Since the season premiere was nothing more than 16 live fights across 2.5 hours...this week's episode was always going to be our first real taste of how TUF Live would be. In my opinion, the result was great.
I loved the countdown clock to the live fight in the corner...that alone just made the perspective of the show better. It's about the fight, getting the audience up to speed on who was fighting and how they'd prepare and etc. No more episodes focused entirely around the antics.
On top of that, having a set amount of time for the fight at the end helps the shows timing. In the olden days, depending on when the fight started in the show, you could tell if it was going to go to a potentially boring 3 round decision or if it was going to end in the first round. That ruined some of the appeal of it. It also meant that they would have to fill out time because they knew the fight was short.
But now it seems like the last 15 or so minutes of the show is reserved for the fight...so they have to be careful about how they manage their time...it's all business.
This also keeps a more even focus on the fighters. The guys that get airtime are the ones that have interesting things to say or have interesting things that happen to them. There is no retroactive structuring of storylines and 'characters' or too much focus going on a guy that they know if making it to the finals.
TUF is just a much more legitimate piece of programmig now, and I like it.
On another note...I'd like to touch on the altercation Faber started with Cruz about something Cruz said in some interview or something. To me, it felt extremely forced on Faber's part. Like he was trying to just 'say something for the show' and make some sense of rivalry. It was a bit of a tool move on Faber's part if you ask me, and I'm glad Cruz took the higher road with his 'this is about the fighters, it's not about us' mindset.
As far as the fight: James Vick of team Cruz vs Daron Cruickshank of team Faber - Cruickshank seemed to be somewhat cocky, and for a while, it looked to be for good reason. He was getting the better of Vick on the feet, but shot for a takedown and Vick turned an initial attempt at a kick into a knee that left Cruickshank unconcscious. Fantastic KO and a nice way to start off the 'REAL' season.
Final Note: It was very awesome of Dana White to allow Chiesa a day to be with his family before returning to the house.