It’s a whole new season and Conor McGregor is the reason, as he and Urijah Faber go toe to toe as coaching foes on The Ultimate Fighter. They won’t duke it out after the season is done, but there’s still pride on the line, not to mention Conor’s reputation as the newest badass on the block.
Join us each episode for “The Notorious Quote of the Week” as Conor puts his mouth where UFC’s money is! We’ll also spice things up with some predictions for week two about who could go all the way this season – two “Fighters to Watch” for each recap.
The Notorious Quote of the Week is Conor McGregor at the bar: “Is this the menu? That’s it? Just give me everything – thanks.”
Marcin Wrzosek handed the U.S. team their first loss last week with a two round decision. Team Europe is going to try to capitalize by having Saul Rogers face Billy Quarantillo. Rogers is more experienced so UFC is promoting it as an “upset” if Quarantillo wins.
McGregor on why he picked Rogers: “I paid attention to whose energy is right, whose body is right, who’s ready to go.” He felt Saul was showing all the signs of being ready. Meanwhile at the house Tom Gallicchio makes no excuses for losing his fight last week. He admits he was beaten by the better man.
Saul Rogers talks about his two kids, and he says the one thing he hopes to impart to them is “Whatever you love doing stick with it” because that’s his approach to fighting. He also says he doesn’t make a game plan for opponents – he just tries to be as sharp as he can be for each opponent.
McGregor shows his team some takedown techniques, and says the position of the head when you’re clinched up is the key. Everybody’s happy with the drilling but apparently after the commercial break he takes them all out for SAKE BOMBS.
Billy Quarantillo talks about how he got hooked the first time he learned a submission, and that he feels like Rogers won’t want to stand and trade with him. Faber: “Billy has a lot of tenacity and he tries really hard, but his technique is far behind.” Faber gives him some personal instruction on how to move off his back and get good positions.
Martin Svensson and Mehdi Baghdad are both thrilled to be learning from the best fighter in the world. Going out for drinks turned out to be a c–ktease – nobody gets crazy. I have to be honest that 20 minutes into the show this isn’t a great episode.
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Rogers and Quarantillo are my “Fighters to Watch” this week just because nobody else is standing out or doing noteworthy. Svensson may have had more lines than anybody else this episode but all he says is McGregor is great and Rogers is great. Yawn.
McGregor is teaching Team Europe more techniques for staying balanced on your feet when someone has your leg high in the air. Saul weighs in at 156. Quarantillo weighs in at 155 even. Both teams are equally confident in their man.
Finally something interesting is happening – Chris Gruetzemacher is starting to crack under the pressure of being on the show. He says he misses his coaches, his lifestyle, his ability to take time away FROM training when he wants. He’s saying he wants out in the worst way.
Lightweight: Saul Rogers (Europe) vs. Billy Quarantillo (USA)
Rogers is in the gray trunks, Quarantillo the blue. There are 22 minutes left so we’re in for at least two full rounds. Quanantillo’s first takedown is stuffed and Rogers is on top in half guard as it goes to the ground. Rogers hammers away with unchecked lefts to the head as he tries to get up, and nearly throws him back to the ground. Quarantillo is warned not to grab the fence. Rogers is on top again in half guard with 2 minutes gone and stands up to drop bombs, then he’s the one warned not to grab the fence. Rogers takes the back as they scramble and McGregor warns him not to rush and keep his position – but he does and winds up on top of Quarantillo as he tries to keep distance with butterfly guard. Rogers finally pushes his way back into full guard and almost finishes R1 in side but Quarantillo gets back up right before the bell. 10-9 Rogers.
Rogers has a takedown 21 seconds into R2. Quarantillo is warned about fingers in his face. He tries to heel hook Rogers but Rogers just gets back on top in guard. I don’t feel like we’re going to a third round unless Quarantillo does something crazy… and soon. Rogers takes his back halfway through the round, Quarantillo stands up off it, and Rogers takes him right back down. He’s got side at 3:15. Rogers is really pouring it on with hammers and elbows against the fence with 30 seconds left. Quarantillo never did anything.
Dana White: “He manhandled Billy. He showed he’s one of the favorites to win this thing.”
20-16, 20-17 and 20-17 all for Saul Rogers. McGregor announces Mehdi Baghdad (Europe) vs. Julian Erosa (U.S.) as his pick. Join us next week!