The episode starts with the breakdown and recap of last week’s fight between Team Cruz’s Myles Jury and Team Faber’s Al Iaquinta, which was won after a “sudden victory” third round by Iaquinta.
In the locker room, Team Faber is shown celebrating their first win of the season, but the win is short lived as the team concentrates on the next bout between Michael Chiesa and Team Cruz’s Jeremy Larsen.
In the Team Cruz locker room, Myles Jury remains positive in defeat, taking the loss in stride and seeing it as a learning experience. Meanwhile, Cruz addresses the elephant in the room, which is Sam Sicilia’s relationship with Michael Chiesa of Team Faber. Sicilia admits that his friendship is strong but admits that he will do what he can to support Larsen.
At the house, Chiesa and Sicilia talk about their friendship and promise each other that they came to the show together and that they will leave the same way.
Cruz talks to Sicilia at the training center, asking him what Chiesa’s strengths are, specifically about his best submissions. Sicilia hesitates but understands that Cruz is preparing him for what may come in the future in the UFC should the friends end up facing each other.
“He’s not out like, plotting this evil scheme to get me to look like a bad friend,” Sicilia said. “He’s just preparing me for the UFC as a coach. So, you know, he’s helping me out.”
During the training session, Cruz works with Larsen on getting back to his feet after a takedown, knowing that he will see plenty of the mat in the fight.
Meanwhile, Cruz is having issues with Tickle once again. The doctor confirms to Cruz that Tickle is in fact having symptoms of gout, but the coach believes that he is once again coming up with yet another reason to not train hard. Cruz confronts him, ensuring that he in fact wanting to stay and compete. Tickle responds enthusiastically that he wants to continue regardless of the nagging injuries.
During the fighter profile, Michael Chiesa explains that he started wrestling, but an old UFC tape proved to be his calling to MMA. At the training center, Coach Faber believes Chiesa’s keys to victory include controlling the cage, getting the takedown, and finishing the fight once it hits the ground.
Chiesa goes on to talk about the passing of his father, and believes that whenever he has a tough and trying day, his father is their to help push him along. He tells his teammates that he had an “easy out” with the passing of his father, but proved that he wanted to make the most of his opportunity by continuing in the competition.
Tickle again becomes the topic of conversation with Coach Cruz during training. Tickle is again complaining about his stomach, and Cruz has had enough of the excuses. Cruz believes that all of the bathroom breaks are just a way for Tickle to get rest during the grueling training.
Coach Cruz continues to focus on preparing Larsen, and explains that he actually has known Larsen since they were young kids. Cruz believes that there is no quit in Larsen, and thinks that Larsen’s toughness and gritty determination will make a difference against the favored Chiesa.
At the weigh-ins, both guys make weight and we are one step closer to seeing who advances.
Team Cruz – Jeremy Larsen vs. Team Faber – Michael Chiesa
Round 1 – No touch of gloves. Chiesa comes forward and misses with a kick early. He throws another but it’s just to set up a takedown attempt. He drives Larsen into the cage. Larsen is working hard to fight it off, but gets put on his back. That’s definitely where he doesn’t want to be. Chiesa delivers some elbows from the top as Larsen looks to get back to the cage to work back to his feet. Chiesa lands more right hands. Larsen pushes off and gets back to his feet. He puts Chiesa on the cage now and lands some short knees inside. Chiesa returns fire with a knee to the head. Larsen pushes off and tries to maintain some distance to throw but Chiesa closes quickly and puts him back on the cage. He grabs a single but doesn’t get the fight to the mat, but then drops down and secures a strong double leg takedown. He’s back on top in the full guard of Larsen now. This fight has been all Chiesa so far. He stacks Larsen and a scramble ensues but Chiesa maintains top control. He secures the neck of Larsen as they both stand. Larsen puts a knee on the mat and Chiesa fires off a knee that lands on the head. The fight is stopped and Chiesa loses a point for the illegal blow. they restart and Chiesa fires off a wild combination that forces Larsen to shoot. He presses Chiesa on the cage and tries to get the fight to the mat but the bell sounds on the round. Easy round to score. 10-9 Chiesa.
Round 2 – Larsen coming forward to start. Chiesa lands with a kick then a right hand. He changes levels and secures a single. Chiesa works Larsen to the mat, but only for a moment. Back to the feet now with Larsen pressing Chiesa into the cage. Knees by Larsen land, but then Chiesa turns him and puts his back on the cage. Nice knees by Chiesa. They break and take the center of the cage. Chiesa lands his jab but it’s Larsen that scores with a straight right counter. Chiesa puts him on the cage and is looking for the single again. He finally gets it and is on top once again. Larsen kicks him off and gets back to his feet, but is quickly taken back down. Chiesa is grinding out a win for himself in this one. Back to the feet now. Larsen lands a looping one-two combination. Now a right hand that wobbles Chiesa. Again Larsen finds himself with his back on the cage defending another takedown. He hits the mat but bounces right back up with just over a minute to go. He turns Chiesa into the cage and lands a short flurry of punches. Again Chiesa closes and presses him into the cage. Chiesa gets to the back of Larsen and drags him to the mat. He’s looking for the rear-naked-choke with under 20 seconds to go. Bell. Bout. It’s over. ProMMAnow scores that round for Chiesa also, but now we await the official decision.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Michael Chiesa def. Jeremy Larsen by unanimous decision
With Team Faber’s second consecutive win, Faber maintains control of the fight pick. He selects Chris Tickle from Team Cruz first, and then names Joe Proctor from his team, making a match up that has been brewing since the show began.
See you next week.