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We're closing in on the end of The Ultimate Fighter 22, and tonight's new episode brings the final two bouts in the quarterfinal round. Next Wednesday brings the semifinals to finally reveal which lightweights will fight to become the latest Ultimate Fighter winner. On to the rundown.
It's been all Team Europe this season, and Team U.S. has just one man left standing in Julian Erosa. But before his fight with Abner Lloveras tonight, David Teymur and Marcin Wrzosek from Conor McGregor's team will square off to send the third Team Europe competitor to the semifinals.
-Dana White talks up both Teymur and Wrzosek, and we waste no time getting right into the cage.
FIGHT: DAVID TEYMUR VS. MARCIN WRZOSEK
ROUND ONE: Teymur worked his kicks early, landing a few to the legs and body. Wrzosek connected with a right hand, then blocked a head kick attempt. Solid work blocking from both early on, with neither landing a ton. They traded some decent strikes. Wrzosek connected on a few right hands. Teymur caught a kick and threw a hard one to Wrzosek's back leg. Teymur landed a hard body kick, then got dropped by a right hand from Wrzosek. Eerily quiet given it was two teammates fighting; no instruction being shouted out to either fighter. Teymur recovered and tried to get to his feet, but Wrzosek held him down and worked into side control. Teymur then scrambled up and landed a knee to the body to separate. Teymur then ducked in with a shot and took Wrzosek down. Teymur connected on a few hard punches as Wrzosek tried to work in his guard. He finally scrambled up and got to his feet, eating a knee to the body against the cage as he did. Teymur landed a push kick to the body, but a head kick attempt got caught and he got taken down. They got back up and traded hard punches, followed by Teymur landing two hard body kicks. Wrzosek landed a couple more combinations before the horn. Wrzosek won enough of the round in conjunction with the knock down to take it.
ROUND TWO: Teymur went back to the body kick early. He caught a kick and landed a few to the back leg before throwing a few punches behind it. They traded, then Teymur shot in and scored a takedown a minute into the frame. Wrzosek scrambled out and Teymur went for an anaconda choke and gator roll, only to wind up on his back with Wrzosek on top. Wrzosek passed to mount and landed a few strikes before Teymur escaped to half guard. Wrzosek threw some body strikes, then got swept. Teymur threw a few strikes in Wrzosek's guard as Conor McGregor yelled out "keep them nice and busy, ref." They slowed from there and were stood up with two minutes left. They traded strikes, and then Teymur pulled guard. He got warned for a back of the head elbow. He got himself to the cage and scrambled up, but Wrzosek held the clinch. They traded knees before separating. Teymur landed a kick to the outside leg. Wrzosek landed one inside. They traded kicks and Wrzosek initiated a brief clinch. Teymur backed him off with a couple kicks. Wrzosek scored one last takedown before the horn. Probably Wrzosek's fight, but it wasn't all that great.
-McGregor thought there should have been a third round, but we have a decision, and it should be Wrzosek's victory here.
WINNER: Wrzosek via majority decision
-Teymur said it wasn't his day and he wasn't himself, but he wished the best for his teammate moving on in the competition.
-And it seems we're wasting no time moving on to the next fight. McGregor thinks Erosa's one note as a fighter, and thinks Lloveras is going to take this one easily. Faber believes Erosa's got the speed and awareness, and Lloveras will have a hard time hitting him in the fight.
Lloveras: "Julian like to run too much. This time, you're gonna fight. I promise you."
