Tonight’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter saw Team McGregor’s Saul Rogers and Artem Lobov advance to compete for the title of season 22 of The Ultimate Fighter.

However, following the episode it was revealed Rogers had removed from the finale card due to a legal issue that has made it impossible for him to get a Visa into the country. As a result, the UFC was forced to name the Team Faber’s Ryan Hall the replacement against the Lobov at the live finale.

Hall (4-1), a multiple time grappling champion, previously lost to Rogers in the quarterfinals by majority decision. He previously Frantz Slioa and Johnny Nunez, both by first round heel hook, earlier in the tournament.

“Winning on Friday means the opportunity to control my destiny,” said Hall. “I want to be the best martial artist I can be and I want the world to value our way of training. Winning would allow me to show my appreciation for my coaches and training partners as well. Fighting for UFC is the ultimate goal of my martial arts career.

“No matter what happens, I’m going to push forward, but winning The Ultimate Fighter would mean achieving my ultimate goal of fighting in the UFC without leaving anything to chance.”

Coincidentally, the Team Quest product has been training with his future opponent when he got the news of the change.

“When I got the call to fight Artem I was very surprised that Saul dropped out, but very excited to fight for the title of the show,” said Ryan Hall. “Just a week before I got the call, I was in Ireland training with Artem and helping him prepare. I really respect him as both a fighter and person. I’ve trained very hard for this fight; I’ve had to overcome a number of difficulties in this camp health wise, but I’m ready to put on a show on Friday.”

Lobov (11-10), McGregor’s SBG Irelad teammate, initially lost the bout to get into the house by decision but was brought back in by UFC President Dana White in the second episode. Lobov would go on to rattle of three straight knockouts over Hall’s teammates, including a first round KO over Julian Erosa in the semi-finals

“I feel that I earned my place in the finale, I came in as a wildcard and proved I deserved to be in that house,” said Lobov. “I respect Ryan’s skills, we’ve trained together both inside and outside the house, but he can’t survive the Russian Hammer. I will bring the victory home for Russia and Ireland.”

Other fights announced for the card were:

  • Team Faber’s Julian Erosa vs. Team McGregor’s Marcin Wrzosek
  • Team Faber’s Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Team McGregor’s Abner Lloveras

About The Author

News Manager

José began his career as a mixed martial arts journalist while still enrolled at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. Since graduating in May 2013, he has attended dozens of high profile UFC fight cards as a credentialed member of the media, providing live cage side coverage through his articles and videos. His work has appeared on UFC.com, ArizonaSports.com and AZCentral. He is also currently one of the main contributors on Power MMA Show at Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, one of the first all MMA radio shows on a major radio station.

  • Mick Clydesdale

    The final is clearly rigged! I was expecting the power & ground n pound of Rogers to outskill Artem. Now we get a lame final with a guy in Ryan Hall that has no business fighting. Ugh

    • bdxllaz

      Lol what? Don’t be a baby it isn’t rigged, this isn’t the wwe. Saul fucked up, plus he was trash anyways. The last thing the UFC needs is another wrestler to take up time on their cards. Granted, this now gives artem a better chance, but just because things don’t work out how you want doesn’t mean there was foul play

      • Jarl Borg

        Keyboard warrior at its finest.

        • bdxllaz

          How so? I’m not even trying to be a dick, I’m just saying that yes, it’s unfortunate what happened, but there’s literally zero evidence that anything was rigged. Stuff like this happens all the time in smaller promotions and it’s a bummer. I’m not instigating, it just doesn’t do any good for the UFC or the reputation if it’s fans if every time card changes happen, people bitch and moan and say no fair. Look to the bright side, it’s still a ground fighter so that’ll still pose a similar challenge for artem

    • DavidAW

      Sure, Hall doesn’t deserve this fight as much as Rogers, but it isn’t his fault Saul fucked up. Hall is a very dangerous opponent for Artem, don’t cry conspiracy or count Hall him out yet…Hall’s grappling is outstanding

    • jamescoen

      ..

