The latest episode of TUF Live served up the second half of the quarterfinal round, as well as announced the new opponent for Urijah Faber at UFC 148. Thus far one fighter from each team has advanced into the semifinals as James Vick (Team Cruz) and Michael Chiesa (Team Faber) now await the other two semifinalists.
Fight #1 – Vinc Pichel (Team Cruz) vs. Chris Saunders (Team Faber)
Like he trained with Dominick Cruz, Pichel looked for the early takedown but Saunders defended well and got a takedown of his own. Pichel eventually gets up but wants nothing to do with the standup of Saunders and looks for another takedown. Saunders again defends it well and closes the round out with Pichel against the cage.
Right away Pichel is looking for a takedown to open round two but guess what, Saunders is not having it. Saunders has the back of Pichel briefly and picks him up for a small slam before the two separate and return to striking. Pichel has his best moment on his feet with a flurry that backs up Saunders and allows for a takedown. Saunders fights to get up and the two clinch against the cage the remainder of the round.
The fight goes to the judges and they give Vinc Pichel a Majority Decision (20-18, 20-18, 19-19) even though everyone thought there would be a third round……….
Fight #2 – Al Iaquinta (Team Faber) vs. Andy Ogle (Team Faber)
Ogle came out on his horse; not staying in front of Iaquinta and making him chase him down. Iaquinta quickly adjusted and held the center and began rocking Ogle with heavy kicks to the lead leg and ribs that would open up the punches to the face. In turn Ogle began throwing fewer combos and more wide looping strikes, chasing a knockout. With under a minute left Iaquinta drops Ogle with a short right and pounces on him for the finish. Ogle hangs tough and works his way back up, only to have the lights turned out with a nasty right elbow to the temple.
Al Iaquinta wins by 1st rd knockout, giving each coach two fighters heading into next week’s semifinals.
“I fought smart, I knew if I fought smart I could beat just about anybody,” said Iaquinta after the bout.
Semifinals: James Vick (Team Cruz) vs. Michael Chiesa (Team Faber) & Vinc Pichel (Team Cruz) vs. Al Iaquinta (Team Faber)
Fight announcement: With Dominick Cruz out, Urijah Faber will face Renan Barao at UFC 148 on July 7th for the UFC interim bantamweight title. Barao was scheduled to face Ivan Menjivar on the same UFC 148 card but the man currently riding the longest unbeaten streak in MMA (27 fights) will now fight for the title.
“I’m very surprised to be the No.1 contender to now fight Urijah Faber but I’m so very excited to fight for the title and replace Dominick Cruz. I’m very confident. I have been training a long time for this chance and I will be ready to go out there and put on a good show,” said Barao.
Quotes from press release, Photo credits: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC