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Wantagh's Al Iaquinta reaches 'The Ultimate Fighter' finale

Wantagh's Al Iaquinta, right, punches Vinc Pichel en

Wantagh's Al Iaquinta, right, punches Vinc Pichel en route to winning a unanimous decision in "The Ultimate Fighter" semifinals. (May 25, 2012) Credit: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

The pair of takedowns helped secure the first round. The overall aggression in the octagon tilted the second round in his favor.

And with that on Friday night, Al Iaquinta, a 24-year-old mixed martial artist from Wantagh, earned his way into the season finale of "The Ultimate Fighter Live."

Iaquinta won a unanimous decision over Vinc Pichel in the "TUF Live" semifinal and will face Michael Chiesa in the final on June 1. Chiesa stopped James Vick by TKO in the second round in the earlier semifinal. The winner earns a guaranteed six-figure contract with the UFC.

But the reality of this reality competition show is this: win or lose on June 1, expect Iaquinta and Chiesa to both stick around the UFC for the immediate future.

This is the second straight season where a Long Islander has reached the "TUF" finale. In Season 14, Dennis Bermudez of Massapequa made it the featherweight final and lost to Diego Brandao.

If Iaquinta beats Chiesa this Friday, he'll become the second Long Island guy to win "The Ultimate Fighter." The first was Matt Serra, who just so happens to be one of Iaquinta's coaches.

Serra, a former UFC welterweight champion and the only man on the planet to knock out Georges-St Pierre in a pro fight, will be in Iaquinta's corner this Friday in Las Vegas. Also in his corner will be Ray Longo, the man who trained Serra in striking and trains Iaquinta now.

New York Sports