Conor McGregor on The Ultimate Fighter.
TUF 22

There was significant news from an Irish perspective on the latest episode of TUF

Team McGregor vs. Team Faber resumed last night.

THE NEWEST SERIES of The Ultimate Fighter continued last night, featuring Conor McGregor coaching Team Europe against Urijah Faber’s Team USA.

The episode will be repeated tonight on BT Sport 1 at 10pm and Setanta Ireland at 10.45pm, so don’t read any further if you’re planning to avoid any spoilers.

The big news from the second episode of this series was that UFC president Dana White opted to bring one fighter from each team back, despite their losses in the fights to get into the house.

White allowed the coaches to make the picks, which left the door open for Conor McGregor to bring his SBG Ireland team-mate and sparring partner Artem Lobov back into the equation.

“The fights to get into the house were awesome. I loved the fights to get into the house,” said Dana White as he explained the logic behind his decision. “I felt like some of the decisions were questionable and I hate when I see good fighters possibly getting left behind. So I wanted to give the coaches the opportunity, if you could bring back one fighter, who would you bring back?”

Lobov lost a close decision to fellow European fighter Mehdi Baghdad in last week’s episode, but he’s now been given a lifeline to keep his dreams of securing a UFC contract alive. Urijah Faber chose to give a second chance to Johnny Nunez, who had been submitted by Ryan Hall at the first hurdle.

“It feels great to be back,” said Lobov. “Obviously I lost my fight to get into the house. I was talking to Dana straight after the fight and he was saying that the fight was awesome, that it was really close. It should have gone to the third round is what he said, and I guess he decided to give me an opportunity to finally get the third round.”

download Artem Lobov in action during his bout against Mehdi Baghdad. Source: Brandon Magnus / Zuffa LLC Source: Brandon Magnus / Zuffa LLC / Zuffa LLC

Dana White’s decision means that with nine preliminary-bout winners eventually emerging for eight quarter-final spots, the victorious fighter who turns in the least impressive performance in the UFC president’s view — despite winning — will be eliminated.

“We’ve never done this before,” White added. “Nine guys will win but only eight guys will make it to the quarter-finals. One guy who doesn’t perform will be left out.”

After winning the coin toss, Urijah Faber had the choice of the first preliminary fight and he decided to pair elite US grappler Ryan Hall with Sweden’s Frantz Slioa. Once again, Hall showed why he’s among the favourites to win the season by securing another first-round submission via heel-hook.

Team Faber subsequently retained the right to pick the next fight, which will see the USA’s Chris Gruetzemacher take on German fighter Sascha Sharma in next week’s episode.

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