The taped segment of the show this week was pretty uneventful. It can be summed up in a few lines: Mike Rio hurts his knee, the guys find it tough to adjust to life in the house, and Faber brings in a life coach to talk to the fighters.
It finally struck me how the house has that "prison" vibe: A bunch of dudes confined to an area with nothing to do other than train and think. Of course, that area is a really nice house, but I think the comparison still holds true.
There wasn't much build-up to the fight. There was no "beef," and neither fighter is particularly charismatic. The main storyline was that Dominick Cruz picked Myles Jury to take down Faber's No. 1 guy, Al Iaquinta. Interestingly enough, both fighters were supposed to appear on previous seasons of TUF but were forced to withdraw due to injury (Jury in season 13, and Iaquinta in season 12).
This week the fighters let their actions in the ring do all of the talking.
Round 1 starts, and the fighters trade strikes. After a while, it appears that Iaquinta is the aggressor—the one pushing forward more often. Jury is more diverse in his striking attack, but it seems like Iaquinta is landing more solidly. He also stuffs a couple takedown attempts along the way.
With about a minute left, they are tangled up on the ground. Jury eventually gets out and in a surprise twist, suplexes Iaquinta! He eventually gets Iaquinta's back, and that's where they finish the round.
Tough round to score. It seemed like Iaquinta controlled the action, but Jury had his moments. I could see this round going either way.
Round 2 starts with a low blow delivered to Iaquinta. We're back in action, and it's more of what we saw in Round 1: Jury throwing more diverse strikes, with Iaquinta pressing forward. With 3:38 left, Jury clips Iaquinta with a back-fist. Jury charges, but Iaquinta nails him with a right hook. The action is intense.
They eventually settle into their usual pace. With 2:00 left in the round, Iaquinta backs Jury against the cage, but Jury ducks under and gets Iaquinta's back. He's not able to do much with the position, and they eventually break. Both fighters land a couple shots in the last minute, and with 12 seconds remaining, Jury takes Iaquinta down.
Very close fight. Once again, this round could go either way.
We go to the judges' decision and...
It's a draw.
We go to sudden victory.
Round 3 starts, and Jury winces as Iaquinta punches him. He might have been poked, or simply got punched right in the eye. Anyhow, Iaquinta swarms him and lands a few shots.
The action eventually settles back to its usual pace, with Iaquinta pressing forward most of the time. It seems like Jury is really trying to find angles and attack from the outside. He throws a horribly-telegraphed flying knee.
Jury looks for a few more knees, and Iaquinta clearly sees them coming. I'm waiting for Jury to press the action a little bit, because he's got to know he's losing this round.
It never happens. The fighters close the bout with a pretty good exchange.
To my surprise, Jury immediately raises his fists. I'm a bit puzzled because I thought he clearly lost that round.
Adalaide Byrd: 10-9 Jury. What?
Patricia Morse-Jarman: 10- 9 Iaquinta.
Glenn Trowbridge: 10-9 Iaquinta.
Thankfully, Iaquinta comes out with the decision. I don't know how you score that round for Jury. I would've flipped my lid if the judges gave the decision to him.
Much has been made about the judging in MMA, and clearly more still needs to be done.
Please let me know in the comments how that round could've possibly gone to Jury.
Anyway, it was a bold move by Cruz to put Jury up against Iaquinta, and Jury definitely held his own. Iaquinta looked pretty good and made good on his No.1 pick status. I wouldn't be surprised to see Iaquinta and Justin Lawrence in the finals.
It's a bit surprising that the fights this season have pretty much been all on the feet. I'd like to see how some of these fighters would do if taken down.
We go to the fight picks.
Previously in the episode we were shown that Andy Ogle wanted to fight Rio because he defeated his friend in the preliminary fights. Daron Cruickshank says that Rio is old and always injured.
This seems to be the obvious pick. However, Team Faber instead chooses Michael Chiesa to fight..Jeremy Larsen!
Right before the announcement, Faber points out that Cruz said that Larsen had trouble with wrestlers.
We get a pretty intense stare-down, with the fighters going nose to nose.
That was a bit surprising. Maybe after Faber's comment and being the last pick for Team Cruz, Larsen has a chip on shoulder.
It should be another interesting fight next week.