‘TUF 22’ Recap: Episode 11

By Sherdog.com Staff Dec 2, 2015
With time running short before the Dec. 11 live finale in Las Vegas, this week’s episode features the two remaining quarterfinal matchups. First up is a showdown between Team Europe training partners David Teymur of Sweden and Marcin Wrzosek of Poland.

Coach Conor McGregor tells the camera that he knew the day would come when two of his charges would have to stand across the Octagon from one another.

“I have no strategy here for teammate versus teammate. There will be no favoritism, no nothing,” says McGregor. “These are two men on individual journeys, the way we said it in the beginning. There is no ‘Team Europe’ or ‘Team USA.’ You are here for your own benefit. It’s you versus you. Go and handle your business.”

Wrzosek says he’ll gladly take the opportunity to ground-and-pound but also won’t shy away from striking on the feet. Teymur believes he’ll be Wrzosek’s toughest opponent to date and predicts an “explosive” fight.

Wrzosek opens the bout with a few hard kicks to the inside of Teymur’s lead leg. The gym is eerily silent during the opening minute, with no fighters from either team cheering and no corners shouting instructions. Both men are grazing with punches but Wrzosek seems to be getting the better of the exchanges with his straight left hands, and now he puts a kick across Teymur’s midsection. Teymur steps in to land a left hook, but moments later, a straight right hand sends him crashing to the canvas.

Teymur hits the deck, and Wrzosek follows him to the ground to takes up cross-side control as the referee tells the lightweights to “keep fighting.” Wrzosek tries to pound out his fallen opponent, but Teymur regains his wits after the flash knockdown and pushes Wrzosek back to guard. The “Polish Zombie” advances to side control again, but Teymur rolls out the other side and back to his feet. As soon as Wrzosek gets up, it’s Teymur driving forward and taking him to the mat. Teymur gets in a few good punches to the face and a knee to the body before Wrzosek stands to end a close first frame.

“Solid round, boys,” McGregor says with his first words since the opening horn.

Teymur swings a high kick over Wrzosek’s head and gets a left hook upstairs as he turns around. Another takedown for Teymur puts Wrzosek on his back in the middle of the cage. As they scramble, however, Teymur grabs an ineffective headlock and gets driven to the ground himself. Now it’s Wrzosek on top with three minutes left in the round, but he’s soon swept by Teymur. Referee Jason Herzog calls for action and doesn’t get it, so he brings the fighters back up with two minutes on the clock.

Wrzosek hits a double-leg and pushes Teymur to the fence, where the fighters stand up again. Teymur is warned for grabbing Wrzosek’s shorts in the clinch and they soon disengage. A hard leg kick lands for Teymur, then a stiff knee to the gut. Wrzosek tries to rush him against the cage and gets another knee to the body, then backs off. Wrzosek catches Teymur’s last leg kick of the round and converts it to a takedown before the horn.

McGregor believes a third round is imminent, but the judges have reached a verdict. Judge Junichiro Kamijo sees the bout as a 19-19 draw, but he is overruled by judges Lester Griffin and Glenn Trowbridge, who give the bout 20-18 to the winner by majority decision, Marcin Wrzosek.

There’s no time to waste, so it’s straight on to the last quarterfinal of the season: Team Europe’s Abner Lloveras versus the last remaining Team USA representative, Julian Erosa.

Coach Urijah Faber praises Erosa for his “speed, elusivity and body awarenesss,” but Lloveras sees things another way.

“Julian, you like to run too much,” says Lloveras, wagging a finger at the camera. “This time, you’re gonna fight. I promise you.”

True to his word, Lloveras gets straight in the face of Erosa with a burst of punches. The rangy Erosa fends him off with long kicks, but Lloveras keeps pressuring, firing leg kicks when he can’t get into the pocket. Lloveras backs up Erosa to the fence and moves him around the outside. Erosa steps out to the center and finds a home for a couple clean right hands. The exchanges are getting a little wilder now, both men clipping with shots. Lloveras catches a kick and makes Erosa pay with a right hand before releasing.

In the latter half of the round, Lloveras lights up Erosa with three or four hard hooks to the head in short order. Referee John McCarthy warns the fighters to mind the clash of heads when they duck inside to throw. Erosa is a little more tentative now, and when he does step into range, Lloveras is tagging him with right hooks. Lloveras shoots for a takedown in the final minute but Erosa sprawls all over it with a wide base against the cage. Lloveras switches to a single-leg, thinks twice as Erosa looks for a choke, then drives “Juicy J” to the canvas just before the end of the round.

Erosa puts on the pressure as round two begins, clipping Lloveras with a left high kick and backing him up to the fence with more punches. Left hooks are connecting for Erosa now, and now uppercuts start to get through. Lloveras shoots low, picks Erosa’s ankle but can’t keep the American on the ground. Another uppercut opens a messy cut on Lloveras’ forehead about two minutes into the frame. “Skullman” seems concerned with the laceration as the fight wears on, pawing at it and covering up as Erosa moves forward.

Erosa scores with another uppercut, denies a single-leg takedown and thumps Lloveras’ body with a big kick. A left hook gets Lloveras leaning one way, and Erosa greets him with a massive uppercut on the other side. Lloveras’ legs go out but he powers back to his feet with 40 seconds remaining. Erosa tried to finish but both men look exhausted and may have to conserve energy for a third round.

Sure enough, the judges declare the fight a draw, sending Erosa and Lloveras to a “sudden victory” round. Lloveras’ cut has been closed up, at least for the time being. He presses forward on Erosa, looking for a takedown, but the American denies it and reopens Lloveras’ cut with a knee to the face. Lloveras tries to clinch on the fence, gets pushed away and takes a punch to the gut. Ninety seconds in, another clinch from Lloveras puts Erosa’s back against the fence. Erosa slips out after 30 seconds and walks forward, straight into some arm punches from “Skullman.”

Lloveras looks spent as he backpedals away from Erosa with his hands low, while McGregor begs for some combinations from his fighter. Erosa uses long left hooks to step into range, then denies another shot when Lloveras gets hold of a single-leg. Lloveras tries another takedown, succeeds in planting Erosa on the mat but again can’t keep him there. Lloveras backs up again in the final minute, countering the incoming Erosa with left hooks but there doesn’t seem to be much behind them. This one will be decided by the judges.

Judge Kamijo scores the final round 10-9 Lloveras, but he is once again overruled by judges Griffin and Trowbridge, who saw it 10-9 for the winner by split decision, Julian Erosa.

“That’s disgraceful, that is,” says McGregor, displeased with the decision. Knockout machine Artem Lobov believes the judges got it wrong, too, and tells UFC President Dana White that he’ll gladly fight Erosa in the semifinals. Meanwhile, coach Faber is happy that he’s still “got a horse in the game.”

Next week’s semifinals are announced, and the final episode will see Lobov versus Erosa and Wrzosek versus Saul Rogers.

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