays heavy with three minutes left, creating another stalemate. Jackson isn’t looking to escape out of the potential threat; rather, she continues to press her weight into Yoder before McCarthy finally stands them up. Yoder is exhausted and takes a thudding low kick before Jackson again rushes in and drives her back into the fence. With 90 seconds left, they split up and reset in the center of the Octagon. Jackson looks winded, too, now but they continue to trade decent punches. Jackson pops her with a few jabs and low kicks, but none of them are serious. They clinch late, prompting Jackson to crack her with a partially-blocked knee to the head just before the round ends. 10-9 Jackson.

After two completed rounds, the fight is over and the victory goes to Jackson via unanimous decision with scores of 20-18 on all three judges’ cards.

After a few playfully mean words exchange between the coaches in the hallway, White reveals the semifinals bouts, which feature all but one of Gadelha’s fighters:

Andrew Sanchez vs. Eric Spicely
Amanda Cooper vs. Lanchana Green
Tatiana Suarez vs. Kate Jackson
Josh Stansbury vs. Cory Hendricks

Previews of next week’s episode show Hendricks in agony whilst training and it’s finally time for the coaches’ challenge, which looks like some sort of paintball battle.

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