Praise to our dark lord of the Satanic Starbucks cup, finally a TUF episode with two fights. Nobody is tugging one off into the styrofoam sushi tray today.
Last week, Martin Svensson defeated Thanh Le by rear naked choke. The win for team McGregor set Conor up to pick the American power striker James Jenkins to face off against his re-salvaged friend, Artem Lobov.
For those of you that forgot, Artem Lobov was actually eliminated earlier on in the show. He was brought back by friend, coach, and SBG Ireland team member Conor McGregor. From the outset, the coincidence of Artem’s return seemed like a setup. At no time prior was it explained to the audience two of the prelim fighters would get a second chance. Yet, as soon as Artem was eliminated this new rule twist came into play. Conor conceded to his favoritism in picking Artem to return to the show but defended his decision vehemently by citing the loyalty of his character.
Both fighters describe their power striking in heavy-handed asides to the camera. However, Conor saw a hole in Jenkins’ game poking fun of his tendency to swivel and lean backward during flurries. Leaning backwards to dodge a fist seems like a solid concept but it can put you on your heels against a double jab or a fast enough follow up punch. Even Anderson Silva succumbed to the downside of this technique (Silva vs Weidman, I).
Uriah Faber echoes the show’s sentiment that we are in for a brawl. We are in for a war or an execution.
Fight 1 Re-Cap
Artem Lobov vs James Jenkins
Immediately, both fighters came out and began parrying each other’s lead hand.
This hand-fighting is typically described as pawing and probing, but the reason behind it couldn’t be further from the truth. As Jenkins came out in his orthodox stance and Lobov in his southpaw stance, it placed each fighter’s lead jab hand into each other. As they check and feel out distance their opponent’s jab hand will always be where they want their own hand to be. Off of this crowded issue of space management, most fighters will literally grab their opponent’s lead hand, push it out of the way and down, and then throw their own overhand punch right through the gap where the lead hand used to be. This same dynamic was expertly demonstrated in the now legendary Robbie Lawlor versus Rory Macdonald fight.
Artem though was always one step ahead in this hand fighting game. From the outset of the bout, he expected Jenkins to paw with the left and throw bombs with the right. With the timing of a gypsy psychic Lobov would use his own parried hand to recounter for a brutal uppercut or lead hook. As Jenkins pushed Artem’s hand down, so to was his own hand down leaving his chin exposed for Lobov’s counter strike.
Lobov would win these hand fighting exchanges setting up a series of heavy off angle unorthodox strikes. Quickly, Jenkins right eye opened up – bleeding – and the ref had to call the doctor at 2:14 of the round. The cut was examined and the fight moved on.
This fight was really amazing to watch and see Lobov work. Coming out from the cut break, Artem changed stance, gaining the lead angle and drilling the outside leg kick to contain Jenkins. Lobov switched back to his regular stance and again connected with his awkward angle lead hand uppercut dropping Jenkins. Lobov would chase down and swarm him towards the mat as the ref jumped in to waive off the fight.
Artem Lobov WINS by KO.
Next up is our second fight in the show. David Teymor versus Johnny Nuñez is another European striker versus US wrestler match up. This fight will come down to how Nuñez sets up his shots and Teymor’s planned response for them.
Fight 2 Re-Cap
David Teymor vs Johnny Nuñez
Again, Orthodox versus southpaw but this time the resulting strategies are different.
Rather than meta-fighting over the lead hand, Nuñez would instead choose to leap and lunge past Teymor’s lead hand in order to close distance and bypass Teymor’s striking range. When he couldn’t execute this plan, Treymor would punish him at range with kicks.
Jenkins’ intention to bring the fight to the clinch was transparent, making Teymor’s takedown defense an easier task than expected. With his kickboxing clinch and raw aggression, though, Teymor could press and dictate the fight against the fence with the wrestler. This strategy stripped Nuñez of his wrestling advantage allowing Teymor to lump and batter Nunoz all the way from the clinch to the stand-up.
