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TUF 23 recap: Team Double J tries to avoid a "Green" day

TUF 23

This season both the women's strawweight division and the men's light heavyweight division will be competing. At the end of the season Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha fight on the TUF 23 Finale with Joanna Champion defending her strawweight title. Last week, Gadelha's team won again and took a 3-0 lead. She picked Lanchana Green (Gadelha) vs. Helen Harper (Jedrzejczyk) for this week's bout.


Green opens up the show talking about her roots in England, how getting beat up as a girl inspired her to be a fighter, and how nobody's beaten her up ever since. "We've been working on takedown defense. I'm not giving Helen a chance to even get close to me." Dana White says she's the single best striker on Claudia's team.

Jedrzejczyk brings in Carla Esparza to talk to her fighters and hopefully give the team some inspiration. She takes Helen Harper and the rest of the fighters through catching kicks and throwing opponents to the mat. Jedrzejczyk says Harper is a "little tornado" and will show everybody how tough she is. Harper: "I'm kind of a rhino. I have the refuse to lose attitude. I want it more."

Harper talks about how being in an abusive relationship made her want to learn self-defense even though she was in denial and still tried to stay with her tormentor. "It was just a bully, a nasty person, trying to get into my life and ruin it day by day."

Abdel Medjedoub called the house and even though fighters are supposed to be isolated and not take outside calls, she tells the producers it was an emergency and gets them to take it. They try to tell her if they take the call it's being recorded and she starts cussing them out. Then she threatens to divorce Medjedoub if he doesn't leave the show and come back to Montreal immediately. It sounds like he's going to quit.

* Lanchana Green (Team Gadelha) vs. Helen Harper (Team Jedrzejczyk)

Green is in the black trunks, Harper is in the red. You can hear Jedrzejczyk barking out to Harper not to wait and to be aggressive. The ref warns them to watch their fingers. Harper closes the distance but eats some hooks and knees in the process. Harper nearly has a takedown at 1:30 but Green keeps her balance. They break at 1:59. Harper charges at her and gets her on the fence again at 2:15. Green's height and strength are making the takedowns difficult and she's punishing Harper with big knees to the body. Harper tries so hard to get a takedown she actually lets Green on top pounding her in the face. She's only had one strategy all round and it doesn't work.

Green is winning the striking war for the first minute of R2, but Harper gets her on the fence again and digs hard for a single leg. She can't get it. Green is teeing off with the right hook repeatedly. Harper finally body locks Green and drags her to the ground at 2:01. She's quickly warned to stay busy on top. She slowly inches her way to a full mount but gets another warning with 90 seconds left. Once she clears her foot from between Green's hips she really starts to hammer on Green's face, who tries and fails repeatedly to buck her off. This one's going to a third round.

As you'd expect Harper is looking for a takedown in the opening minute of R3 but can't get it. She closes the distance again at 1:30 and manages to get Green's back and throw her to the ground at 2:05 but can't keep her down. Green bloodies up her face once she gets loose. Harper finally drags her to the ground at3:53 but that may be too little too late - and Green gets back up at 4:08 anyway. Harper goes for one last leg trip late to no avail. I've got Green two rounds to one.

Green gets a unanimous decision and Team Gadelha goes up 4-0. Jedrzejczyk is insulted that Gadelha didn't shake her hand after the fight. Harper is emotionally broken but she should be happy she had her team's best fight this season.

Next week's fight chosen by coach Claudia Gadelha is Eric Spicely (Team Gadelha) vs. Elias Urbina IV (Team Jedrzejczyk). We will see you then!