To recap last week, let’s take a look at the teams:
Abner Lloveras (Spain)
David Teymur (Sweden)
Frantz Slioa (Sweden)
Marcin Wrzosek (Poland)
Martin Svensson (Sweden)
Mehdi Baghdad (France)
Sascha Sharma (Germany)
Saul Rogers (England)
Conor McGregor immediately gathers his team, and tells them he’s not there to personally coach any of them. He says they should already know what they’re doing, and he’ll guide them/give them a platform to show their skills. McGregor made sure to stress that this isn’t just Team Europe vs Team USA, it’s every man for themselves in their own personal journey. Most seemed to appreciate the honesty.
Team Faber had a training session that wasn’t shown much, but it seemed to be a pretty standard MMA workout. Team McGregor, on the other hand, got lots of screen time for their training. Conor told his team to put on MMA gloves, take off their shirts, and wear no shinpads. The team went back and fourth shadowboxing with one another, “picking their shots”, and seemed to really enjoy it. McGregor told his team that this workout is to find the parts of the body you want to target, and get a feel for them.
Dana White announced that he feels some of the decisions in the fights last week were questionable, so each coach gets to bring back one fighter that lost. Unsurprisingly, Conor brought back Artem Lobov. Urijah Faber brought back Johnny Nuñez. Last week, Lobov’s fight went to decision, while Nuñez was submitted almost immediately after being caught in a nasty leglock from Ryan Hall. Dana also announced that there will be 9 fighters that win, and only 8 will advance. He will personally select the person who doesn’t advance based on performance. On one hand, this sucks, because if a fighter wins he should advance. On the other, I don’t want to watch a boring fight.
Conor and Urijah went back and fourth for a while, and it was really funny. Faber called McGregor cotton candy because of his beard, and Conor snapped right back and said Faber looks like a 50 year old skateboarder, then called him a “fat old man”. Laugh out loud funny. Both guys were having fun with it, but there is surely a little tension there.
Faber announced the first fight will be Ryan Hall vs Frantz Slioa. They did a staredown in front of the coaches and Hall couldn’t stop twitching, because he has Tourettes syndrome. Definitely felt a little bad for laughing after he said that. I thought he was just making funny faces.
Ryan Hall talked about his BJJ background, and says he was training with elite level blackbelts when he was just 2 years in. He also trained with Georges St-Pierre. Urijah remarked that Hall was actually teaching the coaches some stuff. He is the master of the 50/50 position, which makes this fight very interesting, because Franz is unproven when it comes to jiu jitsu.
Conor McGregor showed Franz a few things about kicking, and emphasized not to push with your foot, but to throw your leg “like a whip”. He told the whole team that when Franz starts picking Hall’s body apart, he’s mentally picking his whole team apart.
Both coaches visited their fighters before they stepped into the octagon, and seemed genuinely excited and supportive.
Ryan Hall (USA) vs Franz Slioa (Europe)
Franz did a GREAT job keeping his distance in the first minute, knowing that Ryan Hall would be going for the leglock. Unfortunately for him, he got too close, and Hall got the leglock. Slioa actually put up a good struggle for 30 seconds, but had to tap. Ryan Hall wins via submission (heelhook).
Ryan Hall seemed a little disappointed, and when Faber walked in to the locker room, Hall said, “I’ll do better next time.” I don’t know if that comment made me hate him or love him. Still trying to decide. McGregor gave Franz some words of encouragement, and he was sent on his way.
Chris Gruetzemacher vs Sascha Sharma is announced as the second preliminary fight.
Another fun episode. I’m really enjoying this season. It may be because I’m a huge McGregor mark, but I really like the teams too.
Come back next week for another recap!
Photo Credit: FOX Sports