The TUFest Live Report: episode 1


Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber are slated to put a bow on their trilogy at UFC  148 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 7 but before we get there they will be opposing coaches on the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter: Live.

The Ultimate Fighter series ran for fourteen seasons on Spike TV producing some of the biggest names in the industry and providing a series of unforgettable fights but this time around it all happens live in front of our eyes.

Tonight the series begins with 32 competitors but only 16 will move into the house and perfect their craft under the two top-ranked bantamweights on the planet.

Here at we will give you fight-by-fight coverage and preview all 32 combatants.

 Joe Proctor vs. Jordan Rinaldi

Proctor is a Team Aggression product training alongside Joe Lauzon with a three-bout win streak behind him with an accomplished submission game and quality hands throwing punches in bunches to damage his opponents.

Most consider Rinaldi to be the best prospect coming out of North Carolina, an accomplished wrestler with jiu-jitsu skills to match he is looking to round out his game since his 2010 professional debut he has won five-straight victories including a win over season 14 finalist Dennis Bermudez.

Rinaldi however wasn’t enough for Proctor who was able to come forward as the more aggressive fighter landing the superior strikes before he was able to secure a standing guillotine choke on Rinaldi to put him away at 2:02.

Cristiano Marcello vs. Jared Carlsten

Marcello is more famous for his times as the jiu-jitsu coach for the infamous Chute Boxe camp during their heyday or his backstage altercation with Charles “Krazyhorse” Bennett but the Curitiba, Brazil native wants to carve out a name for himself in the octagon too – Marcello has been fighting since 1998 in Vale Tudo and holds nine submission victories.

Carlsten is also an accomplished submission grappler, training under Eddie Bravo at 10th planet jiu-jitsu he holds a reputation for having a brilliant rubber guard — The undersized Californian native is a natural featherweight with a perfect 3-0 record.

Marcello wasted to time to get it to the mat, got the takedown less than a minute into the fight moving  right into mount — The Chute Boxe coach dropped ground and pound, Carlsten gives up his back and Marcello chokes him out.

Erin Beach vs. Sam Sicilia

Beach is a wild card in this series, training out of Alliance MMA, the same gym where bantamweight kingpin Dominick Cruz sharpens his tools he has worked as an amateur boxer before making the jump to mixed martial arts sporting a 3-1 record most recently submitting Roscoe Jackson on the Bellator 55 preliminary card.

Sicilia is a heavy-handed unbeaten combatant who trains alongside Strikeforce lightweight Lyle Beerbohm — He doesn’t like to waste time having left the first round once since his MMA debut with his last three wins coming in less than a minute.

Not much to speak of in this one, Sicilia moved forward and caught Beach on the button within eight seconds to move join the super-sixteen in the house.

 Austin Lyons vs. Chris Tickle

Nobody wants to start their career as a loser, that’s what Lyons did but instead of dwelling on the past he moved forward from his ten-second TKO loss to win nine-straight victories since December of 2009, the submission artist is a dark horse walking into the series and will be a big test moving up in competition.

Tickle on paper with a 7-4 record could be easily looked over but has proven to be an accomplished boxer under Marc Fiore with four-straight victories, to become a player in the MMA world he needs to work on his submission defense.

Luckly for Tickle this one didn’t even make it to the mat, the Illinois native charged forward throwing combinations before connecting with a right-hand that put Lyons lights out in 24 seconds.

Brendan Weafer vs. Andy Ogle

Weafer is considered a longshot to go all the way this season, the muay-thai and taekwondo stylist has enters the series on a two-bout win streak and has an issue of getting overly aggressive and paying for it.

Young, British prospect Ogle began fighting as an amateur in 2008 before turning pro the following year and walks into the cage on a seven-bout win streak with his last win over Shay Walsh in his home land – Ogle has a pretty well-rounded skill set but will have to put it all together to hang in this competition.

The first fight to need the judges score cards came with Ogle scoring the victory — The Brit scored a takedown within seconds looking to ground-and-pound out his foe but Weafer was threatening constantly with submissions but wasn’t enough to get him the win on the judges cards.

