TUF 22 || Live Results from Episode 9

Written by @NickRiznerMMA

Episode nine of the Ultimate Fighter season 22 airs tonight on Fox Sports 1 in the US (10 pm ET) and BT Sport 1 (3 am BST). In the final fight, we have Abner Lloveras of Team Europe vs. Jason Gonzales of Team USA. Catch up with last weeks episode right here along with the fight highlights from that episode here. You can preview Episode 9 below.

In the final preliminary fight, we have Abner Lloveras of Team Europe vs. Jason Gonzalez of Team USA. Then, one of the nine victories competitors is eliminated from the competition.

Episode 9

Conor is taking a hands off approach with the veteran, Abner. It’s not about teaching new things, but rather reinforcing the mindset and experience that already exists. It seems that both guys see the value in Abner’s grappling. The challenge for Gonzalez is to keep things standing and maintain his range.

Put all that on hold for a moment. It’s time for the coaches challenge. It starts with a hilariously over-the-top entrance from Dana White, who drops into the desert via helicopter, with Arianny Celeste riding next to him. The challenge? Drop water melons from the sky onto a target, a la Fear Factor. All due respect to Celeste… how did Joe Rogan not get in on this?

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Can’t believe I’m giving a play-by-play on water melon dropping.

Anywho, it is what it is. The target consists of four scores. Moving outside to inside, we’ve got 10, 25, 50 & 100 points. McGregor and Faber are neck-and-neck through two, with 35 points each.  Then, Faber pulls away with a 15 point lead heading into the final round. Faber goes first, hitting the 100 point mark and eliminating any chance that McGregor had to take the lead. Team USA wins the TUF 22 coaches challenge.

“F*ck the challenge.” – Conor McGregor

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Abner Lloveras and Jason Gonzalez discuss leaving their loved ones behind, during their time on the show. Always a difficult part of TUF, especially in the later stages. When guys rely so heavily on their support systems, transplanting them from such can be extremely challenging. The, add in the crazy pressure of making your UFC dreams come true, and that’s a recipe for breaking people.

Fight time after the break. Follow my live round-by-round scoring below.

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Gonzalez comes out with a variety of flashy kicks, but Lloveras keeps his range and stays patient. Lloveras sells out for a single leg early, ultimately switching to a double leg. Gonzalez defends well and come out full steam ahead with some great knees. Llaveras keeps going back to his grappling, but Gonzalez is defending well.

With two minutes left, Gonzalez finally gets the takedown and winds up in full mount. A few attempts at a hip escape, but Gonzalez is being completely smothered. Lloveras takes control of the wrists, postures up, and lands some heavy shots from full mount. The positioning and flurry at the end should win him the first round. Beautiful recovery and finish by Lloveras.

MMA Mad scores the first round 10-9 Lloveras

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Round two opens like the first. A wide variety of kicks from Gonzalez. This time, Lloveras fires back with some striking of his own, landing a couple of hard shots before returning to the wrestling with a double leg, turned sweep. In Gonzalez’s attempt to return to the feet, he nearly gives up his back, but uses the cage to defend. Either way, he ends up back on the mat, with Lloveras, again, in full mount. Gonzalez is clearly outmatched on the ground. Even when he improves position with some of these scrambles, Lloveras is seemingly able to take full mount whenever he wants.

With less than two minutes left, Gonzalez manages to get things standing again, but not for long.  To the feet and down again with forty seconds left. Pretty dominant performance from Lloveras throughout the fight. I’d be shocked if this one goes three. It should be a pretty solid win for Team Europe.

MMA Mad scores the second round 10-9 Lloveras

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Lots of potential from Gonzalez, who looks to have some solid striking and takedown defense. If he can improve his ground game, he has a bright future in this sport. But ultimately, the judges saw it the way we did. Both rounds go to Lloveras who wins via unanimous decision.

Official Result – Abner Lloveras def. Jason Gonzalez via unanimous decision (20-18, 20-18, 20-18)

This is an extremely interesting dynamic as the coaches select teams. Dana has a full ear-to-ear grin on his face as Faber and McGregor discuss money. It’s fascinating to see how much White seems to favor the newcomer, McGregor vs. Mr. Company Man, Urijah Faber.

“You take your time, dressed up in high heels and bow ties.” – Urijah Faber

This is the best scene of the season so far. McGregor and Faber keep talking about how they want to fight and Dana is saying no way. All-in-all, I really enjoy the dynamic between these two coaches. Clearly there’s a mutual respect there, and given the lead up, things could have gone way differently.

Extremely emotional finish, as Chris Gruetzemacher gets cut from the competition, despite waking away victoriously. Heart goes out to Chris. But we’ve got loads of great matchups on the horizon. Great talent pool this season!

The quarterfinals are as follows:

Artem Lobov (EUR) vs. Martin Svensson (EUR)
Saul Rogers (EUR) vs. Ryan Hall (USA)
Marcin Wrzosek (EUR) vs. David Teymur (EUR)
Julian Erosa (USA) vs. Abner Lloveras (EUR)

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