It’s a sad fact of life that all good things must come to an end. Our loved ones pass away, our own bodies start to fail us as we age and worst of all, The Ultimate Recap: Live! has run its course. It’s been a fun ride. We’ve laughed. We’ve cried. We’ve marveled at Jon Anik’s dogged persistence to try to get something quote worthy. So, it is with a heavy heart that I begin the final recap.
The show opens with a sponsored, er, riveting look at the Harley Davidson store in Las Vegas. As you may know by now, the winner of TUF as well as his coach will receive a brand new custom Harley Davidson motorcycle. The segment sounded like this: “It’s awesome to be here at Harley Davidson to check out all the great Harley Davidson motorcycles at this Harley Davidson store. I really hope I win a Harley Davidson motorcycle and cruise around town in my Harley Davidson bike and Harley Davidson gear with my buddy Harley Davidson.” It wasn’t a total loss though. Seeing James Vick marvel at the handlebars and seats like a kid on Christmas morning was adorable.
We cut to the house where we get our only real taste of drama the whole season. That rascal “Bad” Tickle as at it again with his pranks. This one involved the particularly brilliant gag of hitting a sleeping man in the crotch with a water bottle (genius!). He succeeds in striking a napping Cruickshank and the only thing dumber than the “prank” is the response. Cruickshank gets up, runs at Tickle and throws a couple punches and a low kick. To his credit, Tickle doesn’t escalate situation, but seriously? Who kicks someone in a fight? That’s like being the guy that tries to pull guard in a bar fight. I mean, that’s like throwing a shoe. Who does that?
Back at the training facility and Dana tells all the guys how proud he is of them, best season ever, etc et al and so on and so forth. He then says that every single guy will fight on the Finale show next week...except not. Both Mike Rio and Andy Ogle’s injuries will prevent them from competing. Rio’s knee is still hampering him while Ogle has a medical suspension due to the concussion suffered in his previous fight.
We then see how the training for the first semi-final contestants Michael Chiesa and James Vick is progressing. Cruz worries about Vick’s vulnerability if he gets put on his back and wants to keep it standing. Chiesa talks about how he has striking ability and can stand toe to toe with Vick but the show then cuts to him getting handled in sparring. Clearly emotional with the struggles, Chiesa does what anyone would do -- locks himself in bathroom. Props to Urijah Faber for getting him to open the door, though. If he ever has a teenage daughter, he’ll do well.
The show comes back from commercial with its signature Britney boob shot. Sometimes I'd like to see her wear a frumpy sweater just to change things up, but then again, BOOBS! They also inform us that we can help pick the walkout music. I hope you will all agree that we should ensure “Let’s Get Physical” and “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.”
Round one of Chiesa vs.Vick features a lot of gangly guys swatting at each other. There are no real significant strikes landed, until Vick starts to turn the tide toward the end of the round and hurts Chiesa. Chiesa turtles up and tries to survive as Vick attempts a Darce, but is unsuccessful.
With his back against the wall, Chiesa steps it up in round two. He comes out more aggressively and starts opening the holes in Vick’s defense. At the 3:20 mark Chiesa takes him down and we see that Cruz’s fears were well founded. Vick immediately gives up his back and Chiesa rains punches down and the ref ends it.
We then have a brief glimpse of the training for Iaquinta vs. Pichel. Faber is really excited for the fight and expects, “one for the history books.” Pichel ruins any expectations I have for his success when he says, “who wants to throw jabs?” He also baffles me when he tells Iaquinta, “I hope you have a metal on because I’m gonna break that thing.” What does that even mean? I once watched all of Gymkata and even that confused me less.
In the fight, Iaquinta is able to get a broomstick takedown about a minute in but is unable to really advance position. Pichel gets back up and thy exchange. Both are connecting, but Iaqunita definitely lands the more significant strikes. Later, Iaquinta gets another takedown and rides ou the last minute out.
Round two is more of the same. The most important thing that happens is that someone loses their mouthguard and Faber flips out. It’s nice to know that he’s concerned about proper dental protection, though. Iaquinta gets the decision and cements himself as the new Mark Hunt of post fight interviews. It appears that when Jon Anik calls someone “stone cold” that’s code for short and stoic.
After a brief face-off of next week’s finale between Iaquinta and Chiesa, movie preview guy comes in to give us a preview of the other fights. And that my friends is the end of the season. Will Chiesa overcome all his emotional difficulties to beat the hard hitting New Yorker? What other guys will have enough success to earn themselves a UFC contract? Will Al Iaquinta get suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for being a cyborg? Find out this and more on The Ultimate Fighter Finale: Live! Friday night on FX.
In the meantime, be sure to follow me on Twitter @DannyBoyDownes and the show at @InsideTUF. Now I know you’re all upset that you won’t be able to read my brilliant recaps, but it’ll be alright. You still be able to read my Downes Side predictions before every UFC event and my blog. Don’t cry for me, I’ll be fine. My wit, intellect and boyish good looks have gotten me this far and will continue to serve me well. Remember, it’s not goodbye, it’s see you later. Unless, we don’t see each other. I suppose in that case it really is goodbye.
Team Cruz (5-7)
Myles Jury - (0-1) lost a split decision to Al Iaquinta in episode 4
Jeremy Larsen - (0-1) lost via unanimous decision to Mike Chiesa in episode 5
Justin Lawrence - (1-1) won via KO over Cristiano Marcello in episode 3; TKOd by Mike Chiesa in episode 10
- (2-1) submitted John Cofer in episode 7; beat Chris Saunders by
majority decision in the episode 11; lost a unanimous decision to Al Iaquinta in
the episode 12 semifinals
Mike Rio - (0-1) lost via submission to Andy Ogle in episode 9
Sam Sicilia - (0-1) lost a split decision to Chris Saunders in episode 8
Chris Tickle - (0-1) lost via submission to Joe Proctor in episode 6
- (2-1) won via KO over Daron Cruickshank in episode 2; won a unanimous
decision over Joe Proctor in episode 10; lost via TKO to Mike Chiesa
in the episode 12 semifinals
Team Faber (9-6)
- (3-0) won a unanimous decision over Jeremy Larsen in episode 5; TKOd
Justin Lawrence in episode 10; TKOd James Vick in the
episode 12 semifinals; scheduled to fight Al Iaquinta at the TUF Live Finale June 1
John Cofer - (0-1) lost to Vinc Pichel in episode 7
Daron Cruickshank - (0-1) lost to James Vick in episode 2
- (3-0) won a split decision over Myles Jury in episode 4; TKOd Andy
Ogle in episode 11; won a unanimous decision win over Vinc Pichel in the episode 12
semifinals; scheduled to fight Mike Chiesa at the TUF Live Finale June 1
Cristiano Marcello - (0-1) lost to Justin Lawrence in episode 3
Andy Ogle - (1-1) submitted Mike Rio in episode 9; lost via TKO to Al Iaquinta in episode 11
Joe Proctor - (1-1) submitted Chris Tickle in episode 6; lost a unanimous decision to James Vick in episode 10
Chris Saunders - (1-1) beat Sam Sicilia by split decision in episode 8; lost a majority decision to Vinc Pichel in episode 11