Another week and the same result for Al Iaquinta. Just one week after beating Andy Ogle, Iaquinta came back and won a tough decision over Vinc Pichel to move on to the Ultimate Fighter Finale this Friday. In the opposite fight it was Al’s teammate Mike Chiesa securing a win over James Vick, setting up an all Team Faber final. That’s where it all ended, let’s take a few minutes and walk you through the hour of excitement.
The winner of the TUF Finale as well as the winning coach gets a custom made Harley Davidson. In the begging of the episode the four semi finalists as well as Cruz and Faber had an opportunity to go down to Red Rock Harley and check out some bikes. Everyone had an chance to sit on bike and check out the different handle bars, seats, colors, and any other way to customize their bike. Everyone had a chance to try on some Harley gear as well. “Bikes kind of scare me.” Al said, “They got me on there riding it. It was a really cool experience.”
Later in the week Dana White meets with all the fighters at the gym. Daron Cruickshank and Chris Tickle are nervous about getting in trouble after a brief altercation they had. The meeting has nothing to do with that, and actually turns out to be the opposite. White offers his praise to the sixteen cast members. “You guys accomplished something no one has ever accomplished in the Ultimate Fighter” White said. “ This was the first season we did this live, and you actually had to live here for thirteen weeks. I’m blown away how well everyone has conducted themselves.” White went on to inform the fighters they would all have the opportunity to fight as the undercard of the Finale. Ogle and Rio would not be able to fight due to injuries.
We see a brief training day from both sides. Chiesa has a rough day of training where he said “when it rains it pours.” It seemed like he wasn’t able to get anything working. A frustrated Chiesa even broke down in tears during practice. Urijah helps him move past the rough day of practice and stay focused.
This takes us right into the first fight of the night, James Vick vs. Mike Chiesa. Vick comes out looking strong and his striking looks sharp. Mike tries to be aggressive with his punches but Vick counters with some strong jabs of his own. The two wrestle for position with Vick able to secure a takedown. Vick is quickly back on his feet as he want’s no part of Mike’s ground game. The two exchange more shots back and fourth. Vick is able to rattle Mike with a flurry of punches and looks for a guillotine. He doesn’t have the choke deep enough, and the round ends. Vick likely won the first round.
Mike comes out aggressive in the second round. Vick lands some nice body shots. The two throw punches back and fourth in the center of the octagon. Mike lands a big right and is able to secure a take down. Mike throws vicious punches from the mount until the official is forced to stop the fight. Mike Chiesa wins by KO.
Faber talks about his number one pick Al Iaquinta leading up to the fight. “He’s a pro” Faber said, “he never complains, works hard, and keeps improving.” Faber said Al being the more technical fighter would be a big advantage for him in the fight.
Al comes out strong in the first round. Both fighters taking a few big shots early. Al works for a single leg and is able to take Pichel down. He takes his back and looks for a choke. Vinc is able to get back to his feet. Iaquinta lands some nice shots while he continues to stick and move. Al keeps Vinc off balance with a nice combination of punches and kicks. Near the end of the round Al is able to secure another takedown, throwing punches while on top of Pichel. The first round is in Iaquinta’s favor.
Both Al and Vinc come out aggressive in the second round. Pichel appears to be throwing haymakers. Al stays composed and is able to avoid any damage from Pichel’s punches. Al lands a nice uppercut, and both fighters exchange kicks back and fourth. Al continues to stick and move, and does a great job defensively to limit the damage. Pichel is able to defend a take down attempt by Al. The two exchange some more punches back and fourth. Al looks for another take down attempt pushing Pichel against the cage. The two trade punches back and fourth to end the round. The fight goes to the judges and it’s Al Iaquinta your winner by unanimous decision.
“He’s tough” Al told Jon Anik after the fight. “I had to stick and move and that’s what I was able to do.” Anik asked Iaquinta if there would be any obstacles leading up to his fight in the Finale next week. “No obstacles, just business as usual” Iaquinta said.
Dana White had a few thoughts of his own about Al. “He comes out beats a tough, rugged fighter in Pichel. Another dominant performance. This is going to be a great Finale.”
In just a few short days it will be Iaquinta vs. Chiesa in the TUF Live Finale, LIVE from The Pearl at the Palms in Las Vegas. Check here all week for tons of Iaquinta vs. Chiesa coverage, including an interview with Al as well.