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 Ultimate Fighter Season 15 LIVE Discussion, Rumors & Results 
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THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER® LIVE ON FX WRAPS UP FIRST ROUND WITH “BECOME THAT HERO” - TEAM CRUZ’S MIKE RIO vs. TEAM FABER’S ANDY OGLE

Friday, May 4, LIVE on FX at 10 p.m. ET/PT



The Ultimate Fighter Live on FX wraps up the preliminary round of competition tomorrow/Friday, May 4, live on FX at 10 p.m. ET/PT when Team Cruz’s Mike Rio (8-1), of Miami, Fla., takes on Team Faber’s Andy Ogle (8-1), of Tynemouth, England, for the last spot in the quarterfinals.

Team Faber’s Chris Saunders scored an upset victory over Team Cruz’s Sam Sicilia as a massive underdog last week. Now, Faber’s squad holds a 4-3 lead over his bitter rival with just one fight to go until the quarterfinals.

Rio and Ogle are looking to advance and move one step closer to a six-figure UFC contract alongside previous winners James Vick, Justin Lawrence, Al Iaquinta, Michael Chiesa, Joe Proctor, Vinc Pichel and Saunders.


Below is a description of the upcoming “BECOME THAT HERO” episode:

“Both teams head to a desert shooting range for an explosive Coaches Challenge. Andy Ogle takes on Mike Rio in the last preliminary fight, then Dana announces the first two quarterfinal matchups.”

The 13-week season will culminate with a championship fight and three-hour finale on June 1 at the Pearl Palms Concert Theater in Las Vegas. The coaches will then meet on July 7 at UFC 148, when Cruz defends his title against Faber in the rubber match of their epic rivalry.


Below are select quotes from Rio and Ogle.


MIKE RIO:

It's the final preliminary fight this Friday. Team Cruz is down 4-3. Is there any added pressure to even the series? Or is it just another fight?


“There's always pressure in a situation like this but the wonderful thing about our sport is that we don't have to worry about the teams. You just focus on yourself and the better you do, the team just ends up benefiting from it. So as long as I just focus on what I have to do and not worry about the team or what's best for the team, everyone will benefit. That takes a lot of the pressure off when you focus on what you're supposed to focus on and not the outside distractions.”


What is your mood going into the fight and what do you have to do to win?

“I'm always relaxed. I'm one of those guys that never gets over-anxious, nervous or gets butterflies. I've been in competition a long time. I'm very relaxed until the time of the fight and then I get very energetic and very aggressive.


“What I need to do to win the fight? I need to push the pace. Ogle is by no means an easy fight. He's not just going to lay down for me. I just have to make sure I stay focused and take the fight to him and do what I need to do to win. I'm not going to focus on what he's going to do to me, just what I'm going to do to him.”


How difficult is it to sit and watch during the weeks you weren't fighting? Is it a relief to actually be fighting?

“That was a double-edged sword. First off, I'm sitting there watching and waiting, seeing all my teammates fight, watching everybody fight. I came here to fight, and was just sitting on the sidelines every week, waiting, waiting, waiting. On the positive side of this though, I literally just got a month and a half training camp with the champ, Dominick Cruz, and the champ's personal coaching squad. I've gotten in the best shape of my life for my first preliminary fight. “


Is there anything that's happened in the first seven weeks that's surprised you?

“Every fight has been a war. I've been really impressed by the level of talent in our season. We're a great group of 16 guys and we deserve to be here. Everyone is serious as hell and there's really no one who is here just to be a TV star.”



ANDY OGLE:

It's the final preliminary fight this Friday. Team Faber is up 4-3. Is there any added pressure to keep the series lead? Or is it just another fight?

“It's not a fight for the Team, it's a fight for myself. Because at the end of the day, I'm the one who's trying to get that glass plate. I'm the one that is trying to get that W. It's all about me thinking about myself. At the end of the day, two guys are going to go in there and the cage door is going to close and for 10, possibly 15, minutes I've got to kick somebody's ass to secure myself into the next round.”


What is your mood going into the fight and what do you have to do to win?

“I feel confident. I feel strong. I feel as if I've trained a long time for this fight and I've developed as a fighter as well as a person and become a hell of a lot more patient. In this fight, I'm going to have to be very patient and defend his takedowns a lot. I feel as if I can kill his spirit by doing so and lighting him up with my shoots and hitting him a lot in the face. Basically, just not making him want to come in and attempt a takedown.”


How difficult is it to sit and watch during the weeks you weren't fighting? Is it a relief to actually be fighting?

“Since I've been in the house, I've had to think about everything in two ways. It was killing me not fighting for the first seven fights. But at the same time, I'm getting more time to develop as a fighter, which means [Rio]'s going to get the best version of me because I'm last. I've now built up a relationship with the coaching staff and a great relationship with my team and gotten a whole lot stronger.”


Is there anything that's happened in the first eight weeks that's surprised you?

“I did not expect to get ill! I very rarely get ill. I'm the 'one more round' guy. I'm always happy to keep pushing. If I'm done training but someone wants to go another round, I'll jump up, I'll do that round. When my lungs were closing up and I felt as if I couldn't breathe, I didn't feel like the 'one more round' guy. But when I went to the doctor and they did an X-ray, the doctor said, ‘Wow, you've got a large heart’ and I said tell me something I don't know. That's something that Rio, or any opponent, won't ever have larger than me. It's impossible, I want it too much.”

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Thu May 03, 2012 8:50 pm
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EPISODE 9 Results & Notes:


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Quarterfinals set as Team Faber nabs final preliminary round win!


The Ultimate Fighter Live episode 9 – ‘Become That Hero’ – aired Friday evening and saw Team Faber nab the final preliminary round win as Newcastle, England’s Andy Ogle submitted Miami’s Mike Rio at 4:19 of the second round.

The season now shifts into the quarterfinals, with four of the final eight fighters squaring-off on May 11th for a spot in the semis. UFC President Dana White announced the match-ups at the end of the episode: James Vick (#3 Cruz) vs Joe Proctor (#2 Faber) and Justin Lawrence (#1 Cruz) vs Michael Chiesa (#4 Faber).


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Here’s what everyone had to say about the evening’s live fight:


UFC President Dana White on Vick vs. Proctor:

“It’s an interesting fight because Vick is seen as this guy who’s kind of one-dimensional. He has the stand-up, and decent takedown defense. He’s not known as a great wrestler but he actually shut down a wrestler to get into the House and to make it to the quarterfinals. People are having trouble with how long he is and how strong he is. He has just enough skill to get by and I think he’s the dark horse in this thing.”


“The crazy thing about this fight is that Proctor comes out of Joe Lauzon’s camp, and is highly regarded from that camp. The first time I saw him, his stand-up didn’t look good to me at all. So I think this is one of those fights, with Vick’s length, reach, takedown defense and striking abilities, where I think Proctor needs to get this thing to the ground as fast as he possibly can.”


UFC President Dana White on Lawrence vs Chiesa:

“Chiesa has this really heartfelt story of what happened to him when he was here. His dad wanted him to be here and then passes away when he makes it on the show. He’s now here to win this thing, not only for himself, but for his dad. But, as much as Ilove the kid he looked very one-dimensional in his last fight. He was depending on the wrestling the whole time. I think there have been some pretty crazy odds on the fights so far. I would actually say that I have Lawrence as a huge favorite in this fight. You never know, anything can happen, but this is a tough fight for Chiesa.”


“I think this season has been awesome! I love the new format. I love that you can watch the fights LIVE every Friday. I’m more engaged in this season then I have been in years.”


Andy Ogle:

“No such thing as an underdog in MMA. Each dog has its day! Woof woof.”


Ogle’s Coach Urijah Faber:

“Ogle has been a fun project ever since he stepped foot into the house. He has a great attitude and works hard. In this fight he showed a lot of the stuff we’ve been working on, and that he has gotten better every day.”


Mike Rio:

“You can be 99 percent perfect, but at this level it takes just one mistake to lose a fight. I went in for it. I felt like I needed to do something to win the round. Andy was winning with his striking so I tried to force the takedown.”


Rio’s Coach Dominick Cruz:

“Rio had that fight in the bag, he was doing everything right until the last three minutes of the second round, he pretty much “gassed out” as he said in his own words, and that was it. Ogle took half guard, landed some punches until Rio gave his back. From there Ogle threw in his hooks, stretched him out and got the finish.”



Don’t miss the opportunity to catch behind the scenes action by following the fighters on Facebook and Twitter. Find all these links and more on http://www.ultimatefighter.com.



