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TUF 31 coaches Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler at a lightweight fight during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter at UFC Apex on March 2, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
The Ultimate Fighter

Episode 6 Recap | The Ultimate Fighter Season 31

Catch Up On Everything That Happened On The Sixth Episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs Team Chandler.

PREVIOUSLY ON THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER

Michael Chandler’s squad of UFC veterans took charge of the competition immediately, winning the first five fights.

Now, Conor McGregor looks to his No. 1 lightweight and fellow Irishman Lee Hammond to snap the losing streak for his team of prospects. Standing in Hammond’s way is 36-year-old finisher and No. 4 lightweight, Kurt Holobaugh.

Get ready for an emotional battle with a spot in the semifinals at stake, and an intense aftermath in the Octagon.

RECAP PREVIOUS EPISODES OF TUF: Episode 1 Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5

This is The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Chandler.

After TUF | Episode 6: The Ultimate Fighter Season 31
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After TUF | Episode 6: The Ultimate Fighter Season 31
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TUF HOUSE

Kurt Holobaugh and Roosevelt Roberts sit together, discussing where they’re at in their careers and the mindset they’re taking into this competition, agreeing that the worst that could possibly happen has already happened, and now they’re just genuinely excited for what is still to come.

Holobaugh explains that he made his professional debut in 2011, and eventually fought Pat Healy on the final Strikeforce event, receiving an offer to fight in the UFC after giving a good accounting of himself in that contest. He faced off with TUF alum Steven Siler at UFC 159, dropping a decision, after which he was released.

RECAP EVERYTHING HAPPENING ON TUF

The highlights of several regional circuit wins play before he’s shown competing in the first main event on what is now known as Dana White’s Contender Series, against Matt Bessette. Holobaugh won the fight and earned a contract before earning Fight of the Night in his loss to Raoni Barcelos and dropping a decision to Thiago Moises in Rio de Janeiro. (Note: he fought Shane Burgos in between, losing by submission in the first round)

After getting released a second time, he never envisioned getting a chance to return to the UFC, but here he is, with a chance to prove himself once more.

Lee Hammond in his lightweight fight during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter at UFC Apex on March 2, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Lee Hammond in his lightweight fight during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter at UFC Apex on March 2, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

LEE HAMMOND FIGHT PREP

McGregor explains that Hammond has been a teammate and training partner at SBG Ireland since he was a little kid, telling tales of Hammond turning up when McGregor was opening the gym early in the morning.

Hammond says that McGregor has shown him that you can achieve anything you wish when you put your mind to it, as footage of him hitting mitts and going through the paces, with McGregor coaching him to fire a big uppercut with his back hand as his opponent is pressing forward. You can see the belief McGregor has in Hammond, but there is also a little anxiety coming through, as the team is down 0-5 and now his No. 1 man and teammate is stepping into the cage.

How To Watch TUF 31

McGregor says that John Kavanagh picked Holobaugh as a potential winner of the competition, which makes him believe a win will send Hammond’s confidence sky high. He wants to see the fight contested on the ground, with two “Dublin 12 lads” succeeding on the big stage.

Kurt Holobaugh in his lightweight fight during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter at UFC Apex on March 2, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Kurt Holobaugh in his lightweight fight during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter at UFC Apex on March 2, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

TUF HOUSE

Holobaugh talks about his kids with Roberts before his home video rolls with him cruising down the road in Franklinton, LA, and pulling into his house. The lightweight veteran and his wife purchased a spot with 20 acres, a small farm, and a whole bunch of animals, plus Holobaugh’s three children from a previous relationship, his wife’s child from a previous relationship, and their one child together.

The extended family tucks into a crawfish boil, before things flip to Holobaugh going to one of the two gyms that he and his wife own and operate.

How To Watch UFC 290 In Your Country

“I have a great opportunity in front of me right now to get back to the UFC again for a third time,” says Holobaugh. “And the difference from the first two times is I’m a veteran; I’ve been around the game for a long time now. I just need that one more chance to prove to myself that I can do it.

“You think it’s easy being in the UFC? You think it’s easy with all that pressure on your shoulders? Get ready, because you’re coming into shark-infested waters.”

Get To Know Lightweight Kurt Holobaugh | The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs Team Chandler
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Get To Know Lightweight Kurt Holobaugh | The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs Team Chandler
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KURT HOLOBAUGH FIGHT PREP

The 36-year-old sees the fight as “a grown man taking on a little boy” while acknowledging anything can happen in a fight.

RELATED: All TUF 31 Recaps, Coaches Interviews, And More

Chandler puts Holobaugh through grappling drills, wall drills, and takes time to give him personalized instructions to get him psyched up for the last push through training. He wants Holobaugh to really buy into the “grown man versus little boy” mindset here and impose that on Hammond, singing his praises about his overall abilities, instructing him to make Hammond feel his presence at all times, even when things aren’t necessarily happening as forecasted.

TUF HOUSE

Hammond skips rope while his roommate Nate Jennerman gives a little introduction to who the Irishman is as a fighter before his home video begins with Hammond jogging in the rain in Crumlin. He explains he still lives at home because it affords him everything he needs, with his mother explaining how hard her son has worked to get to this point, including ditching school to train back in the day.

He began his journey with jiu jitsu and was instantly hooked, eventually taking part in some of McGregor’s camps, prompting a shift to MMA.

