By Steve Juon, WrestlingObserver.com
It's a whole new season and Conor McGregor is the reason, as he and Urijah Faber go toe to toe as coaching foes on The Ultimate Fighter. They won't duke it out after the season is done, but there's still pride on the line, not to mention Conor's reputation as the newest badass on the block.
Join us each episode for "The Notorious Quote of the Week" as Conor puts his mouth where UFC's money is! We'll also spice things up with some predictions for week two about who could go all the way this season - two "Fighters to Watch" for each recap.
The Notorious Quote of the Week this time shows Conor's disdain for Urijah's casual attire. "Flip flops and jeans? You need to dress your age, honestly."
The teams as determined last week:
Team McGregor (Europe): Abner Lloveras, David Teymur, Marcin Wrzosek, Frantz Siloa, Martin Svensson, Mehdi Baghdad, Sascha Sharma, Saul Rogers
Team Faber (United States): Brandon Ricetti, Chris Gruetzemacher, James Jenkins, Jason Gonzalez, Julian Erosa, Ryan Hall, Thanh Le, Tom Gallicchio
Conor McGregor summons Team Europe to the changing room for a chat. He says they'll get to work with the same coaches he does for his own fights. Then he gets down to brass tacks and says that the Europeans have had a much tougher road to get into MMA, so they'll have more heart than the US team already, but at the end of the day there's no such thing as a team because everybody has to individually try to win their shot to be in the UFC.
There's the usual amount of smack talk at the TUF house on both sides, so I'm not going to waste your time with that. Instead let's go right to Conor McGregor's first session. He wants them to have sparring without taking damage, to give them the feel of what a real fight situation will be like. "That's upgrading your software without damaging your hardware." Commercial.
BEHOLD THE DANA WHITE SWERVE~!
Dana gives the coaches an opportunity to bring back one eliminated fighter on each team. McGregor picked Artem Lobov and Faber picked Johnny Nunez. On top of that now that there is one extra fighter for each team, Dana White will pick one guy from each to NOT go to the quarterfinals. It's not enough to win - he wants everybody to PERFORM.
Thanh Le says this won't hurt him one bit - he delivers excitement in his performances. In fact based on last week's show he's on my "Fighters to Watch" list. I can't say that he's my FINAL pick though because flashy spinning kicks and big knockouts are important, but we need to see what happens to Le when those things DON'T work out.
McGregor and Faber talk s--t to each other as both teams are waiting in the hallway to go in and film the first fight pick announcement. Since Faber won the coin toss last week he announces the fight: Ryan Hall (USA) vs. Frantz Siloa (Europe).
Reminder - Hall tapped out Johnny Nunez via heel hook, while Siloa got a technical submission via rear naked choke on Martin Delaney. If this one goes to the ground it could be a WILD scramble. Ryan Hall is my other pick for "Fighters to Watch" this week, especially after hearing his explanation of mastering the 50/50 position and how he's so comfortable in it he can disarm his opponents ("taking the knife out of their hand") on the ground, leaving him an easier path to victory. Urijah Faber refers to him "The Wizard."
Siloa talks about how he's actually Iraqi by heritage, but was born in Sweden when his parents fled during a war (he doesn't specify which one). He vows to finish the fight whether standing or on the ground. McGregor says they picked Hall to face Siloa because "they fear the exchange" and want to go to the ground, and believes Siloa can break Hall down with shots to the body and the head.
At the weigh-ins Siloa steps on the scale first. 155 pounds even. Ryan Hall takes the scale and he's also 155 even. Hall's decades of jiu-jitsu competition experience are praised as we go to a commercial break, but the show is padded out with more tough talk on both sides when we come back, followed by ANOTHER commercial break. With less than ten minutes of TV time remaining you know it'll be a one round fight.
* Lightweight: Ryan Hall (USA) vs. Frantz Siloa (Europe)
Hall's in the blue trunks and Siloa the gray. Neither man is afraid to stand and trade in the first minute. Hall dives for a leg and Siloa tries to roll out of trouble but he can't roll through the fence so he's in trouble once he hits the chain link. Siloa taps at 1:53. Faber: "THE WIZARD!" And that's all she wrote. Hall is making a statement with two great performances two weeks in a row.
Meanwhile Siloa is getting iced down backstage and gets a pep talk from McGregor, saying it was just a bad break. "There's a different between being caught and losing." Faber and McGregor continue to talk smack. McGregor: "Flip flops and jeans? You need to dress your age, honestly." Faber: "When I can grow a beard I'll dress my age." Faber announces Chris Gruetzemacher (USA) vs. Sascha Sharma (Europe). Join us next week!