After a brief recap of last week’s action that includes the word “diarrhea,” we’re presented with a replay of Mike Chiesa’s workmanlike decision over Jeremy Larsen to even the team score at two fights apiece.
Coaches Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber then make their respective cases for who will win tonight’s live bout between Chris Tickle and Joe Proctor, and it’s time once again for a little bit of Red Hot Chili Peppers.
After an emotional Chiesa talks about how much his victory means in light of his father’s recent passing, we quickly transition to Cruz’s locker room, where Larsen is screaming obscenities into the air. Though disappointed, both Larsen and Cruz vow to persevere through the defeat.
In a totally surprising turn of events, Chris Tickle has gotten drunk, and is now making his intentions known very loudly with regard to this week’s bout. Upset at the display, Cruz tells him to shut up in an effort to motivate his fighter.
“Tickle has so much potential, it’s ridiculous,” the UFC bantamweight champion says. “He can come off like a prick sometimes, but he has a good heart. I’m going to pull out the winner in Tickle on Friday night.”
Proctor, meanwhile, is considerably calmer and even admits to liking his upcoming opponent. Faber’s fighter appears to be all business. Meanwhile, members of Team Cruz vent about Tickle’s difficulty with taking instruction and express hope that he can buckle down and embrace the learning experience.
Mike Rio, 30, is still struggling with a recent knee injury, and he discusses the importance of age with younger teammate Justin Lawrence, who spouts his doubts about succeeding in MMA past age 29 as though Rio were not sitting five feet away.
Back at the gym, Cruz apologizes for scolding Tickle the night before and lets his fighter know that he is free to be himself. Tickle accepts the apology, and practice begins. Rio takes exception to a spinning sidekick from Lawrence, and the two turn up the intensity. More on this conflict as it develops.
Proctor now divulges a bit of background information, revealing that both of his parents were alcoholics and drug abusers. After being raised by his grandparents, Proctor has reunited with his father, who is now supportive of his fighting career.
Working the mitts, Proctor -- admittedly a jiu-jitsu player first -- shows off his considerable punching power. Faber describes Tickle as a brawler who leaves his chin exposed. “The California Kid” works with Proctor on counter-punching to exploit this perceived weakness.
The boys at the house regret that they are unable to spend Easter with their families, but then they build a Slip ’n Slide, so it’s all good. Tickle prepares a beautiful turkey for dinner, and the fighters feast as he recounts his troubled background, expressing his desire to be an example for his two children.
Tickle begins making his final preparations, as coach Cruz reiterates his concern about Tickle’s wide-ranging emotions. They work on takedown defense, and Cruz states his desire to see the heavy-handed Tickle pace himself in his upcoming fight. Both Tickle and Proctor make weight, and it’s suddenly time to throw down after a “tough guy” interaction between Faber and Cruz that is almost certainly not scripted in any way.
Herb Dean begins the action in the cage. Tickle lands a hard low kick to start, but Proctor retaliates with a kick of his own and then a two-punch combination against the cage. Cruz’s fighter circles out and lands a flurry that appears to briefly hurt his man. Midway through the frame, Proctor rifles a right hand to Tickle’s jaw before getting clipped by a pair of left hooks.
Proctor clinches against the cage and lands a knee, but Tickle reverses the position before the men separate. Faber’s fighter dives for a takedown and quickly takes Tickle’s back, dragging him to the mat and finishing the bout with a rear-naked choke. The finish does not come easily, however, as Tickle fights for all he is worth to escape the hold before tapping out at 4:42 of round one.
“Tickle is tough. He hits like a truck. I know you [fans] don’t like him out there, but he’s a good guy. Watch out for him,” Proctor tells host Jon Anik after the bout. “[Submissions] are my game. I’m from Lauzon MMA, and I’m a jiu-jitsu guy. I love to bang and take punches on the chin, but I did my job tonight.”
Team Faber has now won three consecutive bouts and has control of the upcoming pick. Next week, Team Faber’s John Cofer will square off with Team Cruz’s Vinc Pichel.