Tonight on FX The Ultimate Fighter will make its second appearance on the Fox owned network. The coaches Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber will be selecting their teams and then setting the first fight for the season. The field of 32 was wheedled down to sixteen and this week will get to see the dynamic in the house and in the gym for the first time. It is the first glimpse MMA fans will get into the format that will be the routine for the rest of the season.
Most fans are not sure what to expect as there is only a few days for the crews to edit together the episode. There have been some signs that this season of TUF will be more focused on the coaches and training and less focused on drama in the house.
The show starts at 10:00 PM ET/9:00 PM CT and we'll be updating the teams and live blogging the first fight right here at Bloody Elbow!
Show opened with shots of fighters warming up for their fight, really driving home the new Live format, a cool way to kick off the show. After that pretty standard "Last Time on TUF" highlights and a basic breakdown of how the show works.
First work out sessions and the focus is clearly on the coaches, lots of camera time and fighter reaction to their coaches. Faber and Cruz started talking almost immediately at the fight announcement, Faber was unhappy that Cruz mentioned Faber's parents in an interview.
Mike Chiesa received news about the passing of his father, as reported earlier this week. The producers are highlighting the emotion of the news and now Chiesa is attempting to decide if he wants to remain on the show. Dana White informs Chiesa that he can go to the services and then return to the show.
So far things much more focused on training and the gym than what is taking place in the house. So far no practical jokes or extreme drunkenness, instead some Llyod Irvin jiu jitsu tips. Extremely impressed and happy with FX style, much more focus on the fighters as people and telling their stories. It is creating much more interest in the fight as I am beginning to care about both fighters.
Justin Lawrence, Sam Sicilia, Myles Jury, James Vick, Vincent Pichel, Mike Rio, Chris Tickle, Jeremy Larsen
Al Iaquinta, Cristiano Marcello, Daron Cruickshank, Mike Chiesa, Joe Proctor, John Cofer, Andy Ogle, Chris Saunders
Fight: James Vick vs Daron Cruickshank
Fighters feel each other's range, Cruickshank throws a few leg kicks, rushed forward and connects with right hand. Vick responds with leg kick. Cruickshank staying at range and seems to looking to leg lick and jump in and out. Vick is waiting for chance to counter, Vick catches Cruickshank on the way in with with a knee strike, Cruickshank is out cold.
James Vick def Daron Cruickshank by KO.
Overall this was a very impressive start the season. The editing and storytelling was excellent and showed a clear departure from the TUF frat house that became the norm on Spike TV. The fact that is lives an excitement.
Cruz selects Justin Lawrence for next week's fight and then lets Faber pick whoever he wants, putting the Cali Kid on the spot. Faber setts on BJJ ace Cristiano Marcello.