After Marcin Wrzosek got Team Europe their first win of the season with his decision win over Tom Gallicchio last week, Conor McGregor and his team were quietly confident that Saul Rogers would be able to get them back on terms, as the Irishman matched the SBG Manchester fighter with Billy Quaranteillo for the next bout.
McGregor laughed as he recalled announcing the bout and the rest of the team jokingly suggested that Quaranteillo hid behind his teammates as 'The Notorious' tried to point him. According to McGregor, Rogers is Quaranteillo's worst nightmare.
Back at the house following the fight announcement, Gallicchio reveals that he has taken the loss to Wrzosek badly. As he had a lot more competitive experience than the Polish fighter, he is disappointed that he allowed the Europeans to get some points on the board. The experienced American suggested that he could be considering retiring from the sport following his defeat at the hands of 'The Polish Zombie'.
Preparing for the bout with Quaranteillo, McGregor focuses on Rogers' strengths and drills various takedowns at Team Europe's training session. He also highlights the importance of being able to keep the opponent on his back once he hits the ground. Well known for his grappling prowess, the team seem to believe this will be an easy win for 'The Hangman' provided that he can keep the fight in his wheelhouse.
There was a lot more uncertainty when it came to Team USA's training session. Faber noted that Quaranteillo is a lot less technically aware than the majority of the people in the house, but the former WEC champion praised his tenacity. The episode shows footage of Quaranteillo learning how to work his way out from the bottom, a situation Team Europe already underlined as one of the areas that Rogers can dominate from.
After the whole cast visited a restaurant, the two fighters weighed in successfully. The final scenes before the two meet in the Octagon show a perplexed Chris Gruetzemacher, who seemed to be contemplating leaving the house.
"I want to go home," said 'Gritz'. 'I want to see my family, I want to see my friends. This place is nice, it's a cool opportunity, but I'm ready to fight, go home and be in the Finale and make some money. I just want to be happy because right now being in here is not fun."
Rogers and Quaranteillo met in the centre of the Octagon as soon as the bell sounded and exchanged punches, with the Englishman coming off the better of the two. Despite Faber's prior warning to Billy about Rogers' grappling ability, the American dived in for a takedown and quickly gave up top position. Quaranteillo ate some short punches from Rogers before he was rag dolled as punishment for trying to get back to his feet. Rogers continued to pepper the downed Team USA man with shots for the remainder of the round leaving no argument as to who had the upper hand in the opening five minutes.
As in the first, the two traded shots from the off in the second round. After landing with a solid right hook, Rogers lured Quaranteillo in before attacking a double leg. When he eventually transitioned to side control, Rogers dropped heavy left hands on his opponent before working to his back. Although Quaranteillo managed to escape Rogers' back mount, he ended up on the bottom where the SBG Manchester fighter fed him more devastating grounded blows.
There was no debate as to who won the contest when the second round finished. Although Quaranteillo lasted the distance with Rogers', the English fighter was completely dominant throughout the ten-minute exchange. From outside of the Octagon McGregor praised Rogers' "phenomenal" showing as Team Europe roared in support of their victorious teammate whose hand was predictably raised for the official announcement of the decision.
"If you don't fix all these little holes technically, that's going to happen every time dude," Faber told Quaranteillo after the bout. "You've gotta become a fucking wizard, you need a little of the Ryan (Hall) medicine and to (learn) the techniques."
"I feel good, I'm over the moon, I'm really happy with my performance," said Rogers. "In the interviews I said that I wanted to show my personality, I just embraced everything today and even though I didn't get the finish today, I felt I showed who I am as a fighter."
As Team Europe turned around their 0-2 deficit to regain parity, with control of the matchups McGregor selected Mehdi Baghdad to face Julian Erosa where the French fighter will look to push the Irishman's team into the lead for the first time during the series. As the two faced off, Baghdad told Erosa, "I am going to hurt you very badly."
The teaser for next week's episode is sure to get MMA fans excited as TJ Dillashaw joins Team USA as a guest coach. Given this week's news that Dillashaw will leave Team Alpha Male and McGregor's constant badgering of Faber about the bantamweight champion's loyalty, the sixth episode of the series is not to be missed.