The Ultimate Fighter Live (TUF 15) Finale Friday, June 1, 2012 at 9 p.m. (ET) on FX The Pearl at The Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada Al Iaquinta (-220) Profile: Iaquinta (5-1-1) has been the most impressive fighter overall in this season of The Ultimate Fighter with his no-nonsense, business-like approach to earning his way into the UFC. The 25-year-old from Wantagh, New York was the first pick of coach Uriah Faber and has not disappointed so far after previously fighting in the Ring of Combat series. Iaquinta suffered his first career loss to Pat Audinwood via armbar submission at Ring of Combat 38 before entering the TUF house and had gone 5-0-1 in his previous six bouts. He earned the first win for Team Faber with a split decision victory against Myles Jury and followed that up with a first-round TKO of Andy Ogle in the quarterfinals and then won a unanimous decision against Vinc Pichel to get to the final. Michael Chiesa (+170) Profile: Chiesa (7-0) has shown an incredible will to win on his road to TUF Live finale following the death of his father, which occurred early in the season. The 24-year-old native of Spokane was losing each of his last two bouts before turning the tables on his opponents with a remarkable burst of energy that caught them off guard. Chiesa was Team Faber’s fifth pick and defeated Team Cruz’s top pick Justin Lawrence in the quarterfinals, knocking him out in the third round after they split the first two. He followed that up with another knockout of James Vick in the second round of their semifinal fight after losing the first round. In Chiesa’s seven career wins outside the TUF house, he submitted five of his opponents, including the last four in the first round. MMA Odds Analysis: It’s really no surprise that MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened Iaquinta as a solid -220 favorite (bet $220 to win $100) against Chiesa, who is a +170 underdog (bet $100 to win $170) according to the MMA odds. Iaquinta was one of the favorites to win TUF 15 from the beginning of the show and has shown he is a very well-rounded fighter with a strong desire to learn, grow and become an eventual lightweight title contender in the UFC. However, Chiesa’s height (6-foot-1) and reach (76 inches) could be an advantage in this fight against the 5-7 Iaquinta, especially is this goes to the ground. Chiesa has thrived as an underdog in his last two bouts against Team Cruz’s Lawrence and Vick, and he has been extra motivated to become The Ultimate Fighter in honor of his late father. Fans of TUF have also yet to see Chiesa show off his submission skills, which have played a large role in his prior success.
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