Nuñez would land a flying lead hook putting Teymor into the bottom corner of the cage. Teymor was quick to get up but Nuñez made a quick change of tactic opting for the inside leg trip takedown instead of haggling in Teymor’s clinch for a double leg.
On the ground, Treymor looked flat and sluggish. Nuñez progressed and regressed fluidly from half guard and back to mount, but he failed to constantly deliver strikes while bearing his control.
Like a fencer, Nuñez again bounds in and out with his lead hook trying to create confusion over when he is lunging in to throw punches or shooting for a takedown. By mixing it up he can lull Teymor into a striking mode putting him out of position to properly react to any takedown. That’s the theory at least. However, Nuñez’ level changes are transparent and without a strike combination to set them up Teymor can still see the incoming shots.
After some heavy exchanges and blows from Teymor, Nuñez shoots from long range and drives Teymor across the canvas and to the fence. What Nuñez doesn’t have in timing he can seemingly make up for in tenacity. The grind and turn into the fence would be a short-lived success though as Teymor was able to get back to his feet.
More outside strikes, until they collided into a clinch. In the clinch, Teymor shoved his hand between Nuñez’ legs for a shitty high crotch attempt that only served to pull Nuñez on top of himself. Imagine grabbing your girlfriend like you were going to body slam her but laying backward and setting her on top of yourself instead. Yeah, that’s what happened.
Again on top, Nuñez grinds and controls. Teymor’s hooks are limp, his guard static, and his hips flat. Nuñez floats and rides Teymor’s convulsive efforts to get back to his feet.
With 50 seconds left, Teymor clambers back to his feet against the fence. At long range he would land some brutal body kicks and flying knees. All of his success a temporary win until each subsequent clinch and takwedown.
Both guys came out seemingly drained. The post-fight adrenaline dump seemed to hit them both before this surprise third round. I don’t care how many times your coach screams, “GET READY FOR THE NEXT ROUND!!” into your face. If your body gives up, it gives a big sigh of relief and decides it wants a nap.
Teymor came out flat-footed seemingly locking his knees out when his lead leg would step down. Nuñez would capitalize with an outside leg kick on the limp leg before they would clinch again. Nuñez either failed a sloppy lateral drop or fell to pull half guard. Either way, he was on the bottom taking damage from Teymor.
Back up, Teymor would lead the stand-up exchanges with some stiff front kicks and jump kicks, pressing Nuñez into the fence. Though Teymor would win many of the stand-up exchanges, the clinch fighting was still a great back and forth. Teymor would even snap Nuñez down into a guillotine control, but Nuñez was able to use his wrestling switch out and gain top control. More fluid grappling from Nuñez floating from back control, to mount. The last 30 seconds ended the same way the second round ended with Nuñez riding out a top position, but this time leading to a judge’s decision. Would the judges award Nuñez the win despite his ability to deliver damage from top position or would Teymor’s volume and damage output be enough to win him the fight?
David Teymor defeats Johnny Nuñez by Unanimous Decision.
Next week’s matchup will be Abner Lloveras vs Jason Gonzalez. The match seems custom picked by Conor, smartly placing an American striker against another European striker. It should be another good fight to watch.
Dana White gives an update on the lightweight title picture
When it comes to the lightweight division there is always a lot of talk with very little clarification. But now it seems Dana White has had enough of waiting for champion Conor McGregor and plans to move on in his absence.
“The Notorious” Conor McGregor won the UFC lightweight title back in November 2016 at UFC 205 where he became the first fighter to hold two belts simultaneously, however, he has not competed in MMA since.
Speaking on Sunday night’s after UFC Fight Night St. Louis UFC President Dana White said “Conor has said he is thinking about coming back in September if he comes back in September that’s almost two years, that can’t happen. It’s not fair to everybody else. Love Conor, respect Conor, love everything he’s done for this company, everybody knows that I say it all the time. The belt would have to move on.”
White also spoke about the two men that would fight for the lightweight belt saying “You do Khabib versus Tony, we’re working on that fight now and if and when Conor comes back he would get the first crack at the title.”
