Week 6 of UFC's The Ultimate Fighter Live is upon us, and we are ready to determine our 5th quarter-finalist. This week's bout was made by Urijah Faber and pits his #4 pick Joe Proctor against Dominick Cruz #7 Chris Tickle. Last week's Michael Chiesa vs. Jeremy Larsen fight was a bit one-sided, but this week should get us back to a more competitive fight. Keep reading for an in-depth breakdown of each man, plus fight videos. As always, The Ultimate Fighter airs live on FX Friday night at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
So far in the show, Chris Tickle has received a fair amount of screen-time, but it's been due to his made for reality TV persona, not his fighting. We've seen him wear a gas mask, steal a parking sign, refuse to take part in Faber's workshop, and complain, complain, complain. Oh, and we saw him look like a buffoon during his staredown last week with a very prolonged "Come at me bro!" that just seemed silly. This week, the story writes itself - can he back up all his talk, or is he just a blowhard? Unfortunately for Proctor, I expect he'll take a back seat to Tickle this week.
CHRIS TICKLE (7-4)
5'9" | 29 years old | 69.5" reach
TUF record: def. Austin Lyons (TKO, R1)
Tickle hails from Illinois and has fought primarily in the Midwest circuit. He's listed as training out of Onestep Fitness, though it's been mentioned a few times on the show that he doesn't have a real formal camp he trains with. Tickle is currently on a 5 fight win streak that includes victories over fringe UFC veterans Brian Geraghty and Steve Berger. He had a rough start to his career, going 2-4 in his first 6, with all 4 loses coming via submission.
Though he didn't show it against Lyons, Tickle's base is wrestling. He has a nice Greco-Roman style throw that he favors to get the fight to the mat. But over the course of his career he has focused more on his striking. As we saw on the premiere, he's a hyper aggressive fighter who likes to come out swinging - the kind of person tailor made for UFC bonuses. He throws it all into his shots, winging every one with power. And he does have nice KO power - he's won 5 of 7 via KO. He also has a decent, and probably overlooked, submission game. His biggest problem is that aggression. He throws himself fully into his punches, his kicks, and his submission attempts, but can do so a bit too recklessly. Particularly on the ground, he can get into trouble by going for a submission without first securing position. But that aggression also can quickly overwhelm opponents and earn him the definitive victory.
Against Proctor, expect him to try and make it a slugfest and score the big KO.
JOE PROCTOR (7-1)
5'10" | 26 years old | 72" reach
TUF record: def. Jordan Rinaldi (Dec)
Joe Prcotor is a Massachusetts native training under UFC Lightweight Joe Lauzon. After starting his career as more of a boxer, Proctor has really emphasized his jiu jitsu game in recent years under Lauzon's tutelage. He has 4 submission wins and has been the distance 3 times. In his last fight, he won the Reality Fighting Lightweight title from Matt Bessette.
In terms of technique, Proctor has come a long way from the start of his career. Watching his early fights, you see a wild striker who windmilled punches with no regards for defense or planning. He's since tightened that game up quite a bit from a technical standpoint, and also crafted a clear purpose to his strikes. Like his mentor Lauzon, Proctor uses his strikes to create an opening, then seizes that opening to lock on a submission. This was on full display against Rinaldi, where Proctor used the smallest of openings to secure a perfect guillotine. That said, his striking still has some areas to work on. He's very focused on his hands at the expense of a more complete striking game. He also still has a tendency to get hit, and while he's demonstrated a good chin, it's been tested a bit too much for my liking.
For the Tickle fight, look for Proctor to be patient and try to lock on a submission for the win.
Prediction: Joe Proctor by submission, round 1
I might be overestimating the comparison, but this is the kind of fight Lauzon excels in, and I think Proctor will do the same. Tickle is over-aggressive and reckless, and Proctor will find that opening and close the show. I suspect this will be short, but action-packed.
Fight footage in the full entry.
Joe Proctor vs. Casey Miliken
An amateur fight from Proctor that shows how far he has come
Joe Proctor vs. Neil Strebig
Jan. 17, 2009
More early action from Proctor
Chris Tickle vs. Marshall Blevins
June 27, 2009
Tickle's 4th pro fight, with a fun pre-fight interview
Chris Tickle vs. Todd Murphey
August 28, 2009
An example of Tickle's over-eagerness costing him
Chris Tickle vs. Jimmy Donahue
November 19, 2010
Not the best quality footage, but a more recent big dominating win from Tickle and a huge KO finish