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‘TUF: Live’ winner Justin Lawrence

‘TUF: Live’ winner Justin Lawrence

March 26, 2012

Following Friday’s win on the third episode of FX’s “The Ultimate Fighter: Live,” Justin Lawrence planned to reward himself with a single-night feast of ribs and soda.

But after the win, the Team Cruz lightweight told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) his knockout of PRIDE vet Cristiano Marcello was far from perfect.

“I’m not satisfied, and I’m not happy,” he said immediately after his live fight. “It was a good win, but I kind of felt sloppy out there.”

“I’m ready to get back to the grind, back to the drawing board. I can’t celebrate too much. I’ll have one good night, eat some ribs and drink a couple sodas, but I’m back tomorrow and back to the drawing board.”

Lawrence, 13 years younger than the 34-year-old Marcello, became the show’s first draft pick after a dominant TKO win over WEC vet and early tourney favorite James Krause in the elimination round of fights. Then head coach Dominick Cruz used Lawrence to embarrass Urijah Faber’s squad; in the second episode, Cruz gave Team Faber the option to choose an opponent for Lawrence. Having seen Lawrence’s destruction of Krause a week prior, Team Faber fighters were noticeably quiet, and none volunteered.

Instead, Cruz chose Marcello, a 14-year vet who got his start in vale tudo fights in Brazil back in 1998. Lawrence said he initially was surprised by the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt’s plan of attack in their fight.

“Honestly, I thought in the second round he would for sure try to take me down,” Lawrence said. “The first round, I figured he was kind of overconfident and thought he would run through me. I’m the young kid in the house and this and that. But after I kind of pieced him up the first round, I figured he would come in and try and shoot on me.”

Marcello, who was Team Faber’s second-round pick, had a halfhearted takedown attempt, but Lawrence easily shrugged it off. He then scored his own takedown before returning to his feet and picking apart Marcello, who didn’t heed Faber’s constant pleas to keep his chin tucked.

Midway through the round, Lawrence blasted him with a series of shots that knocked him down and then finally put him out cold.

“I actually went for the takedown and got him down,” Lawrence said. “I wanted to secure those points. But I knew I didn’t want to play on the ground with him.

“My movement, I think that was key. I think if I would have stood there in front of him and gave him a standing-still target where he could have shot in on me or clinched me and got me to the ground, I think he would have done that and been successful. I just kept up the movement, kept my jab in his face, and executed my game plan.”

Source: MMAJunkie