The third episode of TUF: Live aired last night on FX with Justin Lawrence and Cristiano Marcello squaring off in the fight at the end of the show.
During the footage of Marcello preparing for the fight in the last week we learned that despite his BJJ background he was intending to strike with Lawrence, but that proved to be a flawed gameplan.
From the opening bell Marcello looked tense and was hesitant to engage, while his opponent seemed more comfortable and landed the cleaner shots in a relatively uneventful opening round.
Onto round two and as the minutes ticked on Marcello appeared to sense that the fight was slipping away from him and finally started to press forward with some urgency and intensity.
That only appeared to play into Lawrence’s hands though as his superior striking really began to pay dividends. He started to land crips shots, and then claimed a knockdown as the left hook which coach Urijah Faber had warned Marcello to look out for connected with the Brazilian’s jaw during a three-strike combo.
Marcello got back to his feet, but had lost the spring in his step and with his hands held a little too low and his chin in the air Lawrence was continuing to land punches to the head and really stamping his authority on this contest.
With less than two minutes of the round remaining Lawrence stalked Marcello and then suddenly leapt forward with a sweeping left hand which landed cleanly and knocked him out.
So, a good win for Dominick Cruz’s top pick, justifying his decision to put him in a potentially risky match-up with one of Faber’s better fighter’s, and puts him 2-0 in the show so far.
Then it was on to the picks for next week’s live fight and Cruz selected Myles Jury to go up against Al Iaquinta.
Earlier in the show we saw the first signs of real tension in the TUF house during a highlights package covering the past week, with Team Cruz’s Chris Tickle taking offense at a fairly minor joke at his expense from John Cofer leading to a little verbal sparring between the two, and potentially a grudge match-up later on down the line.