Last night’s episode of the Ultimate Fighter 15 was heavy on action, light on out-of-the-ring antics, as the show hosted a pair of live quarterfinal clashes. Both bouts were competitive for the most part though only one featured a finish.
Coach Dominick Cruz’s health was also addressed with the injured bantamweight champion joking he planned to cut his recovery time in half if possible. Though Cruz was clearly a bit down due to his torn ACL his team rallied around him, offering up a huge round of applause when UFC President Dana White announced “The Dominator” would continue to serve in his role as a team-head.
White also stated an opponent for Urijah Faber would be announced next week. Faber is expected to fight for an interim-title at UFC 148 in place of his previously scheduled scrap with Cruz at the same event.
In terms of the actual fights, the first bout shown involved James Vick-Joe Proctor. Though Proctor came close with a few submission attempts the lanky Vick’s size proved to be too much for Proctor in the end, picking him apart from the outside and doing enough in both rounds to earn the Unanimous Decision victory.
The second match-up featured #1 pick Justin Lawrence against bearded grappler Michael Chiesa. The opening frame belonged to Chiesa who went for a handful of submissions including a fairly tight Triangle Choke. In the following five minutes the momentum shifted Lawrence’s way with the Team Blackhouse member even dropping Chiesa with a stiff body shot. After splitting the first two rounds both men came out fast and furious in the “sudden victory” period. Lawrence decided to take Chiesa down in the early stages, a fatal mistake as it turned out. Within seconds Chiesa swept Lawrence to position himself in full mount and pounded out the win shortly thereafter.
“He’s the toughest person I’ve ever fought,” said a humble Chiesa after the bout. “I’m glad I was able to get the victory. I had to dig deep down to win that fight. Sometimes I think the heart is a lot stronger then we give it credit for.”
In the closing moments the two remaining quarterfinal fights were announced and will feature Chris Saunders-Vinc Pichel and Al Iaquinta-Andy Ogle.
TUF 15 Season Summary:
Cruz’s Team: Justin Lawrence, Sam Sicilia, Myles Jury, Mike Rio, James Vick, Vinc Pichel, Chris Tickle, Jeremy Larsen
Faber’s Team: Al Iaquinta, Cristiano Marcello, Daron Cruickshank, Joe Proctor, Michael Chiesa, John Cofer, Andy Ogle, Chris Saunders
Team Records: Faber 6, Cruz 4
Advancing to Semifinal: Michael Chiesa, James Vick
Eliminated: Daron Cruickshank, Cristiano Marcello, Myles Jury, Jeremy Larsen, Chris Tickle, John Cofer, Sam Sicilia, Mike Rio, Justin Lawrence, Joe Proctor
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC