TUF Live, Episode 12: Chiesa vs. Iaquinta Set for Finale
STUDIO MMA, RIVERSIDE – The Ultimate Fighter: Live Episode 12 took place this weekend, setting the stage for a final lightweight matchup between Team Faber members Michael Chiesa and Al Iaquinta. On Friday, Chiesa came from behind, yet again, to earn the TKO victory over Team Cruz’s James Vick. In the second bout, Iaquinta edged out a close unanimous decision over Team Cruz’s Vinc Pichel. As a result, Urijah Faber claimed the team victory over rival and UFC bantamweight champion Dominck Cruz.
Dana White discussed the semifinals:
There’s no doubt that Vick won that first round but I think the biggest mistake he made was going for that submission at the end of it,” White told StudioMMA.com. “I think he should have tried to finish it. He’s a young, tough, bright kid and has a big future in front of him. Chiesa was doing a lot of things to try and make stuff happen in the second round and that’s what he did. The odds said he was supposed to lose twice and here he is. This kid has got a ton of heart.
The first round [between Iaquinta and Pichel] was tough to score. I actually think Pichel did more damage but the judges gave Iaquinta the round because of his two takedowns. [Iaquinta] definitely came out and won the second round and got that fight. Al has looked good in both his fights. He looked like he was in great shape. Still moving, still punching and his wrestling was on. This is going to be one hell of a final.”
Chiesa has been through the most during the taping of the show, losing his father in the first week. Now 12 weeks later, Chiesa is one fight away from being crowned the ‘The Ultimate Fighter’.
I feel great. It has been quite a journey,” Chiesa said. “A lot of ups and downs but I feel like I’ve earned my spot in the finale and I’m very excited to seize the moment.”
Faber’s number one pick, Iaquinta, credits his teammates and coaching staff for making it to the finals.
I couldn’t have done it without a great team, great roommates,” Iaquinta said “Everyone really helped me out. The coaching staff was just awesome. Everything was a dream come true. When I left I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Now I have the toughest fight of my life ahead of me, and I’m ready for it.”