TUF 23 REPORT 5/11: Penick’s thoughts on episode four of “Team Joanna vs. Team Claudia” season

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Tonight’s fourth episode of The Ultimate Fighter 23 brings a fight between Andrew Sanchez and Myron Dennis, as Claudia Gadelha’s team looks to go 3-0 on the season. On to the latest episode run down for TUF 23.

-We open with Dana White talking about Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s competitive streak and the power her fighter, Myron Dennis, showed in the opening round. At the training session for Jedrzejczyk’s next training session, she went hard against the fighters, not accepting any lesser effort.

Jedrzejczyk: “They are training like little girls in primary school, you know? They train like pussies, I must say this. That’s why I did sparring with them today. I just showed them how hard they must train. I must be honest with them. There is no more ‘nice Joanna.’ If they don’t want to work for me I’m going to be hard for them.”

-She gave the team a further scolding in the locker room after training, telling them of the effort they don’t understand that got her to where she’s at.

Jedrzejczyk: “They broke my heart, they broke my fighting soul. The act like weak people, you know.”

Helen Harper: “I think everyone trains like a pussy compared to Joanna, so it’s just kind of funny.”

-Khalil Rountree doesn’t think that’s how they train, and thinks they hold each other accountable and put in the effort. His execution in a first round loss doesn’t really support that.

-They do a group chant back at the house, which Sanchez takes as them trying to get in his head, instead turning it around as motivation. Gadelha and her team then show up to the house to put together a barbecue for the fighters. Definitely a contrast in the positivity displayed by Gadelha and the fire coming from Jedrzejczyk at this point.

-Sanchez, perhaps the smallest fighter in the light heavyweight tournament field, trains and gives his backstory. Nothing new to the show here. Sanchez believes Myron has a hole in his ground game, and thinks that’s where he’s going to take full advantage in this matchup.

-Rountree put on the referee jersey used in the donut-eating contest to bust into the gym to call an end to Gadelha’s team’s training session. Jedrzejczyk was unhappy with Gadelha’s team slowly making their way out, and she threw a pad off the mat that happened to hit one of Gadelha’s coaches, causing Gadelha to get upset. Now they’re turning this into a petty pissing contest.

Gadelha: “I think that Joanna is not confident in Myron, that’s why she’s doing that stupid stuff.”

-Dana chimes in saying he’s not sure what Jedrzejczyk is going to do if Gadelha continues to put off a complete lack of respect.

-Now it’s time for Myron Dennis, who talks about what he needs to do against Sanchez while they intercut with training material. Jedrzejczyk thinks highly of him into this fight, and thinks they’ll have him ready for the fight, and hopes they’ll get their first win of the season in this matchup.

-Sanchez refers to himself as a “lazy” and “ordinary” guy. He plays some ukulele. He and Amanda Cooper seem to be the other “showmance” (feel free to hate me for using that term, can’t be more than I hate myself for that being the word that popped to my head) after Rountree and Harper, though Cooper’s apparently got a boyfriend at home. I hate this show. Dennis, meanwhile, got married just before the show and has a baby on the way. Sanchez helps him with a minor tribute to Dennis’ current wife. We find out he’s got a few kids from a previous marriage as well.

-After weigh-ins, Dana calls it the “classic striker versus grappler matchup.”

-It’s that time of the season where they have to entertain themselves in the house, so bring out the water balloons. Because that wasn’t anything more than a time filler, right?

-Back to pre-fight comments, Dennis – who calls himself “Light-Skinned Dynamite” – believes he’s going to prove Gadelha’s team wrong if they think he’s easy pickings here. He says he wants to win the fight both for himself and his team.


ROUND ONE: Sanchez immediately shot in for a takedown. Dennis initially stuffed it, but got picked up and dropped at the cage, with Sanchez taking side control. Dennis managed to get to butterfly guard, and tried to kick Sanchez off, but nearly gave up his back in a scramble. He turned back into Sanchez and defended from half guard. Sanchez postured up with some strikes, losing position to Dennis’ guard in the process. He continued to land strikes, and held position after Dennis nearly kicked him off to pop up. Dennis wasn’t fast enough there. Sanchez held position in guard with some strikes. Dennis again tried to kick off and scramble, but Sanchez stayed heavy on him and got back to half guard. Sanchez landed a nice series of elbows with two minutes left in the round. Dennis finally managed to scramble up to his feet with just over a minute and a half left. Sanchez held him in the clinch on the cage and tried for a trip. He eventually secured it and planted Dennis on the ground with over a minute left. Dennis threw some minor strikes off his back. Sanchez ended the round with more top control and Jedrzjeczyk was shown just shaking her head. Easily Sanchez’s round.

ROUND TWO: Sanchez shot in early, driving Dennis to the cage. Dennis managed to hold off the attempt to circle out. Jedrzejczyk implored Dennis to fight. He landed a few strikes and tried to smile down Sanchez. He wasn’t throwing much, leading to more calls from Jedrzejczyk for him to do something. Sanchez shot in for a single leg, tripped Dennis up, and took him down. Dennis failed to scramble out, and Jedrzejczyk began to show some dejection. Dennis eventually regained guard, but remained planted on his back. He finally kicked Sanchez to his feet and threw some up kicks, but Sanchez dropped back down into his guard again. Dennis finally got out to his feet with just over a minute left. Sanchez shot back in for a single leg at the cage. It was initially held off, but Dennis got taken right back down. Sanchez with more offensive work from the top, and he rode the round out in Dennis’ guard. Gadelha’s team moving to 3-0.

WINNER: Sanchez via unanimous decision

-We get the coaches and White recapping the fight, but there wasn’t much to recap. Dominant top game from Sanchez, but that didn’t make it any good. Worst fight of the season so far, at least from what we’ve seen given some truncated bouts in the elimination round.

-Team Joanna is in a bad spot after that loss, and all of the fighters are looking a bit defeated to this point. At the fight pick, Gadelha picks Lanchana Green to face Helen Harper. Time for Harper to show up or be a reality show footnote. That’s next week; thanks for tuning in tonight, we’ll be back next Wednesday with that recap!

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