Thirty-two lightweight hopefuls clashed in a Las Vegas warehouse Friday evening in the first round of the Ultimate Fighter Live's tournament to determine which 16 would move on to the house and compete the rest of the season.
The show's first run on FX started with an unprecedented 16 fights that all aired live, each bout scheduled for only one five-minute round unless scored as a draw. Before the bouts began, it was announced that each finalist who finished their fight would earn $5,000, and that ruling racked up $40,000 in bonuses as half of the night's fights ended in under five minutes.
Joe Proctor vs. Jordan Rinaldi
In the night’s first bout, jiu-jitsu specialists Joe Proctor and Jordan Rinaldi faced off. The ground fighters started off trading leg kicks and some back-and-forth blows, including good uppercuts from both. But it was Proctor who successfully got the trip, landing on top of Rinaldi with a guillotine against the cage, earning the tap and a $5,000 bonus to boot just 2:08 in. The Boston-based fighter follows in the TUF footsteps of his training partner and TUF 5 vet Joe Lauzon.
Advancing into the house: Joe Proctor
Cristiano Marcello vs. Jared Carlsten
The season’s lone Brazilian contestant, Gracie black belt Cristiano Marcello, took on rangy Eddie Bravo BJJ student Jared Carlsten, and his experience proved too much for the undefeated prospect. After exchanging blistering leg kicks, it was the 34-year-old Marcello who took control against the cage and took the fight to the mat, quickly getting full mount on his younger opponent. He rained down ground and pound as Carlsten bucked and eventually turned away to try and escape. That gave Marcello the opening he needed to secure the rear-naked choke submission 2:43 in, costing Dana White another five grand.
Advancing into the house: Cristiano Marcello
Erin Beach vs. Sam Sicilia
Sam Sicilia entered the Octagon off of three knockout wins in under 30 seconds, and he made it a fourth Friday night. He started the bout against undefeated Erin Beach with a huge overhand right, and though he followed the fight to the mat, that one punch was really all it took for the ref to call it an 8-second TKO. Sicilia’s last four fights have now lasted a total of 1:27.
Advancing into the house: Sam Sicilia
Austin Lyons vs. Chris Tickle
Chris Tickle made it four finishes in four fights as he opened against jiu jitsu ace Austin Lyons with powerful kicks and a couple of connecting fists that snapped Lyons’ head back. But his next strike sealed the deal, as Lyons bobbed backward then dropped to his knees, forcing the ref to catch him and wave things off at 24 seconds of the first round.
Advancing into the house: Chris Tickle
Brendan Weafer vs. Andy Ogle
New York’s Brendan Weafer faced a fellow standup artist from across the pond, Andy Ogle, in a full-round fight that was primarily waged on the ground. Weafer landed a few knees in the early striking, but it was the British Ogle who got the trip and wound up on top. As Ogle scooted the action to the cage, Weafer stayed patient and used his long limbs to lock on a triangle choke from the bottom that, though he wasn’t able to complete, stayed in place during the duration of the position. Ogle did some damage with his free left hand, and Weafer scored with some elbows from the bottom until the ref stood things up with 30 seconds left. From there it was Ogle who quickly dropped Weafer and ended the round with the American in a guillotine attempt. The judges rendered their verdict after five minutes: Andy Ogle won on all three judges’ cards and was set to move into the Ultimate Fighter Live house, a decision he celebrated by leaping into Dana White’s arms.
Advancing into the house: Andy Ogle
Vincent Pichel vs. Cody Pfister
Vincent Pichel and Cody Pfister waged a bloody, sloppy, all-over war, with kickboxer Pichel walking away with the submission win over the jiu-jitsu specialist. Pfister moved forward first and got the takedown, but nearly gave up an arm in the process and had to spend a good bit of time rolling away from an armbar. The two scrambled to the feet with both winding up on top at different points; it was Pfister who climbed for a standing choke only to be shaken off to the ground by “From Hell” Pichel. Pichel opened a huge gash on the side of Pfister’s face with elbows from the top, and as Pfister spun away, “From Hell” locked in a rear-naked choke that nearly put Pfister to sleep after 3:39.
