The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber airs on Wednesday, November 4 at 10pm ET on FOX Sports 1.
Following a close decision win by Julian Erosa over Mehdi Baghdad, the two teams on The Ultimate Fighter are looking to get a leg up in the competition, as noted striker Thanh Le gets ready to fight submission specialist Martin Svensson in the next bout.
Erosa beating Baghdad was undoubtedly an upset by all standards, considering how highly touted the European fighter was coming into the show after a background in K-1 kickboxing, not to mention his team affiliation, where he trained alongside former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. Erosa was able to get the job done with an elusive striking style over two rounds, but watching another American win only added fuel to Svensson's motivation going into his fight this week.
According to the Swede, he has been doing mixed martial arts for nearly a decade and he's almost reached his dream goal of fighting in the UFC, but he believes the Americans are trying to deter him with a boring style that he doesn't believe is truly MMA. A fired up Svensson will voice his opinion on the upcoming episode after witnessing Erosa squeak by Baghdad after two rounds.
"I'm sick and tired of these Americans. All their wins are (expletive) wins," Svensson says.
While Svensson and the Europeans focus on evening up the competition with Team Faber currently up 3-2, the Americans opt for a much different approach following the win by Erosa over Baghdad.
Besides their usual NOS Energy Drink celebration, which Artem Lobov refers to as “stupid,” the majority of the American fighters take a night away from training and decide to crack open a few bottles over a game of pool to blow off some steam after a long week.
Well as it's been documented throughout Ultimate Fighter history, copious amounts of alcohol mixed with alpha male aggression never seems to end well, and two members of Team Faber nearly come to blows after a chat about whose fight was the most boring so far this season ends up in a standoff.
RELATED CONTENT: Conor and TJ talk potential superfight | McGregor and Faber talk rivalry and respect | Urijah questions Conor's coaching style | Snake in the grass | Conor team speech | McGregor-Faber ep. 1 mix
Instead of being unified around a win, Team Faber is quickly imploding, and if things boil over this week and a fight breaks out, this could end very badly for the Americans after just getting the momentum back on their side following a big win by Erosa.
Also this week, the training ratchets up for both Svensson and Le as they prepare to face off in the classic “striker versus grappler” matchup. Svensson is a dangerous submission artist on the ground whether he's on top or bottom, although chances are he'll be the one looking to take this fight to the mat.
To ensure he gets there, Svensson will depend on Conor McGregor's lead striking coach “Rowdy” Owen Roddy to get him ready for a very versatile and dangerous attack from Le, who might be Team Faber's most lethal knockout artist. Svensson will definitely have a good coach in his corner considering Roddy has been instrumental in bringing McGregor's striking to its current level over the last decade they've worked together.
Roddy was a solid fighter in his own right before stepping away from active competition in 2012, but now as SBG Ireland's main striking coach, he's worked with everyone from McGregor to Cathal Pendred to Artem Lobov to make them some of the best strikers in the world. Roddy knows all the tricks of the trade and he'll try to pass a few of them along to Svensson to help him attack Le's weak spots on the feet before likely taking this matchup to the ground.
As for Le, he's a decorated taekwondo practitioner who has been doing martial arts almost as long as he's been able to walk. Growing up the son of a martial arts instructor has kept Le on the mats since he was a kid, and his knockout win in the elimination round to get into the house only served as further proof that standing with this American fighter could be dangerous to your health.
Much like Svensson will depend on Roddy to get him ready for the stand-up, Le will certainly benefit from working with a slew of coaches from Team Faber, who are well versed in the art of wrestling and submissions. Besides Urijah Faber, who is a former college wrestler with some of the slickest submissions in the sport, his team also boasts wrestling coach Lance Palmer, who is a former four-time All American from The Ohio State University as well as bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw.
Le is definitely a little raw when it comes to his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but that's no different than comparing his striking to that of Svensson, who can be awkward at best when he's standing on his feet.
This matchup will truly be determined by who controls where this fight takes place. If Le can keep off the mat, he should be able to light up Svensson with his fast hands and deadly feet. Then again, the same could be said in the reverse if Svensson is able to drag Le to the ground and control him with his long arms and legs while trying to wrap up a submission.
Will Team Faber get their second win in a row with Le getting another flashy knockout, or will underrated Swede Martin Svensson pull off the upset and get Team McGregor back in the win column?
Tune in to The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber this Wednesday night at 10pm ET on FS1 to find out.