Prior to making his World Series of Fighting debut this past December, middleweight Elvis “The King” Mutapcic had been on a tear, winning five straight fights and capturing the MFC 185-pound championship in the process.
So it is with some surprise that Mutapcic performed poorly against Jesse Taylor at WSOF 7 and suffered just the third loss of his then six-year career.
Looking back on the loss, Mutapcic feels things went wrong in training for the fight and just continued through the match-up itself.
“I made a lot of mistakes in the preparation for that fight and it just threw my game off in the cage,” said Mutapcic. “I ended up putting a lot of size on, a lot of weight, and it was a big factor in it. I just created some bad habits in training camp and a big part of that cost me the fight.”
In the fight itself, Mutapcic admits he was lethargic and instead of waiting for the fight to come to him, he should have taken the fight to Taylor.
“One of the mistakes I made in training camp was underestimating him,” said Mutapcic. “I guess off the bat, I should have had more urgency to get up and not stay down on the ground, let (Taylor) control me and wait it out, looking for a submission. I should have worked harder to get back up and strike more.”
Mutapcic has since made changes to not only his training, but also his life in order to get things back on track.
“I corrected those mistakes,” Mutapcic told MMAWeekly.com. “I improved my game all-around. I’ve had plenty of time since that fight. So hopefully with the changes I’ve made, it will serve me well.
“I decided to quit my full-time job and concentrate on fighting. I really feel five years younger and am re-energized and that I’ve got that hunger back. I think that’s the main ingredient in what I’ve changed.”
Mutapcic (13-3) will look to rebound when he returns to WSOF this Saturday in Las Vegas against promotional newcomer Kelvin Tiller (6-0) in a middleweight feature bout.
“He’s a very explosive young guy,” said Mutapcic of Tiller. “He’s very athletic, so he’s able to capitalize on a lot of things an average fighter couldn’t because they’re not as athletic as he is. I’ve got to use my experience and wear him down and make it into a grueling fight.
“I’ve got to test his heart and test his will, and that’s exactly what I’m planning to do. I’m going to go out there, push the pace, and believe my gas tank and experience will carry me through this fight.”
Should Mutapcic get past Tiller, he might find himself back in title contention, but that’s not his focus at the moment.
“I’m just trying to concentrate on this fight right now,” said Mutapcic. “After this fight I’ll talk to my coaches and team and see what’s next.
“I don’t want to be handed a title shot, I want to earn it. I’m okay with working my way up to the title shot, but for right now I’m just focusing on Kelvin. I’m going to try to take care of him right now, get a win and we’ll go from there.”