FIGHT: JULIAN EROSA VS. ABNER LLOVERAS
ROUND ONE: Lloveras tried to close distance early. Erosa landed a push kick to the face. He avoided a takedown and landed a kick. Lloveras threw a front kick to the body of his own. They traded, with Lloveras getting the better of the exchange. Lloveras landed a couple inside leg kicks. Lloveras landed a right hand to the body. Erosa connected on a few strikes. He landed a knee but ate a counter right. Lloveras connected on some hard strikes in combination. He caught a kick and landed a few more. Lloveras landed several kicks to the body. Erosa had a kick blocked. Lloveras landed another major combination, with Erosa showing zero defense. Lloveras went high on a kick that was blocked. Erosa got in with a solid left hook. Lloveras blasted him with a right hook. Erosa tried to press in, then Lloveras ducked under a strike and tried to complete a takedown. Erosa defended the takedown well. He got in some elbows to the side of the head with his back on the cage. Lloveras finally completed the takedown just before the horn. Easily Lloveras' round there.
ROUND TWO: Erosa landed a right hand early. He blocked a head kick, but ate a hard jab as he walked forward. Erosa got in with a partially blocked head kick, then followed with a right before a brief clinch. Erosa continued pressing forward, and he landed a solid jab. Erosa got in with a left hook. Lloveras missed a few strikes. Erosa kept moving forward. Lloveras landed a couple jabs. He shot for an ankle, and Erosa quickly moved up. Lloveras got cut open off a nice uppercut. They traded strikes. Erosa pressed in with a right hand. Lloveras missed a few strikes, as Erosa was doing much better with his head movement this round. Lloveras then landed a couple jabs and a body kick. Erosa fired out a few strikes. He landed the uppercut again. Erosa circled around. He missed a strike and nearly got taken down, then ate a big right hand at the cage before circling out. Lloveras landed a hard right hand with a minute left,. Erosa rocked Lloveras with an uppercut after eating a strike. Lloveras worked to his feet, but ate a knee. Erosa stalked and tried to catch him, but Lloveras covered up and moved well. Lloveras landed a left hand. He got in a couple jabs. Erosa landed a push kick at the horn. Evened up here, and we get a third round.
ROUND THREE: Both missed strikes early. Lloveras shot in, but Erosa got free. He landed a nice knee with a right hand behind it. Lloveras grabbed a body lock and went for the takedown, but Erosa held him off on the cage nicely. Erosa tried to stalk, but ate a hard jab for his troubles. They traded punches, then Lloveras grabbed another clinch. Erosa again held off the takedown attempt well. Erosa snuck out and separated. He missed an uppercut. Lloveras connected on a couple strikes. Faber called for body kicks, though Erosa continued just throwing push kicks to the lead leg. They traded jabs. Erosa landed a hard left hand. Hard leg kick from Erosa. He connected on a few in combination, then continued pressing forward. He landed a hard outside leg kick. Erosa held off another takedown attempt easily. Erosa landed a left hand. Lloveras put Erosa down, but Erosa immediately popped up. Erosa landed a straight left. Lloveras landed a kick to the body. Erosa tried to chase him down. He landed a left. He got in a knee. Erosa scored a brief takedown, then landed a left as they stood. Erosa landed one more push kick at the horn. Could honestly go either way here.
-Both coaches conceded the first to Abner and the second to Erosa, but obviously believed their fighter won the third. It was certainly close, lots of forward movement from Erosa and backing up from Lloveras, but Lloveras seemed to have a bit more offense overall. Close round. Dana White thought both "fought their asses off."
WINNER: Erosa via split decision
-McGregor shook his head at the decision, saying the decision was "disgraceful." Lloveras said after the loss that it might be time for him to retire at 32-years-old. He was extremely dejected, understandably so.
-Team U.S. has one man still left standing in Erosa, and he's on the radar for the European guys, specifically Artem Lobov, who asked Dana White to give him that fight next so he could knock him out.
-White makes the announcement for the semifinal bouts, and Artem gets his wish. The semifinals pit Saul Rogers against Marcin Wrzosek, and Artem Lobov faces Julian Erosa.
Lobov to Erosa while staring down: "Christmas is over, no more presents."
-That's another week in the books for The Ultimate Fighter 22. Next week brings the season to an end, and Jose Aldo will make an appearance in the gym to square off with McGregor. Tune in right here for our recap, and live coverage on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for the UFC's back-to-back-to-back week of events!
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