Last night’s Ultimate Fighter: Live episode 8 on FX featured a fight between Sam Sicilia and Chris Saunders, but first there was footage of what’s been happening in the house over the past week.
There were plenty of smiles on the faces of Team Cruz this week when Strikeforce’s female 135lb champion Ronda Rousey stopped by to help train them, becoming the first ever woman to be invited in as a guest show on TUF.
Rousey, a former Olympic judo bronze medalist helped pass on some of her knowledge of judo throws and made a big impression on the fighters as she airmailed them around the training center with ease.
She also attended a gathering at the TUF house on Saturday night along with the team coaches as all the fighters got another treat by being allowed to watch the UFC 145: Jone Vs Evans event.
Rousey admitted to being both honored and a little nervous to be the first ever woman to step into the house with a bunch of fighters starved of attention, joking that she felt like “the goat in Jurassic Park.”
Despite her fears it turned out that the housemates were rather shy seeing an actual woman in person after many weeks of being locked away from the outside world and kept a respectful distance while throwing sneaky glances in her direction whenever possible…either that or they were just scared in case they got too close and she decided to throw them out the nearest window.
Moving on to later in the week we see a TUF tradition being upheld as the pranks in the house start to crank up a little, but truth be told it’s still quite tame so far such as putting fighter’s boxer shorts in the freezer and supergluing personal items to surfaces.
The housemates aren’t the only ones who are keen on pranks though. Urijah Faber attempts to get a rise out of his opposite coach Dominick Cruz by recruiting his fellow coaches to move out all the gym equipment in the training center into Team Cruz’s locker-room and then engage in a sweaty workout session.
40 minutes later a bemused Cruz walks in and admits, “It was pretty smelly, pretty hot, pretty nasty,” but shrugs it off as Faber trying to get some camera time with his shirt off. Both sets of team’s seemed to find it amusing however.
Saunders talks about his motivation to do well in his upcoming fight, revealing that he was a tough upbringing being raised ina a series of foster homes and he hopes success on the show could help him have a better life in the future.
Sicilia also gives an indication of his will to win by revealing that he fought 11 times in the last year as he looked to get a chance to compete on a higher level.
And so it was on to the live fight. The first half of the first round was evenly fought from the clinch, but then they broke free and things started to heat up.
Saunders was using kicks effectively and he went upstairs with a head kick which landed cleanly and sent Sicilia falling face first onto the mat.
The referee was running in to stop the fight, but Sicilia got back to his feet and continued fighting. He was still dazed though and that gave Saunders the opportunity to pour on the pressure with some good leg kicks and punches to the head of his opponent.
Then Sicilia seemed to finally regain his composure and came blazing back into the fight, pressing forward and landing some hard, winging shots. After some more clinch work he also ended the round strongly by landing a hard punch after Saunders left himself open by half-heartedly going for a flying knee.
In the second round Sicilia continued to strive to be the more aggressive fighter and was landing the heavier leather, while Saunders was attempting to be more patient and pick his shots.
Towards the middle of the round Saunders appeared to have an advantage when he managed to pivot and take Sicilia’s back and took him down, but Sicilia shrugged him off and they immediately got back to their feet.
Sicilia then got into the clinch against the cage before dropping for takedown, but it didn’t work as planned and Saunders ended up on top and before long was attempting to take his back again.
He also made a meal of it however and Sicilia ended up gaining top position, landing a hard punch before Saunders scooted back up to his feet.
The two trade begin to trade punches and Saunders lands a nice two-piece combination only to then be clobbered by a big left hook that topples him to the canvas.
Credit to him though as like Sicilia in the first round he bounces back up straight away and then takes his opponent down.
Saunders works some nice ground and pound from inside Sicilia’s guard before trying to move to a better position. He gets half guard, but then again tries to go for the back and again is shrugged off easily and Sicilia is back in top position with less than a minute to go.
Sicilia is tired though and can’t keep Saunders on the mat and so they are back on their feet where they each attempt to go for a finish and land some nice shots before the final bell.
Great fight and a close one for the judges to call. In the end it’s called as a split decision victory for Chris Saunders and he progresses to the next round.
So Team Faber is now 4-3 up on Team Cruz and are back in control of the next fight pick. There’s only one possible pairing left though, and Faber jokes that he’s giving Cruz the chance to make the pick this week.
So, Andy Ogle Vs Mike Rio it is.