The third episode of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15: "Live" ended up being a lot more of the same things viewers have been privy to in the previous weeks, as "Team Cruz" continued its dominance over "Team Faber" in the Octagon.
Honestly, it wasn't what I expected. From the get-go, I thought Cruz looked a bit awkward and would be the guy coming off uncomfortable in his own skin. I have to say, after three weeks of watching, I'm flipping. "The Dominator" has done a better job communicating with his guys, creating an effective training environment and he's even gotten the better of Faber in most of the verbal exchanges -- a feat I'd have never expected in a million years.
In the LIVE match up for episode three, number one pick Justin Lawrence was matched up against Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist Cristiano Marcello. It was obvious from the opening horn that Marcello was leery of Lawrence's power. He looked hesitant and was doing a very poor job of covering up.
Marcello's fears proved justified when, in the second round, Lawrence finally landed the big left hook that coach Urijah Faber warned his fighter to be on the lookout for. Marcello was out almost immediately and it was alllllll over!
So, which fighters currently have the upper hand? Here's what the TUF 15 power rankings look like after three action-packed episodes:
Most everything stayed the same, with two exceptions. Marcello got knocked the eff out, so he's obviously done in the power rankings. I also went ahead and bumped Chris Tickle down to the bottom. Maybe I'm being judgmental. Maybe it's the cut of his jib that I do not care for. I just thought he showed bad form in this episode.
Tickle was, at best, aloof during the "Team Cruz" training session, forgetting to take out his earring (which caused him to have to step out and remedy the issue), then realizing he "had diarrhea" and needed to hit the head, right in the middle of a grappling session.
Afterward, Cruz did his best to patiently pull Tickle aside and tell him to get his head right. Tickle wasn't entirely disrespectful, but it was clear that he didn't like being corrected. I just can't like the chances of a dude who refuses to listen to world champions and gets random diarrhea fits during grappling sessions.
Let's check out the rankings as they currently stand after three episodes:
(Note: The numbers in parenthesis indicate each fighter's ranking from the previous week.)
1) Justin Lawrence: (1)
2) Al Iaquinta: (2)
3) Sam Sicilia (3)
4) Myles Jury (5)
5) Mike Rio (6)
6) Joe Proctor (7)
7) James Vick (8)
8) Michael Chiesa (9)
9) Vinc Pichel (10)
10) John Cofer (11)
11) Andy Ogle (13)
12) Jeremy Larsen (14)
13) Chris Saunders (15)
14) Chris Tickle (12)
Cristiano Marcello (RIP)
The tension continues to mount as "Team Cruz" continues to hold control of the fight selection. The morale on "Team Faber" does not seem to be at a very high level, and who could blame them?
Next week, the number-two ranked Al Laquinta will do his best to get control back for "Team Faber," taking on the fourth ranked Myles Jury (who will be doing his best to make Brian Hemminger look like a genius).
Got any early predictions (or 15) for next week's fight?
If you weren't able to catch all the LIVE action, no worries. Read a complete recap of TUF 15: "Live" Episode 3 right here.