Already, Dominick Cruz is looking like the more strategic of the two coaches on TUF 15. Not only did he get inside the heads of Urijah Faber and his team by surprising them with the opportunity to pick who they wanted to fight Justin Lawrence, but then he and his team developed the better game plan allowing 21 year old, Justin Lawrence to defeat 34 year old and seasoned veteran, Marcello Cristiano by KO.
UFC fighter, Urijah Faber, at UFC Fan Expo in Boston, August 2010
photo credit Cheryl Ragsdale
Picking Team Cruz to win
Based on what I've seen so far, I'm picking Dominick Cruz's team to win. I always root for Urijah in his fights, but this is different. Dominick is outsmarting Urijah.
Urijah let Marcello decide how he wanted to fight—which turned out to be on his feet instead of on the ground. They thought Justin would be expecting a ground fight from the long time jiu jitsu player.
On this week's episode of TUF 15, Coach Urijah Faber's blue team felt the sting of being caught off-guard by Coach Dominick's tactical move, asking Urijah to pick the fighter he would want to fight Justin Lawrence, Dominick's number one pick. Urijah hadn't anticipated that move from Dominick—and didn't have an answer. As the leader, in my opinion, he should have made a pick, but he turned the question over to his team. No one answered.
That was a tough position to put the guys in. Al Iaquinta said, "No one's gonna hop out of their seat to fight the number one guy the second week of the competition. It's just not smart."
Al Iaquinta was Urijah's number one pick. He will face Myles Jury—Dominick's third pick—in next week's match-up.
Lawrence vs Marcello
Dominick's coaching staff came up with the winning game plan to defeat Marcello. Dominick said that defeating Marcello from the blue team would be like taking out "…one of their legs."
Justin Lawrence delivered the finishing blows according to his coach's instructions. Assistant coach, Eric Delfierro wanted to keep the fight standing to take Marcello out of his black belt BJJ realm. "Keep moving, don't stand still…left hook knock out."
Urijah noticed and reminded Marcello (loudly and often) to keep his chin down and to watch for the left hook, but old habits die hard. To my way of thinking, Urijah highlighted the error by shouting "Chin down!" over and over. It might have worked out better if Urijah would have yelled out, "Takedown!"
During the match, Marcello slipped into "hands down, chin up" and ended up knocked out (with a left) on the mat.
Chris Tickle and pranks
Chris Tickle from Dominick's team got a lot of attention—taking too long to get busy training and finding reasons to get out of training, plus wearing a gas mask (the guys joked that it's good because then he can't talk) and pulling the first prank—moving Urijah's parking sign to a stack of tires inside the gym. But when people poke fun at him, Tickle gets angry.
The better prank was adding tape to Dominick's oversized photo making him look like a vampire and adding string with a triangle to make a thong covering Urijah's signature chin cleft. That was funny.
Tickle is already looking like the problem child for Dominick and his coaching staff. Three months is a long time to manage a high maintenance fighter. Dominick addressed some issues with Tickle, but only time will tell. Either Tickle will calm down or the pressure in the house will make him the first to crack.
The Ultimate Fighter Brazil details
For those who are interested, you can now get a double dose of "TUF" every week.
After watching the preview for "The Ultimate Fighter Brazil" which will air online, starting Sunday night 9 pm PT and at midnight on the east coast, I am very interested to see who emerges as the better coach—either Vitor Belfort or Wanderlei Silva—and whose team delivers the most wins. video
As demonstrated on TUF 15, it's not just pick two guys to fight and see who wins. Gamesmanship and strategy play a key role in determining who gains the upper hand.
"Seven years after its debut in the United States, in 2005, the first international edition of the famed reality TV show The Ultimate Fighter® begins in Brazil. The Ultimate Fighter - Brasil® features UFC legends Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort as the coaches of the first season, which features both the featherweight (145 lbs) and middleweight (185 lbs) divisions. The highly anticipated Premiere is scheduled to air Sunday night, March 25, on Rede Globo in Brazil after the Big Brother finale. All 13 episodes will first air on Rede Globo in Brazil Sunday nights and then on TUF.tv in the United States at midnight ET / 9:00 p.m. PT." source
Source: The Ultimate Fighter season 15
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Cheryl Ragsdale started out boxing and has added kicks and BJJ so she can practice MMA. She trains with Keith Florian and UFC Fighter Kenny Florian at Florian Martial Arts - follow @thatgirlisfunny
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