The Notorious Quote of the Week: "That takedown is there whenever you want it. Keep your chin tucked!" Yes... but WHO was he giving that advice to? Hmmm.
Last week, both Artem Lobov and Saul Rogers from Conor McGregor's team advanced to the semi-finals. This week's show is another two fight episode and we're starting right away with two Team Europe guys going head to head.
Lightweight: Marcin Wrzosek (Team Europe) vs. David Teymur (Team Europe)
Both fighters are wearing gray trunks. You may recall Wrzosek earned the nickname 'Polish Zombie' for his ability to absorb damage and keep coming forward. He doesn't need that early though because he drops Teymur with a right hook two minutes into round one, then wrestles him back to the mat 17 seconds later after Teymur tries to get up. Teymur finally gets up clean at 2:58 and this time he hits a takedown. He gets up with a minute left and they both swing hard. The gym is eerily silent since McGregor isn't saying anything to show favoritism to either fighter. Wrzosek gets another right hook in right before R1 ends.
Wrzosek and Teymur mix it up 25 seconds into R2. Teymur lands an explosive takedown at 48 seconds. The ref warns Teymur to stay busy. Wrzosek briefly gets caught in a choke when trying to stand, but winds up escaping it and ending up on top and having full mount for a split second. He pounds away at the ribs as both fighters are reminded to work for the finish. Wrzosek gets swept. This is an incredibly back-and-forth fight. They're stood up with two minutes left. Wrzosek gets another takedown quickly. Teymur is warned about the back of the head. He scrambles up with 91 seconds to go. Both men are head hunting. Wrzosek pushes him into the fence and they trade knees, and he backs away in time to avoid a high kick. Teymur throws a late leg kick and Wrzosek takes him down before R2 ends. That might have been enough.
19-19, 20-18 and 20-18 for the majority winner - Marcin Wrzosek. And now we have one last chance for Team USA to send a fighter to the semis - Julian Erosa goes against Abner Lloveras. There's no slowing down for weigh-ins or drama at the house - we go right back to the cage.
Lightweight: Abner Lloveras (Team Europe) vs. Julian Erosa (Team USA)
Erosa is in the blue trunks and Lloveras the gray. Lloveras has the striking advantage early and Erosa is forced to circle on the outside and try to dance in and out of range. He finally lands a good overhand right at 1:53 but he's getting hit with rights in each exchange. Lloveras seems to be a split second quicker on the trigger each time he gets into range. You can see that Erosa's cheeks are bruising and swelling up. Lloveras puts him against the fence at 4:05 but Erosa shows great balance avoiding the single leg takedown until 3 seconds left. We're on to round two.
Lloveras is right back to the jab to open R2. Erosa's only answer seems to be to get into a slugfest since he's unable to block or avoid the strikes. Lloveras gets him off his feet for a second at 1:40. Erosa suddenly catches Lloveras with a couple of good shots and opens a cut over his left eye. Lloveras is backpedaling as he bleeds, which shouldn't necessarily influence the judges, but it just might. For his part Erosa is not letting Lloveras off the hook. Lloveras fails a a takedown attempt at 3:35. Erosa drops Lloveras with a big punch at 4:10 and tags him with several knees as he gets up. Faber is screaming at Erosa to finish him. He has completely turned this fight around and Lloveras looks gassed as we head to an overtime third round.
Lloveras is desperate for a takedown to open R3. It's not "there all day" though the way McGregor thought it would be. Lloveras is crunched with a left hook and presses Erosa into the fence again. They couldn't really stop the bleeding at all between rounds. Lloveras tries and tries for the leg trip but has to break at 2:02. Faber screams for kicks to the body. Erosa's left hand looks better and more accurate the further we get into the fight. Lloveras fails on another takedown at 3:37 as McGregor screams for 3's and 5's in combos. Now it's Lloveras who seems unable to stop a single strike from landing and HIS only answer is takedown attempts. He gets Erosa off his feet for just about a second as we go to the final minute and it's a moral victory at best. Erosa continues to pressure him and land hands and knees. I'll be shocked if he doesn't get this one from the judges.
Third round: 10-9 Lloveras, 10-9 Erosa and 10-9 for EROSA. McGregor: "That's disgraceful." So finally one guy from Team USA is going to move on. Faber: "We got a horse in the game. Thank goodness!"
Dana White comes out to announce the semi-finals: Saul Rogers vs. Marcin Wrzosek and Artem Lobov vs. Julian Erosa. Join us next week!