'TUF 22' Recap: Episode 3

By Mike Sloan Sep 23, 2015
Following the terse match between Ryan Hall and Frantz Slioa last week, it’s all smiles and confidence in the Team Europe camp, even though they’ve lost the opening match of the season.

Episode 3 begins with captain Conor McGregor speaking about his methods of coaching, and he reveals that he has his guys training twice a day: once in the morning and once at night.

But the catch is that McGregor only pops his head into the gym at night. Though he doesn’t give a detailed explanation as to why, he said that his assistants work with the reality show’s contestants on basic drills and conditioning in the morning, while the interim UFC featherweight champ heads the more grueling, technique-laden nightly routines.

Since Team Europe will be gearing up for Germany’s Sascha Sharma to fight next, McGregor breaks down his opponent, Chris Gruetzemacher, and he isn’t worried in the least. Sharma, meanwhile, is enthused and admits that he absolutely loves his teammates and working under McGregor’s tutelage.

The scene shifts into the house where Gruetzemacher, who is of Chilean descent, chronicles how his grandfather was held prisoner and tortured for years under Augusto Pinochet’s ruthless dictatorship. To make matters worse, he reveals that his own father was shot and killed when Gruetzemacher was only five years old. He grew up poor and had to turn to something to earn him a living, so beating people up became his profession.

Urijah Faber explains to the television audience that he is ready to push “Gritz” harder than ever and motivate him even more than he already is. Faber doesn’t seem too worried about Sharma as he picks apart his fighting style.

At night inside the house, it’s Sharma’s turn to wax nostalgic, though his reflections quickly become morose. He details how his father left their native India more than 30 years ago for Germany and when he was 11, he got an infection that led to an affliction called Guillain-Barre syndrome. Doctors didn’t expect the wheelchair-bound Sharma to survive, but even if he did, he’d never be able to walk again. It goes without saying that Sharma overcame the odds to make it to the “TUF 22” house.

After Faber and the rest of the coaches watch Team Alpha Male fighter T.J. Dillashaw tear up Renan Barao in their rematch at UFC on Fox 16, it’s time to get down to business. The following day at the weigh-in, McGregor and Faber continue their playful banter, but it eventually turns serious when, after praising Dillashaw for his performance, McGregor lays down the gospel.

McGregor tells Faber that he should fight Dillashaw for what he did, because he believes the bantamweight champ did his team wrong. McGregor’s opinion is that Faber took Dillashaw in, groomed and trained him, only to see him slap them all in the face by leaving to train with Duane Ludwig when the striking coach bolted the team to return to Denver. McGregor criticizes Dillashaw and tells Faber to man up and to fight him. McGregor then tells the camera that Dillashaw is a “pussy” for doing what he did and that Faber is one as well for not fighting his pupil.

Finally, it’s fight time and everybody is giddy with excitement. Sharma starts out well with some decent striking until he shoots in from too far away. “Gritz” fends it off and eventually gets a takedown of his own, only to fall into a deep triangle. Gruetzemacher fights through it and returns to his feet. The rest of the round sees the two trading knees in the clinch and exchanging takedowns. Sharma misses another triangle and then an omaplata late, but he looks much better on his feet than on his back.

Sharma takes some good momentum going into the second and lands some solid strikes early. Sharma inexplicably shoots in again from way too far out, which draws McGregor’s ire. After Sharma struggles to do anything on his back, McGregor begins yelling at him to stand up.

Finally, Sharma is able to scramble back up and lands a powerful overhand right to the face. McGregor gets out of his seat and yells: “Stay on your f---ing feet! Stay on your f---ing feet!” Of course, Sharma listens to the instructions perfectly and shoots in for another single, is routinely stuffed and quickly flattened out. As expected, Conor explodes in anger, which becomes even worse when Sharma gives his foe an armbar and almost taps. For the next few minutes, McGregor is shouting, yelling, cursing and begging Sharma to either stand up or stay up, all of which goes in one ear and out the other.

The fight goes to a third round and before the sudden victory frame begins, McGregor implores his pupil to stay on his feet. McGregor couldn’t have been clearer with his specific instructions, so Sharma follows the orders to a T and shoots in as soon as the round starts. From that point forward, Sharma continuously tries pulling guard and can’t -- or doesn’t want to -- get to his feet, which made McGregor so enraged that he basically stops coaching him. Greutzmacher emerges with the decision triumph, leaving McGregor red-faced with anger.

While Faber gushes and giggles like a schoolgirl about how McGregor lost his cool and how poorly Sharma followed instruction, McGregor is seething with frustration. Faber takes several digs at McGregor until he storms out of the gym with Dana White by his side.

For the next fight, Faber chooses “Toothless” Tom Gallicchio to fight Poland’s Marcin Wrzosek. Both coaches are excited about the matchup and McGregor again starts riding Faber about Dillashaw dissed his team. At the episode’s conclusion, McGregor lays into Sharma for his performance before the coming attraction for next week’s show begins to roll.

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