    • Elsie Paroubek

      I agree but not to protect Artem. Americans are not interested in Euro v Euro. They want USA v Euro.
      They would have bunged Rogers some cash and a promise to fight in the future.

      • Paulos

        Honestly, most Americans don’t care about the US v Euro narrative at all. This entire gimmick is for the benefit of casual sports fans in Europe who don’t normally watch MMA. Dollars to donuts, UFC is looking for a taste of that FIFA money.

    • Sean Kumar Sinha

      Ryan Hall has no business fighting? The guy is one of the best BJJ practitioners out there and he’s 4-1 in MMA. He also is fighting above his weight class on TUF.

  • Steve Sega

    Why isn’t there more information about Rogers’ visa issue? I think he was clearly the best fighter on the show. They say he lied on his visa application, what did he lie about? Will he be able to get it fixed to fight in the UFC at a later time?

    • jamescoen

      probably had a criminal conviction that he hid form the visa guys

      • Pretty much guaranteed, yes.

  • Jarl Borg

    This doesnt make sense. Before you can enter the USA you have to go through a visa waiver program, during this they check your criminal records, so if Saul had a legal issues they wouldn’t have let him in the first place.

    • DavidAW

      but if he had lied about it, which apparently he did, they of course might not have found out about it.

  • Pete

    Mmm smells like trash to me. I think Dana changed the lineup to bring in more $$$. A European and an American sound much better than 2 guys from Europe …

    • Rob Fratric

      So long as it’s a good fight and with Lobov’s punching power, I don’t think American’s would care. McGregor, Aldo, Anderson Silva (when champ), etc…..plenty of non-American champs that draw $. Ryan Hall is ok, but he’s hardly going to jack up the draw more than Saul. Frankly, most people will see this as a downer because Hall lost and doesn’t deserve the chance. The main question I have is why didn’t Wrosek get the slot over Hall….that’s one question I’d like Dana White to answer.

      • Obviously an American is more appealing to the US crowd, but considering the other fights on the card I actually think it’s more likely a question about not being able to get the proper kind of visa in time, and at the same time getting a fighter that is good enough, interesting enough to watch and healthy. If all the Europeans were out due to the visa issue, it’s not like they had a lot of options amongst the Americans (since most of them were…let’s say “lackluster”).

    • Heh, you might want to double-check what fights are on that card. It doesn’t really matter who they pick to fight for the TUF title when you have: Edgar, Mendes, Barboza, Ferguson, Lauzon, Gonzaga and a bunch of other great fighters on the card.

  • Jack’ s

    Saul Rogers on his visa application ticked no to the box that said “Any distinctive features or markings” according to Twitter…..apparently, maybe…sounds like a shady excuse tbh

    • Considering his background (a not entirely uncommon one for people such as him), I am willing to bet it’s a criminal record issue.

  • Veenstra

    Why Hall and not Wrzosek?

    • EddieWine

      My question exactly. He lost the SEMI-final, not QUARTER-final like Hall, against Saul so should have been next in line. UFC fucking around to get a US v Europe final even tho most of the US guys sucked.

      • Jacob Newton

        Yeah but Artem lost his match to even get ON the show in the first place, so that doesn’t matter.

        • Paulos

          That’s a good point. We’re talking pro-sports-reality-TV here, not exactly the Olympics. Putting asses in seats is always going to trump tournament protocol.

    • Paulos

      1. UFC likes finishes. During the contest Hall had two, Wrzosek only had one.
      2. UFC likes hype. Hall already has a fan base from BJJ, Wrzosek is still unknown.
      3. @eddiewine:disqus, Wrzosek was less successful than Hall against the same opponent.

      So yes, Wrzosek made it further in the tournament, but Hall v Lobov is a much smarter fight for the UFC that’s still justifiably fair to the TUF contestants.

      FWIW, Wrzosek will still fight in the Finale against Erosa on the undercard if that’s any consolation.

  • BBC right?

    Typical Americans they get destroyed by Europeans and as soon as a European pulls out instead of replacing them with another European they replace them with an American. It happened twice this series the first time they still lost and this time they will lose too. Dana start looking for more Europeans we are better fighters