Area Native Sanchez a TUF 23 Finalist

The McKendree University Bearcats wrestling program has produced a guitar-wielding, TKO punch-throwing, “Ultimate Fighter” finalist in Andrew “El Dirte” Sanchez. The Illinois native originally from Shiloh and living in Belleville punched his ticket to Las Vegas by finishing teammate Eric Spicely in the first round.

Episode 10’s feature bout was over in under a minute. Before the contest “El Dirte” matter-of- factly stated, “I’m gonna win the fight. I promise.”

The pair start off by trying to find their sweet spots to land without being open to counterstrikes. Around 30 seconds in, Sanchez backs Spicely, a favored training partner of their six weeks in the TUF house, against the cage fence and zeros in.

Sanchez trades shots in the clinch before landing a knee. A takedown from spicely is stuffed by the wrestler. He’s hit with a right hand coming up from the mat. Despite being back on his feet, the danger was not over. Sanchez drops him again with a mix of rights to head and midsection.

Spicely attempts to cover while curling up next to the fence, but is met with a blitzkrieg. Uppercuts rain down on him like the fire fight scene of “300” before the official gives you your definitive winner: Andrew Sanchez.

There are two episodes left on this season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, and the opponent for Sanchez is yet to be determined. He will fight for a six-figure contract with the organization in the TUF finale on July 8 in Las Vegas.

“He came out wanting to bang…There are no friends here. Andrew came out and showed no mercy, and this is what I love about this competition–I can found out who’s mentally strong, who’s mentally weak, who wants it, who doesn’t…Andrew wanted it, and now he’s our finalist” UFC President Dana White said.