TUF Live Finale set for next week in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS – The semifinals of "The Ultimate Fighter LIVE" on FX took place Friday night, setting the championship bout for next week's TUF Live Finale.
Al Iaquinta, Urijah Faber's No. 1 pick, beat Dominick Cruz team member Vinc Pichel by unanimous decision. And in a feel-good story that will continue right into the finals, Team Faber's Mike Chiesa once again needed to mount a comeback, but stopped Team Cruz's James Vick with a second-round knockout.
The wins by Iaquinta and Chiesa mean Faber has two of his fighters in the live finale, making him the automatic winner between he and Cruz. And that means Faber gets a new car as well as a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Cruz's team started the season 2-0, but Faber's squad came back to win five of the next six fights in the opening round.
Here's a look at what the major players in Friday's final regular-season episode had to say after the show.
UFC president Dana White
"There’s no doubt that Vick won that first round, but I think the biggest mistake he made was going for that submission at the end of it. I think he should have tried to finish it. He’s a young, tough, bright kid and has a big future in front of him. Chiesa was doing a lot of things to try and make stuff happen in the second round, and that’s what he did. The odds said he was supposed to lose twice, and here he is. This kid has got a ton of heart."
"The first round (between Iaquinta and Pichel) was tough to score. I actually think Pichel did more damage, but the judges gave Iaquinta the round because of his two takedowns. (Iaquinta) definitely came out and won the second round and got that fight. Al has looked good in both his fights. He looked like he was in great shape. Still moving, still punching and his wrestling was on. This is going to be one hell of a final."
"I feel great. It has been quite a journey. A lot of ups and downs, but I feel like I’ve earned my spot in the finale and I’m very excited to seize the moment."
"I couldn’t have done it without a great team (and) great roommates. Everyone really helped me out. The coaching staff was just awesome. Everything was a dream come true. When I left, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Now I have the toughest fight of my life ahead of me and I’m ready for it."