The Michael Chiesa feel-good story continues.
This time, the UFC hopeful mounted a comeback against James Vick, overcoming a rocky first-round start to earn a TKO and advance to the TUF: Live finals.
"It was not the prettiest but I won't quit," he said afterward. "[In] both fights I got hurt, but I'll never quit. I find a way to rally and pull it off."
Vick clearly won the first, backing Chiesa up with his long strikes. He also took top position on the ground and landed several hard strikes, ending the round in a mounted guillotine to easily take the frame.
But Chiesa turned the tide quickly and for good with a strong takedown early in the round. He quickly moved to mount and swarmed Vick with power punches until ref Herb Dean called a halt to the action 1:55 into the round.
Just two weeks ago, Chiesa needed to dig deep to beat tournament favorite and No. 1 overall pick Justin Lawrence, earning a TKO in the third (sudden death) round. All this comes just weeks after losing his father.
Chiesa will take on Al Iaquinta, who won a unanimous decision over Vinc Pichel in the night's other semifinal. The two were teammates under coach Urijah Faber on the show. Iaquinta was a first-round pick, while Chiesa was drafted fifth.
The fight was a physical grind for both, who both left with bloodied faces, but it was Iaquinta landing the harder shots and scoring multiple takedowns to convince the judges he deserved the nod.
In moving on, Iaquinta will be attempting to win a fight for the third straight week, since his quarterfinal win over Andy Ogle was on May 18.
No rest for the weary, as the TUF Live finale is set for June 1 at The Pearl at The Palms in Las Vegas.