The prelimary bouts for The Ultimate Fighter Live Finale will start off with one fight on Facebook.com between John “Prince” Albert (7-2) and Erik Perez (10-4) at 6:25 p.m. (ET) on Friday. Cardio has long been an issue for Albert, and that was apparent in his last fight vs. Ivan Menjivar. “Prince” had his opponent in trouble and nearly finished with strikes before gassing himself out and succumbing to a rear-naked choke late in the first round. Meanwhile, the well-versed Perez is making his UFC debut on a five-fight winning streak. The opening MMA odds pegged the debutant as a +175 underdog (bet $100 to win $175) against Albert, who is the -225 favorite (bet $225 to win $100). The rest of the prelims exclusively feature lightweight cast members from this season of TUF and will be broadcast on FUEL TV starting at 7 p.m. The first televised fight pits Joe Proctor (7-1) against Jeremy Larsen (8-2). Proctor, a well-rounded fighter, compiled a record of 3-0 on the show before losing to James Vick in the semifinals. He opened as a -275 betting favorite over his +215 opponent. Larsen’s brawling style didn’t get him too far, as he went 1-1 in the house, losing in the preliminary round to eventual finalist Mike Chiesa. Next up is Sam Sicilia (10-1) vs Cristiano Marcello (12-3) in a classic striker-versus-grappler matchup. Sicillia was eliminated via controversial split decision in the preliminary round to Chris Saunders in a fight many thought at least deserved to see a “sudden death” third round. He is a striker with a limited ground game and will look to stay off the mat at all costs against Marcello, who is a third-degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. Marcello also lost in his second fight in the tournament, getting knocked out by the heavy hands of Justin Lawrence. Sicilia opened as a -165 favorite over the +135 underdog from Parna, Brazil. Myles Jury (9-0), who entered this season as the man many picked to win it all, will be taking on Saunders (9-2) in the next bout. Jury is good in all facets of the game, but he couldn’t overcome the takedown defense and striking of Al Iaquinta in the preliminary round and was eliminated by split decision. Now he faces Saunders, who showed marked improvement during his time in the house but ultimately saw his run halted when he lost to Vinc Pichel by majority decision in the quarterfinals. Jury opened as a steep -315 favorite over the +245 dog Saunders. In the last prelim fight of the card, Daron Cruickshank (10-2) battles Chris Tickle (7-4). Cruickshank was heavily favored to use his well-rounded attack to beat Vick in the first preliminary fight of the season, but he was knocked out by a flush knee. He is now set to face another powerful striker in Chris Tickle, who was submitted by Proctor at 4:42 of the opening stanza, also in the preliminary round. Cruickshank’s versatility has once again made him the betting favorite, albeit a bit smaller this time. He opened at -200 compared to +150 for his foe, according to the MMA odds.
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