The whole “Mystic Mac” gig for Conor McGregor is obviously an embellished metaphor for him accurately predicting the outcome of his fights. But we all know McGregor isn’t some soothsayer blessed with magical abilities.
He’s simply a damn good fighter who knows his stuff.
One of the finest coaching moments on this season of TUF occurred in the Team McGregor locker room immediately after teams had been picked for the show. Urijah Faber took a team bonding approach with his fighters, while McGregor kept things in perspective.
The whole premise of this season was built around a supposed competition between Team USA and Team Europe, but in reality, there have never been any teams. There can only be one TUF winner.
“Everyone is here for their own benefit. Forget Team Europe and forget Team USA. There is no friends in this business. You are either here to win, or you are simply a filler,” McGregor said.
The UFC interim featherweight champ’s comments came full circle this week as Team Europe’s Marcin Wrzosek took on David Teymur. It was a fight that served as a reminder that TUF wasn’t a team competition. You can train together, sweat together and be friendly, but at the end of the day, you still might end up fighting one another.
An eerie silence fell over the rest of the cast as the two teammates stepped into the cage to fight for a spot in the semifinals.
Wrzosek opened the fight as the aggressor with inside leg kicks and left hands. Initially, Teymur appeared apt in dealing with the pressure with well-timed counter strikes, but all of that went out of the window when he ate a massive left hand that dropped him early. Wrzosek pounced on his fallen teammate, desperately trying to finish with ground strikes, but the Swedish fighter somehow managed to recover and escape back to his feet.
Seeing an opening, Teymur repaid Wrzosek with a takedown of his own. Several punches and a knee to the body landed for Wrzosek as the first round came to an end.
In the second round, Teymur went back to the takedown after missing on a head kick. But Wrzosek found the space he needed to scramble free, which led to Teymur attempting to slap on a sloppy D’arce choke. Wrzosek fought out of the position to top control and eventually found himself in mount. From top, he rained down ground-and-pound until Teymur transitioned back to half guard and pulled off a great sweet to get back to top position.
However, he wasn’t able to do much from the position, and the referee was forced to stand the fight back up. On the feet, it was more of Wrzosek walking forward like a zombie as Teymur countered.
The fight seemed like it could be headed to a sudden death round, but a majority decision was awarded to Wrzosek.
Julian Erosa, the last man standing for Team Faber, kept hope alive for his team by defeating Abner Lloveras in the final quarterfinals bout. Lloveras confounded Erosa with his speed in the first round. He took Erosa apart with boxing combinations ending in ferocious hooks from every angle.
The nail was slowly being hammered into the coffin of Team Faber until the second round.
Erosa’s heart finally shined through as he picked up the pace and began to let his hands go. He ripped back at Lloveras in the pocket with body-head combinations before landing a massive uppercut that nearly ended the fight.
Lloveras survived the second round, but he looked completely drained as the fight headed to sudden death. Erosa kept up the pressure with high volume strikes, while Lloveras settled into a countering role. Lloveras managed to put up enough of an effort to win one scorecard, but in the end, the other two judges favored Erosa’s work rate and output.
Team McGregor’s Artem Lobov wasn’t a fan of the decision, and he put in a personal request to UFC President Dana White to fight Erosa in the semifinals. White agreed to the fight, and now we are set for a grudge match in next week’s season finale.
Lobov will fight Erosa, while Team McGregor teammates Saul Rogers and Wrzosek face off. 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
- TUF 22 Recap: Team McGregor Continues to Get Last Laugh
- TUF 22 Recap: Second Chances and a Wandless Wizard
New episodes of “The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber” air every Wednesday night on FOX Sports 1 at 10 p.m. ET.