Tonight was the night.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) brought a brand new format to its reality television baby The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), which started season number 15 tonight (Fri., March 9, 2012) at 9 p.m. ET with a 2.5 hour season premiere on its new channel FX.
The best part? It was all the way live, folks.
Tonight's broadcast showcased 16 fights featuring 32 competitors attempting to smash their way into the TUF house to earn a shot at the coveted "six-figure" UFC contract. In keeping with that, MMAmania.com provided live coverage of all the night's action, with quick recaps and results as they occurred.
It's all after the jump, Maniacs.
The Ultimate Fighter 15 Quick Results:
Joe Proctor def. Jordan Rinaldi via submission (guillotine)
Cristiano Marcello def. Jared Carlsten via submission (rear-naked choke)
Sam Sicilia def. Erin Beach via knockout
Chris Tickle def. Austin Lyons via knockout
Andy Ogle def. Brendan Weafer via decision
Vinc Pichel def. Cody Pfister via submission (rear-naked choke)
John Cofer def. Mark Glover via decision
Chris Saunders def. Chase Hackett via decision
James Vick def. Dakota Cochrane via decision
Michael Chiesa def. Johnavan Vistante via submission (rear-naked choke)
Mike Rio def. Ali MacLean via submission (rear-naked choke)
Justin Lawrence def. James Krause via knockout
Daron Cruickshank def. Drew Dober via decision
Jeremy Larsen def. Jeff Smith via decision
Al Iaquinta def. Jon Tuck via decision
Myles Jury def. Akbarh Arreloa via decision
The show opens with Jon Anik and Dana White inside the Octagon talking about what to expect from this upcoming season, including the dynamic between the two coaches, Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber, who don't like each other after a long history that includes splitting a pair of fights.
They roll footage of Dana White introducing the 32 prospective tenants in the TUF house to the coaches and informing them that the fight to get into said house will consist of just one, five minute round.
Needless to say, this is not well received.
Nonetheless, here we go. Anik lets us know that stoppages tonight will be rewarded with a bonus of $5,000.
Let's get to the fights:
Joe Proctor vs. Jordan Rinaldi
Recap: Proctor worked a strong stand-up game early, firing off heavy shots with bad intentions. Rinaldi hung around in the pocket with little regard to his opponent's striking prowess. Eventually, Rinaldi threw a kick, had it caught, ended up on the floor and not long after Proctor locked in a deep guillotine to force the tap.
Proctor def. Rinaldi via submission (guillotine)
Cristiano Marcello vs. Jared Carlsten
Recap: Marcello came in as a 34-year-old with aspirations of breaking into the big leagues. Easiest way to do that at that age is TUF. With just five minutes to shine, he took advantage of his foe by dragging him to the mat and quickly passing to full mount. As noted by Cruz and White, who could be heard cageside, the dominant position alone was going to win him the round and, in turn, the fight. He worked a rear-naked choke submission to earn an extra $5K for his troubles anyway.
Marcello def. Carlsten via submission (rear-naked choke)
Erin Beach vs. Sam Sicilia
Recap: Sicilia's pre-fight interview made clear how he got this far in the process, other than his 10-0 record. He said he wanted to throw bombs and kill people. So I guess it was no surprise, then, that he threw a bomb and it killed Beach within the first few seconds of the fight. Speaking of live, you could hear Dana White fire off a few "Holy shit's" before he was finally bleeped out. That's three finishes and the bossman writing no less than $15K in bonus checks tonight.
Sicilia def. Beach via knockout
Austin Lyons vs. Chris Tickle
Recap: Lyons told us before the fight started that he loves the fact that he can walk into any room and know that he can whoop everyone's ass. That was until he walked into this room tonight and Tickle rocked him multiple times within about 30 seconds. A straight right hand was the finishing punch and Lyons can go find another room to feel tough in.
Tickle def. Lyons via knockout
Brendan Weafer vs. Andy Ogle
Recap: Ogle came in repping the U.K. hard with one of the worst cauliflower ears of all time. Weafer tried to help him drain it by blasting him directly in it about three seconds in. Soon after they were jockeying for position on the mat, Weafer with his legs up digging for a triangle that just wasn't there. Ogle, meanwhile worked punches to stay busy on top, all the while inches away from getting choked unconscious. The ref stood them up and Ogle damn near finished the fight with a guillotine but alas the judges were necessary for the very first time. Luckily, it was a fairly easy decision. Oh wait, they screwed it up.
Ogle def. Weafer via decision
Vinc Pichel vs. Cody Pfister
Recap: If anyone took the "you only get one round" gimmick too seriously, it was Pfister, who ran out to the center of the cage like he was Diego Sanchez and started doing the damn thing. Not surprisingly, he was fending off multiple submission attempts within seconds. That turned into a mad scramble with Cruz and Faber marking out cageside at the "scrap" they were witnessing. Uneducated fans at home shook their collective heads in disagreement. They continued scrapping until Pichel landed a monster elbow that opened Pfister's skull and had him losing blood like a leaky faucet. The cut allowed him to transition to Pfister's back and lock in a fight ending choke.
Pichel def. Pfister via submission (rear-naked choke)
Mark Glover vs. John Cofer
Recap: Glover actually came in with two wins over fighters who had previously competed inside the Octagon. That's impressive at 5-1 and just 23-years-old. He was soundly outmatched here, though, as Cofer simply grabbed him up and put him on his back. It doesn't need to be pretty, just needs to get the job done. Glover was getting the better of the stand-up -- rather easily, actually -- but Cofer's idea of using a Randy Couture style smother strategy seemed to work quite well. The judges agreed.
