This week’s episode four is what I feel is a change in tides for the rest of the season. Tempers are flaring, nerves are high, and these guys are beginning to realize that this show could be all or nothing for them.
Joey Rivera got the win last week, giving Team Nelson control. Joey is a really good guy and even though he beat our guy, I was happy for him. I think Roy’s team was just as shocked as we were to hear that he was letting them draw straws and pick their own fights.
I finally agree with something that Roy said though, it is very stressful trying to pick the best fight for your guys! I don’t blame him for wanting to get that stress off his back! On the other hand though, it is probably even more stressful for the guys to sit around and try to figure out who they should pick.
Julian picking Bristol was a shocker to, I think, everyone. Bristol was the far more experienced of the two. They both had similar styles, but we felt like Bristol was just better than Julian in every aspect. Even with Roy and his coaching staff knowing Bristol, and knowing that he would want to get Julian against the cage and dirty box him. I respect the fact that Julian picked what he thought was one of the tougher guys on our team. He wanted to fight our number two pick and Joey had just defeated our number one pick; definitely a gutsy move.
All of the fighters who had families truly missed them and that was probably the toughest part of doing the show. Bristol and Julian were both coming from the same place in the fact that they left families at home and were chasing a career to provide for their family. I think that Bristol is coming from a little bit more stable environment, as he has a home, a promotion that he runs, and seems to be a pretty successful businessman. Julian, on the other hand, is fighting to put food on the table for his kids. Talk about adding stress to an already stressful environment!
Bristol had a different outlook than most. Yes, he missed his wife and son and talked about them daily. However, he wanted to be in the UFC and knew that this was a way for him to provide for them like never before. He looked at this as an opportunity to be able to focus solely on his MMA career for the first time.
Our game plan for Bristol was simple. We had meetings with each guy the day we picked our teams and Bristol wanted us to always remind him to “Be you!” There couldn’t have been better advice than that to give him going into this fight. We knew that his pressure and tenacity would win this fight. Like I said, we felt Bristol was better in every aspect of the fight.
The fight went exactly how we thought it would with the exception of one thing… Julian is tougher than we gave him credit for. Julian had that “bully” image, the guy with the pink mohawk, tattoos, and always wearing sun glasses. Typically guys like that are easy to break. When the fight doesn’t go their way they fold. Not Julian though, he hung in there and took a lot of punishment and dished some of his own. He never gave up and was looking for that knockout the entire fight. He cut Bristol in three different places. That was a fun scrap to watch!
After the fight was my favorite part of the episode. Roy approaching Dana is something I remember seeing, but at the time, I didn’t know what it was about. Watching it play out on TV was awesome! When Julian brought up the scale to Roy at weigh-ins, I have no idea why he didn’t say something then. Bringing it up to Dana after the fight was not going to do anything and I’m sure Roy knew that. I honestly think that Roy just likes to get under Dana’s skin and it is definitely entertaining to watch!
(Photo courtesy of Leister Bowling)