The Ultimate Fighter 15 debuts on FX tonight, introducing a new, live format to the long-running reality series.
The thirty-two initial fighters will face off tonight for their chance to make it onto the show and chase the six-figure UFC contract dangling in front of them. FightLine will be back each Friday night with coverage of the new episodes, so make sure not to miss that — or we’ll find you.
The Ultimate Fighter 15 begins in the same TUF gym as past seasons, with Dana White telling the new cast of fighters that they’ll all be fighting live this season — a revelation which startles a few of the fighters.
Another startling revelation is that the fights to get into the house will only last for one round, upping the intensity. As with last season, fans will vote for the best submission, knockout and fight of the season, with the winners taking home $25,000.
Any fighters who finish their fights tonight will be awarded an additional $5,000.
Enough chit-chat, onto the fights.
Joe Proctor vs. Jordan Rinaldi
Round 1: Rinaldi gets a nice left in on an advancing Proctor to score the first effective strike. It’s fairly evenly matched on the feet so far, with neither man having attempted the takedown. Proctor glances a head kick. Rinaldi looks to be slightly more comfortable on his feet, but Proctor’s starting to get off. Proctor shoots and Rinaldi avoids. Proctor catches a kick and deposits Rinaldi on the mat, where he slaps on a guillotine. Rinaldi taps.
Joe Proctor defeated Steve Rinaldi via submission (guillotine) in 2:08 to advance
Cristiano Marcello vs. Jared Carlsten
Round 1: Marcello winging heavy shots, both men telegraphing their shots some. They clinch up, with Carlsten getting in some nice knees before Marcello presses him into the cage and takes him down with a body lock. Marcello moves into mount immediately. Carlsten squirming, but unable to shake Marcello, Marcello getting in some nice ground and pound. Carlsten rolls and gives up his back, Marcello stays on him like glue and sinks the rear naked choke, forcing the tap.
Cristian Marcello defeated Jared Carlsten via submission (rear naked choke) in 2:43 to advance
Erin Beach vs. Sam Sicilia
Round 1: Sicilia drops Beach right off the bat with a crushing right hand. He follows him down, but it’s not necessary: referee Josh Rosenthal stops the fight to save a clearly hurt Beach.
Sam Sicilia defeated Erin Beach via KO (punch) in :08 to advance
Austin Lyons vs. Chris Tickle
Round 1: The fighters touch glove and Tickle comes out swinging. Lyons touches him a few times to keep him honest, but Tickle eventually cracks Lyons with a left hook and straight right that have him trying to take down referee Steve Mazzagatti.
Chris Tickle defeated Austin Lyons via KO (punches) in :24 to advance
Brendan Weafer vs. Andy Ogle
Round 1: They touch gloves and Ogle takes the center. After a brief exchange, they end up clinched against the fence. Ogle hits a nice inside trip, landing in Weafer’s guard. Ogle works Weafer to the cage. Weafer looking to set up the triangle; he’s doing well in breaking Ogle’s posture. Ogle getting in left hands where he can, but Weafer is stifling most of his offense. The fight stalemates on the wall, with Weafer using an incomplete triangle to control Ogle, but not doing much else. Ogle continues to pepper with left hands. Less than a minute to go and neither man has accounted exceptionally well for himself. Referee Josh Rosenthal separates them; Weafer goes for a kick and ends up getting sat down with a punch. Ogle goes for the guillotine and cranks until the bell.
Andy Ogle defeated Brendan Weafer via unanimous decision (10-9, 10-9, 10-9) to advance
Ogle jumps up and straddles Dana White as he reads the decision.
Vince Pichel vs. Cody Pfister
Round 1: Pfister gets wobbled right off the bat with a straight right, but he gets the fight to the mat and takes top position. Pichel throws his legs up, but Pfister shuts down whatever he was looking for. Pichel working a high guard, then threatens with the omoplata. Pfister reverses and tries for an omoplata of his own. A back and forth scramble ensues, with Pichel getting Pfister down and working from side control. Pfister gets to his feet, where Pichel tag him with a knee from the clinch. Pfister eats it and goes for the takedown again, getting it. Pichel getting to his feet, as Pfister tries to take his back. Pfister takes the back standing, but Pichel shakes him off and ends up on top. Pichel goes to work with ground and pound, landing an elbow that splits Pfister wide open. He lands a few more punches before taking Pfister’s back, sinking in the choke and forcing the tap.
