Episode 3 kicks off with a recap of last week’s stunning knockout victory by James Vick over Daron Cruickshank. The Vick KO not only gives Team Cruz an early lead in the competition, but also eliminates one of Team Faber’s strongest competitors.
In the locker room, Team Cruz is shown celebrating Vick’s victory and enjoying what happened when Cruz put Faber on the spot on live television. The team feels that morale on Team Faber has to be pretty low considering nobody stepped up to face Lawrence when the heat was on.
Faber counters by telling his team to not let what happened get into their heads, but admits that the move by Cruz was a good one.
“I guess it was gamesmanship and he was just basically saying he had confidence in his guy and that’s great,” Faber said.
Team Cruz’s Chris Tickle takes center stage at the fighter house, calling out Team Faber fighters for being scared to step up and fight Lawrence. He then dons a gas mask and wears it to the training center before proceeding to rip Faber’s parking sign off it’s post. Coach Cruz tells his team that he’s fine with the pranks, but to be prepared for retaliation.
Justin Lawrence exploded on the scene with his vicious thrashing of James Krause in his elimination bout. During his fighter profile, he explains to viewers that he has been blessed to be raised in a gym environment and that striking is the name of his game, although he has been wrestling since the third grade.
Coach Cruz admits that the match up with the much more experienced Marcello was deliberate, explaining that he wants to challenge his top pick early on in the competition.
“I honestly believe I was born to fight,” Lawrence said. “And I’m here, on the show, to shock the world.”
Once again, Chris Tickle becomes a bit of a distraction, getting practice started late for various reasons. Coach Cruz admits that he is a little perplexed by Tickle and admits that he’s going to be a challenge. Cruz confronts Tickle, demanding more focus and dedication to the competition. Tickle agrees — at least while he’s talking to Cruz. He then admits that he’s a bit “pissed off” that he’s been called out by a coach.
It’s now time for a profile on Cristiano Marcello, who outlines his Brazilian jiu-jitsu lineage, which traces back to the Gracie family.
While it would seem that Marcello’s gameplan would be based predominantly on his ground game, Marcello and the coaches believe that some old-school stand up might make the difference against Lawrence.
Team Faber finally finds the broken parking sign and decides to take a bit of revenge out on Team Cruz. Faber describes Cruz as a mix between Count Dracula and Eddie Munster, so they break out the duct tape and make the necessary changes to Cruz’s poster to complete the resemblance.
After the commercial break, the cameras go live, showing both Lawrence and Marcello warming up in their respective locker rooms. After a final training session, both guys hit the scales and make weight.
It’s time to go live!
Team Cruz – Justin Lawrence (3-0) VS. Team Faber – Cristiano Marcello 12-3)
Round 1 – Lawrence showing a lot of movement early. He lands an early overhand right, then steps back. Lawrence goes high with a kick but it’s blocked. Lots of feints by both guys. Marcello is coming forward cautiously, while Lawrence is starting to open up his striking. Very nice jab-kick combo from Lawrence scores. Marcello comes forward with a wild combination, but Lawrence gets on his wheels and circles out. I have to admit this is the first time I’ve seen cut off shorts in a fight before. Lawrence reaches and misses with a punch, but then drops Marcello with a kick. He’s back up and here we go again. Lawrence catches Marcello on the cage and unloads a short flurry. Marcello has yet to try to get the fight to the mat. He tries a kick but gets countered with a right hand. Lawrence is loosening up. Under a minute to go. Lawrence lands a left after missing with a right. Marcello scores with a couple of kicks. Both guys fire off spinning-back kicks just before the bell. Round 1 goes to Justin Lawrence.
Round 2 – Lawrence starts the second with kicks, then leans in with a straight left hand. He steps back then closes and connects with a right hand. Marcello lands an uppercut, then gets a bodylock, driving Lawrence into the cage. He can’t get the fight to the floor, as Lawrence steps out and away. Lawrence lands a double jab and another kick. He’s picking Marcello apart on the feet, while remaining patient. Marcello lands a winging right hand but it’s one and done for him. Marcello trips to the mat, but Lawrence stands over him, refusing to engage him on the ground. Back to the feet. Nice counter left hand by Marcello as Lawrence leans in. Marcello with a knee now. Lawrence rocks Marcello with a left hook that puts him on the canvas. He’s back up, but eats another big left hand, this time straight down the middle. Lawrence is swinging for the fences now. Wow! Big left hand. Marcello has a great chin. Cruz calls for Lawrence to feint and keep moving. Lawrence does, then steps in and uncorks a huge left hand that KO’s Marcello. This kid is for real.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Justin Lawrence def. Cristiano Marcello by KO (3:16) Rd. 2
Team Cruz moves to a perfect 2-0 with yet another big knockout. Cruz retains control and selects Myles Jury to take on Al Iaquinta from Team Faber who happens to be Faber’s No. 1 pick.