Until this past Friday night, bantamweight Urijah Faber’s back was up against the wall on the Ultimate Fighter 15 where his fighters entered the episode down 0-2 to Dominick Cruz’s collection of talent. Were that not enough pressure, Faber’s top pick (Al Iaquinta) was pegged for action against one of Cruz’s toughest team-members (Myles Jury).
However, Iaquinta escaped the bout with a Split Decision win and finally got Team Faber onto the board. While Faber isn’t one to normally bask in the wake of a victory, this time around even he admits Iaquinta’s success brought on some much needed relief.
“It does feel good. We needed that,” said Faber in an interview with MMAJunkie. “I do my best to disassociate from wins and losses that other people are doing, but it does feel great to get a win. We really needed that, and Al knew that also.”
Faber will be looking to even the squads’ scores on this week’s episode and feels he’s put his team in a good position to do so given the match he was able to make thanks to Iaquinta’s win. Rather than employ Cruz’s headhunting strategy, Faber instead went with what he felt was an advantageous pairing by putting Michael Chiesa up against Jeremy Larsen.
“The logic was that Dominick trained with Larsen in Arizona. He also picked him last, and he also said he has trouble with good wrestlers,” explained Faber of his approach. “We put Chiesa, who’s one of our toughest wrestlers, up against him.”
Larsen holds an overall record of 8-2 while Chiesa is 7-0 with five submission stoppages to his credit. Fans can catch them fight at the end of Friday’s episode, set to air at 10:00 PM EST.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC