And then there were two!
The twelfth and final episode of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15 offered up two big-time Lightweight match ups that would ultimately determine the two competitors who will fight for the six-figure Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) contract at The Ultimate Fighter Live Finale next Friday (June 1, 2012).
The first bout featured grappler Michael Chiesa of "Team Faber" squaring off against the dangerous striker James Vick, who was representing "Team Cruz." Early on, Chiesa looked a bit overwhelmed by the punching power of his lanky opponent, but it was all over in the second round when things headed south to the canvas, where Chiesa was able to smother and finish Vick and move on to the finals.
In the second contest of the evening, "Team Faber's" Al Iaquinta took on Vinc Pichel of "Team Cruz," in a fight between two very evenly matched athletes. After two rounds of back-and-forth volleys, the judges determined Iaquinta to have been the more effective fighter and the winner of the opportunity to fight in the finals opposite his teammate, Chiesa.
After the jump, we'll talk a bit more about this last episode, and we'll also take one final look at the TUF 15 power rankings:
I'd be lying if I said this episode and these results bummed me out. My number one and number two pick are going to hash it out in the finals.
You can call me a genius if you want. No one will hold it against you.
But enough about me. Let's check out the TUF 15 episode 12 post-fight power rankings:
(Note: The numbers in parenthesis indicate each fighter's ranking from the previous week.)
1) Michael Chiesa (1)
2) Al Iaquinta (2)
James Vick, Vinc Pichel (RIP)
This week's episode not only revealed who our final two competitors will be, but we also found out from UFC President Dana White that each and every TUF 15 contestant will take part in next week's finale. The only two men who will have to sit out will be Mike Rio (injured ribs) and Andy Ogle (concussion).
Those match ups are yet to be determined, but here's what the currently finalized portion of the card looks like:
THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER (TUF) 15 FINALE
155 lbs.: (TUF 15 Championship Bout) Michael Chiesa vs. Al Iaquinta
170 lbs.: Jake Ellenberger vs. Martin Kampmann
145 lbs.: Max Holloway vs. Pat Schilling
145 lbs.: Jonathan Brookins vs. Charles Oliveira
155 lbs.: Justin Lawrence vs. John Cofer
155 lbs.: Myles Jury vs. Chris Saunders
155 lbs.: Daron Cruickshank vs. Chris Tickle
155 lbs.: Cristiano Marcello vs. Sam Sicilia
155 lbs.: Jeremy Larsen vs. Joe Proctor
155 lbs.: John Albert vs. Erik Perez
The Ultimate Fighter Live Finale will go down at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, June 1, and will be shown LIVE on FX. As usual, MMAmania.com will be onhand to offer LIVE coverage of the entire fight card, top-to-bottom.
Make sure to check in here before, during and after the card to talk about your favorite epic moments from TUF 15 LIVE on FX!
If you weren't able to catch all the LIVE action of the final episode, no sweat. Read a complete recap of TUF 15: "Live" episode 12 right here.