Last week’s show ended with a visibly frustrated Urijah Faber comparing his team to the “Bad News Bears.” Team Faber had fallen to 3-5 in the competition after losing three consecutive fights to Conor McGregor’s stable of European fighters. Constantly watching McGregor celebrate from afar in his typical James Bond-themed attire wasn’t helping matters either.
Faber did get his time in the sun during the traditional coach’s challenge competition. Both coaches were tasked with dropping a watermelon into a target zone for points from a flying helicopter. The winning coach would receive $10,000 for earning the most points, while members of his team would each get $1,500.
McGregor might dress like Bond, but his airborne stunts failed the Double-O program. The California Kid came away with the victory, netting his team some extra cash and a slight morale boost.
It was much needed this week as Team Faber’s Jason Gonzalez took on Team McGregor’s Abner Lloveras in the final fight before the quarterfinals.
There wasn’t any secret to what Lloveras wanted to do in the fight, as he surged forward relentlessly with takedown attempt after takedown attempt. Gonzalez defended brilliantly early in the fight, which had things looking bleak for Lloveras. On the feet, Gonzalez was the showman delivering spinning back kicks and knees.
Team McGregor had often accused the American fighters for relying on takedowns and top control to coast to decisions. It was ironic to see the complete role reversal when Lloveras finally put an end to Gonzalez’s striking clinic with a takedown. It was a grinding effort as Lloveras stole the first round with top control and ground-and-pound.
Gonzalez came out in the second round desperately trying to make up ground, but he once again found himself planted on his back by another takedown. Through several attempts to escape back to his feet, Gonzalez seemed to always come out on the losing end of the positional struggle, as Lloveras established dominance from top position for most of the second stanza.
By the end of the fight, McGregor’s watermelon dropping skills didn’t matter. Lloveras was awarded the unanimous decision, and Team McGregor moved on to 6-3.
After the fight, UFC President Dana White met up with McGregor and Faber to pick the match-ups for the next round. It didn’t take long before the coaches were at each other’s throats.
Faber said that he was still receiving money from his title fight with Jose Aldo, which happened in the WEC five years ago. McGregor claimed he always gets paid in full, while the promotion “drips” Faber’s money because he isn’t a significant draw.
White was finally able to get the coaches to settle down and work on setting up the next round of fights. As mentioned in the season opener, nine winners would be crowned in the opening round, while only eight would actually advance to the quarterfinals. The fighter with the least impressive performance would be the odd man out.
Unfortunately for Team Faber, that man was Chris Gruetzemacher.
White informed a clearly disappointed Gruetzemacher that he would be able to return if any of the other contestants suffered an injury in the competition. As of now, here are the quarterfinal fight selections:
- Martin Svensson (Team McGregor) vs. Artem Lobov (Team McGregor)
- Ryan Hall (Team Faber) vs. Saul Rogers (Team McGregor)
- Marcin Wrzosek (Team McGregor) vs. David Teymur (Team McGregor)
- Abner Lloveras (Team McGregor) vs. Julian Erosa (Team Faber)
If you’re behind and need to catch-up on all of the fight drama, we’ve got you covered:
- TUF 22 Recap: McGregor’s Guy Struggles
- TUF 22 Recap: Team Faber Draws First Blood
- TUF 22 Recap: ‘Gritz’ Shows Grit for Team Faber
- TUF 22 Recap: Team McGregor Unites to Get First Win
- TUF 22 Recap: Team McGregor Evens Playing Field
- TUF 22 Recap: Mystic Mac Strikes Again
- TUF 22 Recap: Will the Real McGregor Please Stand Up?
- TUF 22 Recap: No McGregor, No Problems
New episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber” air every Wednesday night on FOX Sports 1 at 10 p.m. ET.