The Ultimate Fighter® Live episode 8 – ‘The Lion’s Den’ – aired Friday evening and saw Team Faber take the lead once more as Chris Saunders nabbed a split decision win over Sam Sicilia. They now lead the series 4-3.
With the win, the final qualifying fight of the series was announced and will pit Andy Ogle against Michael Rio on Episode 9, Friday, May 4 at 10 p.m. ET / PT on FX.
The winner of this final fight will join James Vick, Justin Lawrence, Al Iaquinta, Michael Chiesa, Joe Proctor and Saunders in the quarterfinals, which begin Friday, May 11.
Here’s what everyone had to say about the evening’s live fight:
UFC President Dana White:
“There’s no doubt Saunders won that first round but I thought Sicilia had the second round. He was dropping huge bombs and was all over Saunders. Everyone but the judges believed this should have gone to a third round. I praise the judges when they do a good job and I rip the judges when they get it wrong. They got it wrong tonight. Both guys fought like hell and deserved a third round.”
“This was a huge upset. Saunders was picked last and went out there and won against the no.2 guy. We’ve seen great back to back fights in the last two weeks. All these guys are going out there and blowing it away.”
“I definitely didn’t feel like I lost, but I definitely didn’t feel like I was winning either. I was in a scrap and I felt like a cartoon dust ball with legs and arms kicking out. I was blessed with a battle. My path and purpose led me to Chris Saunders and he was the better man tonight according to the judges.”
Sicilia’s Coach Dominick Cruz:
“I think it should have gone to a third round, definitely. But that’s part of the game. Sam fought from beginning to end and I have nothing but respect for the show that he put on tonight. I’m also proud of the camp that he has put in so far and that I know he will continue.”
“I like the match-up coming up. Rio has outstanding wrestling and great ground control along with submissions. Ogle’s a tough cookie but I think Rio’s size and control will win us this fight.”
“I feel good. I’m very excited and happy that I went out there and had a good performance for my team and the fans. The fight went how I planned. I knew that I had to go out there and use good footwork and that my Thai boxing skills would help give me the victory. I have to give all the credit to God though because without him none of this would be possible.”
Saunder’s Coach Urijah Faber:
“I’m super proud of Saunders, this whole thing has been about building his confidence. He has the skill to beat anybody on the show. He has a lot of natural talent and years of experience, now it’s just about bringing his a-game.”
“Andy Ogle is probably on the fastest learning curve on the team. He’s dangerous both standing and on the ground and he’s got a great attitude.”
Next week’s fighter Michael Rio:
“WOW!!!! It’s about time. Get ready for a war between me and Andy Ogle cause we will make fight of the season!”
Next week’s fighter Andy Ogle:
“The wait is finally over! I’m not expecting anything other than a war. It’s been a long time coming and I’m excited that I finally get to go in there and do my thing. We’re here to fight and when you’re not the next pick, it tears at you. Now that it’s my turn, I’m going out there and not leaving anything behind.”