Welcome to FightLine’s weekly recap of The Ultimate Fighter, which now has a new home on FX and revamped, partially-live format.
Tonight’s episode (Technically the second, but officially the first) has been described by UFC president Dana White as one of the best and most emotional in the season’s history. Coaches Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz will pick their teams tonight.
The episode opens with the fighters entering the house, choosing their beds and exploring the houses food/beverage stores.
Faber wins the coin toss and opts to choose the first fight, leaving the first fighter pick in Cruz’s hands.
Justin Lawrence, Sam Sicilia, Myles Jury, Mike Rio, James Vick, Vince Pichel, Chris Tickle, Jeremy Larsen
Al Iaquinta, Cristiano Marcello, Daron Cruickshank, Joe Proctor, Michael Chiesa, John Cofer, Andy Ogle, Chris Saunders
The gamesmanship begins immediately, with Cruz picking Chris Tickle, who’d made it clear he wanted on Team Faber. Faber apologizes to Tickle, who’s “very pissed” he got picked thirteenth, admitting that Cruz’s ploy worked.
Team Faber hits the mats first. Faber is looking to cultivate a winner’s mentality amongst the fighters by employing similar methods as his Team Alpha Male. Faber says he intends to match one of his best against a “good matchup” to get a guaranteed win.
It’s Team Cruz’s turn in the gym. Cruz wants to hang back and evaluate as guys like Phil Davis, Ross Pearson and his other coaches run the fighters through drills. Overall, Cruz likes what he sees and his team seems to gel with him, even the initially reluctant Tickle.
At the fight announcements, Faber calls out Cruz for comments he made in a UFC magazine in regards to his parents . They have a tense interaction, but end up uneasily settling things.
The first fight is announced by Faber and it’s James Vick vs. Daron Cruickshank.
Michael Chiesa gets pulled out of practice to take a phone call from his mother, who informs him that his father has passed away after a long struggle with AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia). Chiesa says his father made him promise not to leave the show should this happen and that they said their goodbyes, but Chiesa’s still not sure what he’s going to do.
Chiesa tells his good friend and training partner Sam Sicilia when he gets back to the house. They talk through the struggle of chasing his dream as opposed to going home to be with his family.
Chiesa meets with UFC president Dana White; he’ll be allowed to fly home for a day to be with his family and attend his father’s funeral. Then, he’ll come back to the house and go to it.
James Vick: “I grew up really poor and, you know, when you grow up poor, you grow up fast, you grow up hard and you grow up serious. This is my life, I take this serious. There’s nothing else I want to do in life but be a world champion fighter.”
Vick gets some one-on-one time with renowned submissions/MMA coach Lloyd Irvin before his fight; he thinks the choke he learned from Irvin could see him to victory.
Daron Cruickshank: “Some people are born a fighter, some people are raised a fighter. I would say I’m both.”
Chiesa get back to the house; it turns out his father essentially hung on long enough to watch his son fight his way onto the house before passing away. Chiesa is keeping things in perspective and vows to win the show.
The weigh-ins. Vick tips the scale at 154 and Cruickshank comes in at 155.5.
James Vick vs. Daron Cruickshank
Round 1: They touch gloves and circle in the center. Cruickshank trying to gauge Vick’s distance. He connects with a side kick. Cruickshank lands with a lead right uppercut. Vick comes back with a jab. Vick starts pressuring, but Cruickshank keeps him back with a side kick and front kick. Cruickshank countering Vick’s considerable reach with kicks and good movement in and out. Cruickshank with a hard switch body kick and a mean wheel kick to the gut. Cruickshank goes for a takedown when Vick hammers him with a mean knee that knocks him out cold. That’s all she wrote.
James Vick defeated Daron Cruickshank via KO (knee) at 2:16 of round 1
Vick admits that he was throwing a high kick, per Team Cruz’s advice, but landed with the knee. Cruickshank says he’s committed to helping his team prepare for the rest of the season.
Jon Anik and Dana White discuss the fight, with White saying that Faber made a mistake underestimating Vick. White joins the coaches for the next fight pick, which is up to Dominick Cruz. He picks Justin Lawrence and then allows Faber to pick his own man, but no one answers when Faber asks who’s ready to scrap and he gives control back to Cruz. Cruz chooses Cristiano Marcello and we have next week’s fight.
That’s it, now get outta here.