Only a couple episodes left.
Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) reality television baby The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), has nearly completed season 15 with nine episodes in the books and and the elimination fights inside the house completely done with.
Last week's broadcast showcased the final elimination fight with Team Urijah Faber's Andy Ogle overcoming his own personal demons to vanquish Team Dominick Cruz's Mike Rio, who battled through a knee injury all season only to see his dream come to an unsatisfying close.
Tonight's show will feature the first two quarterfinal fights, as Justin Lawrence is booked to throw leather with Michael Chiesa and James Vick will do battle against Joe Proctor.
Oh, and don't forget we're likely going to get plenty of fallout from Coach Cruz having suffered a knee injury that knocked him out of his UFC 148 bantamweight title defense against Coach Faber.
MMAmania.com has a live blog of all the night's action, starting at 10 p.m. ET, after the jump.
ULTIMATE FIGHTER EPISODE 10 LIVE BLOG
Broadcast is running.
We get the usual recap of last week's episode. Y'all already know how that went down. If you don't, look up and come back here.
Looks like Vick vs. Proctor is the first fight we'll get tonight. Then it's on to Lawrence vs. Chiesa.
We immediately start with a look at Vick, who says he'll definitely be ready. Cruz calls him an open book who has no notes in it. His boxing is his strong point and he'll be trying to beat Proctor to the punch. If he connects to the chin, lights out.
Cruz says he thinks Vick will make it to the finals.
Suddenly, Dana White shows up and they bring the teams together in the gym and the news comes out that Cruz blew his knee out and he's on the shelf for nine months. They reveal that Cruz isn't going anywhere. He'll be coaching all the way through the season.
White tells Faber he'll have "this thing" figured out by next week. Which would kind of be today. Maybe by the end of it, we'll find out.
Cruz says he'll prove the doctors wrong and be back in four months instead of nine.
Uh, sorry, Dom, that ain't happening.
They make sure to get in the training montage for Proctor with his coaches talking about what the game plan for Vick will be. Proctor says he feels confident no matter where the fight goes, so it's whatever.
The takedown should be there, though.
Time to throw down, no weigh-ins holding us up. We'll assume they're on weight. Or not. Who cares, really?
James Vick vs. Joe Proctor (155-pound limit)
Round one: Both guys rush out to the center but don't do shit once they get there. Vick is taller with a big size advantage. He's doing a lot of feinting while pushing forward. Nice combination into a body shot. Proctor fails to land his first few punches. Cruz calls for a jab from Vick, he starts popping it. Not with a lot of success, so he goes back to combos while Proctor is just looking to land a big shot. Nothing doing. Proctor's first takedown attempt is stuffed. They go back to throwing hands and Vick is being super aggressive, despite Joe finally landing some nice counter shots, including one that pushed Vick back. Faber finally tells Proctor to stop sitting at the end of Vick's punches and he moves forward for the first time in the fight. This appears to turn the tide and put Vick on the defensive, though he's still throwing leg kicks with ease. Proctor's big problem so far is his inability to get inside. He's coming from so far away, Vick has time to move before Joe can do any damage. Proctor puts some punches together to help him get inside and lands one but Vick answers with a few strong shots of his own. If the fight plays out this way, Vick is going to take a decision. Nice timing on a counter from Proctor that lands flush, stopping Vick in his tracks. Proctor found some success late but it's Vick's fight to lose here. 10-9 Vick.
Round two: Faber asks Proctor to close distance and deliver more offense to start the second and that's what happens, at least at first. It's not long before Vick finds his range again and starts landing outside leg kicks and long punches from distance. Faber isn't happy with this development, as he shouldn't be. Proctor uses a few punches to get inside and grabs a double leg for a slam takedown. Vick gets right back to his feet and turns it around. Proctor has a choke locked in but he's terribly out of position to do anything with it and Vick takes him down and ends up on top in side control. Vick just stands up out of it and waits for Proctor to get up too. That was ... odd. Vick starts unloading once they reset, landing punches and a few knees shortly after. Proctor again having trouble getting inside while Faber tells him to walk forward. It's a tough balance. You have to get close enough to hit him but not run into a knockout shot like happened to Vick's last opponent. The status quo continues with Faber desperately shouting out how long until Proctor loses a decision. Vick grabs a clinch against the cage and while he did nothing with it, he had superior position. With 40 seconds left, Cruz shouts to Vick to "let the hands go, babe." Sure thing, honey. Finally, Proctor lands a few big punches but it's probably too little, too late. Once he got wild, he bloodied Vick up but by then he had lost two rounds. He'll have to hope for a favorable judges ruling in that first round. 10-9 Vick
Final result: James Vick def. Joe Proctor via unanimous decision
The first member of the final four is Vick, who tells Jon Anik in the post-fight interview that Dominick Cruz has helped him leaps and bounds. "If no one can take me down, I can't be beaten," he says.
