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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
We're winding down to the end of this season of The Ultimate Fighter, and we kick off the quarterfinals in tonight's new episode. On to the rundown!
-Chris Gruetzemacher is taking Dana White's decision to keep him out of the quarterfinals hard, but he's in luck, as Martin Svensson is badly hurt out of his fight with Thanh Le. He got caught in a straight armlock attempt that hurt his elbow badly, and it actually broke despite him coming back to win. That brings Gruetzemacher back into the fold, and he'll fight Artem Lobov in the quarterfinals. Conor McGregor thinks Lobov wins that fight with a knockout inside one.
-Svensson was resigned to what happened, but he was obviously disappointed. He said it was ten years of hard work just taken away in that one instance.
-Back at the house, the guys are welcomed by Dana White and a house full of women. Dana said they all fought their asses off in the opening round, and because of that they threw them a pool party. Alright then. Debauchery surely ensued, though they showed just a small part of the proceedings.
-Back to the fight. Dana said that Gruetzemacher's fight to get in the house was impressive, but his preliminary fight wasn't. Also, given Gruetzemacher had never been knocked out into the show, he thinks Lobov scoring a KO finish would be a statement victory for him.
FIGHT: ARTEM LOBOV VS. CHRIS GRUETZEMACHER
ROUND ONE: McGregor called out instructions to Lobov early on. He connected on a short combo. Gruetzemacher got in a solid body kick. He tried to cover up as Lobov came in. Gruetzemacher tried to close the distance but got hit by several strikes. He landed a body kick, but ate a counter-strike. They traded kicks, and Lobov connected on a couple strikes. He landed a right hand as Gruetzemacher came in. He landed another combination with his back on the cage. Gruetzemacher went for a clinch but hit Lobov low with a knee. Gruetzemacher was bloodied up badly as they restarted. He threw a couple kicks and tried to rush, but got hit with a couple more strikes. Lobov landed a nice combination to the body and head. He kept his hands low with no respect for Gruetzemacher's striking. Lobov continued teeing off as Gruetzemacher tried to play aggressor. Lobov did a nice job mixing his punches to the body and head. Gruetzemacher landed a hard knee and some elbows up against the cage. He backed out, but pressed back in for some more. Lobov landed a couple uppercuts. Lobov's strikes started to look a bit labored. Gruetzemacher rushed back in and scored some elbows in the clinch before backing out with a kick. Lobov was cut by his left eye after that exchange. Gruetzemacher landed a couple knees to the body. Lobov's round, but Gruetzemacher was having some success down the stretch as Lobov seemed to tire out.
ROUND TWO: Gruetzemacher threw a couple of leg kicks to start. He got into the body and blocked a counter. Lobov landed a couple of punches. He landed a hard kick to the body of his own. He peppered Gruetzemacher as the American tried to get in close. Lobov got in some body strikes. Gruetzemacher landed a good right hand. Gruetzemacher connected on a hard right hand near the cage. He landed a knee out of a clinch. Lobov connected to the body. Gruetzemacher started putting his strikes together a bit, and he was having some success. He landed a nice knee to the body and a hard elbow out of a brief clinch. Gruetzemacher was connecting on a lot of jabs. Lobov landed a power right. Lobov started walking Gruetzemacher down, but wasn't really finding a home for his strikes. He finally found his range and dropped Gruetzemacher. The American got to his feet, but was getting rocked badly. He was wobbled and finally went down and out. Lobov got one more strike in on the ground. Gruetzemacher was starting to get himself into the fight in that round, but when you get tagged like he did with that first left hand, it's hard to recover, especially when those hits keep coming.
WINNER: Lobov via KO in the second round
-Looks like we're getting at least two fights on this episode, which makes sense. Lobov gave Gruetzemacher credit for being a tougher fight than he expected. Gruetzeacher had to struggle with his first KO loss.
-Our second fight of the night will be Ryan Hall against Saul Rogers. Hall laughed off the idea that they could prepare for his heel hooks, but said he has a lot more in his game that they're not going to expect. Rogers felt he was comfortable with Hall's biggest strength, and believes he's got the better overall game and is extremely well rounded.
Rogers: "I know what he's going to try to do, and I'm going to knock him out for even attempting to rip my knee out."
FIGHT: RYAN HALL VS. SAUL ROGERS
ROUND ONE: Hall looked to begin with kicks, while Rogers landed a couple counter strikes early. Hall went high with a kick that was blocked. He blocked a big right hand from Rogers himself. Hall dropped to his back when a head kick was caught, but Rogers wouldn't follow. He again tried to goad him down off a body kick to no avail. Rogers landed a combo. They traded punches. Rogers landed to the body. Hall missed a side kick to the head. Things slowed a little bit. Hall nearly poked Rogers in the eye, leading to a warning to keep his hands up. Hall tried to grab for a throw, but Rogers nicely snuck behind him and then separated. Hall tried to roll for a leg but was forced to get back up. Rogers landed a hard right hand. Neither did much in the final minute. Probably Rogers' round, but neither did much of anything.
ROUND TWO: They pick up where they left off, with little going on. Hall shot in, then pulled guard when he couldn't score the takedown. Very little was going on there, and Rogers eventually escaped to his feet. Rogers rocked Hall with a right hand that briefly dropped him, but Hall hopped up. He rolled for a leg, but Rogers made sure to get up quickly. Rogers then grabbed for a single leg out of nowhere. Hell grabbed for an arm, but Rogers again broke free and got to his feet. Rogers landed a short combo. Hall threw a kick that was blocked. Hell again rolled for a leg, only for Rogers to get out. Rogers clinched and pulled guard, but Rogers again popped up free. Rogers pulled guard again with just over a minute left. Rogers landed some elbows from Hall's guard. Hall wasn't having any success working off his back. Hall attacked for a triangle, but Rogers popped out and made him stand again. Rogers landed a hard right hand at the horn. This is going to be Rogers' fight. Despite his pre-fight bravado, he had nothing on the feet for Rogers and couldn't do much in trying to get the fight to the ground. Stylistic nightmare in this one for him, and for a one-dimensional guy that's not good enough.
WINNER: Rogers via majority decision
-McGregor said Rogers used what they trained to defend the attempts to pull him to the ground. Rogers didn't think it was his best performance, but he was happy to get the win. Hall expressed his gratitude for the opportunity and took the loss as a learning opportunity.
-Both Faber and McGregor were happy with what they felt were good fights on the season, though obviously McGregor's got a lot more to be happy about with a guaranteed three European guys in the semifinals, as Julian Erosa is the last man standing from the Americans into next week's final quarterfinal bouts.
That's the show for this week! We'll be back next week for the penultimate episode of the season as we get ever closer to the finale on Dec. 11.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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