A close, back-and-forth fight between Al Iaquinta and Myles Jury ended with Iaquinta winning and advancing on Friday night's live episode of The Ultimate Fighter.
The fight was an entertaining one that went a full 15 minutes before the judges could pick a winner, and even in the end Iaquinta won a split decision that easily could have gone either way. Iaquinta hinted that he's expecting to win the cash bonus that goes to the participants in the Fight of the Year, and he explained how he'd spend that money if he gets it.
"If that fight wins Fight of the Year, Mom, I'm going to go finish college like grandma always wanted," Iaquinta said afterward.
Jury entered the fight a heavy favorites at the sports books that were taking bets on the live Ultimate Fighter fights, and that was no surprise: He entered The Ultimate Fighter with a 9-0 record, having won all nine fights by first-round stoppage, and he was one of the favorites to win on his previous stint on The Ultimate Fighter, when he had to withdraw from the show because of an injury. But Jury didn't seem too upset after he had been beaten.
"Embrace the war. It is what it is. I'm a fighter," Jury said.
Jury was expected to roll right through Iaquinta, but it became clear from the first round that it would be close, with Iaquinta holding his own against the man who was favored to beat him. The mere fact that Iaquinta got into the second round with Jury was something of a surprise.
In the second round Jury appeared to have Iaquinta hurt with a backhanded punch, but when Jury charged forward, Iaquinta surprised him with a quick punch that had Jury reeling. It was a raucous round with both men swinging for the fences, and when they got up to end the second they weren't sure if the judges would call it even and tell them to fight a third, or declare a winner. After a lengthy delay including two commercial breaks, UFC President Dana White announced that the judges had scored it a draw, and they would go to a third sudden-victory round.
The third round was close and even, too, and in the end both men raised their hands and celebrated with their teammates, believing they had won. Two judges scored the third round 10-9 for Iaquinta, while one scored it 10-9 for Jury, and Iaquinta had won the split decision.