Episode eight of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 22 gets underway on FOX Sports 1 -- coached by Conor McGregor and Urijah Faber -- and we immediately start gearing up for the next elimination fight pitting Artem Lobov (Team Europe) against James Jenkins (Team USA).
Lobov, of course, is one of two fighters welcomed back into the fold, despite losing his fight to get into the TUF house (more on that here). He also trains with coach McGregor back in Ireland so "Notorious" is deeply invested in this next fight.
"He's a solid, solid fighter who came up the hard way," according to C-Mac, who predicts a win by knockout.
Jenkins, meanwhile, plans to "hit like a ton of bricks." Coach Faber insists this is one "bloody mess" that won't be boring. Both fighters make weight without incident and their staredown is fairly cordial. UFC President Dana White promises "one hell of a fight."
We shall see.
155 lbs.: Artem Lobov (Team Europe) against James Jenkins (Team USA)
Round 1: Touch of gloves and Lobov with a leg kick then a hook. Jenkins paws the jab. Another kick by Lobov. Jenkins backs him up with a combo and the ref warns both fighters about extending the fingers. Lobov clomping around with his hands low throwing bombs. Some land, some don't. Jenkins clocks him and Lobov bounces off the cage. He doesn't appear to be hurt. Jenkins eats a shot and wobbles but quickly recovers. Lobov has his hands at his side. Action is halted so the cageside doctor can inspect a cut over Jenkins' eye. He's good to go and we're back at it. Jenkins eating punch after punch, looks gun shy. The eye damage may have shut him down. Another warning for extended fingers. Lobov fires off a pair of leg kicks. Jenkins not doing much and gets clobbered. He falls in a heap and Lobov slugs him until the referee calls it. McGregor is jumping for joy.
Final result: Lobov def. Jenkins via technical knockout
Turns out we're getting a second showdown for this episode, probably because the first one was so quick. Perhaps the next one will be, as well? One can only hope. On deck is David Teymur (Team Europe) taking on Johnny Nunez (Team USA).
Teymur fights out of Sweden and anticipates a wrestling attack from his opponent. McGregor respects the "fire" his understudy has and lets him work out his aggression with some hard sparring. We switch over to Nunez, who like Lobov, was invited back after a loss in episode one.
Classic striker vs. grappler, so we could be going the distance here.
155 lbs.: David Teymur (Team Europe) vs. Johnny Nunez (Team USA)
Round 1: Touch of gloves and Nunez rushes in with punches. Gets him nowhere. Teymur fakes a kick. Nunez does the same move with the same results. Annnnnd a third time, just kind of runs in full speed and does that slap-fight thing. They trade shots in the center of the cage and lock up. Nunez drives him to the fence but it's Teymur who takes it south. Nunez tries to grab a leg and gets punched into oblivion. Ref warns him to fight back, we could be close to a stoppage. Nunez regains his composure and finds his way to his feet. Teymur backs up, then gets dropped on a punch-kick combo. Nunez now on top with punches. Teymur gives up his back and muscles his way up to his feet. They lock up against the cage and Nunez takes him down. One minute left and Nunez gets mount, but Teymur works back to half guard. Half-hearted punches to the ribs but no submission attempts from Johnny. Round ends with Nunez on top, may have stole the round. I have it 10-9 Nunez.
Round 2: Touch of gloves and they trade ugly kicks. Teymur kicks again as Nunez tries to shoot. Lots of juking and jiving from both combatants. Nice body blow by Teymur. Nunez rushes in for a takedown but Teymur defends. Nunez appears to land an illegal knee which draws a warning from the referee. Teymur stands and tries a flying knee, but the proximity allows Nunez to take him down. Round half over and this is not where Teymur wants to be. Nunez back to intermittent rib punches. Teymur tries to escape but gets ankle picked. 90 seconds left and Nunez gets mount, then loses it just as quickly. Not seeing much in the way of offense, so it appears he wants to ride out the clock. The referee is on to his strategy and warns him to stay busy. No need, as Teymur works his way back to his feet. 30 seconds left and Teymur charges in with kicks, then a knee as they trade blows at the buzzer. This could have gone either way, but I have it 10-9 Nunez. Judges disagree and call for a third round.
Round 3: Coach McGregor, absent for two rounds, finally shows up to corner his man. They touch gloves and Nunez rushes in and connects with a lead right. He appears to have been clipped on the bumrush and falls to the floor. Teymur jumps on his back and rains down punches. Referee warns Nunez he will stop it. Nunez back to his feet and they clinch against the cage. Nunez looks gassed. Referee calls for action. Then again. Hey ref, these guys are sleepy. He breaks them up and the "action" restarts in the center of the cage. Lazy shot by Nunez is stuffed by Teymur, who lets him up and kicks him for his troubles. Another clinch followed by another coffee break. This is ugly. Jumping knee lands for Teymur. Nunez kind of falls forward and gets a takedown because Teymur looks too tired to stay on his feet. Nunez takes his back but Teymur rolls into it and gets to half guard. Round ends with Nunez on top. I score it 10-9 Nunez. Faber lies and yells "great fight."
Final result: Teymur def. Nunez via unanimous decision
Here's where we stand after episode eight:
Billy Quarantillo (6-1)
Chris Gruetzemacher (12-1) +1
James Jenkins (8-1)
Jason Gonzalez (9-2)
Julian Erosa (14-1) +1
Ryan Hall (4-1) +1
Thanh Le (4-1) Tom Gallicchio (19-8) Johnny Nunez (5-1)
Abner Lloveras (19-7-1)
David Teymur (3-1) +1
Frantz Slioa (4-0)
Marcin Wrzosek (10-2) +1
Martin Svensson (14-5) +1
Mehdi Baghdad (11-3) Sascha Sharma (8-2)
Saul Rogers (10-1) +1
Artem Lobov (11-10-1-1) +1
Team McGregor leads 5-3.
That leaves Abner Lloveras (Team Europe) to fight Jason Gonzalez (Team USA) in the ninth and final preliminary fight next Wednesday night (Nov. 18) right here on FOX Sports 1.
See you in seven!