Then when presenter Karyn Bryant pushed for clarification and asked: “So you’re saying that Conor could possibly be stripped of his title?” Dana responded without hesitation “absolutely”.
"Conor has said he's thinking about coming back in September. If he comes back in September, that's almost two years…that can't happen." — @danawhite
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) January 15, 2018
The news will excite UFC fans across the globe who have been clamoring for the Ferguson vs Khabib matchup which they have been denied on three separate occasions. No date was confirmed for the potential matchup but rumors have been circulating that the UFC is targeting UFC 223 in April.
Conor McGregor reacts to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s win at UFC 219
On Saturday night the world watched as Khabib Nurmagomedov dismantled the striking expert Edson Barboza at UFC 219. The reactions were filled with praise for the undefeated Russian fighter. Media members and fans alike were calling Nurmagomedov one of the best lightweights in the world, but there is one man the world was waiting to hear from, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor. McGregor was silent following the fight between Nurmagomedov and Barboza, that is until Monday morning when he took to Twitter to state his opinion about the Number one contender.
That Dagestani was dog shit the other night you's are all nuts. Game full of sloppy bums asking to be slept. Pay me my worth and Kings back.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 1, 2018
Truly truly truly get on your fucking knees and beg me. Otherwise I don't give a bollox.
My whiskey is out this year and thats Diddy bread.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 1, 2018
“Truly truly truly get on your fucking knees and beg me,” McGregor wrote on Twitter. “Otherwise, I don’t give a bollox. My whiskey is out this year and that’s Diddy bread.” The whiskey that McGregor is referring to is his very own grand that he announced would be coming out following his loss to Floyd Mayweather this past August.
Rumors about McGregor’s return have ranged from him retiring from fighting to live a life of wealth with his family, to expect his return to the UFC this summer. No one really knows if McGregor will ever defend his UFC lightweight belt, but if he is to do so UFC President Dana White has said that it will be against interim champion Tony Ferguson.
Ferguson was also seeking a fight with Nurmagomedov prior to winning the interim belt against Kevin Lee. It is entirely possible that we will see these two battle for the interim title in the octagon before we see the return of Conor McGregor. Of course, these days there are no guarantees in regards to title contention, McGregor and his camp have publically stated that they would like to face Nurmagomedov in his home country of Russia.
Conor McGregor has ‘Every intention of fighting in 2018’
Despite being inactive since his historic boxing bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August, Conor McGregor is never far from the headlines. Recently his out of cage antics have got people questioning if he’ll ever be back.
Thankfully the UFC lightweight champion appears to have cleared up any rumors about his fighting career.
Speaking to his sponsor Betsafe, the “Notorious” Conor McGregor said “My focus is getting back into the right ring or octagon. 2017 was historic. I have transcended both the sport of MMA and boxing. At this stage of my career, as it has been for the majority of my UFC career, potential opponents must lobby for fights with me. We could see Conor McGregor anywhere. I run the fight game, the fashion game, the whiskey game or whatever the next business endeavor might be”.
McGregor added, “I have every intention of fighting in 2018 if my compensation and business development endeavors accurately reflect my influence on combat sports.”
This comes just two weeks after UFC President Dana White told reporters “Conor might never fight again. The guy’s got $100 (expletive) million. I’ve got guys that made less than that and were lawyers and went to school their whole life and quit working.”
White went on to say “Try to get up and get punched in the face every day when you’ve got $100 million in the bank. Money changes everything with a lot of people.”
White also told reporters that the “Notorious one”, “can’t be paid enough money” and that he is “worth every penny and more.” McGregor’s recent statement suggests he knows that and won’t be back till his demands are met.
The UFC lightweight division has been stalled in the absence of the champion McGregor and now the interim champion Tony Ferguson has undergone surgery. The UFC has been known the remove belts from fighters who have been delayed for extended amounts of time, this would be highly unlikely with the popularity of McGregor.
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