The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber: Episode 9 Review‏‏‏

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Last time out, David Teymur became the fifth European to advance to the quarterfinals, taking the eighth spot. Usually, of course, there are only eight places in a quarterfinal, but the return of Artem Lobov and Johnny Nunez to the competition in Episode 1 means there will be one more fight to decide the ninth and final spot. Then, the quarterfinalist deemed to have qualified in the least entertaining fashion will be cut from the competition.

This week’s fight features 25-year-old Jason Gonzalez (9-2) from California and 32-year-old Abner Lloveras (19-7-1) of Barcelona. Gonzalez fought his way into the house when he delivered a shot to the liver of his opponent Tim Welch in Episode 1. Lloveras is a decorated boxer and kickboxer, who fought past the previously undefeated German Vladimir Sikic, to remain in the competition.

Before the action got underway there was time for a coaches challenge. This particular challenge involved McGregor and Faber dropping watermelons from a helicopter onto a target located on the ground below. Points between 10 and 100 were on offer depending on how accurately the coaches could nail the target. There was $10,000 on offer for the winning coach, and $1,500 for each of his team. Unfortunately for the Dubliner and his European team, Faber demonstrated superior watermelon tekkers and the prize went to the yanks.

Back to the action and, as has been the case for every bout so far this season, both fighters come in on weight.

Jason Gonzalez (9-2) vs. Abner Lloveras (19-7-1)
They waste no time in getting down to it. There are three headkicks fired in the opening seconds along with an array of punches and elbows. Lloveras, a brown belt in BJJ, shoots for the first takedown but struggles getting Gonzalez to the mat. The American shows very solid takedown defence and, after about a minute-long struggle against the fence, Lloveras gives up. Gonzalez gives the Spaniard absolutely no time to recover any of the energy expended from the attempted takedown and launches after him with a barrage of punches and kicks to the head and knees to the body. Lloveras is bloodied and in survival mode. He shoots for a leg again, but Gonzalez defends easily and punishes him with a knee to the body. Gonzalez is firing hard, hard shots at Lloveras. Lloveras shoots for a third attempted takedown, and Gonzalez defends again. Lloveras presses his younger opponent against the cage and looks for a body lock. At the two minute mark, Lloveras finally succeeds in tripping his opponent to the canvas. He lands on top of Gonzalez in full mount. Faber can be heard to say, “this is bad news”, as Lloveras postures up and starts to drop shots. Lloveras remains in mount for the final two minutes of the round, raining down elbows and fists on the face of his opponent. Gonzalez makes a few attempts to bridge and roll, but the Spaniard remains stable on top. Lloveras passes up opportunities for various submissions in favour of beating his opponent up. The last fifteen seconds are particularly brutal, but Gonzalez is saved by the bell, and we go to a second round.

The first minute of round two sees a fairly even battle on the feet. Lloveras has the cleaner hands, but Gonzalez is throwing the harder shots. There is real venom behind the American’s kicks and he is throwing the high kick with impressive accuracy. A little over a minute into the round, Lloveras shoots at Gonzalez’s legs. It takes him 20 – 30 seconds, but he eventually gets the American to the mat and establishes full mount again. Lloveras spends about 90 seconds on top before Gonzalez manages to kick off the cage and get back to his feet. Lloveras presses him against the fence, immediately looking for another takedown. With a little over a minute left, the Spaniard dumps Gonzalez to the mat again. Faber knows the writing is on the wall as McGregor instructs Lloveras to pass into side control. Gonzalez manages to kick away and stand up, but he is tired now and his takedown defence isn’t what it was in Round 1. Lloveras takes him down again and sees out the round landing punches from mount.

The bout is scored 20-18 by all three judges and Lloveras advances, making him the sixth European in the quarterfinals.

After the fight, Faber, McGregor, and Dana White get together to discuss which one of the nine fighters who advanced to the quarterfinals will be ejected based on performance. The two names that are discussed are Martin Svensson of Team Europe and Chris Gruetzemacher of Team USA. Since Svensson got the finish in his fight and Gruetzemacher did not, the decision is not a difficult one to make. Gruetzemacher is out.

The matchups for the four remaining fights are announced and they are as follows:

QF1: Artem Lobov (11-10-1) vs. Martin Svensson (14-5)
QF2: Saul Rogers (10-1) vs. Ryan Hall (4-1)
QF3: Marcin Wrzosek (10-2) vs. David Teymur (3-1)
QF4: Abner Lloveras (19-7-1) vs. Julian Erosa (14-2)

Check back in with SevereMMA.com next week to see how the quarterfinals play out.