The opening round bouts of The Ultimate Fighter: Live are slowly coming to an end, but there are still two solid match-ups yet to come in the next two weeks.

The four remaining fighters after last week’s show were Sam Sicilia and Mike Rio from Team Cruz, with Team Faber left with Chris Saunders and Andy Ogle. Cruz’s fighter Vinc Pichel earned a decision win over John Cofer, giving the UFC bantamweight champion control of the fight pick. Out of the four remaining fighters, Cruz chose Sicilia to take on Saunders in next week’s episode, leaving Rio and Ogle to square off in two weeks.

The MMA Corner’s Corey Adams will continue to digest the fights week-by-week, and give a final verdict on which fighter will walk out of the Octagon with his hand raised.

Sam Sicilia (10-0) vs. Chris Saunders (9-2)

With no major fights coming up this weekend, all MMA fans’ eyes will be on The Ultimate Fighter: Live on Friday. This should give FX higher ratings than usual, and it will feature a match-up between two quality fighters who are sure to put on a great contest.

In the corner of Team Cruz will be Sam Sicilia, the third overall pick of the season. Sicilia has been dominant in his career outside the show, compiling an undefeated record, with nine wins coming by knockout or submission. In fact, the majority of his wins have come in the first round.

What does this tell us? Well, it’s obvious that Sicilia goes for the finish right away. The UFC and Dana White knew what they were getting out of this 25-year-old, and he impressed the world when he scored a highlight-reel knockout to make it into the house.

Opposing him is Chris Saunders, a California native who made his way onto the series with a narrow decision win over Chase Hackett. Due to a uneventful performance, Saunders was picked last by Faber, but has shown improvement during training.

If the name Chris Saunders sounds familiar, you may have watched him compete at Bellator 47 in July 2011 where he lost to Chris Horodecki by decision. “The So Cal Kid” may not have a better resume than his opponent when it comes to finishes, but Saunders will have the experience advantage since he has of stepped into the spotlight of the Bellator cage.

While Saunders may have the advantage of fighting in a well-known promotion, his skill-set may not be up to par compared to Sicilia. I expect both men to stand and trade until one is put on his back, so it will come down to the striking game. Comparing the past performances, Sicilia will hold the edge on the feet.

If the fight turns into a grappling exchange, it’s smart to say Sicilia will win that battle as well. The Washington native trains with fellow castmate Mike Chiesa at the SikJitsu camp, and has locked up many submissions in his young career.

Saunders isn’t a mediocre fighter by any means, though. Just because he was the last pick doesn’t mean he’ll disappoint in the Octagon. He could easily play the upset role and defeat Sicilia, but it will be difficult to overcome the attacks from Sicilia.

In the end, my hunch is that Team Cruz will pick up their second straight win, as Sicilia wins by TKO over Saunders in the opening round.

To find out the result of the fight and review the full episode, check out The Ultimate Fighter: Live – The Aftermath, Week Eight

Photo: Chris Saunders (black trunks) vs. Chris Horodecki (Al Quintero/Sherdog)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.

  • Ray

    Man you were wrong sucks 2 be you