Article by MMAjunkie.com
The seventh episode of “The Ultimate Fighter: Live” opens up with a brief recap of this past week’s episode, which saw Urijah Faber’s team earn its third-straight win over Dominick Cruz’s squad, taking the lead in the season series after dropping the first two fights.
Both Cruz and UFC president Dana White recount how well Chris Tickle was doing in the past week’s fight before Joe Proctor scored a takedown and moved quickly to the back for an impressive tap. Faber admits he’s excited at the latest result and knows Cruz is probably getting annoyed at the losses.
Faber divulges he picked this week’s matchup, John Cofer vs. Vinc Pichel, based on the fact that he expects Pichel’s takedown defense to be subpar. Cruz claims he would have picked the exact same fight, so both coaches are feeling good with this week’s contest.
As this week’s new content opens, Cruz is counseling Tickle post-fight, and he’s upset that his talented fighter didn’t listen to the advice his coaches were giving. Cruz is obviously upset, especially in losing to Faber. As Cruz continues to counsel his fighter, Faber walks up and praises Tickle. The resulting argument between the two coaches is intense, with Cruz calling Faber “irrelevant.”
Shortly after, Cruz and Tickle come back together to get on the same page. Tickle is upset his coach questioned his heart, and Cruz does apologize. But as Team Faber drives back to the house, they think Cruz went overboard in his criticism and wonder if Tickle is going to leave the house. Regardless, they put their faith in Cofer to continue the win streak for their squad.
Back at the house, life away from home is starting to take its toll on the fighters. Andy Ogle admits he had a nightmare in which his girlfriend was murdered. With no way to call home, there’s no way to know she didn’t. It’s a harsh reality, but life carries on, and practice awaits.
Chris Saunders, the last pick of the season, is lighting it up in Team Faber practice, as is Ogle. Both have yet to fight, and Faber is excited with the prospects of his fighters. Ogle tends to doubt himself sometimes, Faber said, but the coach is happy with his heart. That said, it’s not a good practice for Ogle. He’s having trouble breathing, and it looks like he’s having some sort of panic attack. Ogle admits his body and mind are breaking down, and the cameras are making it even worse. Faber decides to give him the day off to recover. Ogle seems a bit embarrassed that he needs extra attention, but he assures the world it’s only because he wants a spot in the UFC more than anyone can imagine.
It’s time to take a closer look at our fighters, and Pichel reveals he grew up in a bad neighborhood and was a bit of a hell-raiser, hence his nickname, “From Hell” Pichel. He admits he kept his fighting career a secret as his career began, but he now has the support of his mother. Cruz knows his fighter is a gamer and believes he could be primed for a win.
Meanwhile, Sam Sicilia is having some issues at practice, and Cruz pulls him aside to find out what’s going on. Sicilia admits he’s struggling to live up to the expectations of a No. 2 pick, but Cruz tells him to let the pressure go and just learn.
Back at the house, Team Faber’s Mike Chiesa is also consoling Team Cruz’s Sicilia. The “Team Purple” alliance is not admired by other members of the house, including Ogle, but they realize there’s really very little they can do to intervene.
Now it’s time to meet Cofer, who grew up wrestling from childhood through college. Faber thinks the biggest concern is ensuring the fight doesn’t turn into a striking brawl. If it’s a wrestling match, Faber knows Cofer will win, but he must avoid any potential strikes on the way in.
Ogle approaches Chiesa to ensure there’s no team strategy being leaked to his “Team Purple” counterpart. It’s obvious the walls are caving in on Ogle, but he believes he’s getting control of what it takes to mentally succeed.
It’s weigh-in time, and Pichel hits 154 pounds. Cofer registers 156 pounds, and the fight is on. Before the teams leave the ceremony, UFC boss White stops in to talk to the group. He knows the house is getting to the fighters, and he reminds them all to stay focused on why they’re making the sacrifice. Do you want to be a fighter? Then you’re going to go through hell to do it.
There’s time for one last live look into the locker rooms, and it’s finally time to fight.
TEAM FABER’S JOHN COFER (7-1) VS. TEAM CRUZ’S VINC PICHEL (6-0)
Round 1 – Referee Josh Rosenthal calls the action. Pichel takes the center against southpaw Cofer. They stay at range before Cofer fires the first combination and looks for a takedown. Not there. Pichel hesitant to start, and Cofer is the one acting first. The trading picks up as the round wears on, and Pichel gets a little more active and walks forward. Cofer is happy to return fire on the feet in the early going. The two look happy to trade as the round wears on, and Cofer again misses two more takedown attempts in the final 80 seconds. The round ends with Pichel throwing bombs, and it’s a tight fight through one.
Round 2 – The brawl picks up in round two, and the action is intense to start. So much for the wrestling match. Faber begs for Cofer to show sharp footwork. Pichel seems to now be the aggressor. Cofer gets inside again, but rather than look for a takedown, he transitions to the back and wraps the body. Pichel peels him off and goes back to work on the feet. Cofer keeps the action close and grans the head. Surprisingly, it’s Pichel that looks for a takedown. He scores it, but he has to pull his head free from a choke. He does, but Cofer transitions for an arm. Pichel pulls free, and he’s on top in an uncomfortable reverse mount, sitting on Cofer’s face. The round finishes there, and both coaches seem to know a third frame could be coming next.
UFC boss White steps in the cage and confirms it: Round three is coming.
Round 3 – Sudden victory starts with Pichel in the center, and he lands a few crisp punches. He shoots in on Cofer and earns a takedown. In a slick sequence, he releases the pressure of a choke by jumping to side control, then hops into mount, sets up a side choke and dismounts to the other side to force the tap in a slick finish.
Vince Pichel def. John Cofer via submission (arm-triangel choke) – Round 3, 0:44.
With the win, the score is again tied in the season series, 3-3. It’s up to Cruz to pick the fight, and he takes Sam Sicilia from his squad to face Team Faber’s Chris Saunders in next week’s eighth episode.