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TUF 22 Recap: Mystic Mac Strikes Again

After a break last week, The Ultimate Fighter 22 returned with enough drama to fill an entire time slot on Lifetime.

This week’s version of TUF was especially uncomfortable because Urijah Faber continued to assume the role of loyal teammate by vehemently defending T.J. Dillashaw in light of Conor McGregor’s persistent accusations.

“He’s a little snake in the grass,” McGregor kept saying with a jubilant smile across his face.

While burning time waiting for a photoshoot, McGregor thought it would be a good opportunity to continue his discussion with Faber about team loyalty.

UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw, Faber’s “right hand man,” was brought in by Faber and given an opportunity to learn the ropes at a very young age. While he has ties with Faber, he has also developed a bond with former Team Alpha Male head coach Duane Ludwig, who left the team to start his own gym in Colorado.

The messy breakup between the team and Ludwig left Dillashaw caught between a rock and a hard place. Does he side with the man who brought him in and showed him the ropes, or should he stand with the coach that helped him climb to the mountaintop?

At the time, Dillashaw was still splitting his training between Team Alpha Male in California and Ludwig in Colorado.

It was a classic sign of disloyalty to McGregor, and he didn’t mind sharing his opinion to all of Team Faber. Dillashaw was actually present this week, but he had taken off for a coffee break when the situation escalated.

Team Alpha Male’s Cody Garbrandt, a UFC bantamweight, finally had enough of McGregor’s verbal jabs and stood up to square off with the Irish star. A few words were exchanged before Garbrandt shoved McGregor, which brought about a multitude of coaches and fighters stepping in to break things up.

Dillashaw eventually returned to the waiting area, which was now filled with awkward silence and tension you could cut with a butter knife. McGregor quickly went back on the offensive and personally called out Dillashaw for training with Ludwig. Faber did the talking, while Dillashaw mostly smiled and shook his head.

The writing was on the wall.

We already know the end to the story. Dillashaw left Team Alpha Male and moved his camp out to Colorado where he could be closer to Ludwig and Elevation Fight Team. Mystic Mac struck again.

While McGregor can predict his own fight outcomes and friendly breakups, he missed the mark in thinking that Mehdi Baghdad would be able to defeat Team Faber’s Julian Erosa. Despite Baghdad’s glorious credentials as a “K-1 world champion,” he was outgunned on the feet. Baghdad landed the more damaging strikes, but he couldn’t keep pace with Erosa’s volume and footwork.

Erosa even took a page out of McGregor’s book of tricks at one point, landing a beautiful corkscrew lead uppercut. Being the more active fighter won Erosa the fight. Baghdad was the aggressor, but so is the bull against the matador. Erosa’s fluidity made him a difficult target and earned him the majority decision.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDe0yg3N1Ow

With the power back into the hands of Team Faber, Thanh Le was selected to fight Team McGregor’s Martin Svensson next week. It should also be noted that McGregor didn’t break an expensive pair of sunglasses after this losing this week.

If you’re behind and need to catch-up on all of the fight drama, we got you covered:

New episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber” air every Wednesday night on FOX Sports 1 at 10 p.m. ET.

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