Conor McGregor is two fights in the hole.
Coach Michael Chandler got another one over McGregor on this week’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter 31 as his No. 4 bantamweight Cody Gibson (19-8) took out McGregor’s No. 1-ranked Mando Gutierrez (8-2). Following Roosevelt Roberts’ win over Nate Jennerman on Episode 1, Chandler is now up 2-0 in the series so far.
Episode 2 began with a twist as bantamweights Trevor Wells (Team McGregor) and Timur Valiev (Team Chandler) were originally scheduled to fight, but it was announced that Wells would not be permitted to fight due to a highly infectious cold sore on his face. The bout has been postponed for now, with the hope that Wells’ infection will clear up in time for him to eventually compete.
That left Gibson and Gutierrez to slide into this week’s spot, giving viewers a true veteran vs. prospect matchup. While the veteran and prospect designations this season are dubious — the distinction being strictly whether one has or hasn’t fought in the UFC, regardless of age or amount of professional experience — Gibson and Gutierrez entered this one on opposite ends of the career spectrum, with Gibson having fought since 2008 and Gutierrez having made his pro debut in 2019; when Gibson made his pro debut, Gutierrez was 11 years old.
That experience gap proved too much for Gutierrez, as the older — and considerably taller — Gibson shook off Gutierrez’s takedown attempts and picked him apart from distance. The end came when Gutierrez rushed in to strike and Gibson caught him with a beautifully timed jumping knee that badly hurt the Team McGregor fighter. Follow-up strikes followed and referee Jason Herzog was right there to wave off the fight in the first.
Make it two wins and two knockouts now for Team Chandler and the vets. Next week, lightweights are back in action as No. 2-ranked Chandler fighter Austin Hubbard (15-6) faces McGregor’s No. 3 Aaron McKenzie (11-2-1).
This episode also featured more of “The Notorious” on camera as he visited the TUF house and ingratiated himself with both teams while Gutierrez gave him a haircut. All of the fighters, regardless of team, seemed to welcome the former two-division champion warmly. Meanwhile, Chandler, a father of two adopted children, bonded with Gibson over his upbringing, which involves Gibson coming from a family where he is one of two adopted children along with two brothers with special needs.
The Ultimate Fighter 31 airs live every Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN+.
Following the season finale, Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler are expected to face off in a welterweight bout at a date still to be determined.
The finalists of the TUF 31 lightweight and bantamweight tournaments will also compete for a six-figure UFC contract at the show’s live finale. A date for that event is also yet to be announced.
Here is the TUF 31 roster divided by team:
Team McGregor (prospects)
- Lee Hammond (27, 5-0)
- Nate Jennerman (29, 16-5)
- Aaron McKenzie (34, 11-2-1)
- Landon Quinones (27, 7-1-1)
- Mando Gutierrez (26, 8-2)
- Trevor Wells (27, 8-3)
- Carlos Vera (35, 11-3)
- Rico DiSciullo (36, 11-2, 1 NC)
Team Chandler (veterans)
- Jason Knight (30, 23-7)
- Austin Hubbard (31, 15-6)
- Roosevelt Roberts (28, 12-3, 1 NC)
- Kurt Holobaugh (36, 19-7, 1 NC)
- Hunter Azure (31, 10-3)
- Brad Katona (31, 12-2)
- Timur Valiev (33, 18-3, 1 NC)
- Cody Gibson (35, 19-8)
Here are the quarterfinal results so far:
- Roosevelt Roberts def. Nate Jennerman via first-round KO
- Cody Gibson def. Mando Gutierrez via first-round TKO
Here are the remaining quarterfinal matchups:
- Austin Hubbard vs. Aaron McKenzie
- Lee Hammond vs. Kurt Holobaugh
- Jason Knight vs. Landon Quinones
- Hunter Azure vs. Rico DiSciullo
- Brad Katona vs. Carlos Vera
- Trevor Wells vs. Timur Valiev*
- Advancing to semifinals: Roberts, Gibson
- Eliminated: Jennerman, Gutierrez