Cody Pfister vs. Vinc Pichel

Texas based fighter Pfister is a veteran of Shark Fights and King of The Cage and has turned his carrer around after a three-bout losing streak he has returned to get two-straight.

Pichel trains under legendary referee John McCarthy, since turning pro after eleven-bouts as an amateur he has been unbeaten with six-straight victories, most recently knocking out David Gardner whose famous for his ‘Hello Japan’ gesture before being submitted by submission magician Shinya Aoki.

Pfister took it to the floor right away but the active guard of Pichel bothered him  right away with the McCarthy product getting top-position soon enough, after a bit of scrambling back-and-forth Pfister ate a deadly elbow to the face that busted him open.

From there it was all she wrote with Pichel getting his back and sinking in a rear-naked-choke to advance into the house and remain unbeaten.

Mark Glover vs. John Cofer

Cofer trains alongside former WEC bantmaweight champ Brian Bowles who both coaches hold a victory over — The 27-year-old Georgian is on a four-fight win streak with his last victory last October against Marius Cujba.

Glover has excited British MMA enthusiasts for quite a while, the submission grappler has fought in his native land his entire career and makes his move to North America for this gigantic opportunity – Glover enters the cage riding a three-fight win streak with five submission wins against his name.

Cofer took control of the action early landing a series of knees and punches in the clinch before taking him down on two occasions and seeking a guillotine, he wasn’t able to put him away but he was able to advance to the house with all three judges giving him the round.

Chase Hackett vs. Chris Saunders

Hackett enters the series with a 4-1 record with his first victory coming over fellow contestant Drew Dober in 2009 – The 6-foot-1 lightweight has a lone defeat to unbeaten Tachi Palace Fights prospect Romulo Melo with three rear-naked-choke victories under his belt.

The Canadian-born Saunders has relocated his life to California to account for his mixed martial arts career and has proven to be a quality prospect but recently suffered  his first setback in nine-bouts losing to WEC veteran Chris Horodecki – At 25-years-of-age he has a lot to learn but could be a person to watch on this series.

Hackett wanted this one on the floor immediately and got it there but his eagerness almost got him caught in a guillotine, the remainder of the round was a stale mate with Hackett almost getting caught again in the choke giving Saunders the round but neither impressed anyone with that showing.

James Vick vs. Dakota Cochrane 

Vick comes into the cage with only eight-months as a professional behind him and four-straight victories to his credit – The 25-year-old lightweight won his first two bouts by submission and is rounding out the remainder of his skill set.

Cochrane has got a lot of media attention for his times in the adult film industry but don’t get it twisted, he is a skilled fighter having tussled with the likes of Jamie Varner and TJ O’Brien – The Premier Combat Center product comes in off a loss to Ramino Blackmon.

Both men traded takedowns for the fight with neither getting the opportunity to do much on the floor — Vick was able to shut down the strking game of his opponent and did enough on the floor to get past Cochrane with a split decision with both coaches feeling we needed a deciding round.

Johnavan Vistante vs. Michael Chiesta

Vistante comes in with little known about him, the Hawaiian native has a 3-1 record getting this opportunity after ten-months as a professional — Vistante has never been the distance putting away all his opponents within the time limit.

Chiesta walks into the cage with seven-straight victories in his pro career – The young, blossoming prospect will be taking a huge step up in competition but has been prepping for this debut with Lyle Beerbohm.

Chiesa scores fast takedown, pushes Vistante to the cage and takes his back — After working for a minute he finally gets the his arm in there and the submission.

Mike Rio vs. Ali Maclean

Rio enters the series with an all-or-nothing mindset, at 30-years-old he has come to the game a little late and needs to maximize this opportunity – The Florida native holds eight career victories with a lone defeat to Ultimate Fighter champion Efrain Escudero last July.

Maclean fights out of Belfast, Northern Ireland having spent most of his career on the European circuit – Over the past two-years he has been unbeaten after a patchy win-loss record for his first ten bouts. He has been fighting in England for the past two-years where he has won five-straight fights with four coming by way of north-south choke.

