Find out who won on episode 10 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber and more in this week's recap.
On paper, it might seem like The Ultimate Fighter is an easy way to guarantee a future in the UFC, but the rigors of essentially a four-fight tournament over the course of six weeks can take a brutal toll on the body and mind and it's always tougher to make it through each round as injuries often mount.
Martin Svensson found that out the hard way this week, as the Swedish submission specialist saw his dream come to a catastrophic end after he felt numbness in his arm following his fight against Thanh Le a few weeks ago. Svensson was actually on the chopping block after the elimination round fights took place when coach Urijah Faber suggested that he was the weakest link of the nine fighters remaining in the competition. Conor McGregor and UFC President Dana White ultimately argued that a fighter who finished his opponent - no matter how good or bad his performance was up to that point - can't be eliminated in favor of somebody who didn't.
Unfortunately, Svensson was forced to go to the doctor this week and the scans revealed he suffered a broken elbow in the fight with Le and he would be forced out of the competition.
In his place steps American fighter Chris Gruetzemacher, who was just eliminated days ago as the ninth man out when the quarterfinal round matchups were made. Gruetzemacher was heartbroken to see his time on the show end without even being able to fight, but his rollercoaster week took a big turn for the better when he was allowed to return and face Artem Lobov in the first quarterfinal fight on the show this week.
"I thought I was out - they put me right back in!" Gruetzemacher said with excitement after being told he was given a second chance.
For his part, Lobov didn't seem to care much whether he was facing Svensson, Gruetzemacher or anybody else in the competition. Lobov is an ice cold killer in the Octagon, so it didn't matter who he was facing, as the strategy never changes for him.
"I'm going to prepare how I always prepare. I'm going to fight how I always fight," Lobov said.
With five days to go until the quarterfinal fights begin, White decided to treat the fighters to a pool party at The Ultimate Fighter house with a DJ, women, booze and barbecue to get their minds off the competition for at least a day. McGregor admits the fighters have been itching to do something other than eat, sleep and train, but it's not his place to do something like this, so he was glad White opted for a little relaxation before the next round of the tournament kicked off.
Of course, once the party was done, it was back to business as Lobov prepared to face Gruetzemacher while Saul Rogers got ready to battle submission specialist Ryan Hall.
Lobov was originally eliminated from the competition after a close, hard-fought loss to Mehdi Baghdad in the opening round but he's certainly made the most of his second chance and he did so again this week in the fight with Gruetzecher.
Lobov started the fight by using Gruetzemacher's aggressiveness against him, punishing the American with hard counter shots from the left and right side while using superior speed throughout the first few minutes of the round. Gruetzmacher was undeterred by the few shots Lobov landed as he continued to press forward and look for the clinch against the cage. His unrelenting style eventually took a toll on Lobov, who constantly looked to hit and circle away from the fence, and with only two minutes left to go in the round, it looked like the Team McGregor fighter was a little winded. Gruetzemacher looked to take advantage with some hard elbows landed on the inside during the clinch, and when the round came to an end, it was a tough five minutes to score.
The second round wasn't nearly as close, because as tired as Lobov looked at the end of the first round, he came out guns blazing in the second session. Lobov hammered Gruetzemacher with a hard series of shots that forced the Team Faber fighter to back up for the first time all night, and that gave the hard-hitting Russian-Irishman all the space he needed to land the fight-ending strikes. Lobov crushed Gruetzemacher with a left hand that sent him crashing to the canvas, and a few moments later he landed another shot that sent the American face first to the ground, forcing referee John McCarthy to stop the fight.
Artem Lobov is moving on to the semifinals with his second TKO victory.
In the other quarterfinal fight, Saul Rogers had to use superior takedown defense while guarding his legs to slip away from Ryan Hall over two rounds.
Both fighters are well known for their aggressive ground games, with Rogers mostly looking for a ground-and-pound attack while Hall is ultra dangerous with his submissions, notably a heel hook that put two Europeans away so far in the competition.
The first round in this fight didn't see a ton of action, with Rogers slightly outpointing Hall on the feet and neither man really engaging much, even while looking for the takedown. Round two was a much different story, as Hall really started pressing to get the fight to the mat, but time after time Rogers either countered and landed a hip toss of his own or just completely sprawled out of the shot and got back to his the feet.
Rogers landed his best shot all fight when he stuffed one takedown from Hall, and as the two fighters got back to the feet, the Englishman slammed home a quick right hand that dropped his opponent to the mat momentarily. That knockdown likely sealed the deal, as Rogers was declared the winner by majority decision over two rounds with the scores coming back 20-18, 20-18 and 19-19.
With Lobov and Rogers now officially moving on to the semifinals, that leaves only one American left alive in the competition as Julian Erosa will return next week to take on veteran fighter Abner Lloveras, while Team McGregor fighters David Teymur and Marcin Wrzosek square off in the other quarterfinal fight.
Both fights take place next week on The Ultimate Fighter, and before the episode ends, the semifinal matchups will be announced. Don't miss a minute of the action as the season winds down to a conclusion with just two episodes left to go.