Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was back on cable television last night (Fri., May 4, 2012) with episode nine of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15 "Live" on FX.
And after nine grueling and sometimes terribly difficult to watch episodes, we've finally whittled the competition down to eight.
That's because the final elimination fight of the season took place last night with Andy Ogle and Mike Rio meeting in the center of the Octagon to decide who advanced to the quarterfinals. After almost two full rounds of what looked to be a stalemate, Ogle wore his opponent down by getting on his bicycle and gassing him out.
Which made it all too easy to lock on the fight ending rear-naked choke. And to think, Rio had a shot on the scorecards if he could have held out for just 40 more seconds.
Alas, it was not to be, despite the fact that Rio was a heavy favorite. The knee injury that was played up throughout the season didn't appear to faze him at all, nor did Ogle crack under the pressure as was teased he might.
In the end, we just got 10 minutes of two somewhat talented fighters in a war of attrition that saw the Brit overcome good old fashioned American wrestling. Whoda thunk it?
The rest of the episode was uneventful to say the least. It featured the annual Coaches Challenge, which saw Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz complete an obstacle course with various target shootings to determine who would walk away with $20,000.
Not to mention $1,500 for each member of his team.
The only truly interesting aspect of it was that it mirrored the way the first half of the season has played out. Cruz got out to a quick start and looked as though he would cruise to ultimate victory before Faber came storming back to eventually earn the crown in an extremely tight call.
I wonder if their rubber match on July 7 in Las Vegas, Nevada, at UFC 148 will play out the same way.
The really big news borne of last night's episode, however, was the end of the elimination fights and the introduction to the quarterfinals round. And thanks to the two fights UFC President Dana White selected, it should be a damn good one next week.
That's all we've been asking for all along, isn't it?
For complete results and the running live blog of TUF 15, episode nine click here.