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The Ultimate Recap Live*: Episode Nine

Weekly recaps of The Ultimate Fighter Live, airing Friday night at 10 pm
ET/PT on FX. Click here for international channels and UFC.TV or to see past

*Recaps are not in fact live

On this fifth day of May, Mexicans celebrate their victory at the Battle of Puebla, Americans are drink cervezas and margaritas for no reason and Belgians commemorate the anniversary of the opening of the first Continental European railway between Brussels and Mechelen. No matter where you live, though, I’m glad you are taking the time out to read The Ultimate Recap: Live!

After recapping last week’s fight between Sam Sicilia and Chris Saunders, we see the inside of the victorious Team Faber locker room. Saunders is obviously on an endorphin high because he calls himself a hero. A hero with pink hair? That would make for the worst superhero movie since Batman and Robin. Coach Faber then asks Andy Ogle if he’s ready for his upcoming fight against Mike Rio, and the Brit responds in a very half-hearted way. I haven’t heard that little enthusiasm from someone since I asked a girl to homecoming my sophomore year. Add that to the fact that on the day of the fight, he was sending tweets to his dad about buying watches, and I’m not feeling too good about his chances.

In the Team Cruz locker room, Michael Chiesa goes in to comfort his “Team Purple” buddy and Dominick tries to get Sicilia to keep his head up and learn from his losses. Despite the defeat, Sicilia manages to keep some perspective saying, “I’d rather lose that fight than have a killer day at the office.” Plus, the free-wheeling striker cracks one of the better jokes of the season blaming his loss on “too much technique.” Team Cruz' Rio calls himself the “UK Hunter” since he’s facing Newcastle born Andy Ogle and eliminated another Brit to get into the TUF house. Heh, UK Hunter sounds like the worst action movie since....uh....Batman and Robin?

Next up we get this season’s coaches challenge. This year it’s sponsored by the United States Marine Corps and pairs obstacle course elements with shooting challenges involving fully automatic rifles and grenade launchers. Is all this testosterone really necessary? We already have a show dedicated to guys fighting each other in a cage, do we need guns and explosions? If they give me the power to control next season’s challenge, I’m going to petition for poetry slams or who does the best duet with Sarah McLachlan.

Anyway, Cruz takes an early lead on the rope climb and pistol shooting. Faber is able to gain some ground on the tire flip and automatic rifle, helping him catch up a little. It comes down to the wire with the M-32 Grenade Launcher, where Dom chokes and the “California Kid” wins, disappointing every pacifist vegan in his hometown. Dana White then walks out with a green bag, pulls $20,000 cash out of it and gives it to Urijah. You know, just his usual walking around money.

The show returns with a Twitter promo that features Brittney holding an iPad and an egregious shot of Brittney. No complaints. Then we hear Andy Ogle’s story, complete with subtitles. He calls himself an “adrenaline junkie” and says he enjoys having “all eyes on me.” Coach Faber says that the gameplan for this fight is for Ogle to vary his attack and avoid the takedown. Apparently his biggest weakness is wrestling, which is something we rarely see from British fighters.

Next up is Mike Rio’s story. An accomplished high school and college wrestler, Rio calls himself a “Boy Scout” who never really did bad things because he was too busy training.  If people are still worried about how his knee will affect him, Dominick puts that to rest saying that, “Personally, I think he’s 100%” It may be true, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Cruz this season, it’s that his coaching isn’t exactly the most sympathetic.

Dana White and both coaches then deliberate on how to set up the quarterfinal matches. Cruz muses that although he'd like to see some good, exciting matchups, it's still a competition and he has to thinks strategically to advance his fighters. Faber counters with a solid  “Captain Obvious” slam. Weigh-ins come and go without issue and now it’s fight time.

Round one begins and Rio takes control of the cage moving forward. Unfortunately, that’s about all he does. For the first 2.5 minutes he doesn’t block a single punch and throws as many punches as I can count on one hand. Finally, halfway through the round he shoots on Ogle, but isn’t able to secure position. Ogle gets loose and returns to the center of the cage. Rio continues his perfect streak of blocking 0% of strikes, but earns another takedown as time expires.

Rio shows a bit more aggressiveness in round two and is able to land a few shots to get Ogle to backtrack. Ogle overcompensates for this slow start and begins to swing big which gives Rio an easy takedown. Rio advances position and take the back. Ogle reverses, gets top position, but doesn’t deliver any punishment worth of note. Amazingly, Rio then gives up his back and gets flattened out. Ogle softens him up with some ground and pound, sinks in a rear naked choke and Rio taps out.

Andy Ogle pulls a Jose Aldo and runs out the cage hugging everyone in sight. Once he gets back in he realizes that he has to go watch shopping and yells, “5 G’s baby!” which I suppose is a lot cooler than yelling, “3096.74 British pounds sterling baby!” Then it’s time for my favorite part of the TUF season -- Jon Anik interviews. Ogle says some questionable things like, “Mike had good stand up,” and “Mike’s the nicest guy in the house, so if I could beat anyone in the house, I’m glad it was him.” Rio says that he ran his gas tank down, but I think having no punch defense was a bigger culprit.

The two quarterfinal matches are set for next week: James Vick vs Joe Proctor and Justin Lawrence vs Michael Chiesa. Who advances to the semifinals and comes one step closer to that UFC contract? Now that the first round is over, will the eliminated fighters continue to train? Will the quarterfinal fights be more entertaining than the movie Batman and Robin? Find out this and more next week on The Ultimate Fighter: Live!

In the meantime, follow me on Twitter @dannyboydownes, the show @InsideTUF and catch my blog here.
Whether you’re celebrating military victories, eating fajitas for no reason or commemorating the opening of rail transportation, hopefully we can all unite under the fact that we want to see Josh Koscheck get punched in the face tonight.

Season at glance -

Team Cruz (3-5)
Myles Jury - (0-1) lost a split decision to Al Iaquinta in episode 4
Jeremy Larsen - (0-1) lost via unanimous decision to Mike Chiesa in episode 5
Justin Lawrence - (1-0) won via KO over Cristiano Marcello in episode 3; scheduled to fight Mike Chiesa in the quarterfinals in episode 10
Vinc Pichel - (1-0) submitted John Cofer in episode 7
Mike Rio - (0-1) lost via submission to Andy Ogle in episode 9
Sam Sicilia - (0-1) lost a split decision to Chris Saunders in episode 8
Chris Tickle - (0-1) lost via submission to Joe Proctor in episode 6
James Vick - (1-0) won via KO over Daron Cruickshank in episode 2; scheduled to fight Joe Proctor in the quarterfinals in episode 10

Team Faber (5-3)
Mike Chiesa - (1-0) won a unanimous decision over Jeremy Larsen in episode 5; scheduled to fight Justin Lawrence in the quarterfinals in episode 10
John Cofer - (0-1) lost to Vinc Pichel in episode 7
Daron Cruickshank - (0-1) lost to James Vick in episode 2
Al Iaquinta - (1-0) won a split decision over Myles Jury in episode 4
Cristiano Marcello - (0-1) lost to Justin Lawrence in episode 3
Andy Ogle - (1-0) submitted Mike Rio in episode 9
Joe Proctor - (1-0) submitted Chris Tickle in episode 6; scheduled to fight James Vick in the quarterfinals in episode 10
Chris Saunders - (1-0) beat Sam Sicilia by split decision in episode 8