The preliminary card of The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale was going along at a pretty good pace until the heavyweights entered the cage. Then everything slowed to a crawl. Actually, a crawl is being too generous. Here's how the bouts went down.
Gabriel Gonzaga defeated Konstantin Erohkin by decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-28)
This bout was awful. Absolutely awful. Neither man used any form of offense for large stretches of the fight. Erohkin in particular was doing absolutely nothing. Gonzaga won the fight by getting a late takedown in the first and working to mount in the third round. Other than that, nothing of note happened at all. Do yourself a favor and skip this one if you're watching the card back. You'll thank me later.
Pierce returned after a two-year layoff and looked a little rusty at first, with LaFlare landing some solid shots to take the first round. Pierce found his rhythm in the second, hurting LaFlare halfway through the round but being unable to capitalize on it. The third looked similar - LaFlare landed more strikes, but Pierce hurt him against the cage with just seconds left in the fight. LaFlare lasted to the horn though, and was rewarded with the decision victory.
The flyweights went to war in a very entertaining scrap that showed off the skills of both men. Sanchez edged out the first round with some nifty striking, but the second was pretty even until Herrera cracked Sanchez with a short right that sent his opponent sprawling to the mat. The referee was late getting in there and Herrera landed a few shots after the huge punch, but they weren't needed. Sanchez was already done.
Here's some video of the finish:
The battle of TUF 22 quarter-finalists featured some good offense and back-and-forth action. Gruetzemacher landed more often and with more authority though, and it was enough to take the unanimous decision in what could have easily been a 30-27 score as well.