TUF Live Finale: The Real Winners and Losers from Ellenberger vs. Kampmann
With a new broadcast partner came a new format, and June 1 marked the culmination of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter: Live on FX.
The reality show’s champion was crowned, as lightweights Michael Chiesa and Al Iaquinta battled for a six-figure contract.
Also, welterweights Jake Ellenberger and Martin Kampmann postured for position in a crowded 170-pound title picture.
Let's take a look at the biggest winners and losers from The Ultimate Fighter: Live finale in Las Vegas.
LOSER: Kim Winslow
Another event at the Palms, another controversial gaffe by Kim Winslow.
The referee—a frequent lightning rod for debate—called off the opening fight between bantamweight Erik Perez and John Albert after Perez slapped on a late, first-round armbar.
Albert claimed he never tapped or submitted, and even Perez said he didn’t hear Albert concede, but Winslow claimed Albert verbally submitted and hence stopped the fight.
Winslow has been criticized in the past for similar errors in judgment inside the cage.
WINNER: Joe Proctor
Team Faber’s Joe Proctor bowed out in the quarterfinals of the reality show, but rebounded quickly in his Octagon debut.
Against Team Cruz product Jeremy Larsen, Proctor connected with a knee flush to Larsen’s chin that sent him crashing to the mat. Proctor followed up with a barrage of hammer fists and referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the bout.
Proctor, who trains with current UFC fighter Joe Lauzon in Boston, improved his record to 8-1 with the victory.
LOSER: Cristiano Marcello
World-class grappler Cristiano Marcello may have been the most disappointing fighter on the reality show.
The Brazilian entered the show with high praise, having served as the famed Chute Boxe academy jiu-jitsu coach. However, the holes in his striking and wrestling game were exposed during his time in Las Vegas.
After being finished by Justin Lawrence in the round of 16, Marcello was unable to take Sam Sicilia to the mat at the finale. As a result, Marcello was brutally finished in the second round due to strikes.
WINNER: Myles Jury
After coming up short on the reality show, Team Cruz’s Myles Jury kept his undefeated professional record intact with another first-round finish.
Jury was taken down by opponent Chris Saunders after a flying knee attempt, but managed to secure a deep guillotine choke and force Saunders to tap.
With the win, Jury moves his record to 10-0.
LOSER: Chris Tickle
The season’s antagonist, Chris Tickle made few friends on the reality show with his loudmouth antics and frequent pranks.
The hard-hitting fighter’s wrestling inadequacy was exposed at the finale by opponent Daron Cruickshank.
Although Tickle showcased his power by dropping Cruickshank in the second round, he could not stay off his back en route to a unanimous decision loss.
WINNER: Justin Lawrence
Easily the most hyped fighter on the show, Lawrence was the first pick of Team Cruz.
However, Lawrence’s run on the show was derailed by finalist Michael Chiesa in the quarterfinals.
At the season finale, Lawrence appeared as if he may falter again against John Cofer. Cofer matched the former kickboxer strike for strike through two rounds and used his wrestling to keep it close.
However, in the opening seconds of the final round, Lawrence showed why he was surrounded with so much hype. A right head kick landed flush on Cofer's jaw and he crashed to the canvas unconscious.
Lawrence moved his record to 4-0 with the win.
WINNER: Max Holloway
At just 20 years old, Max Holloway showed that he has a bright future in picking up his first Octagon win.
Using an onslaught of body shots coupled with strong takedown defense, Holloway overwhelmed his opponent, Pat Schilling.
Holloway hurt Schilling over and over with his attacks en route to a lopsided unanimous decision.
WINNER: Charles Oliveira
The featherweight division has a new contender in Brazilian Charles Oliveira.
Against former Ultimate Fighter winner Jonathan Brookins, “Do Bronx” scored repeatedly with his right hand and claimed the first round.
The second round saw him take the fight to the ground, escape a guillotine attempt from Brookins and then apply a fight-finishing choke of his own.
Oliveira is now 2-0 since dropping down to the 145-pound division.
LOSER: Al Iaquinta
Despite being a heavy favorite and claiming two of the three bonuses for knockout and fight of the season, Al Iaquinta came up short against Michael Chiesa.
Iaquinta was the first pick of Coach Urijah Faber and looked to be in the driver’s seat to take the reality show title heading into the finale.
The New York native started fast, backing Chiesa up against the cage, but was taken down and choked unconscious.
Although he’ll get another shot in the promotion, Iaquinta’s dream of becoming The Ultimate Fighter fell short.
WINNER: Michael Chiesa
Regardless of whether Chiesa came out victorious against Al Iaquinta, he was a winner. After losing his father to leukemia following his fight to get into the house, Chiesa persevered and claimed the reality show’s coveted title.
Against his Team Faber teammate Iaquinta, Chiesa weathered an early barrage, scored with a takedown, then choked his opponent unconscious.
The Washington fighter was considered the underdog every time he entered the cage on the show, but always found a way to come out on top. Along the way, he took out both teams' first picks.
With the storybook ending complete, Chiesa joins the illustrious group as an Ultimate Fighter.
LOSER: Jake Ellenberger
Welterweight Jake Ellenberger saw his title hopes derailed by Martin Kampmann in the night’s main event.
The Nebraskan entered the fight on a six-fight winning streak and it looked as if he would run that to seven as he connected with a lead left hook in the opening minute that sent Kampmann crashing to the mat. However, Ellenberger could not finish the fight.
In the second round, Ellenberger bloodied Kampmann badly, but was wobbled by a right hand and then knocked out by a series of knees.
Ellenberger was visibly disappointed with the stoppage and result, but he complimented his opponent’s performance.
In the crowded 170-pound division, Ellenberger will fall significantly down the ladder with the likes of Kampmann, Johny Hendricks and Carlos Condit all ahead of him in line to challenge champion Georges St-Pierre.
WINNER: Martin Kampmann
Danish striker Martin Kampmann is suddenly the comeback kid of the UFC.
After a thrilling third-round submission win in his last bout, the Xtreme Couture product survived yet again to finish off Jake Ellenberger in the second round.
Kampmann was rocked in the opening frame and bloodied badly in the second, but managed to find a home for a counter right hand.
With his opponent wobbled, Kampmann delivered three consecutive knees that sent Ellenberger falling to the mat, and the referee halted the bout.
The win moves Kampmann into the title picture. His next opponent is expected to be Johny Hendricks in a title-eliminator later this year.