Team Faber picks up third straight win after starting 0-2
Dominick Cruz's team picked up a much-needed victory Friday night on "The Ultimate Fighter LIVE" on FX.
Vinc Pichel, Cruz's sixth overall pick, submitted John Cofer, Urijah Faber's sixth pick, with an arm triangle choke in a third sudden-victory round, and Cruz's team evened the score at 3-3. Cruz's squad had opened up the season with two straight wins before Faber's team rallied with three straight wins.
After a pair of close rounds in arguably the best fight of the season so far, which saw both Pichel and Cofer landing some significant shots and looking for submissions, the judges had the fight tied up. But in the sudden-victory round, Pichel worked quickly. After an opening flurry, Pichel took the fight to the ground, worked for side control, got it, then locked in the arm triangle that forced Cofer to tap.
Pichel moves into the quarterfinals, joining teammates Justin Lawrence and James Vick, plus Team Faber's Al Iaquinta, Michael Chiesa and Joe Proctor.
With Pichel's victory, Cruz got back control of the fight picks. He chose Sam Sicilia, his second over all pick, to face Team Faber's Chris Saunders – Faber's eighth overall pick. And that means the season's ninth episode, which will air May 4, will feature a fight between the last two remaining cast members who haven't fought – Team Cruz's Mike Rio, his fourth pick, against Team Faber's Andy Ogle, Faber's seventh pick.
Next week's eighth episode airs Friday at 10 p.m. Eastern on FX.
Here's a look at what the major players in Friday's seventh episode had to say after the show.
UFC president Dana White
"The fight that happened tonight showed me that both of these guys want to be here and they want it bad. Those guys never stopped battling. It was an absolute war and that is what I love to see! The judges called it right tonight. I gave the first round to Cofer and the second round to Pichel. It needed the sudden-victory round, and these guys didn’t disappoint. I’m so happy with both guys' performance."
"I feel like I am on top of Mt. Everest right now, sucking in beautiful air. Honestly, I feel so much better about that type of win. I wouldn’t have wanted it to be an easy one-sided battle. I feel like a have a bigger sense of accomplishment winning the way I did. I got hit in that fight more than I have in my whole pro career – and I didn’t like it. Now I need to rest-up, heal, and then when it comes time to fight, I’ll be there – I’ll be ready."
"I’m really proud of Pichel. He listened flawlessly. He dug deep and came out on top. He showed how bad he wants this competition in that fight. That’s the type of fight that will prepare him for his bright future in the UFC. I chose Sicilia-Saunders because I believe Sicilia’s wrestling and pace can give Saunders a lot of trouble. The importance of this fight is letting Sam fight like Sam."
"Hats off to Vinc Pichel. Hell of a fighter. Sorry I couldn’t come through. I just gotta keep working. This experience is only making me stronger. I’m down, but not out. Thanks to all of those that support."
"I was inspired after that fight. I feel like the big difference was just a mental decision that Pichel made. He brought the intensity to the next level. You can’t teach that. I’m proud of Cofer. He has a great future in the sport. (Sicilia vs. Saunders) was the fight we were going to pick. Saunders has potential to beat anybody. We just need to get his head in the right spot and make sure he has his A-game ready."
"I feel awesome. I’ve been waiting for this. I’m ready to perform. I’ve taken a lot of steps since I’ve been here, and now I’m ready to put it on display against a very tough opponent. As always, I’ll fight faithful and fearless. I can’t promise a victory, but I can promise a brutal fight."
"I’m excited. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. I’m geared and ready to go. I feel strong and healthy. I would like to thank God, because without Him none of this would be possible. Now I feel like it’s truly my time, and I’m excited for this."