Rio opened up trading shots with the Irish-born slugger before opting to take it to the floor where he had the edge spending his time in mount before Maclean gave up his back and was submitted with a rear-naked-choke.

Justin Lawrence vs. James Krause

Lawrence is someone that might be looked over this series, at 21-years-of-age and only three fights under his belt it would be easy to dismiss his chances but the Missouri native brings a perfect record to the cage coming off an opening frame armbar win over MMA debutant Jason Webb.

Krause walks into the series with a wealth of experience having fought under the Zuffa umbrella in the WEC as well as Bellator – The 25-year-old has fought on a bigger stage  than most in this series so octagon jitters shouldn’t be an issue as he walks in with three-straight finishes behind him and confidence at an all-time high.

Lawrence impressed more than anyone so far in the series not allowing Krause to get inside with a series of kicks and once he got inside on his more experienced foe he did damage and put him away early.

Daron Cruickshank vs. Drew Dober

Cruikshank has been a prospect worth watching for quite some time, the 26-year-old enters the series on a four-bout win streak and a reputation for throwing heavy-hands with six of his ten professional victories coming by knockout in the opening stanza but also has a wrestling background.

Dober has been working on his mixed martial arts game since his late teens sporting a 12-0 record as an amateur before moving on to being a professional – The accomplished striker has been working to round-out his game but his bread-and-butter are still his hands and knees, he enters the cage having won four of his last five fights.

Dober showed that he is tough as nails and can take a beating but that doesn’t win fights — Cruickshank showed off his striking with a series of punches, kicks and knees that punished Dober before tying him up with a clinch and doing work there.

Jeff Smith vs. Jeremy Larsen

Smith is a 24-year-old Pennsylvanian training out of Blackman MMA he is on a nine-bout win streak following his loss in his MMA debut — Smith is known for his submission chops with seven victories coming by tap out.

Larsen trains with Arizona Combat Sports and has been a pro since 2006 with a well-rounded game he will come prepared with a lot of experience and fought two UFC vets in Edgar Garcia and Efrain Escudero.

Larsen didn’t start off the best getting cut before placed on his back but he was able to get back up before scoring a takedown of his own — Smith almost caught him with a kneebar but Larsen survived to get top position to finish strong and get the victory in a competitive outing.

Jon Tuck vs. Al Iaquinta:

Tuck is another skilled fighter coming out of The Arena in San Diego, California with a reputation as a knockout puncher — With only one-round fights tonight it plays in his favor with all his fights finishing in the first with three submissions and three knockouts.

Iaquinta has long been considered a hot prospect, training under former UFC welterweight champ Matt Serra with Constantinos Philippou, Pete Sell and Chris Weidman he has fought his entire career in New Jersey based feeder organization Ring of Combat with his first professional loss coming in his last fight to two-time UFC veteran Pat Audinwood.

Tuck secured a triangle choke early in the fight but he wasn’t able to get it in with Iaquinta remaining calm and getting out of it before this one went to the feet — Iaquinta was landing the better strikes and Tuck broke his toe with it pointing straight up but he didn’t slow and even continued kicking.

This fight was incredibly close with both men having good offence and a second frame would be welcomed but Tuck got the nod by the judges

Arkbarh Arreola vs. Myles Jury

Arreola has been one of the better prospects to come out of Mexico in quite some time with 25-bouts under his belt he brings an experience edge on everyone in the competition – Arreola has struggled when he faced higher-up competition losing to Brent Weedman, Ronys Torres & Mac Danzig which is something that will have to change if he plans to stick around in the UFC.

Jury was originally cast as a participant on the thirteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter but a knee injury forced him to sit on the sideline instead of chasing the season championship that he was a favorite to win – Fighting out of The Arena with the likes of KJ Noons and Roger Huerta he has never left the first round five submissions and four knockouts on his unblemished record.

Jury is the superior wrestler and that was the clear hole in the game of Akbhar with the unbeaten prospect taking him down repeatedly and doing work on the floor for most of the round.

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