Team Chandler continues to dominate on The Ultimate Fighter Season 31 as they secure another win against Team McGregor. Find out the key moments and upcoming matchups in this episode.
|Team Chandler remains undefeated against Team McGregor on The Ultimate Fighter Season 31.|
|Jason Knight defeats Landon Quinones by submission in a lightweight bout.|
|The good and bad of MMA training – Quinones and Knight face minor injuries during training sessions.|
|Team McGregor is on the verge of a clean sweep by Team Chandler in the quarterfinals.|
|Chandler’s cryptic tweet hints at progress in setting up his fight with McGregor.|
|Rico DiSciullo and Hunter Azure will fight in the next episode of TUF Season 31.|
Seven weeks into "The Ultimate Fighter" Season 31 and coach Michael Chandler still has not lost to coach Conor McGregor.
Landon Quinones of Team McGregor lost by submission to Team Chandler’s Jason Knight. Knight joins the other six members of Chandler’s team in the semifinals and Team McGregor has only one more chance to pick up the last spot in the next round.
Let’s look at the biggest moments from Episode 7 and what’s ahead next week.
Lightweight: (1) Jason Knight, Team Chandler vs. (4) Landon Quinones, Team McGregor
Knight beats Quinones by submission
Knight didn’t need much time to get a finish over Quinones. After trading on the feet to open the round, Quinones shot for a takedown and got Knight on the mat. Knight took Quinones by surprise on the ground, as he quickly locked in a triangle choke to force the tap to get the win.
Knight, who last fought with Gulf Coast MMA, is a former UFC and PFL fighter and the most experienced fighter in the TUF house this season. After losing his UFC debut in 2015, Knight went on a four-fight win streak with victories over Dan Hooker, Alex Caceres and Chas Skelly. After being cut from the UFC in 2021, Knight later fought on a 2021 PFL Playoffs fight card and lost to Bobby Moffett. Most recently, Knight fought for Jorge Masvidal’s Gamebred Fighting Championship.
Entering this bout, Quinones believed that Knight’s only path to victory was to keep the fight standing. With 13 wins via submission under his belt, Knight is a proven threat on the mat, but Quinones easily took him down. If he can work on his takedown defense with Chandler and his staff, Knight can dictate where the fight goes with his future opponents.
Storylines to watch
The good and bad of MMA training
While preparing for this week’s fight, fans saw how quickly things can take a wrong turn when fighters are in camp for an upcoming fight.
First, Quinones took a perfectly placed shot to the side while in a sparring session with McGregor. At first, everything appeared to be going well for Quinones as he went back and forth with his coach, trading punches. Then McGregor threw a kick just below Quinones’s arm near his liver, forcing him to immediately fall to the ground in pain. But Quinones didn’t stay down long, as he was back up and finishing his sparring session with McGregor just seconds after going down. He even had a positive outlook on that experience.
"He hit me with a left body kick right in my liver, and it shut me down for a bit," Quinones said. "When that happened, I feel like I learned more in that round than a lot of rounds in my career. I feel like I’m going to take that with me and it’s going to make me so much better."
Then, moments later, during Team Chandler’s training session, Knight appeared to have a clash of heads while working with Timur Valiev. That clash opened what Chandler described as an "inch long" cut outside Knight’s right eye. After visiting the doctor, Knight got the cut sealed with glue and was still cleared to fight.
The results of such moments in this sport could often be enough to force a fight to be called off. Luckily, both fighters came out of their respective situations without serious injuries.
Team McGregor is on the ropes
We could be on the brink of something that has never happened on TUF. A win for Team Chandler next week would be the first clean sweep by one team in the quarterfinals in TUF history. It would also leave McGregor without a fighter to coach throughout the remainder of the season.
Apparently, the idea crept into McGregor’s mind after his seventh consecutive loss.
McGregor entered the cage after the bout and could be seen asking UFC president Dana White and an executive producer of the show what would happen if he doesn’t have a fighter in the semifinals.
"Well, it’s never happened before," the TUF executive producer said. "We see if anybody wants to go over to the other team."
It’s unclear whether the losing streak is having a negative impact on the morale of the fighters on Team McGregor ; they are beginning to take a toll on the coach. Team McGregor has one more shot to get the last spot in the semifinals. Will they be able to pull off the win? And, if not, which fighters would be willing to switch from a team that is clicking on all cylinders to a team that is struggling?
Best MMA fighter tweets from Episode 7
Christmas in July for Chandler?
Chandler posted this tweet with only a Christmas tree emoji earlier today. While the post gives no context to what he might be celebrating, it sparks plenty of questions. But, if I had to guess, I would think this might be related to the difficulties Chandler has faced while trying to land a date for his fight with McGregor. Whether this is big news — like an official fight date — or just another hurdle that has been passed in setting up the fight, at this point, any progress toward booking this bout is worth celebrating.
Next week’s matchup
Rico DiSciullo, left, and Hunter Azure will fight on Episode 8 of "The Ultimate Fighter" Season 31.
Here’s everything we know about these two fighters:
Hunter Azure Record: 10-3 UFC record: 2-2 Age: 30 Fighting out of: Phoenix Notable: • Last fight was with Fusion Fight League • Earned a UFC contract in 2019 on "Dana White’s Contender Series" • UFC losses to Jack Shore and Brian Kelleher • Trains under Eddie Cha at Fight Ready MMA.
Rico DiSciullo Record: 11-2 UFC record: N/A Age: 36 Fighting out of: Somerville, Massachusetts Notable: • Last fight was with Combat FC • Contestant on "Dana White’s Contender Series" Season 2 • Was scheduled to face Da’Mon Blackshear in 2019,