Ultimate Fighter winner and ShoFight’s competitor Kendall Grove blogs exclusively for MMAWeekly.com leading up to his bout Saturday night against Derek Brunson.
In this edition, it’s down to the final hours before Grove gets back in the cage and faces a very tough challenge in last minute replacement Derek Brunson.
And we’re official! I flew into Missouri Thursday (long trip from the Islands, for sure), and finished cutting weight yesterday morning. Since Derek Brunson was a late-notice opponent change, we agreed to a catchweight bout at 190 lbs. We both made weight, and now it’s time to relax and get mentally prepared for tonight’s fight.
You know, every promotion does things a little differently. For ShoFIGHT, this is their first professional fight card, from what I understand. They’ve done a bunch of amateur events, but this is the first with pros. And I think they’re doing a good job. It’s not perfect, but I had what I needed to make weight, I’m in a nice hotel, and I’m ready to go out a put on a show for these Midwest fans.
Let’s talk a little about my opponent. Derek Brunson is a big dude. He’s a lot more muscular than I am…no doubt about that. But, as with most of my opponents, I’ve got a significant height and reach advantage. He’s 6’1,” and I’m 6’6.” So there’s an advantage there. Brunson hasn’t faced anybody with the combination of height, experience, and submission skills that I have. So those that think this is going to be some sort of cakewalk for him need to rethink that.
I am winning this fight.
Now, I don’t have any issues with Brunson personally. He seems like a good guy. We’re both professionals, and we’ve been respectful of one another. But I have a lot riding on this fight. I have prepared, gone through opponent changes, prepared again, and now we’re here. And I’m not losing. I’m going to do EVERYTHING I can to make sure I come out with my hand raised. I may be on the mainland, but I feel the support of my people back home. And it’s going to make the difference. He’s not ready for someone like me.
So, what did I do after I made weight? What have I been doing since then? I’m on Hawaiian time, which is six hours behind Eastern Time. So I had a little trouble getting to sleep on time last night. But I slept in, got some breakfast, and had me a light little workout mid-morning. Now I’m getting ready to head over to the arena. Once I get there, I’ll test out the cage, and then head to the locker room to get dressed and get my hands taped and gloved. Nothing too crazy. Then I’ll spend the rest of my time stretching and finishing up preparations.
It’ll be time to hit the cage, and Derek, before I know it.
I want to thank ShoFIGHT for this opportunity, as well as all my coaches, sponsors, and training partners. And I especially want to thank my wife Anna. She’s been so supportive. It’s been quite a journey to get here, and I don’t plan on wasting it. It’s my time, no matter what the critics say. And I will capitalize.