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By Matt Pelkey, MMATorch Columnist
We open with the familiar welcome of Jon Anik. "Rambunctious" Chris Tickle's entrance into the training center is our first visual, followed by his opponent, Joe Proctor. We then go to a voiced-over recap of the season thus far, including footage of Tickle weaseling out of training in previous episodes, and coach Dominick Cruz getting fed up with it. The two coaches then give a breakdown of the fight, with Faber saying Proctor is the stronger guy and better wrestler, while Cruz sticks up for his charge Tickle, claiming as long as his head's right, Tickle should knock Proctor out in the first two rounds, despite the admitted size disadvantage. Tickle has the look and is apparently talented, so I'm excited to see him fight again to see if he backs up his own hype.
-After the music video open, we go back to last week and inside the locker rooms of last week's combatants. Michael Chiesa is emotional victory, saying, "this one's for my mom. Its been a tough year". I'll say. His dad passed away shortly after he won his fight to get into the house.
-It quickly goes back to Tickle as he was apparently drunk for last week's fight and subsequent fight announcement. Cruz eventually just tells him to shut up. Good advice. We go back to the house and its more pontificating on what makes Tickle, um...tick.
-Back from break and we see some interaction between Mike Rio and Justin Lawrence. Rio is moaning about his knee, while Lawrence questions (not to his face) Rio's heart. Rio says Lawrence is cocky and intense. Lawrence says MMA is a young man's game. Luckily for him, he's a spry 21.
-The Lawrence-Rio dynamic continues at practice as the two are paired up in sparring. Things get heated when Lawrence throws (and pulls) a spinning heel kick. Rio gets pissed and starts going for and getting takedowns. Lawrence gets frustrated when he's no longer dominating the action, and Cruz is pleased to see some frustration out of Lawrence for a change.
-Over at Team Faber practice, Joe Proctor gets some face time. He's from Baahston and trains with Joe Lauzon. Sweet. Faber says Proctor is a big guy with a heavy punch. Proctor says he's a wrestler who prefers to bang. Faber thinks Proctor is a darkhorse, whose biggest advantage in this fight is his stability of mind, in comparison to Mr. Tickle.
-Back at the house...its prank time. Tickle pulls the 'ol water bucket on top of the door bit. I like it. Classic, harmless. He even gets Proctor with it. Proctor laughs it off. Wait...so, where's the semen? No semen? I thought I was watching The Ultimate Fighter.
-Back live we see UFC middleweight and current The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil coach Vitor Belfort. Back at the house and we get to see how the fighters spent Easter Sunday. Tickle cooked a turkey and a bunch of guys got drunk by the pool and shenanigans ensued. They took turns jumping onto the hot tub cover that had been thrown into the pool and then sliding down a makeshift slip-n-slide. What a fun-loving season of TUF this is.
-We get a little more Tickle-backstory-confessional. I don't mean to sound trite, but its your general "going down the wrong path, had nothing in my life until I found martial arts" story.
-More Tickle training time. This time they're working specifics as it pertains to Proctor. Cruz knows he a Lauzon protege, so they're drilling nothing but takedown and submission defense. Cruz knows in a two-round fight, getting controlled on the mat can easily be a fighter's downfall.
-At the weigh-ins, we get our weekly dose of Dominick Cruz needling Urijah Faber. Ho hum. Both guys are on weight. Jon Anik gives us one last look into the fighters' locker rooms and its fight time. Let's get it on.
FIGHT: CHRIS TICKLE VS. JOE PROCTOR
ROUND ONE: Herb Dean is our ref. Tickle lands a nice jab to start. Good leg kick by Tickle as well. He charges forward with a combo and has Proctor backing up. Proctor lands a nice right hand and initiates the clinch He winds up against the fence though and Tickle lands a big shot on the separation. Tickle seems suddenly gunshy and Proctor lands another good right. Tickle lands a big left hook that stops Proctor in his tracks as he was carelessly coming in. And again. Proctor clinches again and looks for knees but again finds his back against the cage. They separate. One minute left. Proctor finally shoots in for a takedown and gets it. Tickle tries to stand but Proctor takes his back, locks up a rear-naked, and drags Tickle down to the mat. Tickle fights hard, but its locked in. Only thirty seconds left in the round...nope. He tapped. Good fight.
WINNER: Joe Proctor by submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:42 of round 1.
-Dana White's thoughts on the fight and next week's fight announcement coming up after the break.
-Jon Anik interviews Dana, who says Tickle was winning the round before Proctor got the takedown. We then go to the fight pick, which Team Faber still has control of. He chooses John Cofer to keep the momentum going for his team, and he'll be taking on Vinc Pichel. The two fighters square off, slap hands, and go their separate ways. Until next week...
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