TUF Live has reached the quarterfinals and tonight episode feature two of the four bouts as well as a major announcement from Dana White. Team Faber has the early lead heading into the next round but another can happen as the fighters look advance to the semifinals.
The first fight of tonight’s TUF Live episode will be James Vick (Team Cruz) vs. Joe Proctor (Team Faber), while the double feature will be concluded with Justin Lawrence (Team Cruz) vs. Michael Chiesa (Team Faber).
During the Team Cruz training session UFC President Dana White arrives and summons both teams to the gym bleachers. White announces the bad news that broke earlier this week that Dominick Cruz had blown his knee out, has to have his ACL repaired and will not be fighting Urijah Faber at UFC 148. Cruz was sparing in the TUF gym and someone got behind him, went for a takedown and his knee went the wrong way. White tells Faber that he’ll have an opponent lined up for him next week and that Cruz will remain on the show to coach.
Fight #1: James Vick vs. Joe Proctor
Very close round one with both fighters leaving their mark on their opponents face. Vick controlled things early on chasing down Proctor and landing the cleaner strikes. As the round went on though it was Proctor seizing the center of the Octagon and started to find his range. A tough round to score as it could go either way.
Right away as round two starts Proctor lands a jamb that restarts the blood flow out of the nose of Vick. That doesn’t stop Vick from coming forward though, but Proctor gets low off the clinch and scores the fights first takedown via slam. Vick quickly gets up but finds himself in a side choke that looks deep, though Vick escapes and the fight continues with under three minutes to go in the round. Not a lot happens after that though and it’s another close round that could go either way.
Guess it was that close as all three judges gave both rounds to James Vick for the Unanimous Decision win……..
“That was the biggest fight of my life and I’m happy that I could come out on top. Joe’s a very tough guy. I was surprised he stood up to those punches and I wish him the best. As for me, I’m now one step closer to achieving my dream,” said Vick after the win.
Fight #2: Justin Lawrence vs. Michael Chiesa
As expected Chiesa went for a takedown right away and as Lawrence defended he gave up his back, allowing Chiesa to go for the choke. Ending up a bit too high Chiesa found himself on his back though and would send the entire round there. Chiesa stayed busy from his back, going for several submission attempts and ending the round having Lawrence in a loose triangle choke. Lawrence did land some ground and pound but since he was defending the multiple submission attempts he wasn’t able to capitalize on the position.
Chiesa comes out wild and sloppy in round two and even though Lawrence wasn’t putting on much pressure he was getting the better of the striking. Late in the round the fight hit the canvas again and from his back Chiesa goes for a kimura but Lawrence stands up and gets out of it. The round comes to and end but the fight isn’t over, we’re going to a third round!
Both fighters look tired and Chiesa comes out sloppy again and finds himself on the bottom once more. This time though he reverses and ends up in full mount on a tired opponent with no strength to buck him off. Chiesa turns on the ground and pound as Lawrence covers up and forces the referee to stop the fight. Michael Chiesa wins by 3rd round TKO and advances to the semifinals.
“I learned a lot about myself tonight. Mike Chiesa has a huge heart and is a hell of a fighter and my hat goes off to him. My adrenaline wasn’t where I wanted it to be, but that’s no excuse. I still think I’m the best fighter here and I’m not going to quit until I get to the UFC. I think I deserve to be there,” said Lawrence after the defeat.
Matchups for next week’s last two quarterfinal bouts will be Team Cruz’s Vinc Pichel vs. Team Faber’s Chris Saunders and Team Faber teammates Al Iaquinta faces Andy Ogle.