Back to the TUF gym we go for some more training montages. Gotta learn a bit more about Chiesa and Lawrence before they scrap.
Chiesa says he's going to push Lawrence to his limit and finish him. Faber echos this sentiment and says he's got a big reach advantage and if he can exploit that, it should be smooth rolling.
Over to Lawrence now and Cruz says the key for the fight is to work a good sprawl and force Chiesa into bad shots, which is where Lawrence can take advantage with his pinpoint striking. He also has to keep moving during the fight to avoid getting pressed up against the fence.
Time for the second fight.
Justin Lawrence vs. Michael Chiesa (155-pound limit)
Round one: It doesn't take long at all for these two to engage. Before you know it, Chiesa is working a triangle, then an armbar. He's successful with neither and Lawrence ends up in half guard with Cruz screaming for him to get out of there. Chiesa is far more effective from bottom, getting back to full guard and even working for a kimura. Lawrence gets his arm back and Chiesa starts landing elbows. Cruz is pissed that Lawrence isn't standing up, which he definitely needs to do. Chiesa once again grabs for an arm whiel Lawrence simply rides out top position. Chiesa uses the fence to work his legs up for a triangle. It looks like he might have it. Chiesa landing elbows while Lawrence defends. The triangle was never in tight enough and Lawrence survives to the end. I think that was a Chiesa round, despite being on his back for almost the entire duration of it. 10-9 Chiesa
Round two: Chiesa opens with a kick to start the second. Lawrence answers with one of his own. Lawrence looks tired, not moving around like he has in previous outings. Chiesa has no balance, though, and Lawrence staggers him with shots that look like they're barely landing. Chiesa decides to be done with the striking and shoots in for a takedown. He fails and after a stalemate against the fence, he backs out. Faber wants pressure because Lawrence is tired, which looks to be the case. And bad. Justin has his legs under him but not like we've seen. Chiesa takes a few shots and each time he ducks his head down. Lawrence isn't following up, though, another sign that he's gassing. Chiesa throws a few worthless kicks that don't even come close to landing. Lawrence throws but misses, leading to a Chiesa takedown attempt. Fail. The strikes are looking sloppy and Chiesa turns into Brock Lesnar when he gets punched. Just looks terribly uncomfortable and looks away from his opponent. Out of nowhere, Lawrence gets a big shot to the body that drops Chiesa. Holy shit. It looks like the fight is going to get stopped but the referee backs off. Lawrence jumps in and ends up in a kimura. He pops out and dives back in on Chiesa, allowing him to survive. Lawrence gets back up and the round ends with him looking down at Chiesa. Sudden victory round should be coming. 10-9 Lawrence
Round three: Lawrence comes out swinging and ends up on top of Chiesa, who immediately grabs for an arm. Suddenly, Chiesa reverses Lawrence and he's raining down blows from mount. The ref calls for Lawrence to fight back and seconds later, he stops it. Team Faber EXPLODES in delight. Crazy fight.
Final result: Michael Chiesa def. Justin Lawrence via technical knockout in round three
Chiesa shouts out his family back home before telling Jon Anik he had to dig deep to get to that final round. "Happy Mother's Day, mom."
James Vick and Michael Chiesa are half of the final four. Now we get next week's fights.
Vinc Pichel vs. Chris Saunders
Andy Ogle vs. Al Iaquinta
We've got our first match-up of guys on the same team. Should be two good fights next week.
See you in seven, Maniacs.