TUF Live: Team Cruz vs. Team Faber Poster by Anton Tabuena
It may not have been the barn-burner some expected, but in the end, Team Cruz #1 pick Justin Lawrence did manage to defeat Team Faber jiu jitsu expert Cristiano Marcello. Lawrence took home a $5,000 bonus for ending the fight via KO in round 2.
During the training, it looked like Team Faber was pushing Marcello to keep the fight standing, and that is exactly how it played out. Despite having the edge on the ground, Marcello played towards Lawrence's strengths, and it ultimately cost him.
After a somewhat slow first round, Lawrence began to take definitive control halfway through the second, repeatedly connecting on Marcello and hurting him. In the end, he was able to land a hard left hook to knock Marcello out (though the left hook KO landed more on the side of Lawrence's hand, so let's hope he did not injure that hand at all). The difference maker in the fight seemed to be Marcello's problematic striking defense. Despite Urijah Faber's repeated admonishments to keep his chin down, Marcello kept lifting his head on both his punches and when being punched. With that chin up, it was only a matter of time before Lawrence connected and put him out.
Perhaps not the whirlwind performance from Lawrence that I expected, but still a solid showing that maintains his position as the show's early favorite.
Post-fight, coach Dominick Cruz chose next week's fight. Team Cruz's Myles Jury will face Team Faber #1 Al Iaquinta. Looks like Cruz is really taking the fight to Faber here, as if Jury wins, that will mean Faber's top 3 picks are all out in the first 3 weeks of competition.
Check back next week for a more in-depth look at this week's episode, plus a preview of Jury vs. Iaquinta.