The episode starts with the usual fight recap from the previous week which saw Justin Lawrence continue to impress as he eliminated the veteran Cristiano Marcello of Team Faber by knockout.
Lawrence and his team is shown celebrating the big win, and Coach Cruz feels like he’s just getting started at 3-0 against Urijah Faber, with two wins on the show and the head-to-head victory against him in the cage. Faber remains confident, calming his team in the locker room, and addresses Marcello telling him he did a tremendous job in the fight.
Back at the fighter house Team Faber’s Andy Ogle admits that the defeats are very difficult to deal with, but Michael Chiesa believes that Team Faber is a better team overall despite the tough start in the competition.
Al Iaquinta believes he will break the losing streak against the very tough Myles Jury this episode.
“He’s a good fighter but I’ve been in wars before,” Iaquinta said. “I’ve gotten my [expletive] kicked and I’ve gotten a win. Myles, I don’t think he’s ever been in a war.”
Dominick Cruz kicks off his team’s training session with his usual strategy, believing that going hard and grinding out through practices makes the actual fight that much easier. During sparring, Mike Rio takes a spinning-back fist from Myles Jury and goes down awkwardly on his knee. After the medics take a look, Cruz is very optimistic that Rio will be able to continue in the competition.
Ogle continues to lament the tough situation at the house and others agree. Daron Cruickshank admits that he eats continuously without anything else to do in the house. Some of the other fighters engage in a game of charades to pass the time. Chris Tickle explains how hard it is to be without his girl as Ogle continues to write his letter back home.
Al Iaquinta explains that he was supposed to be on Season 12, but that a broken hand kept him from being on the show. He believes that it may have been for the better, allowing him more time to grow and improve coming into this season of the show. Iaquinta discusses his gameplan with Coach Faber, telling him that he would rather go on the offensive, then just prepare and train to stop the takedowns of Jury.
Faber agrees with the plan, believing that Jury will try to grind out a “boring” decision like his “sensei,” Dominick Cruz. Faber goes on to call his rival the “Decision-ator.”
Faber shows up at the house to check up on the guys and to hang out, but also has a surprise. Life coach Jim Peterson appears and breaks down the aspects of competition to the fighters. Some guys such as Andy Ogle truly appreciates the experience, while Team Cruz’s Chris Tickle thinks it’s just ridiculous.
Mike Rio admits that his knee is still bothering him but insists that it will not stop him in his quest to win the competition. He goes on to say that around Team Faber he tries his best to not show how badly it’s bothering him. During training it’s obvious that the knee is more of an issue than he is ready to admit.
Cruz starts to then focus on Myles Jury and his preparation for tonight’s fight. Cruz knows Jury well, having trained with him back in San Diego, and gives him an honest assessment on where he is at this point in the competition.
Jury talks about the knee injury that forced him out of the season 13 competition, and is now ready to prove that he belongs this season. Confidence is extremely high for Team Cruz as they chant Jury’s nickname out after the training session.
Team Faber talks strategy at the house, and seem to be leaning toward picking Mike Rio should they win the fight pick after tonight’s fight. The injury to Rio’s knee is now known, and his age is also a topic as the team continues to plan for next week.
Jury talks to his team about his feelings regarding the upcoming fight, and at the training center, both fighters make weight.
Team Cruz – Myles Jury vs. Team Faber – Al Iaquinta
Round 1 – Al comes forward. Myles lands a kick then circles out and away. Lots of movement from Myles early. Nice exchange by both. Myles with more kicks, but Al lands a big right hand over the top. Myles clinches but Al pulls away and takes the center of the cage. Another kick from Myles, counter left hand by Al. Big leg kick from Myles as he backpedals out after. Al still stalking Myles. Brief clinch, then a break. Jab-leg kick from Myles. He seems to have found his rhythm. Myles misses with a flying knee and pays for it as Al steps back and lands over the top. Al scores with a kick. Myles fakes low and goes high with a nice kick then changes level shooting for a leg. Al fights it off and circles away. Big right hand from Al. Nice action in this one. Big exchange that Myles gets the better of. Myles then goes for a double on the cage but ends up on his back. Al extends the legs of Myles, and both guys are contorted on the ground. They make their way to their feet and Myles then suplexes Al to the mat. Al is back up and Myles starts to lock up a choke at the bell. Good first round that I score for Myles Jury, 10-9.
Round 2 – Feints from Myles then he fires off a kick that lands in the jewels. Al is ready to go after a few seconds, and the fight is back on. Myles continues to score with kicks. Al uncorks a big right hand behind his jab that scores. Cruz calling for the jab and pressure from Myles. He feints it on command. Inside leg kick from Myles. Al coming forward and applying the pressure, landing a lead left hand. He pursues Myles and is staggered by a counter. Al comes back and nearly drops Myles with a stiff right hand as Myles rushes forward. What a fight! Al landing big shots now while Myles tries to counter the attack. Myles leans in for a knee and eats another big shot. Al stalking now. Big exchange. Both guys land big shots in the pocket. Myles flicks out his jab while Al is firing off nothing but power shots now. Right hand to the body and he wobbles Myles with a left hook. Myles closes and tries to take the back of Al against the cage. He gets one hook in but can’t secure the body as Al steps out and away with just over a minute to go. Nice jab from Al. Myles seems to be fading a little. Inside leg kick Myles. Big body shot from Myles. Al comes back with one of his own and then scores with a right. Myles ducks under another right and plants Al on his back, ending the round on top. Despite the late takedown, I give the round to Al Iaquinta. This may be going one more round.
The decision is in, and as expected, it’s a draw. On to sudden victory.
Round 3 – Touch of gloves to start. Jabs from both guys score, but Al pours it on with a furious flurry of power shots. Myles gets on his bike and gets out of there but Al is still stalking. Myles fires off a couple of kicks but they don’t have much sting on them. Al with another right hand. He’s countering nicely off the kicks of Myles. Al leans in with a lead left hand. Again. It’s more of a lead left hook then a jab, and it’s scoring. Myles needs to turn it up, he’s down halfway through. Myles lands another kick, but it’s one-and-done, while Al is stringing together combinations. Myles returns to his jab which has been mostly absent in the third round to this point. More jabs from Myles. Al goes right back to the power lead left. Both guys feinting now, then score with kicks. Under a minute to go. Stiff leg kick from Myles. Nice crisp jab from Myles. He ducks under a right hand and shoots, but Al shrugs him off easily. Triple jab from Al. Uppercut and left hand from Myles. Both guys swinging as the bell sounds. Round 3 goes to Iaquinta on the ProMMAnow scorecard.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Al Iaquinta def. Myles Jury by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
With that, Team Faber gets on the board and takes control of the fight pick. Faber selects Mike Chiesa to take on Team Cruz’s Jeremy Larsen. After an intense staredown, it’s time to wrap it up.
See you next week.