In what may have very well been the most exciting show of the season, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15: "Live," episode 10 brought major mixed martial arts (MMA) fireworks with the first two quarterfinal match ups between "Team Cruz" and "Team Faber."
The episode also showed the footage of when it was announced to both teams (and Urijah Faber) for the first time that Dominick Cruz had injured his knee and would be withdrawing from his fight against Faber at UFC 148. It was a moment that was handled well, considering the animosity between the two.
In the first quarterfinal bout, James Vick continued his quest to prove that he's no fluke by defeating the very tough Joe Proctor with a unanimous decision victory that showcased his toughness and determination, despite how "green" he still is as a fighter.
The second contest will probably go down as the best and most exciting fight of the season (at least thus far) as Michael Chiesa was able to take number one overall pick Justin Lawrence into the deep water of the third round and pound him out, securing the technical knockout win and the right to move on to the next round.
Let's take a look at what the TUF 15 power rankings look like after 10 action-packed episodes:
Ok, so let's talk about the shake-up in the numbers caused by the results of the fights in episode 10.
You've heard it said: "If you wanna be the man, you gotta beat the man." There's a lot of truth to that. It's why I decided to shoot Chiesa up to the top of the totem pole after his win over Lawrence.
I'm sure I'll catch some flack for it. It's a little wild for a guy to shoot from fifth to first in one week. But I have two reasons to justify the decision.
1) After seeing this last fight, I think there's a good chance I undervalued Chiesa on the whole. It's entirely possible that he should have been higher than number five, this whole time.
2) He didn't just win a decision. There was no controversy. Chiesa took everything Lawrence had to give, gave it back to him (and then some), and then he finished him, just like he said he would. It's nice and clean and tidy, with a bow on top. He beat the guy who was supposed to be the best. That makes him the new best, no?
Other than that, I think it all worked out as you would assume it would. Vick moved up a slot for his win and is now at number three. Everyone else (other than Iaquinta) moved up one by default.
So, after 10 explosive episodes of TUF 15: "Live" on FX, here's the way the power rankings stack up:
(Note: The numbers in parenthesis indicate each fighter's ranking from the previous week.)
1) Michael Chiesa (5)
2) Al Iaquinta (2)
3) James Vick (4)
4) Vinc Pichel (6)
5) Chris Saunders (7)
6) Andy Ogle (8)
Joe Proctor, Justin Lawrence (RIP)
The next two quarterfinal match ups were announced by UFC President Dana White. Here's what we've got to look forward to in episode 11 next week:
- Vinc Pichel vs. Chris Saunders
- Al Iaquinta vs. Andy Ogle
You won't wanna miss it, as the quarterfinal round comes to a close, and we get one step closer to crowning a champion and rightful heir to the UFC six-figure contract.
If you weren't able to catch all the LIVE action, no worries. Read a complete recap of TUF 15: "Live" episode 10 right here.