Photo credits: Al Powers/Zuffa LLC

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Fri May 04, 2012 10:26 pm
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The Quarterfinals Begin On An All New TUF Live, Plus UFC Primetime Premieres


The quarterfinal round of the tournament begins as Joe Proctor battles James Vick, and Justin Lawrence faces Michael Chiesa! Plus, Junior dos Santos and Frank Mir prepare for their championship showdown in Las Vegas on an all new UFC Primetime! The Ultimate Fighter Live, followed by UFC Primetime - tonight at 10pm on FX

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Fri May 11, 2012 3:22 pm
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EPISODE 10 Results & Notes:


Vick and Proctor first to move into semifinals


Las Vegas, Nevada – The Ultimate Fighter Live episode 10 – ‘So Real it’s Unreal’ – aired Friday evening and saw both Team Cruz and Team Faber walk-away with one win apiece. In the first fight of the night Team Cruz’ James Vick, of Fort Worth, Texas defeated Pembroke, Massachusetts native Joe Proctor by unanimous decision with scores of 20-18. Team Faber followed this up with a win of their own, as Michael Chiesa of Spokane, Washinton defeated Justin Lawrence of Pacific, Missouri by TKO at 1:02 of the sudden victory round.

UFC President Dana White closed out the episode by announcing the next two quarterfinal match ups, which will air next Friday, May 18, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.

First, Vinc Pichel (#6 Cruz) will face-off against Chris Saunders (#8 Faber) while Andy Ogle (#7 Faber) will meet Al Iaquinta (#1 Faber).


UFC President Dana White:

“I expected a lot more from Lawrence and I underestimated Chiesa. It wasn’t that Chiesa’s more talented or outworked Lawrence, it was the size of his heart. Lawrence defended the takedowns for a while and did a good job but then Chiesa finally got him down. There was no doubt and no denyingthat if Lawrence kept it on his feet he would have won. Lawrence basically gave up tonight. When you go to that sudden victory round you see who wants thisfight and who wants to continue in this competition - who really wants it! Chiesa went out there and took it.

“And Vick did a good job of fighting his fight tonight. He stayed outside, used his range and used his punches. What Proctor needed to do was get him to the ground to win that fight. He never gave himself a chance to win. He didn’t really start fighting until the last 30 seconds of the last round. I had Vick winning both rounds. There’s no doubt James Vick was an underdog in this thing when he first set foot in the gym - but now no-one seems to be able to stop him.”


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Michael Chiesa:

“First off let me say that Justin truly lives up to the hype. He’s the toughest person I’ve ever fought. I’m glad I was able to get the victory. I had to dig deep down to win that fight. Sometimes I think the heart is a lot stronger then we give it credit for.”


Joe Proctor:

“Sometimes you’re the bug and sometimes you’re the windshield. Tonight, I was the bug. It’s unfortunate, but I’m going to go back to training hard and hopefully the UFC will be in touch soon.”


Team Faber Coach - Urijah Faber:

“To be honest, that wasn’t exactly how I thought the night would go but I’m proud of both my guys, and both the guys on the other team too. They put on great fights tonight. This sport is all about who wants itmore and implementing your offense. Tonight I felt like Chiesa won through shear will power, and Proctor lost because he wasn’t able to put his offense first. Congrats to Vick and hope Justine Lawrence keeps his head up. He’s a young kid with a lot of talent.”


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James Vick:

“That was the biggest fight of my life and I’m happy that I could come out on top. Joe’s a very tough guy. I was surprised he stood up to those punches and I wish him the best. As for me, I’m now one step closer to achieving my dream.”


Justin Lawrence:

“I learned a lot about myself tonight. Mike Chiesa has a huge heart and is a hell of a fighter and my hat goes off to him. My adrenaline wasn’t where I wanted it to be, but that’s no excuse. I still think I’m the best fighter here and I’m not going to quit until I get to the UFC. I think I deserve to be there.”


Team Cruz Coach - Dominick Cruz:

“It’s pretty awesome to watch Vick stick to game plan, stay composed. He fought an outstanding fight, he even got a takedown but most importantly, Vick made Proctor fight his fight. Lawrence learned an important lesson tonight about why game plans are built and it’s to force your opponent to fight your fight. He didn’t do that tonight, he fought Chiesa’s fight on the ground and lost by fighting in the area that Chiesa had the best chance to win. In my opinion, if that fight, stayed standing like we game-planned, Justin wins three rounds to none.”



Both coaches and four remaining quarterfinalists competing on May 18 – Andy Ogle, Chris Saunders, Vinc Pichel and Al Iaquinta - will be available via conference call Wednesday, May 16 at 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT.

Don’t miss the opportunity to catch behind the scenes action by following the fighters on Facebook and Twitter. Find all these links and more on http://www.ultimatefighter.com.



Photo credits: Al Powers/Zuffa LLC

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Fri May 11, 2012 11:11 pm
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EPISODE 11 Results & Notes:


Pichel and Iaquinta round out quarterfinal winners


The Ultimate Fighter Live episode 11 – ‘Like a Spartan’ – aired Friday evening and saw favorites Vinc Pichel and Al Iaquinta win their quarterfinal bouts and move into the semifinals alongside James Vick and Michael Chiesa.

