TUF Live: Vinc Pichel and Al Iaquinta Win Quarterfinal Bouts
Renan Barao To Face Urijah Faber For Interim Bantamweight Belt
Vinc Pichel scored a majority decision over Chris Saunders, and Al Iaquinta stopped Andy Ogle in the latest episode of TUF Live Friday, to secure their respective spots in the show’s upcoming semifinals.
The semifinals will take place next Friday and will feature James Vick (Team Cruz) versus Michael Chiesa (Team Faber) and Pichel (Team Cruz) versus Al Iaquinta (#1 Faber).
Last night’s episode on FX also saw UFC President Dana White announce that fast rising bantamweight Renan Barao (28-1) will face Urijah Faber (26-5) for the promotion’s interim belt on July 7th.
The move became necessary after champion Dominick Cruz was forced to withdraw from the UFC 148 bout due to a knee injury.
“I’m very surprised to be the No.1 contender to now fight Urijah Faber but I’m so very excited to fight for the title and replace Dominick Cruz,” Barao was quoted saying in a press release from the promotion. “I’m very confident. I have been training a long time for this chance and I will be ready to go out there and put on a good show.”
Here is what some of the show’s participants had to say about last night’s episode and next week’s semifinals.
UFC President Dana White:
“Pichel vs Saunders was a grinder match. It was a close first round. It could have gone either way. Then in the second round, Pichel just took over. There was no doubt he won that round and deserved the win.”
“I didn’t know what to expect of Iaquinta vs Ogle. There’s no doubt Ogle came to fight, he’s got a great chin and a big heart. But Iaquinta looked good. He looked as good as anyone has ever looked on the Ultimate Fighter.”
“So now, we’re going into the semifinals and it’s dead-even. I have to tell you, I think Pichel’s a tough guy but we just saw what Iaquinta can do. And then there’s Vick, the incredible underdog and Chiesa, the guy who has gone through more than anyone in this house. You won’t want to miss these fights.”
“I knew to expect a lot of hard leg kicks, just thinking check that sh-t and fire! I practiced a lot of movement in this week’s training to keep him on his heels so he couldn’t throw them as often. Certain combinations worked really well for me, and I was able to take him out of his comfort zone.”
Team Cruz Coach – Dominick Cruz:
“Pichel listened perfectly to the game plan, which was to keep Saunders on his heels, throwing heavy shots, which takes away Saunders’ kicking ability and forces him to box. This allowed Pichel to dirty box and clinch and grind out the win.”
Thoughts on Barao fighting for the Interim belt: “It’s a tough thing to chew on to pass up a spot I’ve worked so, so hard for. It’s testing my heart and determination in this situation. This will prove and test to myself the integrity I have and make me a stronger champion.”
“I fought smart, I knew if I fought smart I could beat just about anybody.”
Team Faber Coach – Urijah Faber:
“I’m not surprised by the outcomes. Things went as predicted. Saunders losing the first round was a big surprise. I thought he won hands down. Al looked awesome he stalked Ogle down.”
Thoughts on his new opponent: “I’m just excited to have a new opponent. Now that I have someone to focus on and game plan, for it gets me motivated. [My training] will definitely change. [Cruz and Barao] are polaropposites. Barao is a guy that starts hard, and looks for the finish right away, but seems to fade a little bit as the fight goes on. Dominick is really tricky, has great conditioning and is always looking to out point in a longfight. I’m a good combination of those two put together, I’m dangerous and I thrive in long fights.”