It had to happen eventually!
For a while there, it looked as though "Team Cruz" was going to run straight through "Team Faber" in consecutive fashion and set an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) precedent by being the first team on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) to win each bout.
Luckily, Matt Serra-trained fighter Al Iaquinta was able to give Urijah Faber something to smile about, squeeking out a very close split decision win over Myles Jury. It certainly was not the most exciting mixed martial arts (MMA) contest you'll ever see, but a win is a win.
The loss puts Dominick Cruz in a new and uncomfortable position, since he and his team have never had to put themselves back together after a loss this season (since they were undefeated up to this point).
So, with another episode in the books, it's time for me to close my eyes and throw darts at a wall to bring you the updated power rankings. I'm kidding. Sort of.
This week's rankings saw a little bit more juggling than we did after the third episode. Why, you ask? It's simple. The shenanigans are starting to mount up.
It could be the way the shows are being edited. It might be that the longer the fighter's stay in this house with a bunch of dudes and no TV, their inner qualities are becoming more and more apparent.
Either way, there were three guys, in particular, who stood out to me this week.
Mike Rio hurt his knee. That sucks. I've hurt both knees on multiple occasions. Feeling one of them buckle beneath you is a sickening feeling. I can't imagine having to fight or train to fight with that in the back of my head. That said, Rio never shut up about it. I'm not trying to hate on the guy. He fights for a living (to an extent). I don't. I get that. But, after a while, if you keep telling the camera that your injury isn't bothering you...your injury is bothering you (and probably most of the viewers too).
Andy Ogle got to unleash his sensitive side during this week's episode. Apparently, he likes to write poetry and deep thoughts and waxing philosophical in one-on-one sessions in front of the camera. I'm probably being a closed-minded jerk, but I just don't see this dude having the killer instincts it takes to win a competition like this.
Chris Tickle didn't go anywhere in the rankings, and that's not a good thing. He was at the bottom before; he's at the bottom again. I don't know a nicer way to say it other than to say that Tickle just comes off like a real prick. He seems to think he's got it all figured it out, which leaves me wondering why he's even on this show. If he's so awesome, shouldn't we have heard of him before now? I just see this guy being someone who will end up flipping over trailers and getting into mischief in a weird country with Junie Browning at some point in the not-too-distant future. Am I all by myself on that one?
Anyway. Here are the rankings. Enjoy.
(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) Joe Proctor (6)
5) James Vick (7)
6) Michael Chiesa (8)
7) Mike Rio (5)
8) Vinc Pichel (9)
9) John Cofer (10)
10) Jeremy Larsen (12)
11) Chris Saunders (13)
12) Andy Ogle (11)
13) Chris Tickle (14)
Myles Jury (RIP)
Next week, "Team Faber" will be represented by Michael Chiesa, who will be squaring off against "Team Cruz's" Jeremy Larsen. On paper, it would appear as though Chiesa should be favored in this one, but, as we all know, they don't fight the fights on paper -- they fight them in the Octagon.
If you weren't able to catch all the LIVE action, no worries. Read a complete recap of TUF 15: "Live" Episode 4 right here.