‘TUF 22’ Recap: Episode 8

By Mike Sloan Nov 11, 2015
This week’s episode features two fights, and first up is Conor McGregor protégée Artem Lobov versus Team USA’s James Jenkins.

McGregor and Lobov are giddy with anticipation for the matchup. The UFC interim featherweight titlist is predicting all sorts of mayhem and expects a knockout when his pupil fights the American. Meanwhile, Lobov briefly chronicles how his family fled Russia for Ireland, how his father’s work ethic has translated to him and how he loves to fight.

Jenkins and Team USA coach Urijah Faber are equally excited about the fight, though “The California Kid” doesn’t appear quite as confident as his coaching counterpart.

“We are going to see, probably, a bloody mess,” Faber tells the audience, but a tinge of doubt is behind his words.

Both fighters weigh in without a hiccup, and soon it’s time for the fisticuffs to begin. Lobov begins the match with a series of stinging leg kicks, keeping the American at bay. Jenkins cracks Lobov with a sharp right to the face, rocking the Russian-born slugger toward the cage. However, Lobov quickly recovers and begins his assault.

Lobov drops his foe with a quick lead right, but Jenkins springs back to his feet. The punch clearly gets the American’s attention, as Jenkins quickly becomes gun shy. Lobov picks up on this and drops his gloves to his side as he walks forward, all the while popping his opponent with rights and lefts to the noggin. After Jenkins receives a laceration over his right eye, he becomes desperate, which makes him incredibly sloppy -- something for which Lobov was hoping.

Finally, Jenkins leaps in with a reckless overhand and ends up running into a perfectly timed right hook. Jenkins crumbles in a heap, unable to fend off the ruthless pounding that ensues. Finally, the fight is stopped and Lobov records the first knockout of the season.

Since two fights will be televised on tonight’s episode, there is little time to showcase the celebration from Team McGregor. Almost immediately, it’s time to move on to the next fight announcement, where “The Notorious” opts to match Sweden’s David Teymur against Johnny Nunez.

On fight day, McGregor doesn’t show up at 4:00 p.m. when the fights are scheduled to start. At 4:15, the Nevada Athletic Commission demands the fight begin, so Teymur and Nunez get things going.

After a rather sloppy opening minute where both fighters miss ill-advised strikes, Nunez shoots in, but he’s stuffed. Teymur crushes a few knees into the American’s body, causing Nunez to curl up and fall onto his back. The Swede pounces immediately, looking to add to his teammate’s previous stoppage.

Teymur is tuning his foe like a piano while the ref warns Nunez to fight back. Finally, just as the fight is seemingly about to be halted, Nunez scrambles out of danger and springs back to his feet. From there, Nunez scores a few takedowns, gets to full mount and rallies late in the frame, though it’s not enough to steal the round.

After a few minutes of little action in the second, with Nunez trying like hell to get his adversary to the ground, he finally lands a takedown. Nunez gets to mount again after relentless pressure, but he is unable to do any damage from the position. Teymur eventually scrambles to his feet, where the pair exchange some decent strikes until the horn. Nunez’s ground control allow him to win the stanza, so the fight goes to a “sudden victory” round.

Just as the third round is about to begin, McGregor shows up. Nunez is looking a little winded early but he’s still gunning for the takedown. Teymur backs away from a wild overhand right that glances off his head, but as Nunez is stumbling forward, his momentum allows him be tagged by a short left hook behind the ear. The punch short-circuits his brain, causing Nunez to stagger into the cage and then drop onto his back. Nunez instinctively turtles up while Teymur slams punches on him, but the Swede can’t get the stoppage before he expels the remainder of his gas tank.

They eventually wind up on their feet, but with both men on the verge of collapsing due to exhaustion, the action is sparse and extremely sloppy. In the final minute, Nunez inadvertently lands in side control after Teymur misses a guillotine. “Johnny Boy” scoots to his foe’s back and fishes for the rear-naked choke, but he has nothing left. Completely sapped of energy after he moves to full mount, Nunez rides out the remaining 20 seconds on Teymur’s chest and loses a unanimous decision.

Faber tells the camera that he knew his team was the Bad News Bears and it will be an uphill battle for the rest of the season. The former world champ is visibly frustrated and sullen with how things have unfolded before his eyes.

Next week, the remaining two fighters -- Spain’s Abner Lloveras and America’s Jason Gonzalez -- are set to lock horns before one of the opening-round victors is sent home for having the least impressive win.


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