Vince Pichel defeated Cody Pfister via submission (rear naked choke) in 3:39 to advance
Mark Glover vs. John Cofer
Round 1: Glover slapping kicks from the outside, using his superior reach. Cofer initiates the clinch and gets in a pair of knees before walking Glover to the cage. Cofer lands a decent punch before Glover breaks away. Cofer goes for the takedown and slams Glover to the mat. Glover tries hard to get to his feet, but Cofer picks him up and slams him right back down. Cofer traps one of Glover’s arms and works some ground and pound. Glover stands and eggs Cofer on after landing a knee. Glover lands a flying knee and Cofer clinches him, grating him against the fence again. Cofer lands a few weak punches, with Glover landing a few equally powerful knees. Cofer goes for the takedown and Glover drops for the guillotine. Less than a minute left. Glover lands another knee on the break. They exchange briefly before Cofer goes for and hits another takedown. Glover gets to his knee with ten seconds to go, but Cofer stays on him until the bell.
John Cofer defeated Mark Glover via unanimous decision (10-9, 10-9, 10-9) to advance
Chase Hackett vs. Chris Saunders
Round 1: Saunders with a leg kick to start. They both go for kicks at the same time, with Hackett knocking Saunders off balance with his. They scramble and Saunders drops for the guillotine; it looks tight, but Hackett is hanging in there. A tense minute passes before Saunders lets off. They trade hard rights and Hackett drops for the takedown, hitting it, but allowing Saunders to stand when he eagerly goes for mount. Saunders is exhausted from the guillotine, but almost gets Hackett down anyway. Hackett clinches Saunders and holds him against the cage. He lands a hard right, but Saunders comes back at him with several punches of his own which lands. Saunders is tired, but he’s the more aggressive. Hackett goes for the single leg and Saunders goes for the guillotine again. It’s tight again, but Saunders is too tired and he ends up in guard. He’s still the busier from his back though.
Chris Saunders defeated Chris Hackett via unanimous decision (10-9, 10-9, 10-9) to advance
James Vick vs. Dakota Cochrane
Round 1: They touch gloves and get after, the much taller Vick throwing a head kick that misses. Cochrane moves in behind a right and goes for the takedown. Vick uses his length and leverage to avoid the takedown and reverse Cochrane. Cochrane unrelenting, despite Vick’s tight defense, fighting hard for the takedown. Vick dumps Cochrane with a whizzer, but Cochrane pops back up. Vick looking to lock up a front choke. Cochrane defends and continues to drive desperately for the takedown. Vick threatens with the choke again. Vick forces the stand up and they end up on the wall. Both men trading takedown attempts and neither taking a clear edge. A minute and a half to go and Cochrane continues to drive for the takedown. Referee Josh Rosenthal breaks them and Cochrane charges in with a right hand. Cochrane with an inside leg kick and a pair of shots to the body. Cochrane chasing after Vick, he drops for the takedown again and gets it, despite Vick’s attempt at a choke. Cochrane ends the round on top.
James Vick defeated Dakota Cochrane via split decision (10-9, 9-10, 10-9) to advance
Johnavan Vistante vs. Michael Chiesa
Round 1: Chiesa hits a nice double leg right off the bat, then slams Vistante to the mat when he attempts to stand. Vistante active on his back, but Chiesa is all over him. Chiesa working to mount against the cage; he takes Vistante’s back with both hooks in. Chiesa showing very solid control on back mount, flattening out Vistante and peppering him with ground and pound to the head and body. Chiesa working for the rear naked — he gets it and forces the tap in short order.
Michael Chiesa defeated Johnavan Vistante via submission (rear naked choke) in 2:05 to advance
Mike Rio vs. Ali MacLean
Round 1: They touch gloves and set up in the center. Both men getting in their shots on the feet, but MacLean getting the better of it so far with crisp punches. MacLean lands a few solid punches, prompting Rio to shoot for the takedown. MacLean goes down easily and starts in defending. MacLean gets to his knees, but allows Rio to move around and take his back. MacLean stands, but opens himself up to being slammed and getting his back taken. MacLean bloody from ground and pound. Rio working for the rear naked choke with two minutes left. MacLean avoids it, but he gets mounted after doing so. MacLean tries to power to his feet and Rio drags him down with the rear naked, this time forcing the tap.
Mike Rio defeated Ali MacLean via submission (rear naked choke) in 3:32 to advance
James Krause vs. Justin Lawrence
Round 1: Lawrence flicking out some slick kicks that are catching Krause off guard. Lawrence showing nice, unorthodox skills on the feet. As soon as Krause ends up off balance, Lawrence hits a slick takedown and goes to work with hard and fast ground and pound. Lawrence is all over Krause with a fury, attacking him as he gets back to his feet with kicks, knees and punches. Lawrence drops Krause to the mat with a hard left hook after keeping the pressure on Krause against the cage. He gets in another few shots before the ref can separate them.
