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The second episode of The Ultimate Fighter: McGregor vs. Faber began with McGregor bringing his team together to lay out his expectations for the season. He put the onus on individual fighters, pointing out that MMA isn’t exactly a team sport, and everyone has to be in it for themselves.
Dana White throws the season’s first big curveball by allowing each coach to bring back a fighter who had lost their fight and failed to make it into the house. Conor McGregor picks his protA�gA� Artem Lobov, who lost to Mehdi Baghdad in a hard-fought decision in a fight that Dana White felt should have at least gone to the third round, while Urijah Faber brings back wrestler Johnny Nunez, Ryan Hall’s first heel hook victim. Throwing two additional fighters back into the mix means that one extra guy has got to go, and that’ll be one unlucky fight winner hand-picked by Dana to not continue due to a lackluster performance.
We get a glimpse of the two different coaches’ training approaches, with Faber working on striking and grappling drills and Conor working on some light sparring without pads to simulate the feel of a real fight but without all the injuries, or, as he puts it, to a�?upgrade their software without damaging their hardware.a�?
Team Faber won the coin toss last episode, so Urijah Faber selected jiu-jitsu phenom Ryan Hall to take on Swedish striker Frantz Slioa. Peppered throughout the announcement (and the entire episode) is some back-and-forth banter between the two coaches, mostly centered around McGregor’s large head, suits, and python skin shoes as well as Faber’s chin, weight, age, and casual attire.
While preparing for the fight, Hall admits that he likely won’t watch the show because he dislikes hearing his own voice and knows he’ll be blinking a lot because he suffers from Tourette syndrome. He also admits to not feeling like he has a lot in common with most fighters. Having competed on a very high level, he’s confident in his skills and his ability to perform under pressure without giving up. Slioa spoke about how his family fled Iraq when he was younger, but several members of his family were killed while trying to escape.
The fight is on. Hall and Slioa exchange strikes. Slioa tries to use his length to create some distance, but that doesn’t stop Hall from rolling into a leg lock. After successfully defending both the leg lock and several heel hook attempts, Slioa finally succumbs to a third heel hook 1:53 into the round. It’s the first time Slioa’s lost, as Hall lives up to his newfound nickname, a�?The Wizard.a�?
With the win, Team Faber maintains control. Faber gets to choose the next fight, picking the durable and well-rounded Chris a�?Gritz” Gruetzemacher to face Sascha Sharma.
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