by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Jules Bruchez, the latest light heavyweight to be eliminated from this season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” had high hopes going into the house, but unfortunately fell victim to Team Mir member Vinny Magalhaes by submission in the first round of their quarterfinal match-up.
Before the bout ever happened, Bruchez was part of one of the most elaborate pranks ever played on the show as Team Mir decorated the fighter’s bed in a full funeral procession, complete with body bag.
“No one knows that (prank) happened in the second week of the house. I was like the second person they pranked or something like that,” Bruchez disclosed. “You know good old editing makes it good for TV so it pushed it into my week. I remember too cause I walked in and I was like ‘what the hell is going on?’ I remember thinking like my stomach started to turn like ‘oh (expletive) I’m going to fight this week,’ and then I realized it’s a lightweight fight right now, I’m not fighting.”
While never one to waste the props from a good prank, Bruchez says he still uses the body bag for storage, and while in the house the fighters put the candles to use while taking salt baths and the tombstone became a target when the fighters constructed a bow and arrow later in the season to pass the time.
On to the fight and the loss. Bruchez understands exactly what went wrong and how he was unable to execute the strategy his coaches gave him going in.
“I can’t change anything, I’m still happy I made it that far. We had a good gameplan, the only problem is basically I didn’t execute it,” Bruchez said in an interview with MMAWeekly.com. “His kicks threw me off. I didn’t expect him to have kicks so powerful, and usually all you have to do when someone kicks you is you just kind of step in and throw a punch, but his kicks were with the edge of his foot and on top of him being even taller than me, that just threw my distance really off. And as you can see it kind of froze me.”
What happened soon after was Magalhaes, a former jiu-jitsu instructor with Team Quest, had Bruchez on the ground and in a perfect place to finish the fight. Obviously the Brazilian had considerable ground skills, but did Bruchez put too much thought on his opponent’s grappling pedigree?
“Yeah, I over respected it,” Bruchez said about his opponent’s ground game. “Because right when he threw the knee or he baited me with the knee and I pushed him up against the cage, my initial reaction would be sweep your foot, throw you down and just ground and pound, and then step back up. But I froze. I grabbed his knee and thought for a split second, ‘wait a minute, maybe I shouldn’t go to the ground’ and that’s when he chose ‘well, I’m going to hop on top of him and try to do a flying armbar.’
“I ended up in the worst position there is to be on the ground, head mounted.”
From there Magalhaes locked on a fight ending armbar, and when it was all over UFC president Dana White seemed less than impressed with either fighter when standing and that hit Bruchez especially hard.
“To hear Dana say it was so much worse, because you’re there to impress the guy,” commented Bruchez. “That’s the guy you want to impress, because that’s the guy you want to fight for. So to hear him say that, that was definitely taken to heart.”
Since the show ended, Bruchez has not given up his dream to compete in the UFC, while at this point he is still unsure about where he is fighting next. He has started to train with former Ultimate Fighter Tim Credeur and hopes to land back in the Octagon before it’s all said and done.
“I vowed to myself that I wasn’t going to do this show and then hang it up later. This show’s not going to be the highlight of my career,” Bruchez said. “When it’s all said and done it’s going to be the stepping stone for where I need to go.”