WATCH: Megan Olivi Sits Down With Conor McGregor

“My life is on the mat, 24/7,” says Hammond. “I don’t do anything else.”

Hammond sings McGregor’s praises as a mentor and training partner, calling it his dream to be UFC champion, seeing this as a perfect way to get himself in the door and on the road to fulfilling those dreams.

TUF 31 Michael Chandler and lightweight Kurt Holobaugh during his fight during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter at UFC Apex on March 2, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
TUF 31 Michael Chandler and lightweight Kurt Holobaugh during his fight during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter at UFC Apex on March 2, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

LIGHTWEIGHT WEIGH INS

Chandler notes that McGregor is a no-show for weigh-ins again, explaining why it is always going to be important to him to be present at weigh-ins for his guys.

Team Chandler’s Holobaugh is first on the scale, coming in at 155.5 pounds with a picture of his family in his hand. The Team McGregor man follows him to the scale, weighing in at 156 pounds even.

Brad Katona of Team Chandler, who trains with Hammond back at SBG Ireland, predicts a second-round submission for the Team McGregor fighter, which feels like one of the first times a fighter has predicted a member of his squad will lose that I can remember in quite some time on The Ultimate Fighter.

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Chandler again brings up that McGregor isn’t there, questioning the message it sends to his fighters.

Dana White notes all the belief McGregor has in Hammond, but that Holobaugh has been in the UFC twice, bringing a finishing mentality to every fight.

TUF 31 lightweights Kurt Holobaugh and Lee Hammond during their fight during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter at UFC Apex on March 2, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
TUF 31 lightweights Kurt Holobaugh and Lee Hammond during their fight during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter at UFC Apex on March 2, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

FIGHT DAY

The combatants shuttle to the UFC APEX and go through their routines in the back, getting loose, wrapped, and ready to step into the cage.

Now all that is left to do is to get down to business.

Kurt Holobaugh vs. Lee Hammond

It’s another win for Team Chandler, as Holobaugh snatches victory from the jaws of defeat, moving the red side to 6-0 in the competition, and two victories away from a clean sweep.

Hammond controlled the vast majority of the entanglements on the canvas throughout the first, remaining a step ahead of Holobaugh, landing a few clean, heavy shots along the way. At the end of the opening round, Hammond points to something on his knee that seems to be bothering him, with McGregor shouting at him that he can pull guard if needed, the Team McGregor side telling him, “There is only five minutes left” and that he’s way ahead of Holobaugh.

Keep Up With All Things The Ultimate Fighter

Hammond lands a knee up the middle early in the second, taking Holobaugh to the ground, hunting for a guillotine choke, eventually ending up in mount. He busts up Holobaugh with short shots from top position, but the veteran never stops looking for ways to create space and work free. Holobaugh gets to his feet, and in the ensuing scramble, he clamps onto Hammond’s neck, locking in a mounted guillotine that draws a tap from the young Irishman, much to the dismay of McGregor.

Kurt Holobaugh Talks About Beating Lee Hammond | Episode 6: The Ultimate Fighter Season 31
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Kurt Holobaugh Talks About Beating Lee Hammond | Episode 6: The Ultimate Fighter Season 31
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Official Result: Kurt Holobaugh def. Lee Hammond by submission (mounted guillotine choke)

Chandler recaps the action, calling Hammond one of the worst draws in the competition because of his size, praising his efforts in the opening round. Dana White follows suit, admitting Team McGregor knew they needed a win and nearly got there.

Chandler acknowledges that Hammond made a mistake in leaving his neck exposed in the scramble, with Holobaugh taking full advantage of the one opening that presented itself in the fight.



“That one definitely stung for Team McGregor,” says the UFC President.

McGregor says his charge was the better fighter and was dominating — both true — and that he’s proud of the fighter the young Irishman is becoming.

Michael Chandler Reacts To Kurt Holobaugh's Comeback Win | Episode 6 : The Ultimate Fighter Season 31
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Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

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Michael Chandler Reacts To Kurt Holobaugh's Comeback Win | Episode 6 : The Ultimate Fighter Season 31
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“It’s rookies versus vets, and I made a rookie mistake,” offers Hammond after the contest.

Get To Know Kurt Holobaugh

Chandler can’t help but chuckle a little at Holobaugh throwing up a Hail Mary and beating McGregor’s teammate and top seed.

In the cage after the fight, McGregor tries to raise Hammond’s spirits, and McGregor starts chirping at Chandler and his team, mockingly congratulating them for a fine coaching job. Chandler fires back that they’re stacking up wins, with McGregor saying it won’t happen against him.

Conor McGregor Reacts After Lee Hammond's Loss | Episode 6: The Ultimate Fighter Season 31
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Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

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Conor McGregor Reacts After Lee Hammond's Loss | Episode 6: The Ultimate Fighter Season 31
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The two coaches get nose-to-nose, bickering with one another — Chandler calling out McGregor not turning up for weigh-ins; McGregor promising violence — before the Irishman two-hand shoves Chandler in the face.

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Cooler heads intervene and Chandler continues needling McGregor, telling the Team McGregor fighters he would have been there for them at weigh-ins. McGregor tries to say he’s involved as the one that set it up and left them in capable hands.

He sees tussling with Chandler as standing up for his team, and Chandler says the tension of the season is ratcheting up the intensity between the two.