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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
TUF LIVE EPISODE 4
MARCH 30, 2012
LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS
-We kick off with a recap of last week's episode, which featured Team Cruz's Justin Lawrence knocking out Team Faber's Cristiano Marcello. Dana White heavily criticized Marcello's gameplan, while Team Cruz was ecstatic with the win. Cruz's pick of Myles Jury vs. Al Iaquinta for tonight pleased Faber, as his number one pick is in action.
-Love the theme song change to "Higher Ground."
-Cruz and Lawrence both celebrated the win. Marcello gave credit to Lawrence for getting the better of it last week. Marcello said he's going to turn his focus to helping the coaches train the other guys. He's a definite asset to the team with his history as a high level jiu jitsu coach. Faber is also staying positive despite the loss.
-Andy Ogle opines on the difficulty of going back to the house when two of his teammates have lost and they're in with the guys that have beaten them. Iaquinta was seen talking to Marcello, and he believes he's been through more than Jury into tonight's bout.
-Onto Team Cruz training, as he puts his guys through the ringer. His guys all talk him up as a tough coach but a very good one.
-Uh oh. Mike Rio twisted his knee after taking a spinning back fist from Myles Jury in sparring. He was getting checked out, and it appears he'll be good to keep going, but that looked painful.
-The guys are all trying to find different ways to cope with being holed up in this house for the show. No one's at the breaking point just yet, but it's definitely weighing heavily on some already after just a few weeks.
-Onto Team Faber's training session and a little background on Al Iaquinta. He would have been on season 12, but broke his hand shortly before the show was to start.
-I like that Iaquinta wanted to approach this fight a little differently than conventional wisdom. As he told Faber, "everyone's talking about his takedowns and drilling defense, defense, defense, I want to work on offense."
-Faber thinks Jury's going to be trying to work out a boring decision like his mentor, "The Decisionator" Dominick Cruz. Faber thinks very highly of Iaquinta, and thinks there's a star on their hands in him. Iaquinta thinks this is a fight that could have happened in the finals, and he thinks it'll be fun. That it should be.
-Time for a live look inside the locker rooms.
-Faber visits the house, says he likes heading to the house and being around the guys. He brings in a life coach for everyone. He's getting them focused in on the mental aspects of the game.
-Chris Tickle laughs it off and doesn't take part in the proceedings, and shrugs it off by saying he's never needed a life coach or a mentor or anything in his life, so why would he need one now?
-Rio doesn't want the other team to know about his knee injury, but he continued to work through it. While rolling, he seemed to tweak the knee again. Cruz talked about how it will come down to how much Rio wants to try to push through.
-Cruz's history with Jury from before the show may be a definite benefit this week, as he knows what Jury brings to the table, but we'll see if it's enough against Faber's top pick later tonight.
-Faber's team is sitting around discussing who they should put in if they get the pick, and Daron Cruickshank throws out Mike Rio's name. Andy Ogle wants that fight, so if Iaquinta wins tonight, that may be what we see get put together. Of course, they don't know Rio is hurting, but they're targeting him as an older fighter in the house and a guy that may not be 100% compared to them.
-Jury is immensely confident in himself here, and his teammates tell him they think he's got the fight in the bag this week.
-Onto weigh-ins. Jury weighs in at 154 lbs. Iaquinta at 155.
-These staged final moments before the fights are the most awkward pieces of the show. That's the only part of the new format I'm not a fan of right now, but maybe it'll get better as they get more comfortable with things.
