Season 15 of The Ultimate Fighter is the first year the popular UFC reality TV series has featured live fights televised Fridays on FX to cap off each episode. This season’s TUF coaches are Urijah Faber and UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, who is expected to defend his title at UFC 148 on July 7 at the MGM Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The TUF 15 Finale is scheduled for June 1 at The Pearl at the Palms in Las Vegas. Faber and Cruz have split two previous fights going back to their days in the WEC. Faber defended his WEC featherweight title with a guillotine choke submission of Cruz at WEC 26 five years ago, and Cruz earned a unanimous decision victory in the rematch for the UFC bantamweight championship at UFC 132 last July 2. UFC 148 odds have Cruz as a -200 favorite against Faber (+160) in the third bout. This week’s TUF 15 matchup pits Team Faber’s John Cofer (7-1) against Team Cruz’s Vinc Pichel (7-0) in a battle of lightweights. Each of the fighters was the sixth pick of their respective coaches. Team Faber has won three straight bouts after losing the first two to Team Cruz. Last week, Joe Proctor (7-1) eliminated Chris Tickle (7-4) with a rear-naked choke submission late in the first round to advance to the quarterfinals. Pichel could end Team Faber’s winning streak and be the favorite pick of MMA bettors if he continues to fight like he has previously in his young MMA career. He defeated Cody Pfister by rear-naked choke in his elimination fight on the show, and all six of his pro wins have come via knockout. Cofer beat Mark Glover via unanimous decision in his elimination bout and was a college wrestler at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. The 27-year-old has 22 years of wrestling experience overall and hopes to take Pichel to the ground and decide the fight there. Previous winners who have already advanced to the quarterfinals include Proctor, Mike Chiesa (7-0), Al Iaquinta (5-1-1), Justin Lawrence (3-0) and James Vick (4-0). Lawrence and Vick won the first two fights for Team Cruz. Lawrence was Cruz’s first pick while Vick was his fifth selection. Iaquinta was Faber’s first pick while Chiesa was also chosen fifth. The winner of TUF 15 earns a contract with the UFC, a one-year sponsorship with Tapout and a Harley Davidson motorcycle along with his coach.