The Ultimate Fighter - S23E05

I've been waiting to see Thai kickboxer Lanchana Green fight again since winning the elimination bout that got her into the house, and now she's taking on none other than her fellow Brit, scrappy Helen Harper. UFC President Dana White agrees with me: Lanchana's elimination fight "was an eye-opener" and he is impressed with Green's lack of quit.

It's origin story time: Lanchana Green is from Darlington, England. Her father is from Whidbey and her mother is from "north of Thailand." One night, when Lanchana was out and about, she was attacked in the street by two girls. Unable to defend herself, she then vowed that would never happen again. Now she owns her own gym.

Lanchana Green is a formidable Muay Thai striker

Meanwhile, Coach Joanna brings in TUF 20 winner Carla Esparza. Carla was crowned UFC's first Women's Strawweight Champion when she won that season and subsequently lost the title against none other than Coach Joanna Jedrzejczyk. It seems that after that fight, both Carla and Joanna gained respect for each other and are on good terms (which, unsurprisingly, is not always the case with fighters).

Carla is here to coach Team Joanna for the day, and her presence inspires Helen. While Helen was breaking down emotionally and physically in prior episodes, she is pumped up now. Considering Lanchana is a legit Muay Thai fighter, Carla teaches Helen and the rest of Team Joanna some Muay Thai defensive moves and throws.

Now it's Helen's turn to re-share her own origin story. About six years back, Helen was in an abusive relationship. She struggles to talk about it now, getting teary-eyed, but she wants to and presses on. She says she was in denial about how severe and harmful her relationship was. Her friends began to express concern for her safety and perhaps in response to this, Helen began training in mixed-martial arts. Soon, Helen gained new confidence and ended her relationship with her abuser.

Helen sees herself as a survivor and has a hard time reconciling that she was once in an abusive relationship.

Back at the house, Abdel is having some kind of family emergency and must call back his wife Caroline. Show producer Lewis Massoll facilitates the call and alerts Caroline that they are recording the call for the show. It's not clear exactly what she says at this point because there are so many censored bleeps that it simply sounds like a single, steady stream of bleepage. Impressive, really. Abdel says that it is at this point that he realizes "something is really wrong." Gee, buddy, ya think?

The gist is that Abdel did something before he left for the show, which Caroline has since discovered, and now there is hell to pay. She demands he return home to Montreal (and abandon his TUF opportunity) or she is going to divorce him! This is all so heavy, that his decision won't even be settled in this episode.

Bruh. No, seriously. Dude. What did you doooooooo?
MATCH: Lanchana Green vs. Helen "Hellraiser" Harper

Even right before the fight, Lanchana and Helen are talking and joking, still bonding over their shared Englishness. The coaches help Helen meditate while Coach Claudia gets Lanchana moving by chasing... a laser pointer? First tennis balls, now this. Claudia has some interesting ideas about pre-fight training.

Lanchana clinches the first round with superior reach and striking, keeping the distance. Helen turns the tables in the second round, getting Lanchana down and delivering a beating. At one point, Coach Claudia calls out for wizards: a wizard is a wrestling move, but the closed-captions hilariously transcribed this as whizzer, resulting in quotes like "I want to see a whizzer! Whizzer with the left hand!" I was loling.

The fight goes to a third round and both teams go nuts. For the next few minutes, the two fighters go to war; Dana White is once again deeply impressed by both women. In the end, the judges rule a unanimous decision for Lanchana Green.

"The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat."
The opponents and coaching teams shake hands in the ring but Claudia disses Joanna by not shaking her hand. Joanna appears genuinely hurt and later confronts Claudia, followed by more trash talk. Back in their respective locker rooms, Lanchana does a victory dance while Helen is devastated. She worries that she's just not good enough, but Joanna has a change of attitude from previous team losses and is now supportive. She tells Helen that she's proud of her, holding her and telling her to stay strong. Four losses down now, Joanna swears they will fight until the end.

Next week: Eric Spicely vs Elias Urbina... and the fate of Abdel's marriage! :(

Adrian Martinez is a graphic designer, comic book letterer, hobbyist writer, and all-around geek living in New York City.