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TUF Recap: Two Europeans Progress to the Semifinals

Fightland Blog

By Peter Carroll

The tenth episode of the season opened up with a somber note as Chris Gruetzemacher dealt with the news of being withdrawn from the quarterfinals as the least impressive performer in the preliminary rounds. Faber tells the emotional ‘Gritz’ and his teammates to use the situation as a lesson to be ready for everything in the sport of MMA.

Although he successfully booked his place in the quarterfinals where he was set to meet Artem Lobov, Martin Svensson revealed that he was unable “to use or move” his arm after an incident occurred when he took the back of Thanh Le in their preliminary matchup. Le latched on to a straight armbar from his defensive position, which seems to be the technique that did the damage to the Swede.

Shortly after Dana White revealed that “Martin is out with a broken elbow”, which immediately saw ‘Gritz’ pushed in to take his place against ‘The Russian Hammer.’ Lobov claimed that the change of opponent “means nothing” to him.

Dana White threw the whole cast of the series a pool party based on their hard work in the house with an assortment of “nice, friendly women” to help them enjoy themselves. Five days later, the quarterfinals got underway.

Gruetzemacher did well to close the distance on Lobov when the action commenced in the first quarterfinal. The Team USA fighter landed some decent kicks to body and legs of Lobov but ate some of the Russians signature looping punches, which already had him bloodied by the time the bout was stopped for a low shot on the SBG man just shy of the two-minute mark.

The American upped his speed after the stoppage and did well to keep Lobov guessing by constantly shifting his striking distance between long range and inside the clinch.  Lobov wore a cut over his left eye by the time the first round ended.

Midway through the second round a left hand from Lobov forced a telling a grimace from ‘Gritz’. Noticing it, ‘The Russian Hammer’ poured on three more of the same shots before Gruetzemacher hit the deck. Although he let the American back to his feet, two more left hands saw him fall again and ‘Big’ John McCarthy only allowed one more shot on the grounded American before he called a stop to the action.

As soon as the bout was stopped McGregor scaled the fence to celebrate with his teammate while Dana White looked on and said: “That was an awesome fight, holy shit!”

In what will undoubtedly be one of the quotes of the season, speaking after his bout Lobov explained: “It’s all fun and games until you jaw crumbles under ‘The Russian Hammer.’”

In the second quarterfinal bout, Saul Rogers looked to be the first man to stop the aggressive leg locks of Ryan Hall, who submitted both of his two opponents on the series by first round heel hook. Footage from Rogers’ preparations showed him training with black belts Arek Sternalski and Gunnar Nelson in Hall’s favorite 50/50 position.

Jiu jitsu ace Hall kicked Rogers’ body and legs as the Englishman looked to explode over distance. The SBG Manchester man had some great success with his straight right hand, sending the American flying against the fence on a few occasions. Every time his kicks to the Team Europe man’s body were caught, Hall would immediately look to pull guard to begin his leg lock game. When he tried to use the same heel hook entry as he used against Frantz Slioa, Rogers shook his head before blasting him with another straight right hand.

Hall forced the action to the canvas with an explosive guard pull in the first minute of the second round, but Rogers managed to control him and stand back up after about 30 seconds. After a telegraphed shot from Hall, Rogers put him straight back down to the floor with a right hand after he sprung up off the Brit’s sprawl. Hall constantly looked to take the action to the deck and at one stage he looked close to isolating an arm as he moved from a kimura into an armbar before Rogers escaped again. Although he continued to force Rogers to defend on the ground, the Team Europe man looked at ease and finished the round with a massive right hand just before the bell.

One judge scored the bout a round each, but Rogers won by unanimous decision as two judges penciled him as the winner of rounds one and two.

“It feels good to get the win against a dangerous opponent. I mean, it’s not my best performance, but I’m happy to get the win,” said Rogers speaking after the bout.

The episode finished out with McGregor teasing Faber about only having one guy left in the competition, Julian Erosa, as two Europeans will face off in the final quarterfinal matchup.

“Two good fights, two dominant fight. Team Europe, Team McGregor,” the interim featherweight champion told the camera crew to close out the episode.

On next week’s episode, the final quarterfinal bouts pitting Marcin Wrzosek versus David Teymur and Abner Lloveras versus Julian Erosa will be contested.

 

Check out these related stories:

TUF Recap: Quarterfinal Bouts Made as the Worst Performing Winner Exits

TUF Recap: “A Russian-Irishman Always Keeps his Word”

TUF Recap: Absinthe Sees Team USA Spill Over, Team Europe Regains Parity

 

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