By Elias Cepeda
Mike Rio vs. Andy Ogle seems like a good enough fight for this week’s contest, but the Brit goes further in predicting what it will be like. “It’s going to be a very attractive fight,” Ogle jokes. “It’s going to be a sexy fight.”
But before we can get to that, we are shown Team Cruz’ Sam Sicilia being comforted in his locker room by Mike Chiesa, who is on Faber’s team but is Sam’s best friend from back home. Sam finished last week’s fight much stronger than Chris Saunders and its almost a crime that the fight didn’t go a third round.
In an interview, Sam is clearly devastated but hits the right note. “I’d rather lose that fight than have a killer day in sales,” he says.
That really is what The Ultimate Fighter is about for these guys – they are fighting to be able to spend their lives doing something they love.
In past years we’ve seen TUF coaches compete for cash against one another in bowling and ping pong. This year turns out to be a tad different – Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz are competing at firing hand guns, rifles and grenade launches.
This year’s challenge is sponsored by the United States Marine Corps and includes a twenty foot high climbing rope, a hand gun station with five targets, tractor tires to flip, a rifle station with targets fifty and seventy feet away, training dummies, another rifle station, thirty five pound ammunition packs to carry and a grenade launcher station with target.
Dana White says that the winning coach will earn $20,000 bucks for themselves, and $1,500 for each one of their team members. It is fair to say that the TUF contestants need the money more than their coaches. Wouldn’t it be nice if they got more and the coaches less? Maybe we’re just hatin’.
In any case, Cruz opens up a huge lead on Faber by climbing the rope way faster and hitting the first five targets with the hand gun before Faber could even hit his first. But little by little, Faber closes the gap and when, at the final station, they are dead even, Faber proves more accurate with a grenade launcher than Cruz and wins the $20k.
There is colorful paint attached to the ammunition. There is slow-mo footage and dramatic explosions that send Dana and the watching fighters into ‘oohs and ahhs.’ Remember to sign up for the Marines, kids. This is exactly what war is like.
Faber is characteristically
magnanimous hilariously dick-ish in victory over his rival Cruz, offering to let Cruz touch the stack of cash and even carry it back to his car for him. Cruz responds by saying that he’ll beat Faber up when they meet in the Octagon July 7th.
Back to the fight…
Faber says his game plan for Ogle is for the Brit to use “various attacks,” and make Rio pay for trying shooting in for takedowns. Cruz is emphasizing control to his fighter Rio. After he gets Ogle on the ground, he doesn’t want Rio to have to do it again.
You might remember that Rio jacked his knee up earlier in the season. Lucky for him he hasn’t had to fight until this final prelim-round bout.
Cruz says that he believes Rio’s knee is 100%. “He’s had five weeks to let it heal,” Cruz says.
In a back room Cruz, Faber and Dana meet to talk about who will be matched up in the quarter finals. Cruz and Faber share a couch while convening and Faber is sitting far too close for Cruz’ liking, according to a later interview.
The first two quarter final match-ups will be announced at the end of the episode by White.
Weigh in time
Rio weighs in at 156, and Ogle comes in at 155. Ogle looks taller than Rio but explains, during his stare-down, that he is wearing “me shoes.”
Ogle comes out moving laterally and in and out. Rio stalks him and Ogle throws and lands first, with left hand jabs and hooks. That pattern repeats itself as Cruz calls for Rio to be first.
He does try to be first now, but lunges in face first and Ogle counters nicely with hooks. Ogle continuing his constant movement, mixed in with punch combos to deter Rio from shooting in.
Rio finally does shoot in, with little set up, and executes a nice double leg takedown slam at the 2:40 mark. Ogle immediately begins to work up to his feet. He gets there but is pressed against the cage by Rio.
After about a minute, Ogle frees himself and they are back in free standing range. Ogle continues to land punches and Rio virtually none. Ogle mixes in a couple over hand rights now. Rio gets a single leg takedown at the horn.
Rio looks determined to not let Ogle dictate the pace again this round and comes out aggressively with punches, pushing Ogle backwards into the cage. Rio soon gets the takedown and begins landing good shots to Ogle’s face from inside the half guard.
Rio takes Ogle’s back but Ogle defends the choke and turns in to him, ending up in Rio’s full guard. Ogle postures up and breaks Rio’s full guard, then uses good hip movement to pass into side control.
From there, Rio turns in to Ogle and Ogle takes his back. Rio is on all fours defending chokes and punches. Ogle uses both of his hooks to flatten out Rio’s hips and locks in the rear naked choke for the tap out win.
An emotional Ogle runs outside of the cage celebrates with his team and Team Cruz assistant coach but fellow Brit Ross Pearson who looks surprised.
Ogle delivers the nicest, most earnest post-fight we’ve heard in awhile. At this point, we wouldn’t expect anything else from him.
“Mike is the nicest guy on their team. It was a pleasure to beat him and if I was going to lose it would have been great to lose to someone that I really, really respect,” he told host Jon Anik after pointing to Anik and declaring that he is awesome.