Advancing into the house: Vinc Pichel
Mark Glover vs. John Cofer
Georgian John Cofer gave the UK fighters a 1-1 record, using active wrestling to defeat Liverpool’s Mark Glover by decision. Glover started strong with a series of kicks, leaving Cofer on his heels until he got the clinch against the fence. From there, Cofer’s wrestling kicked in, and he got multiple takedowns during the round, including one giant slam. With Team Cruz assistant coach and fellow Brit Ross Pearson yelling advice from the sidelines, Glover consistently worked his way to the feet and attempted to keep it there, but Cofer timed Glover’s flying knee attempts and completed more takedowns. The judges were unanimous in promoting Cofer to the home.
Advancing into the house: John Cofer
Chase Hackett vs. Chris Saunders
Jiu-jitsu specialist Chase Hackett used striking and wrestling against kickboxer Chris Saunders, but Saunders’ striking and guillotine attempts earned him the win after a full round of effort. An early kick caused Saunders to slip, and Hackett capitalized by taking it to the ground. Saunders had what looked like a solid guillotine, but after a lengthy attempt, it was clear that it wasn’t locked and the two struggled to their feet again. Hackett tied up Saunders against the cage until a renewed Saunders came forward with combinations that seemed to touch Hackett. But gassed from his early expenditures, Saunders was again taken down and though he briefly threatened with a second guillotine, the round ended with “Prison Stare” issuing GnP from Saunders’ guard. Judges unanimously gave the fight to Saunders, whose pink Mohawk will move into the house, much to the disappointment of the mustachioed Hackett.
Advancing into the house: Chris Saunders
James Vick vs. Dakota Cochrane
Dakota Cochrane’s wrestling pedigree was basically neutralized during a five-minute scrum with undefeated striker James Vick, who eked out the win without doing any significant damage with strikes. Cochrane used a front kick and aggression to close the gap on the taller man, then worked hard for a takedown against the fence. From there, it was a prolonged sprawling stalemate in the center of the cage before another cage battle as Cochrane attempted to get leverage low enough to take down his eight-inch-taller opponent. Eventually the ref stood them up, and again it was Cochrane who came forward with strikes before ending the round in Vick’s guard. Vick earned the split decision win and propelled himself into the house over the All-American pole vaulter.
Advancing into the house: James Vick
Johnavan Vistante vs. Michael Chiesa
The fight finish trend picked back up during the night’s 10th bout, as Michael Chiesa tapped out striker Johnavan Vistante in just 2:05. Chiesa immediately came forward with two giant takedowns, then smothered Vistante against the cage. As Vistante tried to work back to his feet, Chiesa got his hooks in and took Vistante’s back, and from there it was all the Maverick. Chiesa issued hammerfists and strikes from the back until finally snaking an arm under his opponent’s neck, drawing the tap and another $5,000 finish bonus.
Advancing into the house: Michael Chiesa
Mike Rio vs. Ali MacLean
Miami’s Mike Rio swarmed on Northern Ireland’s Ali MacLean, dominating him on the ground before scoring the night’s fourth rear-naked choke victory at 3:32. The bout started on the feet with the men trading headshot for headshot, but then Rio’s wrestling instincts kicked in and he easily took the fight to the mat. Rio bloodied MacLean’s face with strikes from the top, and as MacLean tried to make it to his feet, Rio took his back. As MacLean stood up with The Wolverine on his back, he got suplexed back to the mat. Rio again took the younger fighter’s opponent back before rolling into mount. As MacLean desperately spun to get out danger, he gave up his back, and this time Rio was able to get the choke and end the fight.
