After shocking viewers (and Team Faber) by deferring to Urijah Faber to select an opponent to face #1 pick Justin Lawrence leading up to last week’s episode of TUF 15, bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz opened eyes again after Lawrence’s sensational knockout win over veteran Cristiano Marcello by putting Faber’s first selection into the Octagon next week against one of his own stand-outs rather than concede the quarterfinal slot.
Cruz explained his reasoning behind opting to see Al Iaquinta in action while discussing strategy with MMAJunkie where he also made it clear he’s out to prove a point to rival Faber as the season unfolds.
“I think it’s a tactic that you’ve never seen on The Ultimate Fighter. I wanted to do something different and kind of surprise the team that I was up against,” began the 19-1 Cruz. “I think – again – Faber underestimated the way that I coach, the things that I do, the way that I think, the way that I fight. I had to use that to my advantage. I knew he would underestimate me because he’s a cocky dude, as much as he doesn’t want to admit it. It’s worked out so far.”
With a 2-0 lead in the competition already, past coaches may have decided to rest on their laurels and make advantageous match-ups while sacrificing lesser-polished team members in the process. However, Cruz has different designs when it comes to picking pairings.
“I’m going straight for the jugular, straight in for the kill,” stated Cruz on the subject.
Iaquinta will take on Team Cruz’s Myles Jury this coming Friday night. Iaquinta is 5-1 as a professional and trains out of Matt Serra’s gym in New York, while Jury is 9-0 and was a past winner on TUF who was knocked out of the competition due to a serious knee injury.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC