Lee Hammond of Team McGregor, lost by submission to Team Chandler’s Kurt Holobaugh. With the win, Holobaugh becomes the sixth fighter coached by Chandler to claim a spot in the semifinals, three at bantamweight and three at lightweight. Will we have all-Chandler semifinals? And if so, will McGregor not have anyone to coach and just have to go home?
Let’s look at the biggest moments from Episode 6 and what’s ahead next week.
Editor’s note: The matchups for this season are determined by seeding. The coaches ranked their competitors in each division first through fourth. After the seeding was determined, the matchups were made in a tournament-style bracket.
Lightweight: (4) Kurt Holobaugh, Team Chandler vs. (1) Lee Hammond, Team McGregor
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) July 5, 2023
Holobaugh beats Hammond by submission
After seemingly losing the first round, the second round started in a similarly for Holobaugh. Hammond got the dominant position once again early in Round 2, but it wasn’t enough as Holobaugh eventually found himself in top position about halfway through the round and eventually locked in a choke to get the win.
Holobaugh, who last fought with Xtreme Fighting Championships, made his UFC debut in 2013. After being cut from the promotion, he earned a second UFC contract after fighting on “Dana White’s Contender Series.” During his second stint with the promotion, Holobaugh faced stiff competition (Raoni Barcelos, Shane Burgos and Thiago Moises), losing each of those bouts.
In the fight with Hammond, Holobaugh showed that he has the grit to keep fighting after dropping a round and is skilled jiu-jitsu practitioner when fighting on the mat. If he can keep working with Chandler and his staff to refine his game, Holobaugh could be in a position to earn a third UFC contract at the end of the season.
Storylines to watch
Is this the closest we’ll get to seeing McGregor and Chandler fight?
Things hit a boiling point between the coaches tonight on #TUF31 🤬
[ Watch new episodes every Tuesday on ESPN & ESPN+ ] pic.twitter.com/yyz5iE7ft1
— The Ultimate Fighter (@UltimateFighter) July 5, 2023
With the way things are unraveling at the midpoint of Season 31, it’s becoming harder and harder to imagine fans seeing McGregor and Chandler putting on the gloves and meeting inside the Octagon, at least in 2023.
While the matchup would surely be a massive draw for fight fans. We are already in the second half of the year, and some big issues must be addressed before that fight could even be booked. Beyond the sexual assault allegations that McGregor is currently facing, there is also the fact that he still needs to enter the USADA testing pool.
And aside from the small glimpse of McGregor training with his team on the show, how active has he been during his absence from competition, and how long would he need to feel ready to take on an opponent of Chandler’s caliber following his hiatus?
Until those questions are answered, the postfight moment between McGregor and Chandler may be as good as it gets for fans who are looking forward to this matchup.
Best MMA fighter tweets from Episode 6
This doesn’t tell us much
I look forward to my upcoming fight. I am well in preparation.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) July 4, 2023
While it is possible that McGregor is looking forward to his next fight, as mentioned earlier, until he enters the USADA testing pool we’re no closer to seeing him actually fight in the Octagon.
Next week’s matchup
Lightweight: (1) Jason Knight, Team Chandler vs. (4) Landon Quinones, Team McGregor
Here’s everything we know about these two fighters:
UFC record: 4-5
Fighting out of: D’Iberville, Mississippi
• last fought with Gulf Coast MMA
• competed on “The Ultimate Fighter,” Season 22
• fought in PFL playoffs at featherweight in 2021; lost to Bobby Moffett by unanimous decision
• UFC wins over Dan Hooker, Alex Caceres and Chas Skelly
• win over Thiago Moises in Atlas Fighting in 2015
• fought on Jorge Masvidal‘s Gamebred Fighting Championship
UFC record: N/A
Fighting out of: Sunrise, Florida
• former Titan FC lightweight champion
• fought in Bellator in 2017
• trains under Henri Hooft at Kill Cliff FC