Michael Chiesa Earns The Ultimate Fighter Title With Submission

June 1, 2012
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It began with 32 fighters with the dream of earning a spot on the UFC’s lightweight roster.  On Friday at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, only one remained.

Al Iaquinta and Michael Chiesa faced off in The Ultimate Fighter: Live Finale to decide this season’s winner.

Iaquinta came out aggressive with his striking, but Chiesa remained patient and got an opening for a takedown.  He transitioned, taking Iaquinta’s back.  He applied a rear naked choke , putting Iaquinta to sleep to become The Ultimate Fighter.  The end came at the 2:47 mark of the first round.

Chiesa’s father, Mark, passed away following the first episode of the season.  It was a long, emotional journey for Washington native.

“This is exactly what I wanted.  It’s been such a journey and there was no way I was going to sell myself short of losing tonight.  I wasn’t making it an option.  There was no way I was going to lose this fight,” said Chiesa following the submission victory.

“My hat’s off to Al.  He’s an animal.  He was in my head all season.  I overcame a lot of things to win this fight,” he added.

Chiesa’s mother, Teresa, was in the Octagon to celebrate her son’s accomplishment.  She commented, “It’s been a long journey.  It’s hard to talk about.  I’m so proud of him.  I couldn’t be any more proud of him.”

Chiesa earned a six-figure UFC contract, a plague, a custom Harley Davidson, a three-fight endorsement deal with the MMA apparel company TapOut and the title of The Ultimate Fighter.

  • http://www.bloodyfists.net/forums/index.php SHORT_BUS

    Couldn’t have scripted that any better.
    Congrats to Chiesa.

    • phrankthetank

      Agreed. Tough to be iaquinta in that fight. Everyone is hoping for the Cinderella story and he’s out there trying to stop it. They both fought like warriors and chiesa pulled it out. Props to him.

  • sammyflinders

    A plague! Damn I knew he was rocking the Jesus look but that’s a pretty harsh Biblical punishment/reward for his efforts. ;-)

  • DrkDisciple

    Nice outcome for Chiesa however I dont see any of the cast memebers becoming contenders at 155. Justin Lawrence and Myles Jury are probably the two with the most potential from that group.

    • elguapo

      You’re right. After 15 seasons of the show I’d say it’s unlikely we are gonna see any real outstanding talents come through TUF anymore. In fact, the winners of the last few seasons have looked pretty average. There’s a great lineage of previous winners (rashad, Forrest, Diaz, bisping etc) who have been champ or at least knocking on the door, but I don’t think that will happen anymore though. I think the main issue is that it always seems to be lightweights competing so the talent pool dries up pretty quick. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing though, I still really enjoy the show regardless.

      • http://www.bloodyfists.net/forums/index.php SHORT_BUS

        If nothing else it gives Zuffa a decent stable of undercard guys that fans are somewhat familiar with. Might help draw a few extra viewers to Facebook, Fuel or FX when they are airing prelims.

        • DrkDisciple

          I agree with you and I do enjoy watching tuf (as well as those guys fighting in the prelims) its just that when I see guys like Tony Ferguson, Mac Danzing, Ross Pearson, Jonathan Brookins, James Wilks etc I just dont see anyone being an elete fighter in that group. Chiesa will probably have a similar type career as those guys. I think Bader was as the last upper level fighter coming out of TUF.

          • elguapo

            Yeah bader is the last top quality guy coming through. Maybe if there’s another light heavy/heavyweight season things might change but I doubt it. You’re right though, TUF is a great way of building familiarity with the fighters. I just wish they would spend some more time looking at these guys experience or their camps prior to appearing on the show. There’s often several fighters who are pretty much an unknown yet they’ve fought very credible, big name opposition in the past.