The UFC’s first live season of The Ultimate Fighter kicked off with 16 fights during a two-and-a-half hour broadcast on FX. Thirty-two lightweight fighters battled for a chance to enter the house and spend the next 13 weeks competing for a six-figure contract with the promotion.

A new twist was implemented this season, as the elimination bouts were limited to a single, five-minute round. However, as an added incentive, all bouts that were finished were rewarded with a $5000 bonus.

The new season started off with a bang, as the first four fights were finished. Joe Proctor kicked off the action with a slick guillotine finish of Jordan Rinaldi. Cristiano Marcello followed suit with a dominant performance against Jared Carlsten. Then came the knockouts, as Sam Sicilia needed just one punch to dispatch of Erin Beach and Chris Tickle followed that by destroying Austin Lyons in less than a minute.

In the night’s fifth bout, Andy Ogle took home the first decision win by defeating Brendan Weafer.

Vinc Pichel put his mark on the show by first opening a large cut on Cody Pfister with an elbow, and then finished him off by rear-naked choke.

The show’s new elimination format played an important factor in the next three bouts, as John Cofer, Chris Saunders and James Vick claimed narrow wins over Mark Glover, Chase Hackett and Dakota Cochrane, respectively.

Back-to-back rear-naked choke wins by Michael Chiesa and Mike Rio over Johnavan Vistante and Ali Maclean, respectively, proved that the fighters deserve to be in the house.

Justin Lawrence scored one of the night’s biggest upsets, finishing off WEC and Bellator veteran James Krause with a barrage of strikes.

Three more fights would see the judges’ scorecards, as Daron Cruickshank, Jeremy Larsen and Al Iaquinta were able to outlast Drew Dober, Jeff Smith and Jon Tuck, respectively. Tuck suffered a badly-broken toe on his right foot, but continued to fight through the injury.

In the final bout of the elimination round, season 13 competitor Myles Jury showed why he was brought back for a second chance by dominating Akbarh Arreloa.

Next week, the fighters will move into the house and coaches Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber will pick their teams.

FULL RESULTS

Joe Proctor def. Jordan Rinaldi by submission (guillotine choke). Round 1, 2:08
Cristiano Marcello def. Jared Carlsten by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 2:43
Sam Sicilia def. Erin Beach by KO (punch). Round 1, 0:08
Chris Tickle def. Austin Lyons by KO (punch). Round 1, 0:24
Andy Ogle def. Brendan Weafer by unanimous decision (10-9 x3)
Vinc Pichel def. Cody Pfister by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 3:39
John Cofer def. Mark Glover by unanimous decision (10-9 x3)
Chris Saunders def. Chase Hackett by unanimous decision (10-9 x3)
James Vick def. Dakota Cochrane by split decision (10-9, 9-10, 10-9)
Michael Chiesa def. Johnavan Vistante by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 2:05
Mike Rio def. Ali Maclean by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 3:32
Justin Lawrence def. James Krause by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 1:25
Daron Cruickshank def. Drew Dober by unanimous decision (10-9 x3)
Jeremy Larsen def. Jeff Smith by unanimous decision (10-9 x3)
Al Iaquinta def. Jon Tuck by unanimous decision (10-9 x3)
Myles Jury def. Akbarh Arreloa by unanimous decision (10-9 x3)

Photo: Justin Lawrence (R) throws a kick (Sherdog)