Advancing into the house: Mike Rio
James Krause vs. Justin Lawrence
Though James Krause, a WEC vet with 18 pro fights, had the experience on paper, it was 3-0 Justin Lawrence whose unmentioned 150 amateur kickboxing bouts paid off as he swarmed for a fast TKO win in a matchup of two mixed martial artists from Missouri. Lawrence opened with two dramatic high kicks that didn’t land flush but sent a clear warning to his taller opponent. He followed by chasing Krause with lightning fast strikes from every angle, getting the fight to the ground and hopping on top for ground and pound. He then let Krause back up, dropped him again, and continued to come on aggressively. After being wobbled by a knee and dropped by follow-up punches, Krause was eventually relieved of duty at just 1:25.
Advancing into the house: Justin Lawrence
Drew Dober vs. Daron Cruickshank
Daron Cruickshank put on a blistering first couple of minutes against Drew Dober, showing the crowd what happens when a fighter is raised by a pro kickboxer mom and a striking coach father. Cruickshank, aka “The Detroit Superstar” started with three powerful kicks, then launched into one unpredictable striking combination after the other, punctuating each with body kicks and gravity-defying high kicks. Dober tried to tie his opponent up and get things to the ground, but it was the Superstar who got the first big takedown, then nimbly climbed into mount and threw elbows. As the two stood back up, the action slowed as Dober tried to keep the exchanges in the clinch, and then it stopped briefly due to an accidental low blow by Dober. But the momentum was still Cruickshank’s as he ended the round with more strikes, another takedown, and an obvious invitation to the TUF Live house.
Advancing into the house: Daron Cruickshank
Jeremy Larsen vs. Jeff Smith
Striker Jeremy Larsen was nimble enough to avoid the grasp of submission grappler Jeff Smith, even as much of their five-minute fight unfolded on the mat. Smith closed the distance and took the bout to the fence, where Larsen grabbed a guillotine and jumped to the ground before sweeping into top position and back to his feet. Twice more the fight went to the ground with Larsen on top, and the two scrambled for position in a tangle of submission attempts. Eventually Larsen settled into side mount, where he punished Smith with elbows to the head and knees to the body. A last-minute kneebar attempt by the bloodied Smith wasn’t enough, and Larsen easily earned a seat in the winner’s section growing fight by fight in the bleachers behind White.
Advancing into the house: Jeremy Larsen
Jon Tuck vs. Al Iaquinta
Al Iaquinta was cast on TUF 12 before an injury forced him to withdraw; he righted that opportunity Friday with a unanimous decision win over dangerous jiu jitsu fighter Jon Tuck, who limped away with an injury of his own. Iaquinta caught Tuck’s early kick and tossed him to the mat, but from the ground, Tuck got hold of Iaquinta’s arm and rolled for an armbar. Iaquinta stood up and shake his opponent off, then took Tuck’s back briefly on their way up. Back in the center, the two circled as both tried to find their range, first one punch at a time and then in a series of back and forths that found their targets. In another Iaquinta takedown, Tuck tried for a guillotine before Iaquinta freed himself to deliver hammerfists that increased in velocity as the seconds wore down. Iaquinta stood and raised his arms in victory as Tuck stayed seated against the cage, having his clearly injured toe checked out by the commission doctors.
Advancing into the house: Al Iaquinta
Akbarh Arreola vs. Myles Jury
A second TUF vet got a second chance in the house as Myles Jury – forced to leave the season 13 house due to a knee injury – decisioned experienced Tijuana fighter Akbarh Arreola. The two traded kicks with a loud crack, and Jury used the chaos to push things to the mat and take top position. Jury struggled to administer body shots from Arreola’s closed guard; the Mexican fighter’s armbar attempt from the bottom was unsuccessful and the two were stood up by the referee. A second huge kick and takedown by Jury landed him in half guard before the standup; on the next one, Jury caught a leg and took things to the mat, where he stayed in a dominant position until the round’s end.
Advancing into the house: Myles Jury
The Ultimate Fighter Live Premiere Results
By Laura Gilbert March 10, 2012
Read on for fight recaps of the sixteen elimination bouts that took place on the Ultimate Fighter Live premiere on FX Friday, March 9.