Cofer def. Glover via decision
Chase Hackett vs. Chris Saunders
Recap: Hackett told us before the fight that he's the next Ultimate Fighter because he's the most handsome. Saunders, meanwhile, pledged his life to the fight game, informing us of his willingness to die to win. So which guy do you think spent the first two minutes holding on for dear life while struggling to breath through a guillotine? Mr. Handsome Hackett survived, though, and Saunders gassed arms were nothing more than noodles for the rest of the fight. He was swinging them around, nonetheless, and landing a few shots. With about 40 seconds to go, he locked in another guillotine but his arms were far too tired to finish the job he started at the beginning. Still, the scores were in his favor.
Saunders def. Hackett via decision
James Vick vs. Dakota Cochrane
Recap: The moment you were all waiting for (don't lie) saw Cochrane shoot in on Vick and lock up the body. He worked hard for a few takedowns, none of which did anything other than force Vick to stand back up. James worked a front headlock while Dakota just sort of sat there and let it happen. There was never any threat of a finish, though, and after nearly four minutes of action, White, Faber and Cruz sat cageside opining on the possible need of a second round. This was a clinchfest with Cochrane pushing Vick against the cage a la Randy Couture vs. Brandon Vera at UFC 105. A brief flirtation with striking eventually gave way to more ground work and by the time the horn sounded, no one was sure who won. Except the judges, who gave it to Vick.
Vick def. Cochrane via decision
Johnavan Vistante vs. Michael Chiesa
Recap: When dealing with just one round and five minutes to work, some fighters felt the need to jump back to their wrestling and lean on it hard. Such was the case with Chiesa, who wasted no time at all shooting for a takedown. He got it, too, in addition to passing to Vistante's back with both hooks in. Takedown, control, superior position, repeated punches and elbows, submission. About as dominant all around as anyone all night.
Chiesa def. Vistante via submission (rear-naked choke)
Mike Rio vs. Ali MacLean
Recap: If you like violence, this was the fight for you. MacLean intensely told us pre-fight that Rio was going home bloody because he brings the heat. Ironically enough, it was MacLean who was bleeding within the first two minutes. Rio went beast mode real quick, tossing MacLean like a rag doll at one point and overwhelming him with a steady stream of punches that had the Ireland born Ali frustrated with no answers. Before long, Rio -- who looked like a cross between Wolverine and Clay Guida -- locked in a rear-naked choke and earned himself a cool $5K.
Rio def. MacLean via submission (rear-naked choke)
James Krause vs. Justin Lawrence
Recap: Coming out of Team Black House and having trained with Anderson Silva, Lawrence came out like a boss throwing all sorts of insane punches and kicks. Not only that, he was hitting takedowns and and big time ground and pound. The dude just unloaded with punches so quick Krause just couldn't keep up. It took Steve Mazzagatti a little too long to stop the fight, giving Dana White the chance to dump on him some more, but Lawrence looked like a fuggin' monster in there.
Lawrence def. Krause via knockout
Drew Dober vs. Daron Cruickshank
Recap: To show you how laughable TUF can be, Cruickshank's case for being the next Ultimate Fighter was that he has a great smile. This is our sport, Maniacs. Turns out dude had much more than a smile, as he came out like a bat out of hell, swinging hard on Dober like he stole something from him. Punches, kicks, knees; you name it, he was throwing it. When the kitchen sink didn't put Dober down, Cruickshank went to the clinch game and worked a single leg. He got the takedown and after the previous four minutes, Dober needed a finish to win. It never came.
Cruickshank def. Dober via decision
Jeremy Larsen vs. Jeff Smith
Recap: "Handsome" Larsen (what's with all these guys thinking they're so damn good looking?) touted his "dynamite" hands before the fight while Smith explained that he would have to be killed to be stopped. So they spent the fight on the mat, passing guards and attempting submissions. At one point, Smith looked to have Larsen tapping to a kneebar but it was questionable, so the fight went on. Good news for Larsen, too, who was soon in side control and scoring points. It was enough to get him in the house.
Larsen def. Smith via decision
Jon Tuck vs. Al Iaquinta
Recap: When the cageside commentary from Cruz, Faber and White is more entertaining than the fight, that says a lot. Then again, this was a funky fight because at one point, Tuck just stopped and looked down, which caused Faber to wonder aloud what the hell he was doing. As it turns out, he was looking down to be greeted by one of his toes pointed straight up back at him. We're talking about a nasty break here, folks. Once everyone realized what happened, the final horn couldn't come fast enough. Weird fight, nasty injury, Iaquinta in the house.
Iaquinta def. Tuck via decision
Akbarh Arreola vs. Myles Jury
Recap: Hey, it's Myles Jury, back for another chance. He jumped in and got a takedown after eating a low kick. From top, he escaped a guillotine and started bringing the pain with some elbows. Arreola worked hard for an armbar and nearly had it at one point but Jury didn't get here by getting lucky. Mazzagatti stood them up but that wasn't much more than a brief reprieve for Akbarh, as he was quickly smashed back down to the mat by Myles, who was relentless in his pressure. This sequence was repeated one more time before Arreola's five minutes were up. As White stated a few times during the fight, go learn some wrestling and come on back.
Jury def. Arreola via decision
That does it for the season premiere of TUF 15, Maniacs. Thought on the first show? Early favorite to win?