The ninth episode of “The Ultimate Fighter: Live” begins with a quick recap of this past week’s show, which saw Team Faber’s Chris Saunders upset Sam Sicilia by split decision. Both Dominick Cruz and Dana White believe that Sicilia clearly won the second round and deserved a shot at a sudden victory third round.
In the locker room, Faber talks about how Saunders executed his gameplan perfectly to advance against Sicilia. Saunders is deservedly celebrating his victory but does take a second to explain that tough guys can wear pink.
The attention quickly turns to Andly Ogle and Mike Rio. Ogle explains that it’s a battle that features the best looking fighters from both squads. He also comments that both he and Rio also have the best haircuts in the competition. He seems a lot more relaxed than in previous episodes.
After the celebration, Team Faber’s Mike Chiesa heads over to the Team Cruz locker room to console his best friend, explaining that it’s his obligation as family to be there for Sicilia. Sicilia is visibly upset but admits that he believes his loss has a purpose and promises to be back better than ever.
Dana White tweeted earlier this week that the coaches challenge would be worth the wait. At this point, it seems that it will indeed live up to the hype as the challenge starts in the desert with some motivated Marines on hand. It’s evident that some sort of shooting will be involved, as the Marines explain that the challenge will consist of an obstacle course with stations set up for marksmanship with various weapons. Dana White then reveals that Tapout has upped the ante with this challenge, bumping the prize money from $10,000 up to $20,000.
At the sound of the horn, the competition is on and it’s Cruz that takes the early lead on the rope climb. Cruz maintains his early lead by dropping all five of his targets with a 9mm pistol. Faber is still closely behind going into the M16 portion of the challenge, but Cruz blazes through that station as well and heads over to the SAW. The SAW proves to be the turning point at least at this point, as Cruz struggles with his second target.
Faber takes the lead and moves to the next obstacle. Cruz immediately catches him and moves to the final challenge where the grenade launcher is located. Two hits will win the challenge. Both guys line up their targets and pull the trigger causing targets to explode, but it’s Faber that hits his final target first, giving his team the victory.
At the training center, Andy Ogle is profiled as he explains that where he is from, fighting is a way of life. He goes on to say that getting into the cage is the biggest thrill possible in the world. Faber breaks down the gameplan for Ogle, which will consist of mixing up his attacks while avoiding the takedowns. Faber admits that wrestling is Ogle’s weakness but believes that Ogle can outwork Rio and seal the team’s fifth win in the competition.
Mike Rio and Dominick Cruz hit the training center talking strategy of how to beat Ogle. Rio gives the viewers his wrestling credentials as a national champion and explains that his squeeky-clean upbringing in Miami was due to his dedication to wrestling. Cruz talks about Rio’s early knee injury but believes that the knee is healed enough to advance him in the competition.
Dana White and both coaches meet in the office to discuss the matchups for the quarterfinals, and Faber gets under the skin of Cruz immediately with his “Captain Obvious” comment. After some discussion and input from the coaches, Dana White starts the task of finalizing the matchups.
At the training center, both Ogle and Rio make weight and it’s about time for the final fight of the preliminary round.
TEAM CRUZ – Mike Rio vs. TEAM FABER – Andy Ogle
Round 1 – Tough of gloves to start. Ogle jab. Rio coming forward and eats an uppercut from Ogle. Both guys stick their jabs. Ogle connects with a flush left hand. Again. That one snapped the head of Rio back a notch. Ogle circling out as Rio looks to cut him off. Another left hand from Ogle. He has some crisp striking. Lead left hook by Ogle but it’s one and done. Rio stalking now. Ogle with an uppercut-left hook combination. He’s landing that left hand almost at will. Faber yells at Ogle to stay off the cage. Ogle is peppering Rio with that left hand. He’s getting loose now. All Ogle so far. Rio has seen enough. He shoots and gets an easy takedown. Ogle is using the cage to try to wall walk. He grabs the cage and gets to his feet as Dean warns him for the offense. Rio still pressing Ogle into the cage. Ogle scores with short left hands as Rio looks to stay close. Ogle breaks and separates then puts together a short flurry. Ogle with his jab, again. Another. He looks really, really good on the feet against Rio so far. Overhand lead right hand from Ogle with under a minute to go. Cruz is asking for a takedown but even if he gets it, this round is all Ogle. Rio gets the takedown at the bell. PMN scores Round 1 for Ogle.
Round 2 – Rio takes the center of the cage to start the second. Ogle fires off a quick combo. Rio counters and actually lands a significant strike. Rio closes and puts Ogle on the cage, but Ogle turns and steps out and away. Ogle with a jab, then a kick. He’s bleeding out of the mouth it appears. Ogle with a superman punch. Rio looks a bit confused at this point. Ogle lands a right hand but gives up a takedown as Rio ducks under and drives him into the mat. Rio flurries with left hands that find their mark. Ogle scrambles but gives up his back. Rio is looking for the rear naked choke. He locks up a body triangle and is going to work. Ogle turns into him and is now on top. Very nice work by Ogle. He’s landing left hands over the top as Rio looks to get off his back. Ogle keeps pressuring and passes the guard of Rio and moves into side mount. Rio scrambles but ends up with Ogle on his back. Ogle flattens him out and goes to work from the top with right hands. Impressive showing for sure. More right hands. He finds space and locks up the choke. The tap comes almost before the rear-naked is even secured. Ogle is overwhelmed, running out of the octagon to celebrate as Faber yells for him to get back in the cage.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Andy Ogle def. Mike Rio by submission (rear-naked-choke) Rd 2 (4:19)
The win gives Team Faber another victory and a 5-3 edge in the competition to this point. Now it’s time for the quarterfinal matchups for next week. Here is what they look like:
TEAM CRUZ – James Vick vs. TEAM FABER – Joe Proctor
TEAM CRUZ – Justin Lawrence vs. TEAM FABER – Mike Chiesa