Week four of The Ultimate Fighter: Live began with UFC President Dana White discussing last week’s episode. He was critical of Cristiano Marcello’s game plan and declared Justin Lawrence a contender for the finale.

Coach Dominick Cruz explained his strategy thus far, “I want to go straight for the jugular.”

Following his win, Lawrence proclaimed that he’s not satisfied with just one win and he won’t be satisfied until the UFC title is around his waist. Meanwhile, his opponent, Marcello pledged to help coach the rest of his team.

Team Faber’s No.1 pick, Al Iaquinta, reflected on his past experience with the reality show. The New York-based fighter was selected for season 12, but broke his hand just before taping began. Similarly, his opponent, Myles Jury, was forced out of season 13 after tearing his ACL.

The intensity of Team Cruz’s training proved to be a problem for Florida’s Mike Rio. After talking about the fact that the bantamweight champion did not have a 50 percent setting, Rio was shown getting injured during sparring with Jury.

“My knee will not stop me,” Rio declared. “I’m going forward and I’m not going to let this injury bother me.”

It should be noted that rumors of Rio’s knee injury circulated prior to the second episode of the season, but it’s unclear if the injury occurred in the elimination round or this past week.

Cruz responded, “If you grind yourself to the bitter end in practice, it makes the fight fun.”

Coach Faber affirmed his confidence in his top pick, Iaquinta, as he encouraged his fighter to push the pace during the bout.

“If you’re not fully exhausted after 10 minutes, you haven’t done a good job,” said Faber.

Jury spoke about the injury that kept him out of action for the past two years, explaining that it was the hardest thing he’s ever done. “All the pressure is on him (Iaquinta),” he stated.

“I don’t think Myles has ever been in a war,” Iaquinta stated leading up to the fight.

Myles Jury vs. Al Iaquinta

Despite Jury possessing a five-inch reach advantage, it was Iaquinta who marched forward to begin the fight. While Jury emulated his coach, Dominick Cruz, by using his footwork, Iaquinta look for his overhand right. As the opening round progressed, Jury unleashed a variety of kicks, but failed to connect with anything significant. Late in the round, Jury looked for a single-leg takedown and the pair tied up one another on the mat as the round closed.

The second frame began with Jury landing a low blow, but Iaquinta continued to be the aggressor following a brief stoppage. In another close round that closely resembled the opening stanza, Jury likely stole the round by securing a takedown with 10 seconds remaining.

Both corners expected a third, sudden-victory round, but a lengthy delay cast doubt. However, White entered the cage to announce that the judges had scored the first two rounds a draw.

In the final five minutes, Iaquinta maintained the pace that he had held to the first two rounds. He backed Jury against the fence repeatedly with combinations and opened a cut over Jury’s left eye.

Two of the three judges at cage side gave the nod to Team Faber’s Iaquinta.

Clearly excited with the result, Iaquinta declared in his post-fight interview that he would go back to school and finish college if the fight wins the fight of the year bonus.

“It is what it is. I’m just a fighter,” said a surprisingly upbeat Myles Jury in defeat.

Official Result: Al Iaquinta def. Myles Jury by split decision (10-9, 9-10, 10-9) in sudden-victory round.

Prior to the fight selection, host Jon Anik discussed the lengthy gap between the second and sudden-victory rounds. “We’ll get that fixed,” UFC President Dana White declared.

With the win, Team Faber gained control of the fight selection and opted to pit Mike Chiesa against Team Cruz’s Jeremy Larsen. Faber cited Cruz’s comment about Larsen struggling against strong wrestlers as the reason for the choice.

Photo: Al Iaquinta (Sherdog)

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