Find out who won on episode 9 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber and more in this week's recap.
Urijah Faber finally got a win over Conor McGregor on the latest episode of The Ultimate Fighter, but considering the losses he took later in the hour, chances are he'd trade in that $10,000 he came away with from the series’ Coaches Challenge.
Let's start with the positives for Faber this week, as UFC President Dana White rolled out the latest version of the Coaches Challenge - a watermelon toss from a helicopter down to a target below. You have to give Dana credit for always making these challenges interesting.
The winner gets a chunk of cash and each member of his team will also score $1,500.
Once they arrive in the desert, McGregor wastes no time taking a few jabs at Faber while reminding him about the win he got over his teammate this past July at UFC 189 to win the interim featherweight title.
"I think I might have buried Chad Mendes out here," McGregor said with a laugh.
As much as McGregor tried to get over on Faber this week, it was finally time for the American coach to get the last laugh as he pummeled the Irishman with the watermelon toss, racking up more points and also scoring the only bullseye of the entire competition. Faber definitely enjoyed the victory, while needling McGregor a little bit in the process.
"Game over baby! You've got to adapt to this. It's the same as being a champion," Faber said.
A despondent McGregor looked quite upset, despite the fact that he lost to Faber while chucking watermelons from a hundred feet in the air, which isn't exactly a natural sport for either fighter. Still, McGregor read it as a loss and that never sits well with him.
"I don't like losing," McGregor said. "Congratulations to the little butt-faced twerp"
Following the Coaches Challenge, it was time for the final elimination round fight of the season, as Team McGregor fighter Abner Lloveras took on Team Faber's Jason Gonzalez. It was clear from the moment this matchup came together that Faber was concerned about Gonzalez facing a serious veteran like Lloveras, but the fight ended up being a lot closer than expected. The outcome, however, was exactly what Faber feared it would be.
Gonzalez started the fight with some solid striking, as he kept Lloveras at distance and managed to pop him with a few punches and a couple kicks as well. Lloveras didn't take much damage, but he was forced to re-adjust his game plan, which ultimately ended with Gonzalez on the mat defending strikes from the top.
Lloveras took over with just over two minutes to go in the round, as he took Gonzalez down and proceeded to advance to the mount while looking for the finish. Time ran out in round one, but round two was very much the same after Lloveras snagged another takedown, and it started to look like the mismatch the coaches predicted before the fight began.
The Spaniard wasn't able to put Gonzalez away or lock on a submission, so it was still a small victory for the American. Ultimately, that shallow win still won't get him any points with the judges, and when the second round ended, a dejected Gonzalez walked back to his corner while his coaches assured him that a third and final sudden victory round could be coming.
It was not.
The judges all scored the fight 20-18 in favor of Lloveras, who now moves on to the next round of the tournament.
Once the fights are finished, it's time for McGregor and Faber to meet with White about the quarterfinal matchups as well as for the selection of the one guy to go home even with a win in the elimination round. White told everybody going into the show this season that there would be nine opening round fights and they would not only be judged on wins and losses, but performance as well.
When the talk starts, McGregor immediately believes the person to go home should be Chris Gruetzemacher, who eked out a close three-round decision over Sascha Sharma in the second fight of the season. Faber believes it's Swedish lightweight Martin Svensson that should get the pink slip after getting a rear naked choke victory over Thanh Lee just a couple of weeks back.
As much as Faber tries to make a case for Svensson being the guy least likely to move on in the competition, both White and McGregor agree that it's not fair to send a fighter home after getting a win and a finish. White also believes that Gruetzemacher had several openings during his fight with Sharma to get the finish but didn't take advantage and that loomed large in his mind when making the final call.
When it was all said and done, White made the judgment and told Chris Gruetzemacher that his time on The Ultimate Fighter was finished, although he will still have a chance to jump back in again if someone on the show gets hurt at any point during the next two rounds. In an odd way, it could benefit Gruetzemacher if someone can't fight past the quarterfinals and he takes over for a person in the semifinals, but that's a big if and, for now, he's completely out of the running.
As for the matchups that did get made, White also had to pit a couple of Team McGregor's fighters against one another. McGregor warned his team at the start of the season that they shouldn't look at this as a team competition because this tournament is truly every man for himself. That philosophy paid off with six of his fighters making it into the next round, while only two competitors from Faber's team survived to the quarterfinals.
The matchups for the next round are as follows:
Artem Lobov vs. Martin Svensson
Saul Rogers vs. Ryan Hall
Marcin Wrzosek vs. David Teymur
Julian Erosa vs. Abner Lloveras
The quarterfinal round will kick off with two fights on the next episode, as Artem Lobov takes on Martin Svensson and Saul Rogers faces Ryan Hall. Also, White has a shocking announcement regarding one of the fighters and a medical situation that could potentially give Gruetzemacher new life after just being told he's out of the competition.
Who will make it through in the first two quarterfinal fights and who might be eliminated before it even begins? Tune in to The Ultimate Fighter next Wednesday night at 10pm on FS1 to find out.