UFC TUF 22 episode 12 results & recap: The season comes to an end
The Notorious Quote of the Week: “I didn’t think I’d see you again! You’re around!!! Good to see you my friend. I didn’t think I’d see +HIM+ again.”
Lightweight: Saul Rogers (Team Europe) vs. Marcin Wrzosek (Team Europe)
The first of two semi-finals. Wrzosek has the lighter trunks on, Rogers the darker grey. Rogers is showing off his striking game early, forcing the Polish Zombie to step backward, and then he hits a takedown at the one minute mark into guard. Wrzosek scoots his back to the fence looking to get up as John McCarthy looks on. It’s deathly quiet in the gym save for the rattling of the cage and their feet bouncing on the canvas. Rogers takes his back against the fence at 1:52. Wrzosek gets up and gets taken back down again at 2:10. He’s up again and backs away clean at 2:52. Zombie is being a little more aggressive but Rogers is still landing the better shots and gets another single leg at 4:16. He spins to take the back a half minute later but can’t do anything and Wrzosek escapes right before R1 ends.
Rogers is still the more fluid of the fighters in the first minute of R2. He’s acting, not REACTING. You can see it from the motion of his head and shoulders – his muscle memory from years and years of big fights and top level training. He scoops the leg for another takedown at 1:01. Rogers is warned to watch the back of the head as he overwhelms Wrzosek with strikes from behind, forcing him to cover up and drawing impressed whistles from a few people watching. Wrzosek tries to escape and can’t. Rogers sits on one leg and pounds his face, grabs a front headlock, then transitions to the back again. All Zombie can do is cover up. Zombie loses his mouthpiece and McCarthy calls time to let him put it back in but doesn’t stand them up or change their position. He escapes, Rogers takes him down, and jumps to his back immediately. He sinks in the rear naked choke and it’s over at 4:07. They hug.
SAUL ROGERS IS GOING ON TO TONIGHT’S TUF 22 FINALE.
Urijah Faber brings Jose Aldo to the final training session for his team – their last chance to prepare Julian Erosa for his fight with Artem Lobov. Aldo: “He is a great friend mine. We were once opponents but after that we became friends. We always stay in touch. Urijah always has something to teach me and I always have something to teach him.” Aldo shows off positional techniques for how to get dominant positions on the ground, even explaining the technique to go from a triangle to a shoulder lock.
Afterward they play a little soccer in the gym for fun, with some MMA takedowns mixed in. It’s pretty lighthearted – they’re all laughing and having a good time.
Meanwhile for Team McGregor it’s all business for Artem Lobov. He says he wants the hat trick and the third knockout. “This is what pays – knockouts pay.” McGregor says he wants Lobov reacting every time Erosa goes for single shots. He wants him to cut off the cage. “He has good ring knowledge, he just needs to use it. He will use it early and he will knock him out.” Lobov talks about how they were all once so broke they had to share a hotel room for McGregor’s fight and he slept on the floor.
McGregor waxes nostalgic as training winds down, saying he got personally attached even without trying to, and he’ll leave the show with a lifetime of memories. McGregor walks into the gym for the other semi-final fight and sees Jose Aldo sitting on Faber’s bench, and he’s laughing and smiling, but Also just sits there quietly.
Lightweight: Artem Lobov (Team Europe) vs. Julian Erosa (Team USA)
There are under ten minutes left so this isn’t getting out of the first round. McGregor reminds Lobov to be “flowey.” Dana White runs down the rules. Herb Dean signals both men and the fight is underway. Erosa is in the blue and Lobov the gray trunks. Lobov is following his usual MO – he’s head hunting and pressuring his opponent. Lobov rocks him at 57 seconds with a big left, hits him with another huge shot when he tries to get up, and Herb Dean is there to wave it off immediately. McGregor is so happy he rips his pants jumping over the fence!
ARTEM LOBOV ADVANCES TO TONIGHT’S TUF 22 FINALE….BUT THE SHOW ISN’T OVER.
Dana White: “Saul lied on his visa application and has problems getting into the country and can’t fight on the Finale. Ryan Hall will now get the opportunity!” So the fight is Ryan Hall vs. Artem Lobov on Friday instead.