The third installment of The Ultimate Fighter: Live picked up with the after effects of last week’s fight selection. In a bizarre series of events, coach Dominick Cruz had briefly given control to Team Faber to select the opponent for Cruz’s top pick, Justin Lawrence. When no one stepped up, Cruz selected Brazilian Cristiano Marcello.

Team Cruz openly mocked Team Faber for failing to step up and Faber called Cruz’s tactics a “power move.”

Mike Chiesa commented, “If Urijah wanted me to fight, he would have chosen me. It’s his job to coach and for us to let him coach.”

After an emotional episode last week, the show returned to its usual chippy nature. The two coaches engaged in some playful banter, and Team Cruz’s Chris Tickle began to get under the skin of everyone, including his own team.

“He’s obnoxious,” declared Justin Lawrence, who was preparing for his fight. Tickle continued his antics, creating a war of words with Team Faber’s John Cofer. “I would love to have a fight with Tickle,” he stated.

Lawrence was shown working with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Wilson Reis. “I picked a challenge for Lawrence,” explained Cruz.

“I honestly believe I was born to fight,” a confident Lawrence stated.

His opponent, Cristiano Marcello, was shown working striking with former UFC competitor Justin Buchholz. “Don’t discount crazy,” Buchholz said regarding the game plan for the bout.

“I have excellent coaches here. They prepare my mind, my body and my soul for war,” explained the Brazilian. “This will be old school versus new school. I’ve trained the best fighters in the world and now it’s my turn.”

Justin Lawrence vs. Cristiano Marcello

Despite Marcello’s significant advantage in the grappling department, the Brazilian opted to keep the fight standing with the explosive Lawrence.

The opening round saw the two lightweights feel each other out. Neither fighter truly established a rhythm, as they exchanged numerous single strikes, mostly leg kicks.

Lawrence began the second round much more aggressively, taking the action to Marcello. After getting inside, Lawrence tossed Marcello to the mat, but wisely allowed him to stand. As the round continued, Lawrence found a home for his lead left hook. Lawrence backed Marcello against the cage and unleashed a fight-ending left hand, spelling the end of Marcello’s run on the show.

“It felt amazing. We worked that all week,” Lawrence explained in his post-fight interview.

Marcello showed respect for his young opponent, despite his disappointment, “I’m sad for sure. He’s a great kid with a bright future.”

Official Result: Justin Lawrence def. Cristiano Marcello by KO (punch). Pound 2, 3:16

With two wins in two fights, Team Cruz remained in control of the reality show. However, this week Cruz did not give Faber any input on next week’s fight match-up. The bantamweight champion selected his third pick Myles Jury to take on Team Faber’s first pick, Al Iaquinta.

Photo: Justin Lawrence (standing) walks away from knocking out Cristiano Marcello (Josh Hedges/Zuffa, LLC)

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