The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber: Episode 5 Review‏

tuf22_

Last week, Team Europe’s Marcin Wrzosek won a unanimous decision over Team USA’s Tom Gallicchio. The victory made Wrzosek the first European to advance to the quarter-finals and put Team Europe on the scoreboard.

Now with matchmaking control, McGregor has selected Saul Rogers (10-1) to take on Billy Quarantillo (6-1).

Englishman Rogers, 25, went 6-0 as an amateur fighter before turning professional in 2011. Since then, he has amassed a record of 10-1, including a controversial split decision victory over current teammate Artem Lobov. Rogers submitted Dutch scrapper Paulo Boer by rear-naked choke in Episode 1 to earn his place on Team Europe, and he fancies his chances of repeating that success against Quarantillo.

“I actually don’t believe that he believes that he’s confident,” Rogers said of his opponent. “I think he’s scared. I don’t think he wants to be in there with me. As soon as I land a hand on him I think he’ll want out.”

Quarantillo, 26, has a professional record of 6-1. The Floridian looked like he was on the way out in Episode 1 when he had his back mounted for the majority of the first round against Brandon Ricetti. Quarantillo managed to flip the script in round two, though, taking Ricetti’s back and winning by TKO to earn his spot in the house. Although the Team Faber representative ranks Rogers among the best of the European fighters, he believes he has what it takes to finish the experienced Englishman.

“I put Saul with one of their top few guys, but I definitely don’t think he’s unbeatable or a bad matchup for me,” Quarantillo said. “I think it’s a great matchup for me and I’m super excited to put those UFC gloves back on and go and put this guy away in front of my friends and family.”

Saul Rogers (10-1) vs. Billy Quarantillo (6-1)
The fight opens with both fighters landing some decent strikes. Around the 40 second mark, Quarantillo shoots for a sloppy takedown that has Urijah Faber asking, “What the hell?”. Clearly, this was not part of the game plan. Once the fight hits the mat, Quarantillo looks lost. Rogers controls his opponent with ease from top position, landing strikes at will. Quarantillo manages to work his way back to his feet a couple of times midway through the round, but Rogers secures the body lock and dumps the American back to the canvas. Rogers does not seem overly concerned with improving his position. He passes up multiple opportunities to advance to side control and mount in favour of landing strikes from half guard and open guard. Rogers takes Quarantillo’s back and briefly works for a rear-naked choke but loses position and resumes punishing his opponent from on top. Quarantillo gets back to his feet in the dying seconds of the round, but there’s no time to land anything significant before the bell.

Between rounds, Faber warns Quarantillo not to shoot any more silly takedowns.

Round two gets under way with some aggressive striking from both guys. 20 seconds in, Rogers nails a takedown and dumps Quarantillo to his back. You can almost hear Faber’s heart sink. Rogers is raining down shots from that familiar top position again. Quarantillo manages to roll under for a leglock attempt, but Rogers defends and finishes on top once more. Rogers lands shots from guard again. He briefly passes to mount midway through the round, exercising total control over his overwhelmed opponent. The Englishman turns up the heat at the end of the round looking for the finish, but Quarantillo hangs on for the bell.

Rogers takes the victory in the most dominant performance of the season so far. The one-sided nature of the bout is reflected in the judges scorecards: 20-16, 20-17, 20-17.

Team McGregor retains matchmaking control and selects Frenchman Mehdi Baghdad (11-3) against Julian Erosa (14-2) for next weeks eliminator.

Check back in with SevereMMA.com next week to see how the season plays out.