Team Faber’s Joe Proctor submitted Chris Tickle last week. This week, Team Cruz put undefeated Vinc “From Hell” Pichel up against John Cofer, trying to get back in the “win column.”
Before moving on to Friday night’s fight, coach Dominick Cruz had a difficult discussion with Tickle, critiquing his performance. Urijah Faber overhead and stepped in, praising Tickle’s performance, while Cruz pointed out his faults. Not surprisingly, this lead to another blow-up between Cruz and Faber.
In the fighter house, living in relative seclusion for weeks on end is starting to wear on some of the fighters. Andy Ogle in particular is struggling, having a nightmare about his girlfriend being murdered.
Having no way to reach out to her for reassurance, the weight builds on Ogle until he has an anxiety attack during Team Faber’s practice.
Sam Sicilia was also starting to feel weight on his shoulders, being the No. 2 pick. But after a heart to heart with Cruz, Sicilia seemed to let some of the pressure he was feeling to perform, slide away.
Faber said that he picked the Cofer vs. Pichel match-up because he felt Pichel’s takedown defense to be subpar, and expected Cofer to exploit that.
What’s that saying about best laid plans?
Cofer and Pichel went toe-to-toe throughout the opening two rounds, picking each other apart on the feet. Surprisingly, it was Pichel that scored the only takedown in regulation, although Cofer made a couple solid submission attempts.
After two rounds, the judges had the fight even. We go to a sudden victory round.
Round three opened in a flurry, followed by another Pichel takedown. But this time, Pichel secured an arm triangle choke to finish Cofer at 44 seconds into the round.
“The fight that happened tonight showed me that both of these guys want to be here and they want it bad. Those guys never stopped battling, it was an absolute war and that is what I love to see!” declared UFC president Dana White.
“I feel like I am on top of Mount Everest right now, sucking in beautiful air,” said Pichel. “Honestly, I feel so much better about that type of win. I wouldn’t have wanted it to be an easy one-sided battle. I feel like a have a bigger sense of accomplishment winning the way I did.”
With Pichel’s victory over Cofer, Team Cruz evened the score at three wins apiece, but more importantly, regained matchmaking control. Team Cruz selected Sam Sicilia to face Chris Saunders in the live fight next week on Episode 8.