Team McGregor’s Artem Lobov and Team Faber’s Ryan Hall are the last men standing from an entertaining and often controversial TUF 22 season.
Make no mistake, Team McGregor dominated this competition, but things have balanced out nicely thanks to Saul Rogers’ visa issues. The Englishman was pulled from the finale after he reportedly “lied on his visa application.” He was subsequently denied entry back into the United States, and Hall was given a second life in the tournament.
Hall and Lobov became friends while on the show, and coincidentally enough, Hall spent time in Ireland preparing with Lobov for a fight on finale night. Of course, neither man knew they would be fighting each other. It’s an odd turn of events that should make for an intriguing fight.
Lobov, Conor McGregor’s good friend and teammate, knows a thing or two about second chances. He was brought back onto the show after losing a majority decision to Mehdi Baghdad and hasn’t looked back since. “The Russian Hammer” knocked out all three of his opponents on the show to earn a coveted spot in the finale.
He hopes to hit a grand slam when he steps into the cage with Hall, who is one of the best active Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters currently competing in MMA. They don’t call him the wizard for nothing. Hall has more tricks than Criss Angel on the ground. But he also showed flashes of improved striking in his fight with Rogers.
It’ll be interesting to see how far along he is with his striking after working out in Ireland with the McGregor camp. Perhaps Team McGregor unknowingly facilitated in its own undoing.
As excited as we are for the TUF 22 finale, Friday night’s headliner is all about the featherweight division. Top contenders Frankie Edgar and Chad Mendes will finally fight to possibly decide the next man in line to challenge either Jose Aldo or Conor McGregor for the UFC title.
Both fighters were on-hand at the official weigh-ins for the event on Thursday. Mendes, who tipped the scales at 146 pounds, is looking at this fight as a title eliminator bout.
“I’m super excited for this fight. This is a fight that in my opinion is going to put the winner back in line for that title. So it’s all about getting in there and getting it done,” Mendes told UFC commentator Mike Goldberg at the weigh-ins.
As for Edgar (145.5), he realizes the importance of this fight, but a long history of appearing in big fights has also taught him not to panic and to remain true to himself.
“Just by showing up and being myself,” said Edgar, when asked how he expects to get past Mendes. “I had a great camp, I prepared like I always do, and I’m ready to push that pace and get that win. I love [the match-up]. It’s going to be great for [the fans], it’s going to be great for our team, it’s going to be a good night.”
The full results from Thursday’s weigh-ins are listed below.
Main Card (FOX Sports 1 at 10 p.m. ET)
Frankie Edgar (145.5) vs. Chad Mendes (146)
Artem Lobov (155) vs. Ryan Hall (155)
Edson Barboza (155.5) vs. Tony Ferguson (156)
Evan Dunham (156) vs. Joe Lauzon (155.5)
Tatsuya Kawajiri (146) vs. Jason Knight (145)
Julian Erosa (155) vs. Marcin Wrzosek (155)
Preliminary Card (FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET)
Gabriel Gonzaga (263) vs. Konstantin Erokhin (230)
Ryan LaFlare (171) vs. Mike Pierce (170.5)
Joby Sanchez (126) vs. Geane Herrera (125)
Chris Gruetzemacher (156) vs. Abner Lloveras (155)