Team Faber celebrated their first win with Al Iaquinta’s split decision over Myles Jury in episode 4 while Team Cruz’ week was filled with drama.
The matchup between Michael Chiesa and Jeremy Larsen put Sam Sicilia in an awkward situation. Larsen and Sicilia are teammates on Team Cruz, but Sicilia and Chiesa train together in Washington outside of the show and are close friends.
Coach Cruz asked Sicilia to provide a scouting report on his friend to assist in Larsen’s fight preparation. Sicilia stayed true to himself and his friend and did not disclose any information about Chiesa’s skill set.
“I’m not going to sneak around and give out secret info,” said Sicilia. “I’m going to let those two fight and best man wins. That’s what it is.”
Coach Cruz continued to question Chris Tickle’s work ethic. Doctors confirmed that Tickle has gout in one of his toes. Gout is a kind of arthritis that occurs when uric acid builds up in blood and causes joint inflammation. Acute gout can be quite painful.
Cruz asked Tickle if he wanted to leave the show. Tickle assured Cruz that he’d train through the discomfort and stay on the show. In training, Cruz pushed Tickle to work harder. Tickle did, but he wasn’t happy about it.
This week’s matchup was a clash of styles. Larsen wanted to keep the fight standing while Chiesa’s game plan wass to get the fight to the ground. Chiesa was a heavy favorite heading into the fight.
In the opening round, Chiesa secured a takedown early and set the tone of the fight. Larsen fought hard to get back to his feet only to be taken down again. Late in the round, Cheisa landed an illegal knee to Larsen’s head while Larsen was getting back to the standing position. A point was deducted from Chiesa for the infraction.
Chiesa came out aggressive with strikes in the second round but quickly worked for a takedown. Larsen avoided taking damage on the botton and stayed busy working to get back upright. The times he could get to his feet and create space, he’d land punches, but Chiesa’s tenacity to get the takedown proved too much.
In the closing moments of the round, Chiesa took Larsen’s back and dragged him to the ground. He was unable to sink in the rear naked choke but finished the round in complete control.
The judges scored the fight unanimously for Michael Chiesa. The official scores were not read on air.
“Jeremy Larsen is a tough guy. I expected it to go the distance. I was expecting a third (round), but I went out there and got the win,” said Chiesa following the fight.
Chiesa’s father passed away two weeks ago. He dedicated the win to his mother and thanked family and friends for their support.
Larsen was not happy with the decision.
“I thought they took a point in the first round. He drilled me right in the head with the knee when I was obviously down. I don’t know how I lost that round then,” said Larsen. “Give him the second round. We should be in a third (round) right now. I have no problem with that but giving him a decision, I’m not okay with that.”
Larsen said he was “rattled” by the knee but continued like a warrior. Chiesa described the knee as a “total accident.”
Team Faber maintained matchmaking control and have put together back-to-back wins. Coach Faber picked Joe Proctor to face Team Cruz’ Chris Tickle in next week’s live fight. It
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