The Ultimate Fighter Live (TUF 15) Finale Friday, June 1, 2012 at 9 p.m. (ET) on FX The Pearl at The Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada Justin Lawrence (-310) Profile: Lawrence (3-0) was the top overall pick selected by UFC bantamweight champion and coach Dominick Cruz, and he did not disappoint until the quarterfinals, where he was a heavy favorite but lost to TUF finalist Michael Chiesa via third-round technical knockout. The 22-year-old from Missouri made his professional MMA debut at Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu II in St. Louis on December 4, 2010 and beat Max Martyniouk by unanimous technical decision after an accidental soccer kick ended the bout. This experience was followed by two more pro wins before he won his way into the TUF house with a TKO victory against former WEC fighter James Krause. Lawrence then knocked out PRIDE veteran Cristiano Marcello by second-round KO before falling to Chiesa in an upset. John Cofer (+240) Profile: Cofer (7-2) has been wrestling for 22 years and lost to Team Cruz’s Vinc Pichel by submission in Episode 7. The 28-year-old Georgia native was the sixth pick of Team Faber and defeated Mark Glover via decision to get into the TUF house. Outside of the house, Cofer has been trained at HardCore Gym by Rory Singer, who previously competed on TUF 3 and lost to Ed Herman in the semifinals of the middleweight tournament. Cofer entered TUF on a four-fight winning streak, with each one coming in a different organization and within the span of a year. Two of those wins came via choke submission while the other two were by unanimous decision. MMA Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened Lawrence as a heavy -310 favorite (bet $310 to win $100) against Cofer, who is a +240 underdog (bet $100 to win $240) according to the MMA odds. Lawrence’s status as the very first fighter selected by either team definitely comes into play here, as he could very well be facing Iaquina for the TUF title had it not been for the surprising knockout by Chiesa. His impressive KO win over Team Faber’s second pick Marcello showed why he deserved to be picked so high, and both he and Cofer are looking for redemption on the main card. Cofer is a wrestling specialist who will look to take Lawrence to the ground in hopes of scoring a submission. However, Lawrence has a clear advantage over Cofer with his stand up game as a former national kickboxing champion and two-time St. Louis Golden Gloves boxing champ.
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