First, here is the official play by play MMAjunkie:
[features_box_light_blue width=”75%” + border=”1px”]TEAM CRUZ’S MYLES JURY (9-0) VS. TEAM FABER’S AL IAQUINTA (5-1)
Round 1 – Josh Rosenthal is your referee. Iaquinta moves confidently forward with punches. Jury trying to keep some distance and use a reach advantage. Iaquinta flurries, and Jury just misses on a head kick. Big punches exchanged on the cage, but both fighters seem to be OK. Jury still working kicks in the early going, but Iaquinta blocks most of them. Iaquinta still moving forward, cutting off the cage and landing a few big shots. Jury answering and thinks takedown, but it doesn’t come. Jury lands another high kick. Iaquinta is firing back in an entertaining exchanges. Slapping high kick for Jury. He’s closing in on the chin Iaquinta still landing with big punches, as well. Iaquinta staggers a bit on an exchange, and Jury shoots in for the takedown. Wild scramble in the end, and the two are a twisted mess on the floor as they try and Jury jumps to the back. He’s trying to secure the choke, but it doesn’t come. Good opening round, but looks like Jury probably took the frame.
Round 2 – Early shot to the groin, and Iaquinta takes a breather. Jury again with a high kick, but Iaquinta continues to walk forward and box. Jury kicking low and moving while Iaquinta stalks. Jury backfist lands, but he’s clipped as he runs in to finish. Incredible back and forth. Jury scrambles away to recover. Iaquinta looks as if he’s OK. Iaquinta stalking and kicks to the body. Jury looks like he’s just trying to survive. Iaquinta bombing away. Jury moves inside and tries to walk to the back. He wraps his right leg in. Iaquinta turns in and survives. Jury backs away. Iaquinta trying to press in the final minute. Instead, it’s Jury with a takedown. Not going to be enough to take the round though. We might be looking at three.
Score is tied, and the fighters head to a third frame for sudden victory.
Round 3 – With a long break between rounds, Jury looks to have some pep back in his step. Doesn’t matter, as Iaquinta just swarms. Big flurry to start, and Jury covers up on the cage. Iaquinta lets him off the hook. High kick from Jury, but it’s Iaquinta’s punches doing the early damage. Iaquinta landing with more frequency. Jury doesn’t look rattled, but he needs to pick up the frequency. Jury does land a right hand. Iaquinta stalking. Jury misses a high kick. Final minute. Iaquinta is controlling this round, and he knows it. He’s wagging his chin, hanging his arms. Jury pushes hard in the end, but it’s not going to be enough. Jury raises his hands, but Team Faber is the squad that is really going crazy outside of the cage. Their exuberance is justified, but just barely.
Al Iaquinta def. Myles Jury via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)[/features_box_light_blue]
This was an interesting fight. I admit that I do not know much about either of these fighters personally, so I was curious to see how their skills would show in the cage.
The first round started with little action, and was more about controlling the cage. Towards the end it got interesting. The last takedown scramble had Al put Myles in a very nasty spladdle, something I haven’t seen done in MMA before. That was very cool!
Myles managed to escape and then take the back of Al, nearly getting a rear naked choke. This was surprising to me, as he looked to have a solid jiu jitsu game and made no serious attempts to bring the fight to the ground.
Round 2 had some good exchanges. Myles scored a short spinning back fast that shook up Al, but then he made the terrible mistake of rushing with his hands down to try and finish the fight. I always tell my fighters to stalk their prey. The old saying is true, “A cornered cat becomes as fierce as a lion.”
Al scored a nice overhand right that shook Myles, and stole the momentum of the round. Both men showed good chins on being able to recover. However, Al is able to keep apply pressure as Myles is content to keep distance and not engage.
I was disappointed on that. From the outside, it was clear to me that Myles was losing that round, but he didn’t try to engage at all. He scored a nice last second takedown, but that wasn’t going to be enough to steal the round.
In the third round, he did more of the same – running and barely engaging. Al just kept moving forward, scoring with a strike here and there. In the third round, there should have been no question that he had to push to win. This was frustrating to watch. Myles looked to have all the tools to beat Al, but not the will. I was rooting for Myles to win, but in no way did he deserve to for his performance in the third.
I rather be taken out on a stretcher in defeat (and if you know me, I have on a couple of occasions – LOL), than watch the clock tick away and make no attempt to win. There is no losing gracefully in my eyes. A loss is a loss – whether by knock out, submission, or decision. If there is time left on the clock, I go and fight for every second. That to me is the warrior mentality.
Myles did not show this. He was playing a game and was content to lose it. For me, the biggest lesson to take away from this fight is that you cannot win playing safe. You cannot expect to win by just scoring a little and sit back. You have to engage the enemy, and take some risks.