The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber airs on Wednesday, December 2 at 10pm ET on FOX Sports 1.
It's down to the final two episodes of The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber, with a pair of quarterfinal bouts airing this week before we shift into both semifinal bouts one week later.
This week, Conor McGregor's prediction comes true, as the Europeans are forced to face off after eliminating a big portion of Urijah Faber's team throughout the elimination round. From teammates to opponents, McGregor warned every one of his fighters when the season started that this wasn't about friendship and it wasn't about some fake team - it was about winning as individuals.
So this week, David Teymur will face off with Marcin Wrzosek, with the winner punching their ticket to the next round and putting this competition one fight away from being an all-European semifinal. But more on that in a moment.
Teymur was one of the favorites coming from the European side thanks to a long background in Muay Thai kickboxing to compliment his growing MMA skills. Teymur also trains out of the AllStars Training Center in Sweden, where he's working alongside fighters such as Alexander Gustafsson.
Teymur has been forced to battle five hard rounds since joining the show, going to a decision with Thibault Gouti in his elimination round fight before needing three rounds to get the victory over Johnny Nunez. Don't mistake decisions for lack of effort, however, because Teymur is a methodical fighter with venom in his hands and feet. He likes to bait his opponents into bad spots and then unleash on them with strikes from all angles, including elbows and knees.
The five rounds could hurt Teymur when it comes to conditioning or wear on his body because he's had to go to war with two opponents just to make it this far, and that's a lot of action in about four weeks over the course of filming.
On the other side stands Polish fighter Wrzosek, who got one of the biggest wins in the early part of the competition when he put away veteran fighter Tom Gallicchio in the opening round of the tournament. Wrzosek showed tremendous heart in the early going of that fight after giving up his back just seconds into the first round as Gallicchio began fishing for a rear naked choke finish. Wrzosek survived and then took full advantage of his opponent's waning gas tank as he attacked on all cylinders until the fight was over.
Wrzosek's toughness could be his biggest weapon in this fight because Teymur will certainly do everything in his power to punish the Polish fighter as soon as the referee says go. Wrzosek may not have Teymur's credentials when it comes to striking, but he certainly packs a big punch and has no fear standing in the pocket and winging punches with the best of them. That strategy can be dangerous against a lethal stand-up fighter, but it can also benefit someone like Wrzosek if he can walk through Teymur's punches and then deliver a few of his own in return.
In the other quarterfinal matchup, Abner Lloveras will look to make this an all-European semifinal, as he takes on the last man standing from the American side - Julian Erosa – who is trying to win one more fight on his improbable journey towards the next round.
Lloveras is one of the most well-rounded and complete athletes on the entire show, and he's also one of the most experienced. Lloveras is battle tested in all facets of the game and he's not afraid to strike with the best strikers or go to the ground with the best grapplers. Lloveras can win in a lot of different ways, although lately he has shown of a particularly nasty guillotine. When he's in the United States, Lloveras is also part of Team Link, the same gym and coaching staff responsible for former UFC title contender Gabriel Gonzaga.
Lloveras is a former boxing champion from Spain and also holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, so it's easy to see why he's so dangerous wherever he goes in a fight.
As for Erosa, he showed off plenty of skill and grit in his last fight when he took on European favorite Mehdi Baghdad to get to the next round. Erosa was a heavy underdog to Baghdad, who was an early choice to make it all the way to the finals. Erosa used tremendous footwork and movement to prevent Baghdad from planting on the canvas and uncorking one of his best strikes. Erosa's brand of hit and move could be compared in some ways to former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz or even current champion TJ Dillashaw. If there's a knock on Erosa with that style it's the fact that his volume is good, but not great, and he doesn't seem to be accumulating as much damage round after round.
Still, Erosa could absolutely frustrate Lloveras with his movement while trying to feed the Spanish fighter a heavy diet of jabs and straight punches during the course of the fight. If Erosa can stick to his game plan and avoid getting rattled, he could pull off the same kind of upset in this fight. His quick movement could surprise Lloveras, who primarily looks for punches on the feet, and Erosa can counter with faster hands and even a few kicks to keep the veteran honest whenever he thinks about a takedown.
Can Teymur punch his ticket to the next round or will Wrzosek pull off another upset? Can Lloveras make this an all-Team McGregor semifinal or will Erosa keep Team Faber alive? Tune in this Wednesday night at 10pm ET on FS1 to find out as the penultimate episode of The Ultimate Fighter debuts.