FIGHT: MYLES JURY VS. AL IAQUINTA
ROUND ONE: Iaquinta came forward immediately and Jury tried to keep him back with a couple of leg kicks. Iaquinta got in close and they traded strikes. Jury went high with a kick but it was blocked. Iaquinta got in close and landed a hard right. He landed a body kick and avoided a takedown attempt. Iaquinta blocked the high kick from Jury again. Jury landed a leg kick. Then another that was nearly caught. Iaquinta connected on a right. He landed a couple on the cage. Jury landed a jab. Jury landed a leg kick. He went high again but it was blocked. Iaquinta walked him down and landed a right. Iaquinta landed a short, sloppy combo. Jury missed a flying knee and ate a counter jab. Iaquinta connected again. Jury blocked a kick. Jury again went high and grazed Iaquinta. Jury grabbed a body lock but couldn't hold onto it and Iaquinta broke free. Iaquinta landed a kick to punch combo. Another blocked kick. Jury landed a punch behind the head and Iaquinta stumbled for a second. Jury went for a takedown but Iaquinta rolled through and tried to stretch his legs out in a hold I don't know the name of. Jury got out and scored a late round takedown but Iaquinta popped up with Jury on his back. Jury ended the round with Iaquinta's back.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Iaquinta. Close round, but I think Iaquinta takes it for aggressiveness, striking output, working from an advantageous position longer on the ground. Jury got the late takedown, but it wasn't enough.
ROUND TWO: Iaquinta landed a punch, but Jury caught him low with a kick and he had a few moments to recover. Jury went to the high kick again but it was again blocked. Iaquinta tried to press in but didn't connect on the exchange. Another blocked kick lead to a counter from Iaquinta. He then landed a body kick. Iaquinta landed a right. Iaquinta continued to press. Jury caught him as he came in, but then he rocked Jury right back as Jury rushed in! Huge momentum changes there. Iaquinta went back to pressing the pace. He landed a left and Jury tried to circle away. Iaquinta got in another short combo. He landed a hard body kick. Jury continued to circle. Iaquinta landed three good punches on the cage and avoided the counter. Jury tried to get on his horse but Iaquinta stayed on him and landed a few strikes. He overshot a punch and Jury snuck behind him and took his back standing. Iaquinta held him off and got free. Jury immediately backed away and circled again. Iaquinta landed a leg kick and missed the follow up punch. Iaquinta landed a left. He went high but the kick was blocked. Jury landed a leg kick. Jury landed a good body punch and got in a knee. Iaquinta landed a body punch. Iaquinta landed a nice right to Jury's face. Jury shot in and scored a takedown with ten seconds left. Shouldn't be nearly enough to take the round despite Team Cruz celebrating.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Iaquinta. Jury rocked him once, but Iaquinta took the momentum right back and controlled the round despite the late takedown.
-After a ridiculously long break they announce we're going to a final round. Way too long to wait in between the second and third here.
ROUND THREE: Iaquinta rushes in with a big flurry and Jury's back on his bike. Iaquinta landed a good left. He blocked a high kick from Jury again. They traded leg kicks. Iaquinta landed a left and backed Jury up. Iaquinta landed a big left to Jury's jaw. Jury took it, though. Iaquinta landed a few jabs and got Jury to the cage for a nice right. Jury tried to jump in with a knee but Iaquinta was well out of range. Jury landed a leg kick. Iaquinta cracked him with another left. The jumping knee completely missed again. Iaquinta missed a superman punch. Iaquinta with another left. He landed a nice counter right after Jury missed a punch. He avoided the high kick again. Jury got in a leg kick. Iaquinta landed a right. He walked Jury down. Jury tried to shoot but was quickly shrugged off. Iaquinta landed a right. Jury got in a short combo. They traded strikes at the bell and this should be all Iaquinta.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Iaquinta. Jury didn't do much in that round at all and was on his bike around the cage again. No sense of urgency with the fight on the line.
WINNER: Iaquinta via split decision
-Iaquinta and Jury ignore Jon Anik's questions to them and just spout off things they've had on their mind this week. Dana didn't like the long wait between the second and third rounds and said they'd get that fixed.
-Now to the fight picks. Faber said he thinks they'll have a big advantage in this next matchup. It'll be Michael Chiesa vs. Jeremy Larsen next week. They get right in each other's face. This could be a good one next week.
Thanks for joining us tonight, we'll be back next week with episode five!
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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