The Ultimate Fighter: Live Recap: It’s All Team Faber In The Finals

May 26, 2012

TUF Live Coaches Logo Dominick Cruz and Urijah FaberAfter twelve weeks of filming and fights, The Ultimate Fighter: Live finals are set and it’s all Team Faber.

The four semifinalists and the two coaches were fitted for potentially a new custom Harley Davidson at the top of the final episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Live.

In the house, things heated up.  Team Cruz’ Chris Tickle tossed a full water bottle at Team Faber’s Daron Cruickshank’s groin.  Cruickshank was asleep in his bed at the time.  He immediately rose to his fee and went in pursuit of Tickle.  Cruickshank threw at least one punch and kick at Tickle who did not return fire.

UFC president Dana White paid the gym a visit and Cruickshank expected it was bad news steaming from the altercation.  White did not disciple Cruickshank.  Instead, he announced that it was a great season of The Ultimate Fighter and that every fighter would participate in the finale except two.

Mike Rio and Andy Ogle were not cleared to compete on next week’s finale at the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.  Rio has a knee injury that’s plagued him all season and Ogle suffered a concussion in his quarterfinal loss to Al Iaquinta.

Ogle requested to compete on the UFC card scheduled for Nottingham, England on Sept. 29.  White granted him his request.

Semifinalists James Vick and Michael Chiesa prepared for their match up.  Vick’s game plan was to keep the fight standing and at range, hoping to defeat Chiesa with strikes.  Chiesa planned to “mix it up” and use his wrestling to secure a place in the finals.

In one of the last training sessions, Chiesa had a bad sparring session.  He walked out of the Octagon and Coach Faber calmed the emotional fighter down and gave him a bit of a pep talk.  The season has been an emotional rollercoaster ride for Chiesa who lost his father following the first episode.

James Vick vs. Michael Chiesa:

Vick stuck to his game plan and used his jab to keep the fight at distance.  When Chiesa closed the distance and got to the clinch position, it was Vick who secured a takedown. Standing, Vick applied pressure.  When Chiesa finally got the fight to the ground late in the round, he had to fend off a guillotine choke attempt by Vick.  Vick seemed to have won the opening stanza.

Chiesa picked up the pace in the second round.  He secured a takedown and advanced to the mount position. That was the beginning of the end for Vick.  Chiesa landed a series of right hands forcing the referee to intervene and stop the action.  The stoppage came at 1:55 of the second round.  Chiesa advanced to the finals.

“It ain’t the prettiest, but I go out there and fight and I won’t quit.  In both fights I’ve gotten hurt, but I’ll always be able to fight all the way back and find a way to pull it off,” said Chiesa following the win.

Vick was understandably disappointed after the loss.

“It’s disappointing.  I was winning the fight.  I thought I was winning.  I messed up,” said Vick.  “It’s humiliating.”

Vinc Pichel and Al Iaquinta faced off to determine who would face Chiesa next week in the finals.  Heading into the match up, Iaquinta wanted to back Pichel up and win by superior technique.  Pichel wanted to stuff all of Iaquinta’s takedown attempts and outwork his opponent.

Vinc Pichel vs. Al Iaquinta:

Iaquinta was aggressive with his strikes in the early going.  He was able to get Pichel to the ground and take his back, but Pichel quickly worked his way back to his feet and separated.  Pichel worked his jab while Iaquinta delivered leg kicks to Pichel’s lead leg.  Iaquinta secured a second takedown late in the round and pepped Pichel with punches.  Pichel was able to get back to his feet, but he had lost the round.

In the second round, Iaquinta displayed good head movement and footwork.  He was able to avoid taking big shots and landed counter strikes when he wasn’t delivering leg kicks.  It was a competitive round, but Iaquinta’s leg kicks likely won him the round.

The judges agreed.  They scored the fight 20-18 for Iaquinta.

Looking ahead to his fight in the finals against Chiesa, Iaquinta said, “It’s business as usual.”

Pichel wanted to see a third round, but conceded that Iaquinta was the better man that night.

“I was kind of hoping there was going to be a third (round).  I thought the second round looking kind of close, but obviously they probably gave it to him because of the leg kicks.  He was landing leg kicks on me.  He’s a better man.  He got me tonight,” said a gracious Pichel in defeat.

It’s an all Team Faber final.  Urijah Faber locked in his new custom Harley Davidson.  Michael Chiesa and Al Iaquinta will fight to determine who gets the other one and who will become The Ultimate Fighter.