TUF 15 Episode 11 Recap: Faber vs. Barao Interim Bantamweight title fight confirmed for UFC 146Posted on May 18, 2012, 10:20 PM by Evan Holober
The intro to this week's episode goes over 3 main points. James Vick was able to fight the way he wanted to against Joe Proctor. Michael Chiesa dug deep to stop the #1 pick Justin Lawrence, after Lawrence decided to fight with him on the ground. And Urijah Faber's opponent for UFC 148 will be announced this week. It then gives us an introduction for this week's second quarter-finals match-ups.
Here's the official UFC press release:
Las Vegas, Nevada – On Friday evening's episode of The Ultimate Fighter® Live, UFC President Dana White officially announced Renan Barao, 26-1 with 1 no-contest, will face Urijah Faber for the UFC Interim Bantamweight Title at UFC 148.
The fight card change comes on the heels of reigning UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz's knee injury, and subsequent withdrawal, in early May.
The owner of the longest unbeaten streak in mixed martial arts (27 fights without a loss), the Brazilian ‘Baron’ has stormed his way to the top of the UFC’s 135lbs division beating - in succession - Cole Escovedo, Brad Pickett and Scott Jorgensen.
The 25-year-old Barao said: "I'm very surprised to be the No.1 contender to now fight Urijah Faber but I'm so very excited to fight for the title and replace Dominick Cruz. I'm very confident. I have been training a long time for this chance and I will be ready to go out there and put on a good show."
As the show begins the camera's are recording Chris Saunders becoming emotional talking about his upbringing with Andy Ogle. He tries to keep it in check, but when the stories of him living in places without his family and changing diapers on his younger siblings elaborate the tears start to fall. Andy does his best to comfort Chris.
When the hallmark moment finishes, training for the first fight on tonight's show begins between Saunders and Vinc Pichel. Urijah claims that Saunders biggest problem is his own mind-set, and Faber is confident that won't make a difference anymore. Dominick wants Pichel to force this fight to the ground whenever possible, and "brutalize" Chris there. He also used the unfortunate description of "blanketing" Saunders if he couldn't get a stoppage or submission. Vinc for his wants to stop Saunders with strikes, yay!
The first round plays out with both landing decent strikes on the feet, but Pichel's pressure getting the slight edge. The problem for him is , per Cruz's game-plan, he continually looks for the takedown and either gets rebuffed or reversed every time. It's clear Cruz's plan to fight Saunders is wrestle or bust. It's not working. The second is going in a similar form, but this time Saunders isn't able to get the take down either. Vinc then does really well to blast Chris against the fence then, mid-flurry, goes for an ill-advised takedown. Chris of course defends well, reverses position, and takes the back. Vinc does well to get back to his feet, and finish the round strong blasting Chris with more knees and punches. The judges then throw everyone for a loop, and give Vinc Pichel both rounds. It was the wrong decision, but happens to the guy who had a questionable 2 round win happen a couple weeks back against Sam Sicilia. The judges giveth, and the judges taketh away.
Vinc Pichel defeats Chris Saunders by Unanimous Decision
Urijah's team hits a bit of a quandary next as they become the first crew this season to have to fighters go against one another. Faber assigns coaches to hold mitts for them, and give them some pointers. However, he stays out of the training himself. He also says he will allot a random teammate to each corner randomly right before the fight to not give any advantages, or make it weird in the house.
Andy Ogle tells the camera he's fought Al a million times in his head, but also fought him a million times in the gym. He advises it's going to be a war, but also claims this is his show. It's his time to shine. Nobody is going to impede his charge to the TUF final. Al Iaquinta starts off his session by saying he believes he's the hardest worker in the house, and that is what sets him apart from the rest of his roommates. Urijah has great things to say about both guys; the unpredictability of Al, and the fact that Andy is a lot better than he lets on. Phil Nurse sighting!
The fight plays out, and it's clear early on both have trained with one another. Ogle tries to use the cage while circling, and Al plays the role of stalker. The shots from Al get a little bit harder as Round 1 goes on, as his kicks and punches begin to find their range. Andy does well to land his own shots, but Al just eats them. With about a minute to go Al lands a perfect one-two combination that drops Andy. After a scramble Al lands a huge right elbow that puts down the Englishman for good, then lands a big hammerfist to put an exclamation point on the impressive win. Iaquinta doesn't celebrate much, and shows great respect afterwards for his fallen teammate.
Al Iaquinta defeats Andy Ogle by TKO (strikes) in Round 1 (4:44)
Dana White then makes the announcements for who is fighting next week. The semi-finals match ups are Vinc Pichel from Team Cruz taking on Faber's Al Iaquinta, and Michael Chiesa from the blue side taking on maybe the biggest surprise from the show James Vick. We finally get an answer to one of the most sought after questions in the MMA world as Urijah Faber will take on Renan Barao for the UFC interim bantamweight title. As Dana introduces the challenger a video of all Barao's exploits are played for the audience, and there's little argument that he's the right man to take Dominick's spot. As the show cuts back to live action Faber is seen joking around with somebody off camera, which tells you this is who he probably thought he'd be going against or Barao doesn't concern him much (I would guess the former). They then have a stare-down, and each shake hands. This is a pretty damn good replacement fight if you ask me.