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.
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.
Will Conor McGregor ever fight again?
The future of the UFC’s biggest ever star is in doubt. But it was also never a secret. “The Notorious” Conor McGregor always made his intentions clear, “Get in. Get rich. Get out”. And now he’s rich, very rich.
Get in. Get rich. Get out.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) August 12, 2014
In 2008 at the age of 20 a baby-faced, clean-shaven McGregor stated his ambitions for his MMA career after just 5 professional fights. He said “My dream is to be world champion in the UFC, have more money than I know what to do with, and have a great life for my kids, my grandkids, everyone in my family, everyone that’s come up with me. That’s my dream”.
Along his journey, McGregor has never kept his intentions to himself. At first, it was to get into the UFC. Then it was the featherweight belt. Then it was to replicate what he had done in his previous promotion, to become the UFC’s first simultaneous two-weight world champion.
The issue now is that McGregor has achieved everything he has set out to do. From world titles to being a multi-millionaire, he’s done it all. And now there is no statement of intent. No dream to chase.
Since he’s achieved everything he said he ever wanted, where does the hunger for more come from? Currently, it doesn’t appear to be there.
Since the last time we saw McGregor with gloves on, the charismatic Irishman has seemingly gone off the rails. There was the Bellator 187 incident in Dublin, where McGregor stormed the cage and pushed veteran referee Marc Goddard and slapped an official. But more recently the Irish Daily Mail has reported that McGregor was involved in a bar fight in his native Crumlin, where he is believed to have punched an associate of a major crime gang in Dublin. Whether this is true or not, it is still something a UFC champion and role model shouldn’t be associated with.
From the outside, McGregor’s life is more about hours spent at the club rather than the gym.
But who can blame the man for enjoying the fruits of his labor? He is acting how most 29-year-old men would if they had just received $100 million.
This is his life’s work paying off.
After McGregor’s loss at UFC 196, he wanted an immediate rematch against Nate Diaz at the same weight. It showed us he’s a true martial artist with the heart of a lion. It showed his desperation to get that win back and prove he is the better competitor. And when he won, he proved all his doubters wrong as he walked on crutches through the corridor of the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas screaming “doubt me now”.
But after his loss to Mayweather Jr., there has seemingly been no desire to arrange a fight to get back in the win column.
It’s easy to forget during this period of inactivity that McGregor is one of the most active guys in MMA. From UFC 194 to UFC 205, McGregor competed in 4 fights at 3 different weight classes against high caliber opponents inside the space of 11 months. The truth is he deserves a well-earned rest.
However, in a recent media scrum, Dana White confirmed that Conor was looking to fight before the end of the year but had been pulled from UFC 219 as punishment for the incident at Bellator 187.
Dana also told the reporters in the room “Conor might never fight again. The guys got $100 million. I’ve got guys that made less than that and were lawyers and went to school their whole life and quit working”.
White also said, “Try and get up and get punched in the face every day when you’ve got $100 million in the bank”.
The two statements from Dana are very contradicting as he isn’t sure McGregor will ever fight again, but at the same time he wanted to fight on December 30th. Maybe Dana is struggling to pick apart the mind of Conor McGregor as much as we are.
There are plenty of reasons why Conor should never come back.
Not only is he set for life but he’s also healthy. McGregor is extremely conscious about his health and has mentioned several times throughout his career about the importance of keeping your brain healthy.
But there are plenty of reasons why he should he come back.
He loves to fight and he loves making money. He needs to capitalize on that whilst he can.
McGregor doesn’t have to settle for one big payday, he has matchups waiting for him such as Ferguson, Diaz, and GSP. There is always the welterweight belt and his Croke Park dream. And the door is open for a return to boxing, especially with fighters like De La Hoya, Pacquiao, and Malignaggi calling him out.
He’s also at the peak in terms of age and physique and in terms of power. Where he has the whole MMA world on strings with every small move he makes.
There is no knowing if McGregor will ever fight again. If McGregor returns to his usual self, he will likely be back in the first quarter of 2018, where he will fight frequently. But as time ticks on and there is no fight announcement McGregor may be stripped of his belt never to be seen again.
He got in. He got rich. Is he out? Let us know.
Manny Pacquiao Hints at Possible 2018 Fight with Conor McGregor
Here we go again. Just when we thought Conor McGregor was set on a return to the octagon, boxing legend Manny Pacquiao has seemingly called out the charismatic Irishman with his latest Instagram post.
It appears the current senator of the Philippines also wants a trip on the money train that is Conor McGregor, as he sent out this cryptic message on his Instagram.
The caption reads “Happy thanksgiving! Stay fit my friend. #realboxingmatch #2018 @thenotoriousmma”.
This comes a week after retired boxer Oscar De La Hoya claimed he has been secretly training for a bout with “The Notorious One.” Speaking on ‘Golden Boy Radio with Tattoo and the Crew’, De La Hoya claimed “I’m faster than ever and stronger than ever. I know I can take out Conor McGregor out in two rounds”.
After his most recent loss to Australian boxer Jeff Horn, retirement looked imminent for ‘Pac-Man’. But a shot at McGregor and the pay day his name brings, appears to be far too tempting.
McGregor loves to test himself and he loves money. So he will be licking his lips just thinking about the opportunity to get back in the ring against a high calibre opponent like Pacquiao. Not just to make money, but to prove his doubters wrong after his boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
McGregor’s immediate future looks set to be a fight with Tony Ferguson in 2018. But after that who knows what the future holds for the UFC lightweight champion.
If McGregor’s next fight is a boxing match with Pacquiao, then it could spell the end of his title reign. As Ferguson likes to say it’s ‘defend or vacate’ time.
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