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The Ultimate Fighter: Live Episode 8 Recap: Split Decision Advances Another Fighter

Posted on by Jeff Cain

TUF Live Coaches Logo Dominick Cruz and Urijah FaberIn the eighth episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Live, another fighter advanced to the quarterfinals and a female visited the fighter house for the first time in the show’s history.

Team Cruz celebrated Vinc Pichel’s submission win from last week.  The team had dropped three fights in a row heading into bout.

“We needed that more than ever,” said Coach Cruz about Pichel’s victory.

Cruz brought in Strikeforce women’s champion Ronda Rousey to work with his team.  The Olympic Judo practitioner showed Team Cruz some techniques to execute throws.  She later visited the fighter house to watch UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans.  The atmosphere was awkward to say the least.

Team Cruz’ Sam Sicilia faced off with Team Faber’s Chris Saunders with the teams tied at 3-3 and only two spots left in the quarterfinals.

Saunders was picked last by Coach Faber while Cruz selected Sicilia as his second choice during team picks.  Saunders was the underdog heading into the fight.

Sicilia’s game plan was to set a relentless pace, throw knockout punches while looking for takedowns.  Saunders wanted to utilize footwork and work angles to out strike Sicilia.

Both fighters weighed in at 155-pounds.

Sicilia came out aggressive, taking the center of the Octagon to start the fight.  He moved in with punches before clinching Saunders against the cage.  They exchanged knees to the body and worked for position before separating.  Sicilia loaded up on punches but the most significant strike landed in the round was a high kick by Saunders that knocked Sicilia down.  Outside of the head kick, it was a competitive round.

Sicilia set the pace early in the second round, moving forward and unloading power punches.  Saunders tied him up when he needed to and secured a takedown but was unable to keep Sicilia on his back.  In a scramble, Saunders obtained top position briefly.  Sicilia got back to his feet and landed a left hand that dropped Saunders.  As he dove in trying to finish, Saunders worked to get on top and took Sicilia’s back.  In the closing seconds, Sicilia appeared fatigued and Saunders landed a couple of solid shots at the bell.

The judges scored Saunders the winner by split decision.

“It went exactly as I thought,” said Saunders following the win.  “I thought it would go just like this.  Sam was the second pick.  He’s a tough individual, but I’ve got a great team behind me.  They help me out, and I have confidence, so that’s all you need.”

Sicilia wished he would have utilized his wrestling more.

“I didn’t believe in my wrestling as much as I could, but other than that, I made it a fight and lost a close decision to a tough guy,” said Sicilia after the loss.

Team Faber breaks the tie with the win.  Next week’s match up to determine the last spot in the quarterfinals will be Team Faber’s Andy Ogle against Team Cruz’ Mike Rio.

  • phrankthetank

    Well… Not the way I scored it

  • philaramburu

    Best fight of the year

  • elguapo

    Thought it was one round each for sure. Great fight though.

  • maddawgmar

    I had Saunders winning both rounds but by razor thin margins. Round one was even the head kick being the difference. Round two was edging toward Sam but Saunders got his back twice and top position.

    Definatley fight of the season so far.

    • elguapo

      Yeah you’re probably right. Although I think Sam dropped Saunders in the second round although he didn’t stay down long. Gotta say that Sam looked desperately short on technique in the stand up, probably the worst we’ve seen this season. The question now we’ve had all bar one of the first round fights, who’s people picking to win. I had Sam and Chiesa from the start, although they wouldn’t be my pick now.

      • maddawgmar

        Based on performances so far I can see Lawrence and Proctor. I was impressed by Proctor weathering the early storm of Tickle and turning it up at the right time. I haven’t been impressed by any others so far. Lawrence is tough, but Rio was taking him down with ease in practice. So we’ll see what happens next week and with the quarter final match ups.

  • Towers66

    What an awesome fight. Wow. I think they will both be hanging around the octagon for a while. I’d love to see a rematch. I know it’s blasphemy to even say that word right now but….c’mon!

  • MaritalArtist

    I thought it was a tie also. I felt Saunders was getting manhandled in the 2nd round. I didn’t even think round 2 was even close. But I’m not a judge!

  • JBroce

    I’m friends with Saunders and even I will say I dont think he won the second round. I was fully expecting a 3rd but when they called it after 2 I knew he won since that head kick sealed the 1st round for him. Get er done! theres some really good fighters on this one. Rio is going to get the submission first round, which means we will have 4 from each team in the finals and that should be cool. Vick is horrible and has had the biggest luck getting to where hes at. Hes the easy fight for whoever gets him next round. I think Lawrence and Iaquinta in the finals. Rooting for Saunders though! My semi’s would be:
    Proctor vs lawrence
    Vick vs Iaquinta
    Saunders vs Pichel
    Chiesa vs Rio in a loser gets his head shaved match :)