TUF 22 REPORT 9/30: Penick’s thoughts on episode four of “Team McGregor vs. Team Faber” season

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

After a recap of last week’s bout, we pick things up with Conor McGregor livid about Sascha Sharma’s performance. He told Sharma straight up that there was no skill difference in the fight, and that Sharma simply gave Chris Gruetzemacher the fight.

“You need to decide for yourself whether you want to be here, whether you want to truly fight,” McGregor said to him in the midst of a tear down in the locker room.

McGregor on Sharma: “He pussied out. He didn’t want to fight. He’s not a bad fighter, he just doesn’t have that fire in him.”

-Faber and McGregor are playful with each other in the back and they have a bit of an exchange about the bout.

Faber: “You do need to show up for morning practice, though.”

McGregor: “Listen, world champions don’t need their hands held.”

-Faber tried to argue that he shouldn’t get mad at his guy if he’s not going to be there, but McGregor isn’t having any of it.

McGregor: “Well you either want to fight, and want to come in here and win the show or you don’t. And if you don’t, well then I don’t give a f*** about you. That’s it. It is what it is.”

-McGregor told Faber his guy was “gifted” the fight. McGregor said he’s on his own journey, and he’s not there to baby anyone, he’s just there to give them a platform.

-Gruetzemacher and others on Team Faber don’t like the way McGregor approaches his guys.

Gruetzemacher: “At some point you’re just being a dick to be a dick.”

-Team Europe is in a bit of pride rebuilding mode, and they’re hoping to see Marcin Wrzosek represent well.

-Tom Gallicchio gives a little background on himself, and said he’d hoped to be in the UFC by 21, then 25, and at 28 is now trying to make his mark. He said he requested the Wrzosek matchup and his coaches obliged. Faber said he thought Gallicchio’s confidence was a little much, calling him a bit slow and saying Wrzosek is going to have a speed edge. However, he believes Gallicchio’s got an experience edge that makes a difference.

-Wrzosek and Gallicchio bond with each other a bit ahead of their fight. Wrzosek said it was a completely new experience to have to be around an opponent, but he wasn’t going to avoid him, leading to an amiable conversation around the breakfast table.

-At a McGregor session, he had cooled off a bit and said he may have gotten a little overboard in his reaction to Sharma’s fight. At least while he’s there he seems engaged, and we get a taste of what he’s trying to show the guys.

-Wrzosek felt he was making improvements already under McGregor, and felt that he was as ready as he could be for this first fight.

-Team Faber went into the gym for practice, and Johnny Nunez stayed behind for “moral support” as Gallicchio was cutting weight. Faber was highly surprised Nunez wouldn’t be there, considering they brought him back into the fold after he lost his elimination round bout.

-Dana White looked at the differences in style from Faber concentrating on the team and McGregor on the individual, and said it’s not really working for Team Europe so far. He thinks a third loss for Team Europe would bring them one step closer to a total meltdown.

-The U.S. team got some “We Will Rock You” stomp-clapping going in the locker room, and it was juxtaposed with the incredulous reaction from the European team in their locker room.


ROUND ONE: Galicchio landed an early leg kick. They traded punches. Galicchio scored a combination. Wrzosek returned fired back. Both missed a couple of pawed out strikes. Gallicchio caught a kick and tried to hop on Wrzosek’s back. He got hooks in and Wrzosek tried to shake him off. Gallicchio grabbed a body lock, but Wrzosek held onto his wrist and tried to hold off the position. Gallicchio had to adjust and nearly got the position, but Wrzosek continued to fight him off. Very solid positional battle to be honest, with both doing a lot of patient things trying to create the opening to secure the hold or escape. Gallicchio finally lost position and Wrzosek tried to take control. He made Gallicchio stand and landed a combination at the cage. He hurt him with another combo and Gallicchio shot in. He got stuffed. Gallicchio shot in again, and got a very weak looking takedown. Gallicchio got in some offense from the top and eventually passed to mount. He tried to gift wrap Wrzosek late, then tried to turn it into…. something; not sure, it didn’t work, and he wound up on his back. Wrzosek got in a couple strikes from the top at the horn. Probably Gallicchio’s round, but can see an argument the other way.

ROUND TWO: Gallicchio looked exhausted. Wrzosek landed a nice combination. He beat him to a punch, then scored a nice front kick. Gallicchio scored a takedown and got into half guard. He passed to side control, then to mount. Wrzosek tried to buck out. Gallicchio went high in the mount. Wrzosek reversed and got into Gallicchio’s guard. Legitimately awful how easily Gallicchio gave that up. He was that gassed. Wrzosek landed some hard strikes as Gallicchio got back to his feet. Wrzosek stunned Gallicchio with a left. He dropped into his guard with a strike. He got out of Gallicchio’s rubber guard easily and made him stand. Wrzosek was doing a solid job listening to McGregor’s calls for striking combinations. He stuffed a shot. He connected on a couple of strikes. He landed another hard strike. Gallicchio shot in and was easily stuffed. Wrzosek landed a combination. He got in a hard jab. Wrzosek looked loose and comfortable throwing intermittent strikes as Gallicchio had nothing left. Wrzosek continued scoring down the stretch, then scored his own takedown and ended the round on top. Absolutely Wrzosek’s round, could go to three… but it doesn’t, which means at worst majority decision in Wrzosek’s favor. He had a good second round as Gallicchio looked awful after gassing himself out in the first.

WINNER: Wrzosek via unanimous decision

-Not really a good fight, but Wrzosek stayed composed in the first round and took advantage in the second. That’s the positive to take out of the bout all around, and Team Europe now has their first fighter advancing.

-Gallicchio wouldn’t make excuses afterward, just said it sucks to lose. He said the worst part is that there’s four weeks left in the house and he feels he’s going to be alone in his own “dungeon.”

-For the next fight announcement, McGregor picks Saul Rogers to fight Billy Quarantillo.

-That’ll come next week, so thanks for checking out our report tonight! We’ll be back with that fight next Wednesday night.

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