After last week’s elimination round saw 16 lightweights claim a spot on the remainder of the reality show, week two featured team selection and the first fight of the next round.

“It’s like a first date right now,” quipped Jeremy Larsen as the fighters moved into their new home for the next 12 weeks.

“This is great because I’m kind of homeless right now,” explained Michael Chiesa, who had a very emotional episode.

To divide the fighters into teams, UFC President Dana White flipped a coin and Urijah Faber was given the option of either the first pick or the first fight selection. He opted for the first fight, and his opposing coach, Dominick Cruz, selected Justin Lawrence with the first pick. They alternated until each team was filled with eight fighters.

The rosters:

Team Cruz

Justin Lawrence
Sam Sicilia
Myles Jury
Mike Rio
James Vick
Vinc Pichel
Chris Tickle
Jeremy Larsen

Team Faber

Al Iaquinta
Cristiano Marcello
Daron Cruickshank
Joe Proctor
Michael Chiesa
John Cofer
Andy Ogle
Chris Saunders

After the teams were selected, each began training. Faber’s team expressed that there was great team unity from the very beginning. Cruz opted for a hands off approach, allowing his fighters to work with each of his coaches while observing their talents.

Chris Tickle, despite showing frustration when picked by Cruz, quickly bonded with the bantamweight champion, as did a number of other fighters on his team.

Before the first fight was announced, the two coaches engaged in verbal sparring after Cruz allegedly made comments about Faber’s family. However, for the time being they settled their differences.

Faber selected the first fight, matching James Vick of Team Cruz against his team’s Daron Cruickshank.

During the next Team Faber training session, Michael Chiesa was pulled aside and learned that his father had passed away after a battle with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Although visibly upset, he revealed that his father made him promise he wouldn’t leave the show. “I owe all of this to him,” stated the fighter. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him.”

Chiesa leaned on his fellow castmate and training partner from back in Washington, Sam Sicilia, during his emotional state. White allowed Chiesa to fly home for his father’s services and then he returned to the show.

James Vick vs. Daron Cruickshank

The night’s live fight returned to the two, five-minute round format used on previous seasons of the reality show.

Vick towered over Cruickshank and possessed a six-inch reach advantage. Despite the size differential, it was Cruickshank that looked more comfortable as the fight began. He scored with a right uppercut that backed Vick against the fence. Showing off his tae kwon do background, Cruickshank attempted a number of spinning attacks and was stifling Vick’s attack. The tides turned when Cruickshank attempted a takedown and ran face first into Vick’s knee. The blow put Cruickshank out instantly and Vick lived to fight another day.

“It was meant to be a kick, but the knee connected,” Vick explained while speaking to host Jon Anik afterwards.

“I don’t remember too much of the fight,” said a dejected Cruickshank.

Official Result: James Vick def. Daron Cruickshank by KO (knee). Round 1, 2:16

With the win, Team Cruz gained control of the fight selection and immediately opted for No. 1 pick, Justin Lawrence. In a bit of an odd move, Cruz told Faber to pick any fighter he wanted. Faber, as well as White, were in shock at the move. Faber asked his team if anyone wanted to step up, but no one responded. Cruz then selected Brazilian submission ace Cristiano Marcello as Lawrence’s opponent for next week’s episode.