The Ultimate Fighter - S23E06, 07, 08 Recap Round-up

S23E06 The Situation

What have you done, Abdel? What have you done?

Abdel is the last fighter on Claudia's team to have not fought yet, and now he's in this awkward situation where he has to pick between leaving the competition to salvage his marriage or not. UFC President Dana White comes in to talk to Abdel and get a read on the situation. Abdel calls his wife and still struggling to accept responsibility for his actions, he acts put upon and asks "What is going on? Why are you doing this to me?" to which she can only reply "'Why am I doing this?' Are you fucking kidding me?" Seriously.

In any case, it seems that we'll never know precise what Abdel did as he's decided to keep that under wraps and Dana has no problem with that; in fact, he's willing to send Abdel home for the weekend and fly him back before his fight. It's a win-win for Abdel and he takes it.

While Abdel is away, the rest of the house plays and house pranks are on again. This time Khalil and Elias get an idea to put baby powder in the girls blow dryers. J.J. and Jamie returns the joke by dropping entire bottles of baby powder on the guys as they were chilling in the hot tub. They keep messing with Khalil by having one of the girls hiding under his bed, grabbing at him when he least expects it. The whole night is like this, as they lay traps and jump scare each other for hours.

MATCH: Eric Spicely vs. Elias Urbina

It's fight day. Tennis balls are thrown at heads and motivational affirmations are delivered. Eric is wearing the flag of Rhode Island on his back, which is interesting to see. Sadly, it's also more interesting than the match itself, half of which is Eric doing some "lay and pray," where he wrestles and controls Elias, but doesn't do damage with his position, likely hoping for the judges to favor him for maintaining control. Lay and pray. Eric wins by decision but Dana White is not impressed. "The kid's terrible," he says; he's not obligated to keep boring fighters on the roster.

S23E07 No Easy Fight

Khalil is emotional, crying alone in the backyard as he realizes he overlooked his father's birthday, which is a first for him. His father, who was a manager for popular R&B groups, was murdered in his hotel during an attempted robbery. Khalil never really got to know him.

MATCH: Amanda Cooper vs. Jamie Moyle

Amanda and Jamie fight a war in the octagon and after two rounds, Jamie is cut open with a wide gash above her left eye. Both teams think they've won the match, but are equally ready and expecting that it could go to a third round tie-breaker. Nope. The judges rule in favor of Amanda Cooper and once again, Team Joanna has lost. Jamie handles the loss well, disappointed but not interested in mourning her loss. Joanna however is pissed and has a few choice words for the judges themselves, asking them how they could make such a bad call.

It isn't the first time and won't be the last time that a fighter learns the bitter lesson: never leave it in the hands of the judges.

S23E08 It's a Mental Thing

Starting over the course of the season's regular training, Cory Hendricks has been experiencing consistent pain in his left arm, neck, and shoulder. He takes time off training to heal but after two days, his pain is so bad that he can't even sit comfortably. Afraid of going to the doctor and being told that he can't continue, he starts with a house call from an acupuncturist, Angela Stueber, who performs the standard needling, cupping, and "gua sha" therapy. When that doesn't avail, he visits the doctor who believes Cory's showing signs of degenerative disc disease and will need an MRI to verify. Not looking good.

MATCH: Josh Stansbury vs. Abdel "Blade" Medjedoub

Joanna has Josh focus training on his speed, insisting that Josh not get complacent in his striking, and to push the action there and go for takedowns. Josh admits he's banking on Abdel being driven by emotion and slipping up. Abdel feels the opposite: that his recent marriage struggles are driving him positively, and that he promised his wife to win. Yet, considering his marriage struggles, I have my doubts about the efficacy of that promise. Abdel also talks about how being bullied as an immigrant in France lead him to take up boxing, which later led to him moving to Montreal to train with one of the GOATs of the sport, Georges St. Pierre. Maybe Abdel does have the advantage here.

Unfortunately for Team Claudia, when we get to the fight, Abdel does not follow the gameplan Claudia and her coaching team had laid out for him. Rather that sticking to his superior boxing, he keeps pushing Josh to the cage, 'dirty boxing' and attempting takedowns. He pays for it when Josh capitalizes on an opening and nearly finishes Abdel with a well-delivered head kick.

Abdel turtles up and manages to survive the second round, but the judges rule in favor of Josh, awarding Team Joanna their first win of the season and preventing Team Claudia from a full sweep, which has yet to be achieved in TUF history. Abdel's foot is broken and despite the loss, his team supports him and expresses pride for his otherwise gutsy performance. They call him a warrior, but Abdel doesn't feel the same. He believes he psyched himself out.

Next week is the last round before the semi finals: Ashley Yoder vs Kate Jackson!

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