Just four episodes in and yet another big fight is going down tonight.
Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) reality television baby The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), is now in full swing with three episodes in the books and and the elimination fights inside the house well underway.
Last week's broadcast showcased a return to form for the prank heavy, testosterone laden show. But it also featured Dominick Cruz 's top pick, Justin Lawrence, dominating Cristiano Marcello in what many thought could have been a potential final. Get up to date on all that by clicking here and here.
Tonight's show will feature another fight chosen by Cruz, as yet another favorite, Myles Jury, will go head on against Team Urijah Faber's Al Iaquinta. The former is a big favorite over the latter -- almost 3-to-1 at this point -- but that's why they fight, Maniacs.
MMAmania.com has a live blog of all the night's action, starting at 10 p.m. ET, after the jump.
ULTIMATE FIGHTER 15 LIVE BLOG MARCH 30
Broadcast is live.
Only 42 minutes to get to the live fight this time around. Usually it's 45 minutes. Interesting.
Recap of last week's episode.
We see Justin Lawrence celebrating his win from last week, saying he won't stop until he holds the lightweight title. To get the full scope of the game, Cristiano Marcello is shown suffering through the heartbreak of losing. Urijah Faber tries to cheer everyone up and stay positive despite being down 0-2.
Cruz gives his team a nice pep talk before we move on.
Back at the TUF house and Al Iaquinta is explaining he'll win because Myles Jury has never been in a dog fight. Or something like that. The usual pre-fight spiel.
Team Cruz does some hard sparring, which leads to the squad talking about how hard on them Cruz is because he's a beast. Suddenly, we see Jury sparring and he hits Mike Rio with a spinning back fist that puts dude on his ass and twists up his knee. He vows to push through the pain.
We come back and everyone is shown getting bored as hell in the TUF house. Backstories are given for a few of the contestants. Daron Cruickshank eats a lot when he's bored. Chris Tickle misses his old lady.
Time to get to know Iaquinta. He tells us he was supposed to be on season 12 of TUF but he broke his hand two weeks before heading off. He calls that a "blessing in disguise."
We learn that Iaquinta trains with former UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Serra. They put together the game plan, which is for Al to get busy and push the pace. His stand-up will be key and as long as he's aggressive, things should work out.
"If you're not completely exhausted after 10 minutes, you're not doing enough," says Coach Faber.
Faber shows up at the house and he brings a man named Jim Peterson with him. He's a life coach or, as Faber refers to him, a "mind" coach. Andy Ogle seems to get plenty out of the experience. He takes notes and feels good about himself.
Meanwhile, Chris Tickle, the troublemaker of the house, says he "doesn't need no damn life coach." Only people who are weak mentally need life coaches, he says. Funny coming from the dude who has caused the most stink in the house so far.
Back to Rio and he's telling us his knee won't stop him because he's a f*cking freight train. Myles Jury can relate because he bounced out of TUF 13 thanks to a bum knee. But whatever, being hurt and being injured are two entirely separate things. He's shown in the cage training, though, and he doesn't do very well with it.
Off to Jury and Cruz tells him not to pace himself this week. Just put it all out there and throw. The game plan for Jury is just to get Iaquinta to go backwards.
So they both want to be super aggressive. Sounds like a plan.
They show Team Cruz hunt down Jury while he's in the shower just to give him one last pep talk. They call him "MFJ," which is short for Myles "Fury" Jury.
Back to the house and the boys are trying to set up a fight themselves. Sounds like they want Ogle vs. Cruickshank. Maybe someone else.
Team Cruz then talks game planning outside with Jury. They don't see this being a tough fight. They think Jury will just pick Iaquinta apart. We'll see.
Time for weigh-ins.
Both guys are on point and this thing is official.
Jury likes it that Cruz put him up against Faber's top pick. He really wants to come through and prove it was the right decision. Iaquinta wants to have some fun and make some noise and all that good stuff.
Whatever. Finally, we're just five minutes away from the fight. Stock live look-ins to the locker room. Nothing of note.
Let's get down to business.
Myles Jury vs. Al Iaquinta (155-pound limit)
Round one: Iaquinto comes out and takes the center. First exchange goes to Jury. He feints and lands a nice head kick. They get back up against the cage and this time it's Iaquinta landing a nice shot that sends the TUF house contestants into a fit of cheering. Couple of failed takedown attempts on both sides. Jury landing some nice leg kicks. Iaquinta answers with a straight right. Iaquinta doing a damn good job of pressing forward and keeping Jury backed up against the cage. Ooohhh, Jury just misses with a flying knee. Iaquinta landing some decent shots now with about two minutes to go in the round. Jury gets aggressive himself now and they battle it out. They tangle up and Iaquinta gets Jury in what looks like a crucifix. Dude's arms and legs are splayed out and his face is dangerously close to his crotch. He gets out of the position, though, and takes Iaquinta's back. They get up, Jury gets a takedown, and they stand back up before the round ends. That one was very close.
Round two: A low blow starts the second. Only a short period of stoppage. Iaquinta staying aggressive. Jury failing to land his punches and kicks and Iaquinta is coming close to capitalizing on it. Cruz isn't happy with how laid back Jury is being. Oh shit. Jury hits Iaquinta with a short punch that staggers him backwards. So Jury comes rushing in to throw a flying knee and gets caught hard on the chin with an overhand right that nearly puts him down. Amazingly, neither guy was knocked down right there. They're banging it out at this point. Iaquinta is absolutely stalking Jury. No respect for his punching, despite getting rocked briefly. Jury looks gassed at this point. He shoots underneath Iaquinta to take his back and he's just slick enough to pull it off. Now he's hanging on hoping to score here but there's not much giving. He gives it up and back he goes on his bicycle, circling away while Iaquinta tries to cut off the cage. With one minute left, this looks like Iaquinta's fight. Faber keeps shouting out times but they're all wrong with what's on the screen. He's shouting for Iaquinta to shoot for a takedown, presumably to seal the round, but he's not doing so. In fact, Jury hits the late takedown FTW crap and stands up all triumphant like he won the fight as the horn sounds. That could be a split and we're headed for another round but Jury didn't win that fight based on those two rounds together.
Round three: Sudden victory time. Iaquinta comes out doing what he's done for the first two rounds, which is to pressure and push the pace, just like Faber told him to. He's winging that overhand and hoping it lands flush. It's interesting to note that Jury moves like a bigger version of Cruz, he just offers far less offense. Cruz constantly switches stances and moves around a ton during his fights but he's consistently engaging, even if he disengages right after. Jury is just circling around a lot. Iaquinta is working far slower this time around, though. He's not being as aggressive the deeper we get. Ianquinta is scoring points with punches that are well timed. He's found a good range while Jury is constantly just too far away to be effective when he punches or kicks. Still, it's a relatively close round with one minute to go. When the two heard the signal for 10 seconds remaining, they stood and traded shots. Jury looked a bit better in those 10 seconds but Iaquinta looked better for more of this fight. Close final round that I, personally, would score for Iaquinta.
Final result: Al Iaquinta def. Myles Jury via split decision.
Myles Jury says in the post-fight interview that he "embraces the war. That's all it is, baby." Uh, sorry guy, but you did a lot of going away from it.
Time to pick the next fight. Faber gets to choose now.
Michael Chiesa vs. Jeremy Larson is the pick and they have a hell of a nasty staredown. That's next week.
See you in seven, Maniacs.