The seventh episode of “The Ultimate Fighter: Live” begins with a quick recap of this past week’s episode, which saw Urijah Faber’s team take it’s third-consecutive win over Team Cruz after falling behind 0-2 to start the season.
UFC president Dana White and Dominick Cruz reflect on how well Chris Tickle was doing in the fight, before giving up a late takedown and a tap from a rear-naked choke giving Joe Proctor of Team Faber the win. The fight played out much like Coach Faber expected, with Tickle coming out fast but fading late.
Faber talks about this week’s bout between John Cofer and Vinc Pichel, and believes that Pichel’s lack of takedown defense will give Team Faber the advantage. Cruz reveals that he would have made the same matchup had he regained control of the fight picks.
“Cofer is a division-one wrestler and I think he’s got enough experience to win this fight by using his grappling,” Faber said.
In the locker room, Cruz is seen counseling Chris Tickle, recounting how he didn’t listen to his coaching. Tickle admits that he shouldn’t have lost, but at the same time continues to talk. Cruz shuts him down and continues to tell him that just by having heart and listening, he could have won the fight.
About that time, Faber walks by the locker room and tells Tickle he did a great job and to not let Cruz tell him any different. Cruz responds by pointing out Faber’s failures at winning championship fights lately, and just like that, we have the first real confrontation between the two coaches.
Tickle tells Coach Cruz that he has a problem with him questioning his heart. After a quick talk, Cruz apologizes for stepping over the line and tells Tickle that he loves him and that he just wants him to be his best. On the van ride to the house, Team Faber members believe that Cruz went overboard and question whether Tickle will stay after the confrontation. The focus quickly turns back to Cofer’s fight this week, and the confidence the team has with their win streak.
At the house, the time away from home is starting to wear on several of the guys, in particular Andy Ogle. At the training center, Team Faber works with his two fighters that have yet to fight, and spends some extra time getting Ogle’s mind into the game. It’s apparent to Faber that something is off with Ogle, so he takes some time to talk to his fighter. Instead of confronting Ogle immediately, Faber gives him some time to cool down before pushing to find out what the issue is.
After about 30 minutes, Faber finally got to the bottom of the issue, and prescribes some good old fashioned rest for his fighter.
Vinc Pichel talks about his rough childhood and where is name “From Hell” came from. Amazingly, it was his mother that gave him the name. He goes on to talk about how his mother finally started supporting his career choice and how she is a huge fan of what he now does for a living.
Cruz knows that the key to victory is stopping the takedowns, so that’s what the focus is at the training center. Pichel seems to be excelling at the one thing that Cruz stresses — listening. Cruz also spends time with his fighters that have yet to fight, specifically Sam Sicilia. Sicilia admits to Cruz that the pressure of being a number two pick is adding some expectations that is weighing him down.
The common factor with the guys that seem to be struggling mentally at this point is that they have yet to fight. It seems that the pressure and anticipation is what is really bothering them. Saunders and Ogle both have concerns that Chiesa will tip off Sicilia from Team Cruz, as to possible matchups and advantages that could help his best friend advance in the competition.
John Cofer is profiled next, as he talks about his wrestling background and how it taught him the “mental fortitude” to compete in MMA. Faber believes that Cofer is good in many areas, but that the wrestling is the key to the victory. He also admits that Pichel is dangerous on the feet.
Both guys make weight and with that, it’s fight time.
After the weigh-ins, Dana White addresses the cast, telling them he knows that the guys are at their breaking point, but tries to re-motivate them with a profanity-laced speech. They guys applause as the president walks off.
Team Cruz – Vinc Pichel vs. Team Faber – John Cofer
Round 1 – Touch of gloves to start. Both guys are feeling each other out early. Pichel is coming forward and Cofer is circling to stay out of range. Cofer comes forward and into range and pays for it, as Pichel fires off a three-punch combo. Cofer lands a kick then a left hand and puts Pichel on the cage. Pichel pushes off and circles out. Jab by both guys. Pichel goes high with the kick but it’s blocked. Cofer comes forward landing and Pichel fires back with a counter-right. Cofer is showing some good footwork so far, avoiding most of the power shots of Pichel. Nice 1-2 combination from Cofer. Jab-body kick by Pichel. Pichel with a right hand. Cofer gets inside and lands a knee in the clinch. Cofer with a flying knee. He looks really loose. Pichel scores with a jab and then a short uppercut. Two minutes to go in the first round. Nice jab by Pichel. Cofer comes right back and lands. Cofer is landing with that left hand. Cofer secures a leg but cannot get the fight to the floor. He does fire off a couple of shots on his way out. He’s winning the round on my card. Cofer with a head kick. Knees in the clinch. He’s doing work. Pinchel flurries late but Round 1 goes to Cofer.
Round 2 – Nice exchange to start and Cofer drops Pinchel for a moment. He scrambles up and Pinchel lands a big shot that dislodges the mouthpiece of Cofer. It’s put back in and here we go. Flying knee by Cofer. Big exchange in the center of the cage. Cofer comes forward and eats a huge counter-left hand. Cofer’s hands are low and he looks a little fatigued. Pichel goes for a takedown and gets it but has to fight off a choke, then defend his arm. He stays on top and the round ends. This one may go to a third.
It’s official, a sudden victory third round is coming up.
Round 3 – Nice start for Pinchel as he lands a flurry. Pinchel for the takedown now. He fights off a choke, moves to side control and finishes with an arm-triangle.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Vinc Pichel def. John Cofer by submission (arm-triangle) Rd. 3 (0:44)
With the win, Team Cruz retains control of the fight picks and knots up the competition 3-3. With the pick, Cruz selects Sam Sicilia to face off against Team Faber’s Chris Saunders.
See you next week!