Sherman Oaks, California, resident Pichel won by majority decision, defeating Long Beach, California native, Chris Saunders. This was followed by a win for Iaquinta, of Wantagh, New York, who came into the Octagon® focused and ready to dominate and did so in stunning fashion, recording a big TKO win over Andy Ogle, of Newcastle, England, at 4:44 of the 1st round.

UFC President Dana White closed out the episode by announcing the two semifinal match ups, which will air next Friday, May 25, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.

First, James Vick (#5 Cruz) will face-off against Michael Chiesa (#5 Faber) while Pichel (#6 Cruz) will meet Al Iaquinta (#1 Faber).


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UFC President Dana White:

“Pichel vs Saunders was a grinder match. It was a close first round. It could have gone either way. Then in the second round, Pichel just took over. There was no doubt he won that round and deserved the win.”

“I didn’t know what to expect of Iaquinta vs Ogle. There’s no doubt Ogle came to fight, he’s got a great chin and a big heart. But Iaquinta looked good. He looked as good as anyone has ever looked on the Ultimate Fighter.”

“So now, we’re going into the semifinals and it’s dead-even. I have to tell you, I think Pichel’s a tough guy but we just saw what Iaquinta can do. And then there’s Vick, the incredible underdog and Chiesa, the guy who has gone through more than anyone in this house. You won’t want to miss these fights.”



Vinc Pichel:

“I knew to expect a lot of hard leg kicks, just thinking CHECK THAT SHIT AND FIRE! I practiced a lot of movement in this week’s training to keep him on his heels so he couldn’t throw them as often. Certain combinations worked really well for me, and I was able to take him out of his comfort zone.”



Team Cruz Coach - Dominick Cruz:

“Pichel listened perfectly to the game plan, which was to keep Saunders on his heels, throwing heavy shots, which takes away Saunders' kicking ability and forces him to box. This allowed Pichel to dirty box and clinch and grind out the win.”

Thoughts on Barao fighting for the Interim belt: “It's a tough thing to chew on to pass up a spot I've worked so, so hard for. It's testing my heart and determination in this situation. This will prove and test to myself the integrity I have and make me a stronger champion.”


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Al Iaquinta:

“I fought smart, I knew if I fought smart I could beat just about anybody.”



Team Faber Coach - Urijah Faber:

“I’m not surprised by the outcomes. Things went as predicted. Saunders losing the first round was a big surprise. I thought he won hands down. Al looked awesome he stalked Ogle down.”

Thoughts on his new opponent: “I’m just excited to have a new opponent. Now that I have someone to focus on and game plan, for it gets me motivated. [My training] will definitely change. [Cruz and Barao] are polar-opposites. Barao is a guy that starts hard, and looks for the finish right away, but seems to fade a little bit as the fight goes on. Dominick is really tricky, has great conditioning and is always looking to out point in a long fight. I’m a good combination of those two put together, I’m dangerous and I thrive in long fights.”



Don’t miss the opportunity to catch behind the scenes action by following the fighters on Facebook and Twitter. Find all these links and more on http://www.ultimatefighter.com.



Photo credits: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

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Fri May 18, 2012 10:58 pm
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LAST SHOT AT REDEMPTION: ELIMINATED CONTESTANTS OF THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER LIVE ON FX TO PARTICIPATE IN JUNE 1 FINALE


Semifinals this Friday on FX at 10 p.m. ET/PT


UFC President Dana White made it official this week, announcing that all but two of THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER LIVE fighters, pending commission approval after the semifinals, will get one more opportunity for redemption and appear on national television during the three-hour season finale on FX, Friday, June 1, from the Pearl Concert Theater at the Palms in Las Vegas.

In addition, the winners of the semifinal bouts this Friday, May 25, live on FX (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) between James Vick (4-0), of Fort Worth, Texas, and Michael Chiesa 7-0), of Spokane Valley, Wash., and Vinc Pichel (7-0), of Sherman Oaks, Calif., and Al Iaquinta (5-1-1), Wantagh, N.Y., will clash in the final fight of the season to crown the ULTIMATE FIGHTER LIVE winner. The winner will earn a lucrative contract from the UFC and a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Confirmed June 1 matchups include: Jeremy Larsen, Phoenix, Ariz., vs. Joe Proctor, Pembroke, Mass.; Sam Sicilia, Spokane Valley, Wash., vs. Cristiano Marcello, Curitiba, Brazil; Chris Tickle, Bloomington, Ill., vs. Daron Cruickshank, Wayne, Mich.; Myles Jury, San Diego, Calif., vs. Chris Saunders, Long Beach, Calif.; and Justin Lawrence, Villa Ridge, Mo., vs. John Cofer, Hull, Ga.

Regretfully, two of the fighters who have spent the last three months in the TUF House will be unable to participate in the season finale on FX. Mike Rio, of Miami, Fla., suffered a rib injury in training while Andy Ogle was medically suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after being knocked out by Iaquinta in the quarterfinals.

Not surprisingly, the House was buzzing with excitement after the fighters learned they would be getting another shot on FX. Here’s what they had to say:


Jeremy Larsen - “I'm super thrilled about fighting Proctor. He's a tough guy who likes to fight, and that's what I like to do. I think we're going to go out there and put on a fantastic show for the fans."


Joe Proctor - "Train hard. Win easy. It's time for a war!”


Sam Sicilia - “I think this is a huge opportunity for me. He's a legend. We'll see if I belong in the UFC right now or not.”


Cristiano Marcello - “It's a great opportunity. He's a great opponent. Let's do what we need to do.”


Chris Tickle - “It's going to be a great fight, fast-paced and I'm ready to bang.”


Daron Cruickshank - “Hands up. Chin down. Let's bang. It's play time.”


Myles Jury - “I think it's a tough fight, but it's just another chance for me to live my dream."


Chris Saunders - “I’m looking forward to this test. It should be a good fight. Tune in!”


Justin Lawrence - “I think it's a good matchup for me. I think I'm more well-rounded. This is a huge opportunity and me and I'm not going to let it slip through my fingers."


John Cofer - “I’m excited for this fight and the chance at redemption after my last loss on the show. More importantly, though, is winning and landing a job fighting in the UFC.”


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Fri May 25, 2012 12:27 am
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EPISODE 12 Results & Notes:


Michael Chiesa and Al Iaquinta set to meet in The Ultimate Fighter Live Final


The Ultimate Fighter Live episode 12 – ‘Reality Check’ – aired Friday evening and saw Team Faber nab both semifinal wins in the final episode of the famed reality series. Michael Chiesa defeated James Vick by knockout at 1:55 of the 2nd round while Al Iaquinta walked away with a unanimous decision victory over Vinc Pichel.

The fights are now set for The Ultimate Fighter Live Finale Friday, June 1 at the Pearl Concert Theater at the Palms in Las Vegas. All but four of the fighters will appear on the three-hour season finale on FX.

Mike Rio, who suffered a rib injury in training and Andy Ogle, who was medically suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after being knocked out in the quarterfinals, will both miss the Finale. Following his knockout loss, Vick has also been medically suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and will not compete on June 1. Due to this, Pichel will be unable to fight and will make an appearance on a future UFC card. The complete list of match-ups is below.



TUF Live 1 Finale – The Ultimate Fighter Live bouts:


Jeremy Larsen VS Joe Proctor
Sam Sicilia VS Cristiano Marcello
Chris Tickle VS Daron Cruickshank
Chris Saunders VS Myles Jury
John Cofer VS Justin Lawrence
Michael Chiesa VS Al Iaquinta



Here’s what everyone had to say about the evening’s livefights:


UFC President Dana White:

“There’s no doubt that Vick won that first round but I think the biggest mistake he made was going for that submission at the end of it. I think he should have tried to finish it. He’s a young, tough, bright kid and has a big future in front of him. Chiesa was doing a lot of things to try and make stuff happen in the second round and that’s what he did. The odds said he was supposed to lose twice and here he is. This kid has got a ton of heart.”

“The first round [between Iaquinta and Pichel] was tough to score. I actually think Pichel did more damage but the judges gave Iaquinta the round because of his two takedowns. [Iaquinta] definitely came out and won the second round and got that fight. Al has looked good in both his fights. He looked like he was in great shape. Still moving, still punching and his wrestling was on. This is going to be one hell of a final.”


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Michael Chiesa:

“I feel great. It has been quite a journey. A lot of ups and downs but I feel like I’ve earned my spot in the finale and I’m very excited to seize the moment.”


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Al Iaquinta:

“I couldn’t have done it without a great team, great roommates. Everyone really helped me out. The coaching staff was just awesome. Everything was a dream come true. When I left I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Now I have the toughest fight of my life ahead of me, and I’m ready for it.”



Don’t miss the opportunity to catch behind the scenes action by following the fighters on Facebook and Twitter. Find all these links and more on http://www.ultimatefighter.com.

Photo credits: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

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Fri May 25, 2012 10:06 pm
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