By Elias Cepeda
If Team Cruz’ Sam Sicilia was freaking out over the pressure of being a #2 pick, it may have intensified this week as he was set to face the last pick overall, Chris Saunders. At least Sam had an extra world champion along to help him prepare.
Dominick Cruz brought in Strikeforce 135 pound champion Ronda Rousey to the UFC training center to teach his team some of her devastating Judo techniques. Ronda admits to being nervous about going in to teach the guys but they all seem receptive, as they should be, to learning from the champ – even though she’s a girl.
Oh yeah, Chris Tickle says that Ronda damn near broke his ribs while demonstrating a throw on him. The chick is rough, for sure.
“There are going to be a lot of guys to fend off at once,” she laughs while being hot.
Except the guys seem way too intimidated by her presence after months away from companions and society and no one sits near Rousey or even sparks up conversation with her. Hell, they don’t even answer her when she asks what they are cooking.
Mike Chiesa says that he isn’t “too” intimidated by Ronda and that he would have totally sat next to her, except he already had a comfy seat. Ok.
Cruz is surprised that no one talked with Ronda. Urijah “The California Player” Faber is more succinct.
“These guys kinda blew it,” Faber says.
Back at Team Faber’s practice, we learn that Chris Saunders idolizes Faber. That’s why he nicknamed himself the “SoCal Kid.” Faber doesn’t get what all the fuss is about but says he continues to be impressed by Saunders.
At the house, Tickle is up to pranks again. He put saran wrap on the faucet…because that will show them.
There is some anxiety, however, among some of the fighters that pranks will get out of control as they have in past seasons. Cruickshank hopes that no one will “poop” on his pillow. Mike Rio says that he’ll fight anyone who messes with his long locks.
We learn more about Chris – how he had a rough childhood without the presence of either parents. Sam talks about recommitting himself to MMA. Last year he fought eleven times. Dang.
Dumb pranks, again
So, Urijah Faber tells members of his team to take off their clothes (save for their underwear), oil one another up and then workout in Team Cruz’ locker room.
And they do it. This is supposed to show Cruz.
We can’t really explain how strange the scene was, or why it happened. But be thankful that you are reading this instead of watching. You know, unless the thought of these guys with even less clothing on than usual, oiled up and sweating and engaging in (for reals) water squirting fights, Zoolander style, appeals to you. In which case (and there’s nothing wrong with that), jackpot homie. Get your slow motion and rewind remote buttons warmed up.
“Basically we wanted to violate Team Cruz’ space,” Faber “explains.”
Well, he definitely violated the American viewer. Cruz is probably right when he mocks Faber. “’I’m Urijah Faber and I want to be on camera with my shirt off.’”
Weigh in Time
Both Sam and Chris come in at 155lbs exactly. Time to lock ‘em up.
Sam comes out swinging with power, backs up Saunders on the cage. Sam lands a couple knees to the body from the clinch with both underhooks in but Saunders lands more knees from body there while also preventing the takedown.
They break, Sam connects partially with a couple of big hooks. Saunders gets the takedown against the fence. Sam is up to his feet quickly.
More action in the clinch, with Saunders landing body knees over and over with double over hooks. Sam briefly gets a takedown but Chris is up to his feet fast.
Saunders lands a shin on Sam’s head flush and appears to knock him out as Sicilia drops face first on to the mat. The ground wakes him up and he scrambles back towards Chris.
Chris smells blood and unloads on Sam with kicks to the body and legs, punches and elbows. Sam keeps coming forward like a cyborg and swings back hard, getting a couple brief takedowns before the horn sounds.
Close round, Chris had to have clinched it with his knocking Sam the fuck out before the Italian stallion came back to life.
Sam pushes the pace from the onset and lands a number of monster hooks to the head. Chris takes Sam’s back on the feet and takes him down but Sam is up instantly. Sam lands huge body knees.
Sam gets a single-leg takedown on Chris but Chris hits a switch and puts Sam on his back. Chris hits him with a knee to the body on the ground then takes Sam’s back. Sam turns in and ends up in Chris’ guard.
Sam is up and still raging. He lands a big knee to Chris’ chin, followed by a left hook. Chris answers with his own uppercut, left hook combo but Sam counters that with a left hook that drops Chris on his ass!
Chris gets back to his feet and Sam works for a choke. Chris escapes and is in Sam’s full guard. Chris throws slow elbows and punches but stays active.
Chris works to pass, gets into half guard then take’s Sam’s back. Sam turns in and puts Chris on his own back. Chris stands up and Sam goes on the attack, landing two overhand rights and a knee to Chris’ chin.
The horn sounds just after Chris lands his own knee then right, left hook combo to Sam’s head.
Best fight yet of the season. You have to imagine that Sam took round two by dropping Chris and that we will head to a sudden-death round.
Nope. The judges render a split decision in favor of Chris.
Next week’s fight is set by process of elimination. Ogle and Rio will get it on.