Results for the TUF Live bout between lightweights James Vick and Daron Cruickshank, fought in the season's first regular episode.
Read the episode recap
On a day full of upsets as Mizzou and Duke fell to lower-ranked teams in March Madness action, Team Cruz pulled off a third as lanky boxer James “The Executioner” Vick knocked out Daron Cruickshank with a big knee in the first round.
“I thought he [Vick] lost his fight to get into the house, and I think that's a guaranteed win for us,” said Cruickshank's coach, Urijah Faber, when announcing the fight pairing earlier in the week. Cruz admitted his fighter was the underdog – in last week’s elimination bouts, Vick had eked out a split decision in a tough scrum with Dakota Cochrane, while Cruickshank’s kickboxing had dominated Drew Dober.
Inside the TUF Gym in Las Vegas, the two started slowly, circling one another to test their distance. Cruickshank – a kickboxer trained by his father in striking and pro kickboxer mom – threw a few kicks, but struggled to connect on the fighter 7 inches taller and with a 6.5-inch reach advantage. Vick threw a some jabs and range-finding kicks, gaining confidence as the seconds wore on.
Cruickshank exploded with a big left kick to the body and a spinning-back foot. But the 6’3” Vick’s height spelled the end for the 5’8” “Detroit Superstar” as Cruickshank shot for a takedown at the same time that Vick launched another kick. Vick adjusted, threw low, and his right knee knocked Cruickshank out at 2:16 of the first round.
"That move was very planned, it was a right hand, left hook, two-three combination to a kick," said Vick. "It was meant to be a full-on kick but I could not get it extended in time. He came in and hit the knee. He shot in and it hit him right on the button. He went out."
Vick also credited Team Cruz with giving him the mindset and tools to win the fight. "I heard my coaches screaming throw this combination. As soon as I threw it it landed. Magic, you know?"
“I think Urijah completely underestimated this kid,” said UFC president Dana White after the bout.