TUF 16 coach Ron Frazier from Team Nelson explains fight selection and how they figured out the best way to see who was really there to fight.
As episode No. 4 of “The Ultimate Fighter 16″ opens with Team Nelson celebrating Joey Rivera’s win over Carwin’s number one pick, Sam Alvey. We now have control of the fight selection, and we took this opportunity to see who really wants to fight, because last week Team Nelson had no fire unless their was the unknown.
We let the team draw straws to determine who will compete, and to see who is ready. Team Nelson already discussed match ups who we think they should fight but ultimately it’s their fate and destiny they control. Dom Waters admits he’s a little shocked at the decision, as is Michael Hill because they weren’t ready to fight mentally. Roy kind of had this in his season, they let fighers choose who they want if they liked that fighter.
That’s why when you go on TUF you just say I WILL KICK ANYONE A$$, line them up.
Julian Lane is the lucky recipient of the short straw, and he’s going to fight. Roy admits picking fights is a proposition, because we have no idea which one of these guys really want to win TUF. We want what is best for these guys hence the unique approach to the bout selection.
If you pick em you better win, and because this is what you want. Like Roy would love to spar Dana White to help resolve any of their disputes. Julian says his top options are Matt Secor and Mike Ricci. He’s also considering Bristol Marunde.
Sometimes the back story gets lost because of time constraints. Julian was Team Nelson’s last pick. As a matter of fact was the last to be picked in the house. That put a huge chip on his shoulders. He thought that would be a reflection on him as a fighter.
It was more luck of the draw. You fight to get in the house you, then have to fight to get out of it. Being that Julian is a natural 155lbs. Our thoughts which we already shared with him the best match up for him. Secor being the best, Bristol being the worst of his three choices.
Bristol is a tough minded veteran that has fought in the 205lbs division as well as 185lbs. So with Julian being emotional about his pick wanting to send a message and knock one of Team Carwin’s number two pick Bristol fights next.
Roy and myself had concerns which were two pronged. One, Julian’s cardio admittedly was not great (so much for three a day’s). He also would back himself against the cage and get stuck which was a cause for concern. But Julian is an explosive striker and is the quicker of the two fighters. But his punches can fire like rockets but not sure where they are going to land. With Julian needing to create chaos and be on the move may bring out his cardio issues but if he can get Bristol to capitulate the 16lbs weight cut may play on Bristol’s mind.
On to the fights round one Bristol takes the center to open, and Julian engages in the center of the cage they clinch and Julian pushes Bristol to the fence, which is where he doesn’t want to be. Bristol pushes in from the outside and drives in a few short knees. The pair does break and flurry briefly, but Bristol quickly returns to a Thai clinch in hopes of controlling the action. He lets go shortly after, and Julian does look to be a little winded just a few minutes into the round.
Bristol returns to the clinch, where he’s strong against the cage and land a hard knee to his liver. We want Julian to break away, which he finally does with a flurry of punches. Bristol is cut and open and bleeding. Julian fires off several power shots, but it’s still Bristol landing the shots that the judges count. Julian shoots in to close the round, but Bristol stuffs it and transitions to the back, but the frame ends before he can capitalize. An obvious round for Bristol but under old pride rules since he is a bloody mess Julian has a chance.
Round two: This round we told Julian he needs to own the center of the cage. And create chaos, so as not to get stuck against the cage. Julian is moving backwards then comes forward but slips on an early power shot. He’s still fighting on the outside, and Bristol lands a few powerful low kicks. Julian tries to return fire with his own low kicks and a few overhand counters, but fatigue and cardio appears to be an issue. Still, he is landing the occasional power shot, and his punches look formidable. It’s a slow-paced round as time winds down, and Bristol decides to move back into the clinch. Not fully taking advantage of his powerful low kicks he is landing. Bristol is in control of the fight but the weight cut appears to have affected him. Bristol is bloodied but moves on in the house with a 20-18 decision.
Julian is clearly upset with the loss with a lot weighing heavy on his mind, at home he doesn’t have a job. With a 10 month old daughter and a baby on the way he is pretty disappointed. I thought the most real part of the show was myself and Pat Barry of Team Carwin counseling him cage side. I know if in the UFC or another show Julian will be a better fighter and person after this experience. He is a good kid at heart but, may not always be portrayed as such.
Team Carwin assumes control again can they keep it? Tune if on Friday on FX. You can follow me on Twitter @RonFrazier22 or Stop by the House of RYU Athletic Center in Las Vegas.