Justin Lawrence defeated James Krause via TKO (strikes) at 1:25 to advance
Daron Cruickshank vs. Drew Dober
Round 1: They touch gloves, with Cruickshank immediately establishing his range with nice kicks. Dober drops for the takedown and bulls Cruickshank into the fence. Cruickshank defending well; he comes after Dober like a man possessed after breaking away, lighting him up with hard punches, kicks and knees before promptly depositing him on the mat with a takedown. Cruickshank loses mount as Dober regains guard, but Cruickshank blasts him with a few elbows that sting. Three minutes left and Dober is still in there fighting, despite the beating that Cruickshank has laid on him. He goes for the takedown and Cruickhsank defends. Dober continues to work for it against the fence, but Cruickshank defends and goes after a takedown of his own on Dober. Cruickshanks works the single to get Dober down, but Dober works back to his feet fairly quickly. Dober still coming after Cruickshank, pressing him into the fence. Cruickshank gets hit low and they pause. He lands a head kick on the restart. Dober coming after Cruickshank, but Cruickshank holds his ground and hits the takedown. Dober gets to his feet and goes for the takedown himself, finally getting it. Cruickshank threatens with the guillotine and they rise to their feet before the bell.
Daron Cruickshank defeated Drew Dober via unanimous decision (10-9, 10-9, 10-9) to advance
Jeremy Larsen vs. Jeff Smith
Round 1: Smith with a hard body kick to start it off. Smith gets the takedown in short order. Larsen is bleeding from the hairline. Larsen stands, but Smith is still on him against the cage. Smith gets the takedown again, but Larsen pops right back up and goes for the takedown himself. Smith slaps on a guillotine to reverse. He takes side control before Larsen gets to his feet. Smith makes him pay with an uppercut. Larsen goes for the takedown off of a kick and gets it; Smith immediately goes for the armbar. Larsen avoids and threatens to take Smith’s back briefly. Smith recovers position and brilliantly reverses position. They get to their feet, with Smith landing a nice uppercut counter before getting taken down. Smith rolls for a leg lock, transitioning between the kneebar and heel hook. Larsen is in trouble, but he hangs on and spins out, taking side control. Larsen working knees to the body. Smith unable to extricate himself from the position, eating short elbows from Larsen. Larsen goes for mount, creating a scramble that ensues until the end.
Jeremy Larsen defeated Jeff Smith via unanimous decision (10-9, 10-9, 10-9) to advance
Jon Tuck vs. Al Iaquinta
Round 1: A quick glove touch and they’re after it. Iaquinta catches a body kick and dumps Tuck to the mat. Tuck working a high guard to stifle Iaquinta on top. Iaquinta threatens the slam and fights out of the armbar, but Tuck stays on him and takes his back standing. Tuck gets knocked off balance by a right as he backs up, but he pops to his feet and they settle into a tentative striking exhange. Iawuinta lands a nice right hook and senses weakness in his opponent, charging after him with kicks and punches. Iaquinta landing some mean inside leg kicks. It looks like Tuck might’ve broken his second right toe, but he’s still kicking with that leg. Iaquinta goes for the takedown and gets it, working Tuck against the cage. From this angle, it’s clear that Tuck’s toe is badly broken. Tuck rolls for a leg lock just before the bell.
Al Iaquinta defeated Jon Tuck via unanimous decision (10-9, 10-9, 10-9) to advance
Akbarh Arreola vs. Myles Jury
Round 1: They touch gloves and set up in the center. Arreola hits a nice cut kick that knocks Jury off balance, but Jury adjust quickly and goes for the shot. Arreola threatens with the guillotine. Jury working some nice shots to Arreola’s midsection. Jury controlling well from top position, landing some nice ground and pound. Arreola threatens with the armbar briefly, but Jury defends again. Referee Steve Mazzagatti stands them up. Jury gets caught by another kick before hitting the takedown. Arreola drowning under Jury’s smothering top control. Mazzagatti stands them up again. Arreola tries for the kick again and again gets taken down. A minute to go. Jury riding out the round in dominant position on top.
Myles Jury defeated Akbarh Arreola via unanimous decision (10-9, 10-9, 10-9)
So there you have your TUF 15 cast, currently unassigned to teams. Dana White congratulates the fighters who made it into the house for doing so, but warns them that the hard work is just beginning.
Here’s the list of fighters who made it past their first challenge: Joe Proctor, Cristiano Marcello, Sam Sicilia, Chris Tickle, Andy Ogle, Vince Pichel, John Cofer, Chris Saunders, James Vick, Michael Chiesa, Mike Rio, Justin Lawrence, Daron Cruickshank, Jeremy Larsen, Al Iaquinta, Myles Jury