Well, for the first time all season, two fights will comprise the hour-long episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Live. However, I have a feeling more will be tuning in to find out anything new concerning Dominick Cruz.
As all of you know by now, the UFC bantamweight champion suffered a torn ACL last week in training. Cruz has been pulled out of a planned co-main event fight with Urijah Faber at UFC 148. “The Dominator” will remain on as a coach through the conclusion of TUF against Faber.
UFC president Dana White made a surprise appearance to start the show following the usual review session, telling Faber this would all be sorted out by next week. However, we are left to wonder if that means this episode of TUF, or not?
Cruz also tells anyone that will listen that he’ll be back in four months. Really? As much as I want to see Cruz-Faber, if he tries to do that, the end result will not be good, especially for someone that uses his speed and quickness to his advantage.
As for the actual fights, we will see Joe Proctor take on James Vick, followed by Michael Chiesa battling Justin Lawrence.
Vick and Proctor start things off, and we have no weigh-ins, so we are under the assumption that both fighters made 155 pounds. Not much action out of either fighter outside of some weak strikes. Proctor listens to Faber and lands a counter shot. He puts together a nice combo, but Vick finally answers back with a series of shots. Proctor with a counter that lands with complete force on Vick and we are headed to the second round.
Proctor is told to close the distance, but Vick is the first to find his range in the second. Vick is landing leg kicks, and will win this fight if this keeps up. Proctor goes for a choke, but Vick takes over and drops him to the ground. Vick lands a series of punches and a some knees. Proctor lands a some big punches, including one that bloodied Vick up. Let’s see what the judges feel is the decision.
James Vick def. Joe Proctor via unanimous decision to advance to the semifinals. Vick informs Jon Anik that, “If no one can take me down, I can’t be beaten.”
Here we go with Lawrence and Chiesa. This should be an exciting match, as many had these two pegged as potential winners. Well, at least I did after the opening round. Chiesa goes for an early triangle, followed by an armbar, no surprise there. Lawrence avoids the submissions, but Chiesa nearly locks in a kimura while on his back. Cruz is screaming at Lawrence, who eats some elbows from Chiesa. The Team Faber fighter goes for another triangle, but is unable to lock it in tight enough and Lawrence survives. That might have been the most submission attempts in a round on this season of TUF. We are headed for a second five minutes.
Lawrence and Chiesa exchange, but Lawrence appears tired. Faber is pushing for Chiesa to attack. After a few bad exchanges, Lawrence lands a big body shot that drops Chiesa to the mat. Lawrence waits for the ref to stop it, but he doesn’t, so Lawrence goes in and gets caught in a kimura. Lawrence escapes, and we’ll have to see what happens next.
We are headed to a third and final sudden victory round, as Lawrence and Chiesa go head-to-head. It seems that Lawrence is feeling the pressure, as he is expected to make the finals. Cruz continues to shout instructions, but Lawrence appears to still be ignoring him. Lawrence lands and follows up, but Chiesa goes for the arm. Instead of locking in a submission, Chiesa flips on top of Lawrence and ends the fight seconds later with several fists to the face.
Michael Chiesa def. Justin Lawrence via TKO in third round to advance to the semifinals. Chiesa exclaims, “Happy Mother’s Day, mom,” after his win.
Next week we will see two more fights, as Vinc Pichel takes on Chris Saunders and Andy Ogle meets Al Iaquinta.